October 31, 2017 7:00 am
Updated: October 31, 2017 8:42 am

5 ways you’re sabotaging your career and don’t even know it

Showing up late to work is a bad habit employees need to break, experts say.

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Bad habits can be hard to break, but sometimes those bad habits can be costly to your reputation, especially where your work is concerned.

“It’s safe to say that the majority of the decisions we make at work can have an impact on our future jobs,” Angela Payne, general manager of Monster Canada, said. “Your work ethic and reputation are two things that you are absolutely in control of to get you to where you want to be.”

READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

Sometimes we may not be aware that we have these bad habits, other times it’s self-sabotaging. Either way, these habits people choose to give into will hold them back from reaching their true professional potential, Payne says.

But out of all the professional bad habits that could exist, Payne identifies five that are most common, why they’re harmful to one’s career and how you can fix them.


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1. Show up late

“This shows that your time management skills may not be up to par and that you’re not respectful of others’ time,” Payne says. “The more frequent the habit, the more harmful it can be.”

To redeem yourself from this one, Payne says to set up reminders for meetings in your calendar or your phone. Also, make sure to arrive a few minutes early to meetings to get into a better habit.

According to a 2013 survey of 2,000 managers by the Institute of Leadership and Management, arriving late is the fifth most annoying habit managers would like to see employees break, BBC reports.

2. Blaming and not taking ownership

Sure there are times where we might mess up at work – missing a deadline or forgetting to complete an assignment. But it’s about the way we respond to these negative situations that help us move forward, Payne says.

“If you constantly find yourself in tough situations and blame your colleagues for your mistakes, you’ll likely lose trust from them pretty fast,” she says. “The right thing to do is take ownership for what you know you did wrong. And if you don’t at first, ask around and see how you can learn from mistakes to move yourself forward. Accountability in any role is really important.”

3. Saying no

Saying no once in a while isn’t going to hurt you, but if you make a habit of saying no to almost every opportunity that comes your way can send the wrong message, Payne says.

“Getting in the habit of saying ‘no’ to opportunities will likely limit you in your success at work,” she says. “Your manager may think of someone else before you, knowing that you’re likely to reject the offer.”

READ MORE: Do you have a co-worker taking credit for your ideas? Here’s what to do

So if an opportunity is offered to you, Payne says the best approach is to say yes.

“If it means staying late at work one night during the week, that’s OK,” she says. “Showing you’re eager and interested in learning more shows your colleagues and bosses that you’re a committed employee.”

4. Resisting change

“Change will be a hurdle that we will all face at some point,” Payne says. “In fact, the only constant in the work environment is change.”

By resisting change and staying stuck in the past, Payne says it will keep you from moving forward.

“Complaining about the new and focusing on the old can keep you and your colleagues stuck in the past instead of embracing what’s ahead.”

5. Not speaking up

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or not, establishing your voice is important, Payne says.

“If you find yourself silent in meetings or other work situations, it may signal to your colleagues that you’re not interested,” she says. “An easy solution to avoid staying silent is to prepare questions in advance of a meeting.”

That way, Payne says, you can contribute insightfully at the end of a conversation.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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