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Workplace Behaviors that Taint Your Professional Image



Your Job is Secure, How's Your Image?

While certain workplace conduct can put your job in jeopardy (see Part One of this series), there's other office behavior that can tarnish your professional image. While not as "fatal," these can adversely affect your career, ability to get along with your coworkers, and advancement opportunities if others see you as unprofessional or difficult to work with.

Respect your colleagues

This may sound obvious, but it's the little things and overall attitude that counts. Be a team player. Help your coworkers. You're all pulling towards the same goal, so earn the respect of your colleagues and the admiration of your manager by being a true team member. 

  • We're all busy. Show respect by being on time for work and for meetings.
  • Meet your deadlines. Heck, beat your deadlines!
  • If you need assistance, ask.
  • Keep your manager in the loop.
  • If you're are sick, stay home. One day out of the office may put you a touch behind, but think of the accumulated lost time and productivity if you spread it around the office.
  • Finally, remember that no one is perfect. Accept constructive criticism from your manager and coworkers in a positive manner. Learn from your mistakes, don't blame them on others. 

Think before you speak

Words have power, and once out, even apologies don't take them back. Be especially careful when you're frustrated, upset, or in the heat of the moment. Stop, pause, consider, then speak. And remember, it's not only what you say, but how you say it. Swearing and harsh language is very unprofessional and has no place in the office.

While you may feel close to your coworkers, be careful when talking about your personal life, especially dates, romantic relationships, and nights out on the town. There's a reason it's called personal. Some things are better left unsaid.

Lastly, be cognizant of anything you say about a colleague, customer, or client. Don't gossip, and always make sure anything you say is the truth. Lying is never acceptable in your professional life, and dishing dirt about others is negative and can be seen as a form of bullying.

Vacationing at your desk

We all have low energy, non-focused days when we don't get as much or as high-quality work done as we'd like. You know, those days where you're staring at the cursor on your computer most of the day or realize you're gazing out of the window a lot. It happens. The good news is it's proven that following a day like this, the next days are generally more productive than usual. But you're having more days accomplishing little than you those turning out quality work, you're "vacationing at your desk." If this is the case, it's time to reassess your workload or maybe you just need a re-energizing vacation. Taking your vacations at your desk will ultimately tarnish your professional image.

You've worked hard to get to where you are and want to keep advancing. Don't let these office behaviors hurt your workplace image and harm your professional success.