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10 Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional

Being Consistently Late

It isn’t really a problem to arrive late one or two times, but showing up extremely late multiples times a week is. When your tardiness becomes a pattern, you’re telling the entire office that you don’t know how to manage your time and that you don’t care about your job. It reflects poorly and causes your boss and co-workers to view you as a lazy employee.

Listening to Extremely Loud Music

It’s never acceptable to blare your own music at the office. Headphones were invented for a reason, so use yours. It’s also not okay to play music so loudly through your headphones that those near you can hear the music. Keep it low so you don’t disrupt others.

Taking Personal Calls at Your Desk

Personal phone calls need to be taken outside of common areas. If you receive a call, walk to the lobby, outside, or wherever you need to in order to not disturb others. You probably don’t appreciate it when your co-workers gab on their phones when you’re working, and they don’t like it when you do either.

Dressing Inappropriately

Your appearance is one of the first things that your co-workers will notice when you walk into the office. You want to look like you can handle any job that’s thrown your way, so wearing stained, ripped, ill-fitting, and/or revealing clothing isn’t the way to go. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, then you need to dress like a serious professional.

Falling Asleep at Your Desk

No matter how tired you are or how ineffective your coffee is, do not fall asleep at your desk. There is nothing that says “I don’t take my job seriously” more loudly than your snores and drool. If you’re so tired you could sleep at work, then take some PTO.

Having Poor Hygiene

Please, for the love of your career, do not come to work with dirty nails, greasy hair, and filthy teeth. It sends the message that you don't care about your appearance, and if you don’t care about your appearance, then you must not care about your career either.

Smelling Like Alcohol

If you come to work hungover, at least hide it well. Hangovers are productivity killers, so call in sick if you can and work from home. Don’t come into the office to broadcast your hangover.

Not Keeping Your Boss in the Loop

You don’t have to tell your boss that you’ll be gone for an hour during lunch, but you do need to tell him or her if you will be out for any appointments. It’s not necessary to explain what the appointment is about (that’s your personal business). Just make sure to communicate what times you’ll be out and whether or not you’ll be reachable during that time.

Flirting With Co-Workers

Do not flirt with your co-workers, even if the new guy in accounting is the most gorgeous man you’ve ever seen. Aside from the fact you shouldn’t mix business and pleasure, flirting at work sends the message that you didn’t come to the office to actually do your job. Resist the urge to flirt so you don’t find yourself in the HR’s office.


Sometimes a bad word simply slips out unintentionally, and yes, sometimes blasting the F-word is the only thing that will make you feel better in a stressful situation. But swearing all the time in normal conversation, cursing when talking to your boss, and yelling four-letter words in a meeting are not good work habits. Put a lid on the swearing and you’ll find you receive much more respect.