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How to Break 5 Career-Killing Habits


Bad habits can be tough to break, but some are worth the effort. There are a few bad habits that could be causing you real professional harm without you even being aware of them. The first step is always identifying that there is a problem to solve. Let’s take a look at a few of these career-killing habits and think about how to break them once and for all.

running late

(Photo Credit: Photo Extremist/Flickr)

1. Negativity

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Outlook and approach is habitual, and attitude makes a huge difference in the general course (and final outcome) of your workdays. If you wake up in the morning anticipating a terrible day, you’re almost certain to get one. Alternatively, if you try your hardest to stay upbeat and positive, you’ll likely reap the significant rewards of having a positive attitude. Most importantly, pessimism and complaining crush morale and won’t go over well with your co-workers or your employers. Keep the bad vibes to a minimum, or at least keep the negativity to yourself. Nothing good can come from it.

2. Bad body language

Some of the most important aspects of connecting with others and forging strong professional ties come through some of our most subtle actions. Body language says a lot. Poor eye contact, negative facial expressions, or a weak handshake all make strong impressions. The way you carry yourself makes an impact, and your body language could be perceived as rude or unprofessional if you’re not careful. Be sure you’re sending the right signals with your non-verbal communications.

3. Resisting change

Change is difficult, and it can be really frustrating to continually have to revamp ideas and procedures that you’ve grown accustomed to doing in a certain way. Still, if you hem and haw when things shift, if you fail to embrace changes, you might be perceived as difficult, or even lazy. Change is a part of personal and professional life. Learn to welcome change or at least roll with the punches a little easier. Your career will likely benefit as a result.

4. Disorganization

We all forget to attend to a detail once in awhile, or even miss a deadline. But, chronic disorganization can be a real career killer. Folks pay attention to whether or not they can trust you to attend to tasks you’ve agreed to take on, and if you’re constantly dropping the ball, they’re sure to notice. No one wants to have to chase after you to ensure that you’re doing what you said you would. Get organized and stay on top of your responsibilities. It will make a world of difference for you professionally.

5. Tardiness

Arriving to work (or an important meeting) a few minutes late doesn’t seem like a big deal, and when incidents of tardiness are relatively isolated it isn’t, but when it becomes a habit, your lateness could have huge professional consequences. Tardiness shows poor time management skills and also a lack of respect for others. Be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Tardiness is forgivable, but only when it’s the exception, not the rule.

Tell Us What You Think

What career-killing bad habits do you need to break? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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