5 Work Habits That Could Be Ruining Your Career

Well, shit.

Woman sitting at a desk
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've all heard the ways we're not performing at work—showing up late, procrastinating, not promoting your accomplishments…but are we subconsciously sabotaging ourselves through behavior we didn't even know mattered? Here, a look at some of the ways we're totally screwing up our careers—avoid these and you'll successfully avoid others thinking you suck at your job (when you don't).

Talking in, uh, animated language.

Many workplaces, for the most part, have gotten more lax thanks to the emoticon-and-emoji-obsessed, nothing-is-personal-because-I-tweeted-about-it generation filling up the cubicles. But one formality remains steadfast: cursing is a no-no.

A study by CareerBuilder.com shows that 81% of employers believe cursing brings an employee's professionalism into question. Well, shit.

"You're only going to get promoted if you're seen as someone who has measured reactions to situations," CareerBuilder.com spokesperson Jennifer Grasz told FoxBusiness.com (opens in new tab). "The higher up the ladder you go, the more likely you are to be facing clients and executives, and you can't be someone who flies off the handle." In other words? Keep that language clean, sailor.

Being a busy bee, always.

This one is completely counterintuitive. You would think that someone who is busy at work all the time signals they're a valuable part of the team. And it does. But as anyone in a leadership role knows, it's not all about busy work. Creative thinking and problem solving is a huge part of the job—and those who are bored at work (for a small amount of time) are more creative (opens in new tab). So, chill.

Using sarcasm in emails.

In Ugh, People Are The Worst news: No one can detect your sarcasm through written words (opens in new tab). Sorry, friends. So don't make jokes in email, make them face-to-face. Seriously, just don't do it. It's hard, we know. But it's better this way.

Thinking of ourselves as the ultimate authority…on our own work habits.

Not only do we overestimate how much we know about a subject (opens in new tab), but we also underestimate how much we'd benefit from studying it further. And when it comes to trying a new piece of equipment or picking up a new task, we tend to see it as super simple and easy to learn ("Yeah, not a problem!") then when we're exposed, all of a sudden we overestimate the amount of time it'll take us to actually learn it ("I'll never learn this stupid thing!"). Basically, we're not self-aware in our work environment. At all.

Trying to "catch up" on work by working weekends.

Your overachieving tendencies could actually be killing your career (opens in new tab). "We get stupider when we work too much," says executive coach Tasha Eurich, Ph.D., author of the new book Bankable Leadership. In fact, working more doesn't have a particularly positive effect on productivity—so pulling a 60-hour workweek is actually the worst thing you can do. Shut it down.

You should also check out:

These are the 10 Best Companies for Female Employees (opens in new tab)

The Rules of Talking About People You Work with (opens in new tab)

The Email Habits of Highly Successful People (opens in new tab)

Samantha Leal
Samantha Leal

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.