15 ways to get sacked

It is rare for someone to get fired for a one-off misdemeanour. Even non-Americans tend to subscribe more to the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule.

Usually, it is the cumulative effect of small offences that is more likely to get you shown the door or hinder your career progress.

We all have bad habits and sometimes it is worth checking the pieces of bad behaviour you may be guilty of in order to prevent your office/career credibility from eroding.

Not adapting to the company culture

Every workplace has its own set of social customs. Not making an effort to adapt to this culture can make you seem disapproving or judgemental. This holier-than-thou attitude is alienating to coworkers and makes it seem like you don’t care about forming positive relationships in the office.

Making excuses

Not taking responsibility for your mistakes and failures will catch up with you. Waiting until the day a project is due to explain why you’re behind, for example, tells your boss that you can’t manage your time efficiently.

Doing the bare minimum

Even if you always meet deadlines and consistently turn in quality work, doing only the bare minimum makes you seem complacent. On the other hand, looking for opportunities instead of waiting for them to fall into your lap shows your boss that you’re driven and care about your future at the company.

Dress like a slob

Once you’re settled in a role at work, it can be easy to let your appearance fall by the wayside. But failing to look put-together undermines your credibility and authority and may make you seem like you don’t care. dress for the job you want.

You don’t follow up

When you fail to do what you say you’re going to do, from restocking the printer to copy editing your neighbour’s report, you garner a reputation for being unreliable. Keeping your word shows that you’re accountable and can be trusted with more responsibilities when promotion is considered.

You’re a pessimist

Absolutely nothing wrong with this; just don’t make it obvious. If people think you have a bad attitude, you become a nuisance to your boss and can drag down your team. Constantly whining and complaining won’t make you pleasant to be around, and certainly won’t entice your boss to keep you around for long.

Ignoring co-workers

Forming friendships with your colleagues is just as important as cultivating relationships with your seniors. Strive to be known and well-liked, so co-workers want to share valuable information with you and help you when you need it.

You’re defensive

Your boss doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but getting defensive when receiving negative feedback makes you look unprofessional. If you’re unwilling to listen to constructive criticism, it tells your boss that you’re unlikely to push yourself to improve.


Putting off projects until the last minute not only puts stress on you, but it hinders the progress of every other person relying on your portion of the work. If something goes wrong, you’ll likely be the first one blamed.

Writing brusque emails

No matter how friendly you are in person, terse language can easily be misconstrued in an email. Even if it’s unintentional, rude emails immediately sour your reputation around the office and keep others from wanting to interact with you.

Meaningful contributions

Saying something in a meeting just for the sake of speaking doesn’t add anything productive. Instead, prepare ahead of time, and remember quality over quantity when sharing ideas.

You’re always late

Frequent tardiness signifies to coworkers that something else is more important to you and that you don’t value their time. It paints you as disrespectful and uncaring, making people wary of trusting you. No matter what it takes, always find a way to be punctual.

You never stop talking

Yes, it’s great to get to know your coworkers, but if you’re constantly socialising, it prevents everyone around you from getting their work done. Keep the chatter down to avoid annoying others and becoming the person no one wants to work with.

You ignore emails

Fair enough, most of them are rubbish, but failing to answer emails in a reasonable time frame not only frustrates those who need responses from you, it signifies to colleagues that they aren’t worth your time, can cause you to miss deadlines, and generally paints you as unprofessional. Although answering each one as soon as it’s received is impractical, making a conscious effort to stay on top of your inbox goes a long way.

You’re rude

Doing good work doesn’t matter if no one wants to work with you. Not only does rudeness alienate coworkers, but most managers won’t tolerate abrasive and inconsiderate employees. Remember, being polite is the key to winning people over.


On Topic

Related Articles


Our Cause

We will fight for a world where everyone feels safe, valued, able to grow, and be inspired by their role and the organisation that they work for. And that starts with us…


Our Cause

We will fight for a world where everyone feels safe, valued, able to grow, and be inspired by their role and the organisation that they work for. And that starts with us…