Harmful Workplace Habits You Need To Break

Often times our jobs and careers can be thought of as a roller coaster. At the beginning there is a lot of anticipation that leads to nervousness and excitement – feelings that continue to build before decreasing and evening out for a while. The ups and downs continue from job to job, and the cycle repeats itself many times throughout your career. The growth period of excitement and nervousness is what makes the peaks and valleys worth it. The habits you develop during this time can make or break your career.

Humans are creatures of habit. Often times we do not even realize we are doing something until the people around us mention it. Some of the habits you have developed at your workplace, both good and bad, can actually harm or halt your career growth. In an article for our friends over at TopResume, Sarah Jacobs highlights five habits that you need to break to avoid sabotaging your career.


There’s nothing wrong with apologizing if you’re in the wrong; in fact, you should do this. But, some people apologize too much, even if they did nothing wrong as a way to avoid conflict. According to Jacobs, “the need to apologize comes from our upbringing when we are taught to be polite at all times.” There is nothing wrong with maintaining a level of politeness, but over-apologizing can make it seem like you aren’t confident in who you are. As a result, this habit can not only affect your career, but also your self-esteem.


In the workplace, gossip can spread like wildfire. Talking at the water cooler, or with your cubicle neighbor during a break is something that happens naturally. After all, you don’t want to seclude yourself as you spend a majority of your time with these people at work. However, if you hear rumors or some gossip it is best to avoid fueling the fire as workplace gossipers become people who cannot be trusted. If you are thought of as a gossiper and someone who can’t be trusted, that is something that will follow you throughout your time with the company.

Having No Personal And Work Boundaries

Thanks to smartphones, laptops and tablets we are able to be connected to our work 24/7. While this is both a blessing and a curse, it doesn’t bode well for a healthy work-life balance. It is tempting to respond to every message and email during off-hours, but this might actually tell coworkers that you are available at any time. This might not be considered a negative habit, but for your own sanity, establishing a work-life boundary will benefit your life both at work and away from it. That said, there are certain times that an issue may arise that requires a prompt response, so you can make an exception.

Doing Things The Way It’s Been Done

When you first get hired, learning the ins and outs of your role is key. However, as you become more comfortable, figuring out new and innovative ways to do your job is a way to stand out and thrive. Unfortunately, we are so used to the status quo at work and doing things the way they’ve always been done. To break this habit, stay current with trends and be open to learning new ways to accomplish tasks.


Let’s face it, we multitask every day. It is tempting to try and get as much done in as little time as possible, but did you know that multitasking can actually make you less productive? Another downside to multitasking is that b diverting your attention among multiple tasks your work does not reach its full potential. By focusing on one task at a time, you will experience better results. Additionally, studies have shown that multitasking actually slows you down and creates more opportunities for mistakes and stress.

Wrap Up

They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Since your career takes a long time to develop, you don’t want your habits to wreck it. If you have any of these habits in the workplace, take some time to see how you can break them. Once you do so, both your work and personal lives will benefit.

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