HR & Management

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20 ways to be a terrible employee

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Not all of us are perfect, in fact, most of us could be called a work-in-progress. The point is that we learn from our mistakes, right?

Unfortunately, all too many people (however impressive they seem in their interview or annual appraisal) fall foul of the classic employee no-nos. In a tough economic climate and a workplace environment that changes by the day, the 21st-century worker needs to show flexibility, proactivity, dynamism, enthusiasm and a focus on the business’s core objectives.

Be honest, do all of your people live up to such high standards? We fear not. So we’ve counselled views on the worst employee characteristics to act as warning signals. You may have spotted some of these already; you may display them yourself; you may want to up your game.

Whichever camp you’re in, we reckon you need to act fast or face the inevitable…

If you want to foul up your next job opportunity; or if you want a checklist to assess your people, here’s our pick of the worst employee behaviours:

  1. Don’t double check your work;

  2. Take lots of obvious smoking breaks;

  3. Never strive for excellence – just do enough to get by;

  4. Pretend to be busy when unwanted assignments are handed out;

  5. Be negative –the cardinal sin; or

  6. Moan about everything from the location of the office to the terrible toilet paper;

  7. Think that its ‘somebody else’s job’ – wiping the floor where you’ve spilt coffee or filling the copier is not in your job description;

  8. Make regular visits to the pub at lunchtime – no one will notice your alcohol breath after a few mints;

  9. Abuse your company credit card – the lack of increases for the rest of the company come salary time is none of your concern;

  10. Constantly challenge and/or insult your co-workers/supervisors/customers;

  11. Don’t try new things or support change in the work environment – you’ve seen it before and it won’t work;

  12. Claim sick paid leave under the guise of a string of one-day flu symptoms – miraculously get better when statutory sick pay kick in;

  13. Request pay rises and/or additional benefits when your unit/division/department is under-performing;

  14. Always leave bang on official office closing time;

  15. Sleep in the office (yes, it really does happen);

  16. Daydream – be easily distracted and lose sight of the job at hand;

  17. Foul personal habits (need we say more?);

  18. Stand around, idle, waiting to be told what to do;

  19. Refuse to deal with work-related emails in the weekends or evenings; and

  20. Never meet deadlines.

Which of these characteristics really gets your goat? Which ones have we missed? 

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