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5 Habits that Will Get You Fired

Getting a job is not easy; it takes a good strategy, persistence, and a little bit of luck.  Once you start working, you can't afford to let your guard down.  Most employers will start you out on probation, which means that it's easy for them to let you go within three to six months if they are not happy with your performance.  Even after you pass probation, it is easier to let employees go than you may realize.  However, employers don't actually want to fire you.  Hiring a new employee is expensive and time consuming but if you are not behaving professionally, they may decide that it's thier best option.  Here are some habits that you need to avoid if you want to increase your job security:

Misusing company property.  It is a good idea to assume that your manager will see everything that you do on your company computer, since in many cases they will.  Sending personal emails using your office account, viewing inappropriate content, using social media during work time, or taking office resources for personal use are all activities that can cost you your job.

Being unreliable.  Can your employer count on you to show up for work on time and to do your job?  If they are confident that they can rely on you, you will be a valued employee.  If not, you will be easily (and quickly) replaced.   

Being obvious about looking for another job.  Your employer knows that you aren't going to stay there forever but blatantly looking for another job is both disrespectful and unwise.  Never use your work time for your job search.  Don't talk about your job prospects with your coworkers and absolutely don't use your work computer to send resumes or look at job advertisements.  Many employers won't think twice about terminating an employee who already has one foot out the door. 

Annoying your coworkers.  All managers want a team that works well together.  If you support your coworkers and your presence makes the team stronger, you will be valued as an employee.  However, if you cause friction, your employer may determine that you are more trouble than you are worth. 

Arguing with your supervisor.  You are not required to agree with everything that your supervisor says but you are required to be respectful.  Your direct supervisor has a lot of power over how your career progresses, so it is important to maintain a positive relationship with them.  If your supervisor asks you to perform a task and you refuse to comply, you can be terminated for insubordination, but even without a specific incident, the employer can let you go without cause or they can make your work day unpleasant.    

In general, you will probably be okay if you take the time to reflect on your actions.  Before you do something, ask yourself, "How would I feel if my manager saw me doing this?"  If you feel the need to hide your behaviour, you probably shouldn't be doing it. 

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by