Bad habits bosses hate

Whether you’re new to the role or a seasoned employee, the last thing you want is a reputation around the office as a habitual hassle. Bosses are human too, so chances are they have pet peeves that you could be committing without even realising it.

To stay on your boss’s good side, read on to find the six things that drive bosses and colleagues crazy. If you’re guilty of one or all of these crimes, stop being a repeat offender and break your bad habits immediately!

Number 1: Tardiness

Just as no one likes a clock-watching manager, no one likes employees who habitually roll in to work late. Sure, we’ve all been caught in a traffic jam before, but recurrent bouts of tardiness show your boss you’re just not that into your job.

Number 2: Whingeing

Too hot, too cold. Work sucks, you hate your team, you’re tired and stressed. If you find yourself complaining about everything and everyone, it’s time to suck it up and stop whining quick smart. Even if you don’t radiate positivity by nature, no one wants a Negative Nancy in their office. Workplaces with a positive atmosphere are the most conducive to productivity, so unless you want your negativity to spread like wildfire, save it for later.

Number 3: Zoning out

While some meetings may be a complete yawn fest, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanour no matter how long the meeting drags on. Suffice to say, your boss will notice if you aren’t taking notes, if you’re constantly checking emails (or worse – swiping left on Tinder), or if you’re not contributing when you should. Pay attention for the duration of the meeting so you’re not caught off guard if you’re called to answer a question or provide input.

Number 4: Under-dressing

The dress code in most modern workplaces doesn’t require suits, ties and high heels anymore, but tracky-dacks and backwards caps is taking things a little too far, even for causal Friday. While some offices don’t mind jeans, it’s always better to dress at least one level above what’s required. You will feel more professional and people will admire you for your corporate fashion sense.

Number 5: Texting too much

These days, everyone usually keeps their phones on their desks, sneaking in the odd text or checking their Facebook feed throughout the day. But don’t make a habit of it. Your boss will notice if you’re constantly preoccupied with your phone when you’re supposed to be working. Keep your phone use to a minimum, and turn off that Rocky ringtone!

Number 6: Eating too loudly

While the waft of canned tuna is acceptable in today’s health-conscious office, scoffing your food loudly is a no-no – especially if you sit within close proximity to the boss. The same goes for chewing gum, don’t do it! And while we’re at it, no one, we repeat, no one, likes 

Get the most out of your day…and your career!

We have all experienced those frustrated thoughts, in a moment of desperation, which sound a little like, “There isn’t enough hours in the day” or “How do they find time to do that, I’m too busy!” Yes, we are all guilty of doing this at one time or another. Sometimes, with the weight of our jobs, family, leisure time and those dreaded trips to the gym (or lack there of) it is hard to get everything we want to get done. However, it isn’t impossible…

It is pretty straightforward to understand that the more productive we are, the more we will get done, thus the more we can achieve. So, we have to be productive to be successful! But… how?! Follow these four simple tips to being more productive (and more successful):

1. Commit

Whatever it is you’re doing, BE FULLY COMMITTED. Taking on tasks or jobs but trying to complete them while being distracted does not allow for high quality results. It’s great you are taking on an extra task or a new hobby, but if you don't fully commit it could yield lower results than what you are capable of. Even if you get it done (eventually) and you try and convince yourself that you’re productive, because you got it done, being distracted and not dedicating the correct time and energy while performing these tasks will only negate positive results but cause the task to take longer than necessary. Whatever you do, do your best, fully commit!

2. Multitasking is the enemy

We all have been lead to believe that multitasking is a talent, a skill, and a virtue for us fortunate enough to be able to do it. What we aren’t realising though is that multitasking leads to distractions, which causes tasks and project to take longer than necessary. Research has stated that the human brain is not actually meant to multitask and that we are actually pretty terrible at it (GULP). The extra tabs up on your computer (Facebook, YouTube, maybe some online shopping) leads us to lose focus on the task at hand, which just adds time to the project and deducts time from our other jobs or personal time.

3. Cut out all interruptions, even the friendly ones!

“Hey, can you take a look at this quickly for me and let me know what you think?”

This line is a little too familiar to us all, whether it is someone at work or someone at home. Helping out and looking over others’ work is a great way to gain a second opinion and some advice. However, it’s got to be given at the right time. It sounds a little harsh at first because we all want to help our friendly co-workers but we have to help ourselves as well. When you are working on something, and you are really ‘in the zone’, any distraction or tiny break from your work can derail your train of thought and momentum. To avoid this happening we cannot give in to ANY distractions, but you don’t have to say “no” and offend anyone. To get the best of both worlds we simply (and kindly) have to tell our friendly co-worker that “I’m just working on Project X, can I take a look in 20 minutes?” Thus, no feelings are hurt and we are still KILLING this project!

4. Hang out with productive people

Your mothers’ probably gave you the same speech about what kids you should be friends with at school, and they were usually always the ‘good kids’, the ‘smart ones’, the ‘teacher’s pets’, star athletes etc. Well, mum was kind of right! To get the best results within yourself it is imperative to constantly be motivated and strive hard towards what you want to achieve. Hanging around unproductive, uninspired people will only cause you to mirror their behaviour and attitudes. You don’t have to go through all of your friends and completely cut everyone who doesn’t seem to fit the ‘over-achiever’ role, however you need to learn to evaluate who uplifts you and causes you to work harder, compared to the ones who don’t. Try to spend more of your time with the people who make you want to try harder and succeed more, all the while inspiring them at the same time! It’s the circle of success.

Questions to avoid during an interview

“Do you have any questions?”

By this stage of the interview, the formalities, tough questions and good impressions are over…. right? Well, not exactly! The interview isn’t over, until it’s over (AKA you are out of the door), so what you say, do or ask at this moment of the interview is still being considered.

Here are some questions you should NEVER ask! And some alternatives for those of us who are extremely curious and need some answers.

1. How many hours are involved in this role?

These days, we do have flexibility within our jobs for out-of-office work, and the pleasure of working from home. So, it is understandable you want to know if this position accommodates your lifestyle. But if it hasn’t already been confirmed in the interview or the job advertisement, and it isn’t labeled ‘part-time’, it’s safe to assume you will be working 9-5. Asking about the hours can translate to “I don’t like to work too many hours” or an image of that employee who is always checking the clocking and counting down ‘till home time. 

For an alternative, you could ask:

“What does a normal day in this role look like?”

2. How often do you give promotion opportunities?

It is an important question to ask; obviously career aspirations are an opportunity to move up the corporate latter and grow professionally. However, asking this question (in this way) can be interpreted as you are not happy with the position or the salary of the role you are applying for and want a promotion ASAP. It can also seem like you think you have earned a promotion, which doesn’t set the best image for yourself and your potential future boss. There is an alternative though. Try asking, “Are there opportunities for professional development?” This question appears more professional, thoughtful and highlights your career aspirations and desire to grow in your career.

3.  What is the turnover rate?

A high turnover rate is usually a prime indicator of a problem with the company’s culture and environment. So, obviously wanting to know the turnover rate is a great way to determine what the company is like, and what the company will be like to work for. Yet these types of question can potentially ‘touch a nerve’ with the interviewer. To avoid causing any awkward feelings or pauses within the interview, try asking “How long have you worked here?”, or try, “How long has the team been working here for?” You will get the answer you are looking for without seeming offensive.

These are just a few questions to avoid during the interview process to allow for positive results and potential employment. Keep these in mind and you'll be able to get through the interview from start to finish. Good luck!



About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.