In today’s competitive job market, an employee must offer more than a particular set of job skills in order to be successful. Many employees fall into the trap of believing that their education and experience make them indispensable members of their company’s team. This is often not the case. Here are some of the more common ways employees fail at work and how to avoid them.
Bad Employee Rule No. 1: Be Unqualified For the Job
One of the most common ways to fail at a job is to bluff your way into a job for which you are not qualified. Never lie about or exaggerate your education, experience or skills in order to get a job. That is the fastest way to not only fail at your job, but to damage your credibility and your chances of getting your dream job in the future. If you want a job in a particular field, then pay your dues.
Go back to school if necessary to get the education required for that particular job. Get the vocational training you need. Gain experience through an internship or by starting a few rungs further down on the corporate ladder. Find a legitimate way to get your foot in the door and work your way up to the top. Then, when you arrive at the position of your dreams, you will have the ability to do a great job and get the credit you deserve.
Bad Employee Rule No. 2: Don’t Follow The Rules
Many otherwise creative and brilliant employees fail at work because they refuse to abide by the company’s rules. If you want to succeed, simply following the rules will be appreciated and will take you far. Be on time for work. Dress appropriately. Take breaks at the scheduled time. Don’t come back late from your lunch break. Give the appropriate amount of notice before taking time off.
Abiding by the rules shows respect for your employer and for your fellow employees. There is nothing that will draw attention to a bad employee more quickly than a lack of respect for basic company rules. There is also nothing that is worse for company morale than to see one employee constantly ignoring the rules and doing things his or her own way, without regard for others. This will not only cause you to fail at work, but will likely cause you to be disliked by co-workers as well.
Bad Employee Rule No. 3: Be Lazy
If you want to fail at work, being lazy is one guaranteed way to do so. Make sure to get enough rest during the week so that you are on top of your game for the workday. Start your day with exercise and proper nutrition. Take advantage of breaks throughout the day to get away from your desk, walk around, and breathe. Keeping energized during the day will help you to maintain enthusiasm and to accomplish the tasks at hand.
Remember, you are being paid to perform certain tasks for your employer during a certain period of time. During this time, your time essentially belongs to your employer. Being lazy and not doing your work is a bad choice all around. For one thing, it means you are taking advantage of your employer and are being paid for work you are not doing. For another, it will eventually catch up with you. You are likely to fall behind in your work and fall victim to increased stress. Your work product will suffer. And, most importantly, your track record is not going to look very good come performance review time.
Bad Employee Rule No. 4: Don’t Be Motivated
One of the fastest ways to assure failure on the job is to lose your motivation. No matter how much we may love our jobs, there are always aspects of a job that are just not much fun. Other times, we have to take jobs that are far less than the jobs of our dreams in order to make ends meet or to gain the experience necessary to advance to a better job. Finding a way to become motivated, and to stay that way, not only serves your employer well, it also serves you well. Focus on the aspects of your job that you do like, and remember that the less pleasant aspects of your job are necessary in order to allow you to experience the more joyful aspects.
Find ways to minimize the less enjoyable tasks and to allow yourself more time for the projects you enjoy. It is often worthwhile to get the unpleasant tasks out of the way in the first hour or so of the day, allowing you to then focus on the parts of your job that you love for the remainder of the day. If you are currently in a job you do not enjoy at all, you have two choices: Either find a job that you do enjoy and quit complaining or find a way to focus on your positive reasons for being at this job. For example, if you are working at a job you are not crazy about in order to get through school, or because it is a stepping stone to a better job, focus on what this is going to allow you to do once you complete your education or gain experience.
If you are working at a job you do not enjoy because it is necessary to support your family, focus on the positive things your job provides, such as security, shelter, food, even a movie on the weekends. And, if you are stuck in this position, make sure it is temporary. You are not doing anyone, least of all yourself and your employer, any favors by staying at a job you hate. Try to find a way to squeeze in training or education so that you can eventually move into a job that not only meets your family’s needs but gives you enjoyment as well.
Bad Employee Rule No. 5: Be Negative
No matter how competent you are at your job, if you have a negative attitude, you are going to eventually fail in one way or another. Cultivating a positive attitude is one of the easiest ways to ensure success in your career. Employers repeatedly comment on the fact that, as long as an individual is trainable, they can learn to do any task. But if the individual has a bad attitude, that is going to flow over into anything and everything the employee does.
It is far easier to train an unskilled employee with a great attitude than it is to hire a skilled employee and have to put up with negativity day in and day out. What constitutes a positive attitude? Being cheerful, upbeat and pleasant to work with is a good start. Caring about the success of your company as a whole, rather than focusing solely your own personal success, is a sign of a positive attitude. Also important are willingness to take responsibility for your mistakes, pulling your own weight and viewing yourself as part of a team.
Bad Employee Rule No. 6: Don’t Be A Team Player
Another certain road to failure at work is refusing to be a team player. Being a team player means caring about your co-workers and their needs as well as your own. It means sharing burdens with your co-workers. Sometimes this means pitching in and working a little harder, even on a task that is not specifically assigned to you, in order to help the whole company succeed.
Sometimes this means being willing to ask for help on a project to ensure the success of the project, rather than attempting to go it alone in pursuit of solo success. Being a team player means showing up for work every day and being on time. It means taking care of your responsibilities and being there for your co-workers. It means keeping your workspace organized and accessible in case others need quick information available to them. It means paying attention to even the little things, such as rinsing out your dishes in the break room or not leaving the company bathroom a mess.
Bad Employee Rule No. 7: Be Irresponsible and Unreliable
There is no single, better way to fail at work than to be irresponsible and unreliable. Consistently failing to meet the expectations of your employer or your co-workers will put you on the fast track to career failure faster than just about anything. Being responsible and reliable, on the other hand, are probably the most highly-valuable assets an employee can possess.
Being responsible and reliable means being on time, being where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, completing the tasks that are expected of you, and meeting deadlines. It also means being ready to take responsibility for your mistakes and for correcting them. If your employer and your co-workers know that they can consistently count on you to be there for them, then when push comes to shove, they are going to be there for you as well.
Bad Employee Rule No. 8: Don’t Deliver.
If you want to fail at work, then the best way to meet your goal is to consistently fail to deliver the goods. On the other hand, if you want to succeed on the job, then develop a reputation for consistently delivering what is expected of you and for delivering it on time. This means meeting deadlines, but it also means much more.
It means completing assignments not only on time, but competently and completely. It also means being realistic in your expectations of yourself and being honest with your employer about what you can achieve. Do not set yourself up for failure by promising more than you can deliver. Set realistic, achievable goals, but also be willing to challenge yourself. Establish a company reputation as someone who sets realistic goals and meets or exceeds them on a daily basis.
Bad Employee Rule No. 9: Be Disloyal To Your Employer
You can be the most competent, qualified, skilled and experienced individual in your field, but if you gain a reputation as a disloyal employee, those other qualities will get you nowhere. Employers are not just looking for employees who will do the work put before them for a given period of time and for a set rate of pay.
They are also looking for employees who will be loyal to the employer and to the company, who will support the company’s goals and vision and who will present themselves as a positive representation of the company to the general public. Whatever you do, do not disparage your employer. If you feel that strongly against your employer, then you should not be there. Make sure that you are at all times a positive reflection of the very best your company has to offer.
Bad Employee Rule No. 10: Don’t Take Initiative
Another way to fail at work is to fail to take initiative and go the extra mile. If all you want is to be a mediocre employee, then by all means, do just the bare minimum that is expected of you and call it a day. This may keep you at your job…for the time being anyway. But doing the minimum is not going to lead to success and is no guarantee that you will not lose your position when someone with a little more spunk comes along. Be ready and willing to look beyond the immediate needs of your company to the future.
Taking initiative is all about being willing to do a little more than is expected of you, being willing to correct a problem when you see one, and being willing to do a little extra work because you see a need. Your employer will not only appreciate your willingness to step outside the box and do more than is expected of you, he or she will also see this willingness as a reflection of your commitment to the company and will recognize your star potential.