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#sowhoknew: Which bad habits make your co-workers detest you?

Do you turn up late for appointments? Peer at your phone in meetings? Butt in when others talk? Then the chances are that you’re a pariah in the office according to a recent article in Business Insider…

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Rosalinda Randall is an etiquette and civility expert and author of the book Don’t Burp in the Boardroom (there is a clue in the title folks) and Vicky Oliver authored both 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions and Power Sales Words. Between them they have compiled a list of the most irritating and unprofessional habits that people display in the workplace. What follows is a listicle of my top seven of these odious little habits from their original list of 14, which I have taken the liberty of renaming. Question is… how many of these heinous office crimes do you commit?

1. Cellfish – Do you spend half your time in meetings on your smartphone? I wrote an article entitled ‘7 words you say that can harm your career‘ which featured this annoying habit. Given that the person presenting has probably worked pretty hard on their deck the least you can do is give them the courtesy of listening instead of checking out your LinkedIn profile.

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2. The late arrival – Do you perpetually turn up late for meetings? Never on time for anything? Always got an excuse? (bad traffic, the dog ate my laptop etc.). Well you are running the risk of becoming despised by your co-workers as they interpret your behaviour as sloppy and unprofessional.

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3. Billy Brag – As Muhammad Ali famously said, “it ain’t bragging if it’s true”. That said, no-one wants to hear about your achievements over and over again. As Randall puts it, “When we’re proud of an accomplishment… it’s natural to want to share the news with others.”

But when the sharing becomes like ‘Groundhog Day‘ then your workmates are going to quickly turn to workhates (see what I did there?)

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4. Interrupting Cow – Nobody likes to be, moo, interrupted. It’s one of my, moo, pet hates. Both this stupid, moo, interrupting cow joke and, moo, just being interrupted. As, moo, Randall puts it, “It’s rude to interrupt. When you do it shows that you don’t have any respect, judgement or patience.”

Moo-ving on…

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5. Excessive expletives – Well you better ******* believe it. You must be a total **** if you use swearing at work just to make a ******* point. Your colleagues are going to think you are a complete ***** or a chronic ******* if you continually use words like ***, ***** or (god forbid) even @*#$@! on a regular basis.

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6. Loud and (not) proud – Some people can’t help themselves as they just have booming voices. But frankly that’s no excuse. Find your internal volume switch and turn it down buddy. No-one wants (or needs) to hear you do your Foghorn Leghorn impression thank you very much.

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7. Bob the Slob – We can’t all be groomed and styled like a coiffured poodle but some of the basics are a prerequisite. Regular bathing is probably a good starting point. Rosalinda puts it quite succinctly, “Poor hygiene and sloppy clothes scream ‘I don’t care’ and are a surefire way to put off those around you.”

And, as per the title of Randall’s book, don’t burp in the boardroom. Or fart in Finance?

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There you have it then, my personal list of pet peeves. So what abhorrent habits in the office do you deplore?

Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is the Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Previously, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.
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