As the saying goes, common sense isn’t so common anymore. And this is no truer than the workplace. The flagrant lack of civility is causing high employee turnover and a difficult environment that doesn’t allow for real noble work to excel. Please share these common bad habits with your teens as well so they don’t make the same mistakes.

Showing up late to work and meetings consistently

If the start time for work is 8:00 am, and you show up at 8:00 am. Technically, you’re late. Plan to arrive about 10 min earlier to grab a coffee/tea…bathroom break…fix the hair/make-up, if needed. The same goes for meetings…nothing says “I don’t respect your time” than consistently showing up late for meetings.

Being negative often

“That won’t work”; “That’s not my job”…all create a negative atmosphere in the workplace. A recent CareerBuilder survey stated that 62% of employers are less likely to promote employees with a negative attitude.

Being a slob

Whether microwaving smelly foods, leaving a mess in the kitchen, not cleaning up after yourself shows lack of responsibility & consideration of others. Having a messy office or cubicle also reflects poorly on the employee especially if clients are present.

Being on social media platforms at every free moment

The company pays their employees to do an honest day’s work. If you’re on FB, Instagram, Twitter too often, it’s actually perceived as stealing from your employer. And don’t even think of using these social media platforms to complain about your boss or the company if you have high career aspirations of being promoted to management.

Practicing poor hygiene & grooming

Clothes do indeed make the man to paraphrase Mark Twain. And they send an important message, too. Do you send the message that you don’t care? And this includes smoking. Try to avoid smoking during work hours as the smell can permeate clothes & hair especially if meeting with clients. Bathe regularly…use deodorant…fresh breath…clean, well-fitted clothing. Trust me, if you don’t take care of the little details of dressing appropriately & basic grooming for your industry, your career is going nowhere.

Calling in sick when you aren’t

This will kill your integrity. Who would trust you with anything vital or important with a project? And your tanned face the next day will be a dead give-away.

Discussing your personal problems

Refer to point #4. The company employs you to do work…not make your colleagues into your personal counselors. Talk to your co-worker(s) after hours instead.

Selling stuff

Don’t be annoying your co-workers by bringing in the latest fundraiser for your child’s team to go to Europe. It’s uncomfortable as your fellow workers feel obliged to purchase whatever it is you’re selling. More companies are prohibiting this type of soliciting.


Do we even need to bring this up?? Be foul mouthed is totally unprofessional and shows a real lack of refinement of character. Fifty percent of employers agreed that an employee that routinely swears isn’t promotion-ready.

Too many personal calls

Once again, it goes back to the fact that you’re stealing from the company when not engaged in work-related activity. Of course, I’m not referring to the odd phone call from a spouse or child’s school that can occur.

Being overtly cliquey

You aren’t going to necessarily like all of your co-workers. However, purposefully avoiding fellow employees that you don’t like is wrong, too. Being a team player means knowing how to get along with different personality types who may rub you the wrong way. This is true leadership in training. More often than not, it’s those individuals who challenge us who make us grow in positive ways.

Raiding the supply closet

Always ask the question, “Do I need this for work?”. If not, then you’re basically stealing. And that includes using the printer for personal use, too.

You spend a great deal of time at the workplace. Consider creating it into a place where everyone feels welcomed and valued for their contribution to projects. Make civility an important core value of your team. And especially train your teens in this important aspect of developing key soft skills both now (school & job) and in their future.


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