So, I like to meditate for about ten minutes in the mornings at work (read about why you might also want to do this here). At one job, I was using one of the small meeting rooms on our floor to do this and one day, when I sat down and crossed my legs, I saw that there were scattered nail clippings on the floor – large ones, so I have to assume toenails. I jumped up and practically ran out of the room.
Now, I ask you: who on Earth would clip their toenails at work and leave them scattered on the floor? They didn’t leave a note, so I can only guess.
Someone with questionable hygiene practices, certainly. Someone with no sense of decorum, definitely. And, of course, someone who doesn’t know how to behave in a professional setting. Because clipping your toenails in an office meeting room and leaving them on the floor is wildly unprofessional behaviour.
Not all unprofessional behaviours are quite so bizarre. One woman who worked for me just showed up drunk on morning at 9:30 a.m., which I feel is comparatively less strange though equally, if not much more, unprofessional.
Here are the top ten behaviours that have no place in the office (enjoy!):
- 1. Getting emotional/flying off the handle
2. Letting personal relationships influence business decisions
3. Dressing sexy or sloppy
4. A lack of hygiene – including but not limited to bad breath and body odour
5. Flirting (this can go beyond unprofessional and turn illegal if you cross the line to harassment)
8. Making excuses
9. Not keeping your word and/or disrespecting agreements and contracts
10. Showing disrespect to anyone, including superiors, peers, subordinates, or customers
We sourced some real life examples of these, and other, behaviors.
Here are ten tales of shockingly unprofessional conduct.
- • “I was let go from a bank-owned financial institution. My manager sat in on the dismissal and he cried at the end. He was either manipulative or intensely weird. The HR officer administering the session looked mortified.” – Mike
• “The new CEO took a ‘snow day’ the day after he was appointed and announced to the company. N.B.: HE took a snow day, he didn’t declare one. The rest of us worked.” – Neil
• “Lunch stealing is common, so much so that at an old job, someone put ex-lax in their own lunch and it was the last time a lunch was stolen. The thief would sometimes eat half the lunch and put it back in the fridge… freak!” – Melanie
• “Someone threw a paper weight at me.” – Alan
• “A guy I worked with at an ad agency was always complaining that his computer was waaayyyy slow. An I.T. fellow came to his office to see what the problem was, and he was shortly thereafter escorted out of the office with cardboard box of personal items in hand. Turns out his computer was so slow cause he jammed it completely full of hours upon hours of adult videos!!” – Alexis
• “I saw someone open someone else’s paycheck from the mail slot to see what they got paid…yikes!” – Amanda
• “I walked in on an engineer weighing drugs on some scales in his briefcase, which was open on his desk. The temp agency called me the next morning to say they no longer needed me.” – Siobhan
• “I used to work for a large multinational technology and media company. The CEO used to send out occasional rambling, obviously drunken emails late at night to ALL Staff, globally. ‘I know we have our ups and downs – but we need to believe in who we are and try to live up to that no matter what people are saying about some of us, know what I mean? We really have to be better than them. You know who I’m talking about. I love you guys.’” – Peter
• “One of my ex colleagues sent an angry email to the CEO explaining why she had to leave the company. She had issues with and a personal vendetta against the CEO’s assistant. The thing is, she copied the whole organization.” – Sheila
• “I worked with one guy who swore a lot and told really inappropriate, sexist and dirty jokes. He never seemed to pick up on how uncomfortable he was making everyone. He was let go after a year.” – Lisa