Professional Development

The 7 Personality Traits that Can Destroy Your Career

Written by Peter Jones

Of all the things you think may destroy your career, you probably didn’t expect your own personality to be one of them. But while some character traits are innate, others are under your control. It’s up to you to tend your own garden—rip out the weeds and plant seeds for stronger, better plants.

Whatever you do, make sure to keep an eye out for these 7 traits, which can really put a damper on your career.

1. Narcissism

Most people you work with are going to be able to tell if you’re an insufferable narcissist. You have an aversion to teamwork? Your colleagues can tell. Remember: your pain, your annoyance, your moods, and your bad day are no worse or more important than anybody else’s. Try to think about others every now and then. Your career will thank you.

2. Complaining After the Fact

You’ve had a meeting and things have been debated and discussed thoroughly. If you didn’t speak up then, you’ve forfeited your right to speak after. If you don’t have the guts to voice your opinions or contribute in the meeting, then keep your complaints to yourself.

3. Ignoring Your Team

Don’t pretend that you’ve done everything yourself with each small victory. Most workplace accomplishments are not solo ventures. Thank the people that helped you score those victories. Don’t ever be the guy who says “that’s not my job.” Pitch in! And never never throw anyone under the bus.

4. Gossiping

Nobody loves a gossip. You might make a few shallow friends fairly quickly at the water cooler, but you won’t keep them, and you could get yourself in real social and professional trouble.

5. Constant Complaining

Nobody likes a pessimist. Start counting the number of times you complain or say something negative in a day. If it’s more than 3, you have a problem. If it’s more than 30, you’re well on track to being the most hated dude in the office.

6. Crudeness

You don’t have to be Suzy Perfect, but you should try to keep a little decorum. Try not to be flatulent or curse so much that no one wants to be around you. Be a force for good in your office!

7. Excessive Sarcasm

Be generous and nice. If you feel the urge to be sarcastic or snide, hold it back. There is a way to be a good person and make people laugh. Try not to get your way or get a laugh at anybody else’s expense.

If you have any one (or more) of these traits, it might be time to start thinking about how to prune your bad angels and start watering your good ones.

About the author

Peter Jones