Nine Surefire Ways to Get Fired

layoffMistakes help us grow as individuals and make us better people, or so we're told. At work that's definitely true. Call the CEO by the wrong name once and you'll never do it again. For this reason, level-headed bosses aren't looking to fire anyone for the occasional gaffe. Still, even the nicest of bosses will reach a limit. Oversleeping one morning probably won't get you fired; doing it three times a week probably will. In the spirit of keeping you in your supervisor's good graces (and employed), here are nine moves that will get you fired.

1. Being sorta punctual

Each company has its own culture, which might mean stumbling into work 10 minutes late is no biggie to the boss. When it comes to deadlines, however, punctuality is nonnegotiable. When other people -- and consequently their reputations -- depend on you to complete work in a timely manner, excuses don't work. Arriving late to a meeting or not at all is a high-profile way to show you don't respect other people's time, too.

2. Hang on, I'll tell you after I update my Facebook profile

Jobs that rely on the Internet provide ample distractions for employees who would rather play online Texas Hold 'Em than work. Many employers allow workers to spend some time checking personal e-mail accounts and catching up on celebrity gossip. A reasonable amount of time. When your duties take a backseat to updating your Facebook status, the boss won't have a problem giving you a pink slip for neglecting your duties.

3. Not knowing what your job is

When bosses hire people, they want them to fulfill their job duties so that the team can run smoothly. You're allowed a few growing pains when you're new, but if six months (or years) into the job, you're still asking people what you should be doing or how to perform an elemental task essential to your job, something isn't right. One of the quickest ways to lose your job is to be deemed unreliable.

4. Needing the spotlight

Children have the honor roll to recognize their outstanding work; adults have paychecks. The employee who demands praise for every bright idea or successful quarter he has will gain a reputation for being needy and distracting. Of course we all like to have a pat on the back now and then, but making sure every person in the meeting knows the boss just pitched your idea shows that you're more concerned with yourself than with the team.

5. Being too honest

Your parents and teachers probably taught you that the truth is always better than lying, and they were right. Nevertheless, remember to keep some thoughts to yourself, especially when those thoughts are that the boss has no clue what she's doing or that you could do her job better with your eyes closed. Having an honest exchange of ideas with a boss is one thing; insulting him or her, albeit with good intentions, is another.

6. Going on vacation when you're needed most

Although you have every right to use your vacation days, a quick way to damage your reputation is to be in the Bahamas during crunch time. If you have to take some personal days at your department's busiest time, plan ahead so you don't inconvenience your team. If you're gone every time a major deadline approaches, however, your reputation will suffer.

7. Proving you can't be trusted

When a co-worker or boss shares private information with you, the quickest way to risk your job is to tell everybody what you know. Not only do you betray that person's trust, but you also make that person look foolish for having confided in you in the first place. Employers have no trouble cutting ties with someone who blabs secrets.

8. Not respecting the boss in front of his or her boss

Remember: Your supervisor has to answer to someone, too. Although you should be respectful every day of the week, make sure to be on your best behavior when your boss's boss is around. If you're undermining authority or even just not doing your job well, your boss looks incompetent. The boss might not say anything when the head honcho is around, but you'll probably have to answer for your mistake soon enough.

9. Thinking you're the exception to the rule

Your parents always said you were special, but your boss doesn't have to agree with them. That's why you shouldn't expect to be exempt from the company policies, like vacation day guidelines, the dress code and other department rules. Asking for some flexibility when your children are sick is reasonable, but expecting to always leave early because you have to pick them up from school crosses a line. Your boss expects you to follow the same rules as everyone else.

Next: 9 Surefire Ways to Get a Job >>

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Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Copyright 2008

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Self Employed

In my 20s I too was so tired of working for problem bosses. So I struck out on my own. Opening the phone book looking at business in my town and thought I could do that, I could do this. And I did. 33 years later I am near the end of my business ownership/career. I loved owning my own company. Reading books on self improvement, motovation, listing to tapes and CD, turned off the TV. But I worked 80 sometimes 90 hours per week, vacation, time off, day off, forget it. I did not have the luxury of time off or days off. Then all of a sudden cash kept coming in even if I was not there. Then I leared that I could deligate some duties to my trusted staff. Funds still came in. In my 50s I was enjoying the fruit of my labor. Then I looked back, saw I had three kids that I didn't see grow up. A wife who was cold and non responsive, because my business came first for too long. I had to start a new life, I got rid of all the toys, moved into a much smaller place, pay cash for everything. My needs are so small, I surprise myself. I have had a great run but from 22 years old on to today, never worked for anyone else. From reading all the blogs, I feel sorry for those of you who do not take the chance, open your own business (without a partner) and go for it. Stop whinning and be your own boss. Take responsibility for your own life, don't let others dictate your income, make it yourself. Think of something anything, you can do it. I just had a high school education. Use your guts and common sence. That is the American way!

November 18 2009 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gail Hall

Hi Robert, Where do you get this kit? How do I know that you aren't the distributor trying to make more sales? If you aren't, is it hard to figure out how to use it? Thank you for your reply.

November 18 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow karen, if you dont learn to spell the terrorist wins? holly shit are you stupid. when every one out there has a college education we as a nation will be just like the philippines. every one will have a degree in one thing or another and every one will be planting rice. i hed a civel engeneer fixing automatic transmissions for me...WTF? the fact is most people that graduate with degrees dont work in that feild, college makes you educated not smart, as obozo and the demorats have proven , 700k usd to try and generate 30 jobs? you cant fix stupid

November 18 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here's another thing that could get you fired: being obama and sinking to -14 in the latest rasmussen poll.

November 18 2009 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too many working for the goverment !

November 18 2009 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah I hear yah Deb......
I have a job .....job too...not in my field ....
and college degree..
It's the economy ...think positve...
it's got to get better right ....
Peace ~

November 18 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ah yes you sound like a 'hater' no hate here Karen............
Oh and your comment on my spelling ........
Worried HA never no stress here Karen ..........

November 18 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck S

Maybe one way to get fired is to spend too much time reading these AOL articles !!

November 18 2009 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The article obviously was NOT referring to working for the government.

November 18 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a CEO, let me tell you for certain, you will be fired for union discussion. NLRB and it's union cronies can never make the connection.

November 18 2009 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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