11 Common Mistakes That Can Get You Fired

If you find yourself doing the walk of shame from your place of business after a less than positive meeting with your now ex-boss, then you’re not alone.

Believe it or not, there are so many seemingly “harmless” things you can do that end up with your immediate dismissal – and have done for thousands of people.

Some make complete sense, while others are more than unbelievable. Find out if you could be heading to the chopping block sooner than you think…

1. Being the Under-Deliverer

“Yes boss, I’m all over it.” If you’re the “Yes” person, the worker that seems to be all over everything, with everything just “five minutes” from completion, then you may be next in line to lose your job.

Of course, if everything actually IS only five minutes away, then you’re going above and beyond.

But, if you’re continually over-promising then under-delivering without being smart about it, your boss could be arranging a quiet performance meeting with you in his office.

2. Having a Poor Poker Face

If Betty in accounts is really dull or Edward in IT has a weird smell, then a poker face is entirely necessary.

You can’t roll your eyes while Betty is talking, and you can’t wrinkle your nose when Edward gets close. However, if you have a poor poker face and your feelings are written all over it, you’re in trouble.

If everyone knows that something annoys you, or you make it too visible how you feel, then you are creating a toxic work environment. Lacking this emotional intelligence can earn you a one-way ticket to the unemployment line.

3. Swiping the Stationery

A few pens here and there can quickly turn into a 100-pack of pencils and six reams of paper. Before you know it, you’re stealing chairs and desks.

While it might not seem like a big deal, swiping stationery and other supplies from your workplace can have significant repercussions. After all, it’s theft.

Employee theft – ranging from office supplies through to money, cost companies $40 billion every year. Even if you don’t think you’re doing anyone any harm, your employer may see it differently.

4. Having Too Much of a Good Time

There is nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks after work. After all, when it has been a hard day, you may feel it’s necessary to crack open a cold one and let the stress of the day melt away.

However, if you keep turning up to work with that 5 o’clock shadow, funny smells and the same shirt you wore yesterday, your boss might be calling you into their office.

Turning up late with poor presentation and an apparent drinking problem can see your boss researching the rules and regulations for sending you packing.

5. Dating Your Co-Worker

While in most cases dating a colleague won’t be a problem, there are a few ways in which it could be. You could show favoritism, it could affect your work, or it could begin to cause problems if you were to break up.

To avoid these problems, some employers may put in place an anti-dating policy. Before you begin wooing your cubicle buddy, check that your boss doesn’t have this policy – or you could find yourself out the door pronto.

6. Using the Office as the Love Nest

Sex at work is the cause for a lot of debate, but in most cases, these debates don’t typically revolve around actual sex at work.

If you find yourself working late with someone you’ve been somewhat friendly with, then it’s in your best interests to pack up and go home.

The last thing you want to do is end up in the CEO’s office, using it as a makeshift love nest. You and your lover may find yourself without a job sooner than you think.

7. Being Your Company’s Spokesperson

If there has been a significant development within your company, then you will probably find that journalists are hanging around like flies.

Unlike flies, however, they are intelligent when it comes to getting the inside scoop. The fastest way to get fired is to become that scoop.

If you do not have permission to speak on behalf of the company, then step off the pedestal and put the mic down. Large corporations have “people” for this, and you probably weren’t assigned that role.

8. Going Crazy with the Credit Card

If you have a company credit card for fuel, company and client lunches, and other business-related purchases, then note the word ‘business.’ A company credit card is strictly for purchases related to the company – not your personal life.

If you want to go on an unemployment benefit, then the fastest way to do so is to use your company card for weekly manicures, your family’s grocery bill, and your car payments. Going crazy with the credit card is a big no-no.

9. Not Using Your Listening Ears

Has the boss told you to do something, so you go and do the complete opposite? Then you might be in the firing line.

While one infraction is not going to be enough to send you packing, several can be. There are plenty of warning signs to give you a heads up that your behavior is not appropriate.

If you aren’t able to listen to orders and it begins to affect your productivity and workability, your boss won’t view it kindly.

10. Being the Socializer

How much time do you spend lingering by the water cooler or at your colleagues’ desks? If you find yourself being more interested in socializing than doing your work, your boss is bound to notice.

According to a Salary.com survey, employees are wasting close to two hours a day on anything other than their job.

If that sounds like you, then it might be time to make a change in your behavior. Otherwise, you can find yourself in the firing line.

11. Being the Class Clown

Are you up for a good laugh at the expense of yourself or others? Or, do you always take that prank one step too far? While everything might be funny to you, management may want your head.

Even though there are ways in which to make your hooliganism an asset, there are equally as many ways to get yourself fired.

All it takes is for a prank to go wrong or for someone to have a bad day and snap, and you can be packing up your office supplies for the last time.


Very few people set out to get themselves fired. After all, it can limit your future job prospects and remove the chance of any reference. Not to mention making it challenging to pay your bills!

However, if you read these 11 common mistakes to get you fired, you will see it’s easier than you think. It might be time to put a shiny red apple on the manager’s desk, close this tab, and get back to work.