5 Common Reasons People Get Fired (and How to Easily Avoid Them)

Anthony Roberts

Getting fired is a life altering experience for people when it happens, and honestly just isn’t fun for people to have 10 minutes to box up their stuff before being escorted out of the building.  Aside from that embarrassment, there are long-term effects on future employment opportunities.

People still tend to do things at work that they know they shouldn’t do.  Maybe they don’t think they’ll get caught, or maybe they’re doing it because everyone else does it, so it’s no big deal.  That’s absolutely the wrong mindset to have if you want to maintain that blissful feeling of “job security.”

Here are some common reasons people get fired and how to avoid them.

Complaining on Social Media
This is unfortunately a more and more common reason people are getting fired today.  A lot of people vent online about day to day things, and that leads to complaining about work.

Slamming your boss to your friends on Facebook or Twitter about the impossible deadline they just gave you should never be done under any circumstance.  Also, complaining about your company as a whole is a big no-no.  Today, it’s almost impossible to post something and actually keep it restricted to only your intended audience.  The best rule of thumb when posting anything online is to first always ask yourself if you would be comfortable with anyone reading it.

This isn’t just tied to social media.  Complaining about work at work is also probably not the best idea.  Word travels fast in most offices, and you also really never know who might overhear you.

If there’s an issue that’s bothering you, try having a constructive conversation with your manager or whoever else you need to in order to do something about it rather than complaining.

Unauthorized Usage of Internet
Your laptop is not your laptop.  It belongs to your company and needs to be treated as such at all times.  Companies monitor what you do.  With social media we know that once you post it, it is out there forever.  With work computers, once you visit that site, it is recorded forever.  Deleting your browser history doesn’t hide what you do on your computer.

Not only that, but many companies use hidden software to take periodic screen shots of what you have up.  If you’re surfing the web all day, it won’t be long before you’re doing it from home to look for a new job.  A lot of times this type of activity can occur from people just getting stressed out at work or approaching burnout.  This leads to more and more internet usage to avoid dealing with work.

If you are getting to this point, talk to your manager if needed to address the actual issue and do your web surfing on your own time and on your own devices.

Sexual Harassment
This one is really easy, DON’T EVER DO IT!  Sexual harassment is not ever taken lightly by an employer and is one of the quicker ways to get you escorted out the door.  This isn’t just overtly harassing someone by groping them or making lewd comments either.

Anything you say can be taken wrong by someone, and there is no such thing as harmless flirting.  While the intention of saying something may even be meant to be complimentary, it might make another person feel uncomfortable.

If you haven’t brushed up on your company’s sexual harassment policy, maybe give it a read just to be safe.

Lying
The truth shall set you free, or at least could save your job.  This one is also a big one because people do it all the time.  Sometimes it could be making a small change to a report to make it look better, and maybe you think nobody really looks at it anyway and will never know.

Maybe you lied about why you weren’t at work, or lied about why you didn’t complete a project in time.  It could even be before you got your job, like lying on your resume.  Lying is never a good idea, even if you know you’ll get away with it.

If any one of these “small” lies discovered, then you’ve just lost your employer’s trust in you.  One small lie can lead an employer to wonder what else you could have lied about, or would in the future.

If you messed something up or didn’t do something, take ownership and tell your boss.  It may be a rough conversation to go through, but it will show that you aren’t going to hide things.

Stealing
Just like the company laptop, office equipment is not yours.  Those black binder clips do make pretty great chip clips at home, but it’s not worth getting fired over keeping your sour cream and onion chips fresh.  Taking even small things from the office is just never a good idea.

It should go without saying that stealing a computer or printer is probably something to avoid as well.  Some people even tend to justify taking things to compensate for lower pay or other things their job is not providing.

Stealing is stealing, and companies monitor their supplies.  You didn’t buy it, so it isn’t yours.

There are plenty of ways to get fired, but most of them are pretty easily avoidable if you think ahead and focus on work instead of other potential distractions.

About The Author

Anthony Roberts

Anthony is a freelance career coach with a combined 14 years of experience in management, recruiting, and career coaching. Along with a degree in Communications, he has expertise in resume and cover letter development, professional interview skills and etiquette, as well as job search and networking assistance. His passion is helping others appropriately convey what they can offer a potential employer to make them stand out.

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