Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Avoiding the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ Committed by Workers

I had to fire one of my employees because he hadn’t shown any initiative in my fast-paced, creative work environment.

A colleague made this comment to me, and I responded that her employee had committed one of the Workers’ Seven Deadly Sins – the work traits that lead to employees being ignored, not promoted, or even fired.

In today’s highly competitive workplace, you want to be seen as a helpful and vital employee. You want
to stand out, in a positive way. Ask yourself if you exhibit any of the negative traits below, and resolve to eliminate them if you do.

1. Not showing initiative. Are you trying new or better ways to accomplish your work? Be proactive. Is your employer gaining anything extra from you? As my colleague’s employee found out, most employers want you to go above and beyond.

2. Paying little attention to details. Are there mistakes in your work? Notice the little things, proof your writings, and double-check any numbers. There can be consequences if you don’t. One engineer wrote the wrong house number on a work order – and his employees ripped up the wrong driveway.

3. Not offering to help. You come across as a team player when you do offer help. Before she left for the day, one young woman always asked her boss, “Is there anything else I can do for you before I leave?” She quickly rose up the corporate ladder.

4. Not staying current with changes in your profession. You don’t want to be left behind. Continue learning. Stay abreast of any trends in your field. Take advantage of any training your company offers. Stay up-to-date with technology, including changes in social media.

5. Not having a professional demeanor. You want to convey a confident and credible image. Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication. Are you speaking too softly or loudly? Are you dressing appropriately for your position? Do you use filler words (“okay,” “all right,” “like”) that take away from your comments? Are you using profanity that destroys your credibility? Additional information on professional presence can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.

6. Not conveying enthusiasm for your job. Show interest in your work. Be eager to get the job done, and done well. Arrive on time, or early. Stay late when necessary, without complaint. Give sincere compliments. Speak well of others, avoid downbeat topics, and stop complaining. Don’t criticize your employer, your boss, customers, or your co-workers on your social media sites.

7. Not being friendly. Nobody likes to work with people who ignore them. Smile. Make an effort to say “hello,” “good morning,” etc. to people you know – and to those you don’t know.
Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on communication, career development, business writing, presentation skills, professional presence, and etiquette. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at or 856.751.6141. ( 


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