12 Reasons You Deserve to Get Fired

The recession might be over, but that doesn't mean any of us can afford to be passive about holding onto our jobs. If you think you may soon be having an uncomfortable conversation with HR, it's time to find out why. (See also: Job Hunting Tips for the Recently Fired)

Here are 12 reasons you're getting fired.

1. Social Media SNAFU

Venting about your employer, boss, or co-workers on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media site can get you fired. Avoid other career-killing social media mistakes and remember — six degrees of separation is about one and a half degrees online.

2. Refusing to Play the Game

I don't know what the game is where you work, but I know there is one — and I bet there are a lot of folks playing their hearts out. The game usually involves demonstrating your passion for the work, coming in early and staying late, and working to impress the right people without falling all over yourself. Call me cynical and old-fashioned, but if you haven't learned how to play the game, you haven't really learned how to stay employed.

3. Not Giving Your All

Those cheesy motivational posters are wrong; it's impossible to give 110%. But consistently settling for 70% is a bad strategy if want to duck and weave past a pink slip. Doing a bit more than required, volunteering for a committee or two, and diplomatically making recommendations for process improvements adds value to what you do and can help secure your employment long-term

4. Clicking on Caps Lock

TYPING IN ALL CAPS READS LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING and shows a fundamental lack of professional etiquette and insight. It may be trivial, but people get fired for trivial things every day. Cut it out.

5. Skipping the Finer Points of Good Etiquette

Good business etiquette is both valuable and rare, especially if your job involves direct work with clients or partners. Not grasping the finer points of dining, interview, or meeting etiquette can jeopardize business relationships, flag you as inexperienced, and kill a career.

6. Making Yourself Non-Essential

If you're not actively looking for new ways to add value to the company you work for, you may be inadvertently planting the seeds for your own dismissal when there's a hiccup in the market. Besides being first-rate at your job, look for those tasks that no one else wants to do and position yourself as the go-to person for each.

7. Mixing Your Personal and Professional Life

When it comes to job security, it's good policy to save the drama for your mama. Allowing personal issues to consistently affect your work erodes your professional image and can make letting you go as easy as switching off a bad reality show.

8. Getting Embroiled in Office Politics

Some work environments can be as political as a swing state in late October. Diving in headfirst and picking sides gives you a 50% of being right and a 100% chance of showing how easily distracted you are. Learn how to beat office politics and still get ahead.

9. Snoozing or Boozing

No surprises here. Sneaking a nap or a nip at work is usually an epically bad idea. And with office holiday parties coming up, sticking to a moderate personal drink limit will help you avoid those regretful lampshade-on-the-head moments that leave you red-faced Monday morning.

10. Stealing

Hey, Sticky Fingers, it may feel like a fringe benefit, but few companies see it that way. If you're tempted to pocket random goodies from your employer, it may be a sign that you feel stuck or that you're not being fairly compensated. Be proactive about both issues or move on.

11. Sleeping In

Who hasn't woken up feeling like a sack of wet concrete? These are the moments when we suddenly tap deep reserves of creativity to craft the most elaborate excuses for being late or taking a half-day. But as our inner storytellers dream, our careers can get creamed. Wake up, slam a double espresso, and defend your professional turf.

12. Playing Hooky

It might not have been a big deal in sixth grade, but playing hooky in your professional life can have lasting consequences. Don't assume (cough, cough) taking sick days when you're feeling great, ducking out early, or adding 15 minutes to your lunch hour is going unnoticed.

If you're guilty of multiple axe-worthy offenses, it might be time to hope for the best and prepare for the worst by keeping an eye out for signs you're about to get fired. If you make the cut, wipe the sweat from your brow and let 2015 be the year you turn over a new leaf. Like much of life, our professional lives can be reinvented with focus, discipline, and the right motivation.

Have you ever been fired? Did the experience change how you approached your next job? Share your favorite stories below.

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Guest's picture

And being a white male with no protective status !!!

Guest's picture

I agree with some of your points others make me feel like you're somebody's tool. For example #2 Coming into work on time and performing your job professionally and going home at quitting time will get you fired?, please... Or #3 looking look for work no body else will do. I've got news for you its called a job description, you know the one that was articulated in the job offer that was sent to you in the mail or via e-mail when hired. Besides, if you have time to go "looking" for other work, you're underemployed or in the wrong job. These two types of tips are contrary to being employed at the right company/position. No company worth a rats ass is going to have an ecosystem that expects their employees to input vast amounts of possibly uncompensated time and or work on tasks that if not being done, there's a good reason for that. My over 35 years of work experience has demonstrated you can do both of the aforementioned tips and be ignored by management.

Guest's picture

#2 Hmmm! Broader spectrum of "game", anyone?