Here's What to Avoid If You Want to Be Taken Seriously at Work

By Debra Wheatman

You want to be taken seriously by your managers, peers, and clients.

But are you doing everything you can to ensure that you are?

It's possible that some things you do are undermining your credibility. Brands are collective. They're built on the sum of experiences. While your big accomplishments are notable, it's the little things that happen regularly that truly define you. If you do any of these, you may be unwittingly communicating a message that you're less than professional and that you're not worthy of esteem:

Emojis. Emoji emails are fine for personal emails and texts, but they have no place in a professional context. Just don't use them. They make you look juvenile.

U agree, amirite? This is much too informal and inappropriate for professional communication. Use your grown-up words.

Office pastry chef. Bringing the leftover birthday cake into the office for the purpose of getting rid of it is one thing. But don't bring cookies, cupcakes, bagels, or any other edible to your office mates out of a desire to be nice. You're not there to provide snacks or be everyone's scout leader.

You ghost on people. You don't follow up. You don't address requests or answer emails. You go radio silent. Your peers and co-workers can't rely on you.

You're well known for spilling the tea. Your favorite office pastime is feeding the rumor mill. You always have something to add.

You're sloppy. Let's be totally frank. Appearances matter. If you look like you rolled out of bed and grabbed whatever ostensibly clean clothes were on the floor and came to work, you're telling people that you don't place any importance in your appearance and that you're not serious about yourself.

Always playing it safe. People who are respected are those who shake things up and take risks.

You're terrible at time management. You're always busy, but you never seem to get anything accomplished.

Whine and complain. No one wants to work with someone who is overly negative, and who complains ad nauseam. Chances are that the world, the boss, the clients, and the colleagues are NOT conspiring to orchestrate your downfall. It's much more likely that YOU are the problem.

Always running late. You can never get to meetings or conference calls on time. You're the last one to join the group for the team-building luncheon. No one wants to share a ride to the airport with you.

Insect-like attention span. If you genuinely have a problem focusing, there are things you can do to help yourself. If you don't pay attention because you're bored, that's another issue and one which will aggravate your co-workers to no end.

Qualifying language. In English class, you learned that you don't write things like "In my opinion" in your papers. You're the author. Obviously, this is your opinion. The same applies to your workplace communication. Don't discount what you think by qualifying it with language such as, "These are just my thoughts," "It seems to me that...," or, my all-time least favorite, "Sorry." Although you shouldn't be rude, you shouldn't either apologize for your position.

About the author:

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and owner of Careers Done Write a professional branding and marketing company. Debra's company provides full service career consulting and writing services to help clients stand out in a hyper competitive environment to secure interviews and ultimately offers of full-time employment. She may be reached directly via her site at Follow Debra's social media Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.