How To Lose a Job in 10 Steps

While none of the following offenses are likely to cost you your job on their own, together they can sabotage your professional career faster than Andie Anderson can pick out imaginary baby names. Use these tips to water the love fern that is your job.


This should be a no-brainer, but there really is no place for gossip at work. Though it can be all too easy to vent to your cube partner, this habit will only do two things: get you even more frustrated during work hours, and come back to hurt you when others find out what you’ve said. Resist the word vomit until after hours, when impartial friends will be all ears.

Burn out:

Between multiple managers, impending deadlines, ad-hoc projects, and- oh yeah, actually doing your job well- burnout is an unfortunate reality for many entry-level professionals that ultimately affects the quality of their work and their happiness. But it doesn’t have to! Start with these tips on finding balance, and leave your own in the comments!

Lose passion:

Loss of passion is often more subtle than burnout. It creeps up on you on a random Thursday afternoon when you find yourself thinking, “Why am I doing this? Do I belong here anymore?” Once you determine that you’re still in the right place, make sure to find your passion again in small, but meaningful, ways. Write your own mission statement and tack it next to your desk, remind yourself why you wanted this job in the first place, or set up an informational interview with a colleague you admire. Even updating your LinkedIn profile to reflect the work you’ve accomplished can reignite your spark.

Lack a sponsor:

By now we all know the value of mentors in the workplace- they willingly offer their learned advice and can be sounding boards for your own career questions. But mentors can only take you so far at work, which is why you also need a sponsor. Your sponsor has the agency to advocate for you when the opportunity arises, and has a seat at the table when decisions within your department are made. Whereas a mentor can only provide pearls of wisdom, a sponsor can make real change happen in your career.


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Stay in the past:

Jobs are rarely ever static- the parameters of your job will evolve with larger changes within the company or industry, so you must be adaptable to these changes. Resisting new ideas because “we’ve never done it that way,” is a surefire way to be left behind.

Forget about the team:

When you are doing a job you are passionate about, it can be easy to get caught up in your own projects and ideas without considering the input of your teammates. However, your work can only benefit from including other talent, with their diverse perspectives and increased manpower to take your ideas even further than you could alone.

Minimize your success:

While you want to be a graceful team player, you should still be recognized when you hit it out of the park. When colleagues congratulate you or give you a shoutout at a team meeting, don’t qualify their praise with a shrug and “Oh, it was nothing.” These are key moments to remind your team (and your boss) that your contributions are valuable.

Be a hermit:

Take a quick lap around your office every day to say hello and check in with people you don’t usually get face time with; schedule a standing lunch date with a friend in a different department; say yes to the team happy hours.

Talk more than you listen:

The old adage, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason” is especially applicable to the workplace- no matter your title. Listen, observe, and think as much as possible before offering objections or opinions in meetings. When you do come forward with ideas, your message will be much more respected (and will have considered other alternatives, since you’ve heard them already!).

Worry about the career before the job:

Almost every one of my own mentors has told me the same thing- master your job and your career will create itself. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have a vision of your professional future, but you should not get too caught up in the distant future that you miss the mark on what you’re doing right now. When others see that you are the best at what you do, they will offer you the exciting projects and opportunities that will shape your career organically.

What else do you have in mind? Please share your ideas and comment below.


About the Author

Janel is a recent graduate of NYU and currently serves the NBCUniversal intern population a catalyst for early career development. You can find her talking about all things work on Twitter @janelabrahami and LinkedIn.

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