6 Simple Mistakes That Can Get You Fired From Your Job

Getting fired from your cool job is a thought that many of us time and again run away from.

I live in Nairobi, where getting fired is among life threatening realities to millions of the city dwellers. It’s immense fear.

But even with all measures we enact to avert the possibility of one being handed the unceremonious exit letter (or SMS for some), still many find themselves here.

But, there are so many things that can get good, hard-working people fired. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences.

When it comes to reasons for getting fired, digital faux pas steal the spotlight, Dr Travis Bradberry notes. A good percentage of wonderful employees have been fired for something they posted on social media.


“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” -B.F. Skinner


Yet, digital media is far from the only way that people slip up and lose their jobs. People get fired all the time for seemingly innocent mistakes. While we snicker behind our coffee cups at the more egregious examples, there are still plenty of other ways to get fired that may surprise you.

Dr Travis notes the following six unnoticed things that can land you into an unexpected exit from your job.

Over-promising and under-delivering

You made an implied promise when you accepted your job. You implicitly promised that you were capable of fulfilling all of the job’s responsibilities. Accepting a job when you know you’re not qualified catches up with you. Even when you are qualified, telling your boss you’re making great progress when you aren’t or committing to a deadline you know you can’t meet makes you look bad. Don’t be surprised if you get fired for failing to do everything you said you could do. Keep it simple and sure!


You were hired to make your boss’s and your team’s jobs easier, not harder. People who constantly spread negativity through their department, complain about others, and whine that the work’s too hard or isn’t part of their job description complicate things for everyone else. Those who make their boss’s life harder are usually the first ones to go. Having to tiptoe around you so as not to dislodge that massive chip on your shoulder isn’t something he or she is likely to be willing to do for very long.


Whether you’re sending out e-mails inviting co-workers to your party or hanging up an order form for your child’s school fundraiser, you could be violating company policy. Don’t assume that you’re in the clear just because other people are doing it—this type of policy violation is what managers hang their hats on when they’re unhappy with an employee’s performance. Always seek to understand the corporate policy of your firm before you engage in such exploits.

A lack of emotional intelligence.

Everyone knows that you can get fired for being unable or unwilling to play nicely with others, but what trips up a lot of people is having a poorly developed poker face. If everyone can tell when you’re bored or irritated or that you think something a colleague is saying is stupid, this will catch up with you. Emotional outbursts, belittling others, shutting co-workers down when they speak, and just generally being a jerk are other ways a lack of emotional intelligence will leave you looking for work.

Misusing company supplies or resources

Many people don’t think twice about taking a pack of printer paper home when they’ve run out or using the company’s telephone line to contact their folks in the village. However, in the eyes of your employer, this is stealing. Abusing company resources is a serious offense, even if the monetary value of the item doesn’t add up to much. Catching you in the act can also be a good excuse if your boss is scouting on an opportunity to lay you off. It’s a lot easier to document and justify firing someone for stealing than it is to fire them because they are just okay at their job.

Speaking on behalf of the company

This isn’t just about sending out an unauthorized press release or venting on the company Twitter account, because most people already realize that these types of things will get them fired. I’m talking about answering a question when a reporter sticks a microphone in your face or identifying yourself as an employee of the company when sharing your personal opinions online. This creates the perception that you’re speaking as a representative of the company, even when you aren’t trying to, and that’s definitely something that can get you fired.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top