15 Ways You’re Sabotaging Yourself at Work


shutterstock_197900150You don’t want to be “that guy” (or “that girl”) at work. You know the one. They’re super nice and great to be around, but you definitely don’t want to be stuck working on a project with them. Somehow they’ve been here for years and haven’t gotten fired, despite how unprofessional they can be.

However, you might be like them without even realizing it. Here are 15 ways you’re sabotaging yourself at work:

  1. You’re Always Late

Being late has a much bigger impact than you might have expected. Yes, things come up. You might have car issues or an emergency you need to take care of. But those are only excusable once in a while. You might think no one notices you sneaking in five minutes late, but they definitely do. Restructure your morning routine to guarantee you’re getting there in plenty of time.

  1. You Let Technology Distract You

You need to use your computer to get your work done. The internet, however, holds a plethora of things waiting to draw your attention away from what you need to get done. Your cell phone is also in your pocket or on your desk, filled with apps and people to text.

Technology is a serious distraction in the workplace. Find ways to resist temptation, like leaving your cell phone in a drawer or another out-of-sight location if you don’t need it for work.

  1. You Complain Too Much

Complaining can have a direct effect on your progress at work, and even in life. Dwelling on the negative hinders your progress and doesn’t let you be the best worker you can be. It also affects your workplace reputation and makes people less likely to want to associate with you because you complain constantly.

Complaining shows you’re focusing your time more on criticizing the company rather than getting your work done. Take notice of how many negative comments come out of your mouth each day, and try and turn them into positive ones. It’s a hard habit to break, but it’s worth it.

  1. You Make Stupid Mistakes

We’re all human, and sometimes mistakes do happen. However, a lazy mistake can lead to sloppy work, which makes you look like you don’t care. A fix may be as simple as proofreading and double-checking the work you do.

If you’re rushed for a deadline, do your best to set aside a bit of time to do at least a quick once-over before you turn it in. A legitimate mistake is one thing, but a stupid one that could easily be fixed just makes you look incompetent.

  1. You Procrastinate

Waiting until the last minute to rush a project doesn’t help anyone, so why do we do it? If you’re a perfectionist, you might need the pressure of a deadline to make you finish your work instead of going over it constantly.

However, the procrastination habit needs to be broken. Set deadlines for yourself to make sure you have sections of your work done by certain times. Don’t overwhelm yourself at the last minute.

  1. You Don’t Ask for Help

We want to think we can do everything on our own and don’t need to ask for help. We might see asking for help as a weakness, but it’s actually a strength. It shows you want to be better at what you do, and you want to make sure things are done right. It also shows you’re a collaborative person who can work with others.

Being nervous about asking for help makes sense, but there are ways to overcome that and get the help you need so you can produce the best product possible.

  1. You Don’t Plan Well

Without planning, it’s hard to keep track of the work that’s expected of you and when all of it is due. One way to get yourself organized is to get a calendar and write out all the deadlines you have. Then, break it down further into what you want to accomplish each day.

No one wants to work with an unorganized person, so take steps to plan your work for maximum efficiency. Your employers will surely take notice.

  1. You’re Too Emotional

If you’re crying every time something doesn’t go your way, co-workers and managers are going to see that as a problem. The same goes for if you yell and smash keyboards when you’re frustrated. Emotions are a part of being human, but you can’t let them control you, especially in a public setting like work.

It’s important to learn how to manage your emotions so you can be more pleasant to work with. People also won’t be worried they’re going to set you off every time they talk to you.

  1. You Don’t Pay Attention

People expect you to listen when they’re talking. Company meetings and conference calls can be boring, but you’re responsible for knowing the information that’s discussed in them.

Find a technique that helps you focus your attention when you’re in these meetings. You might find taking notes helps to keep your mind engaged in the discussion. An added bonus is those notes will also help you remember the information for when you’ll need it later.

  1. You Think You Aren’t Good Enough

A lack of confidence is a turnoff for employers. If you’re new to the company or less experienced than your peers, it’s going to make you uneasy. But being timid and passive isn’t going to help you.

There are steps you can take to boost your confidence and be more self-assured at work. One way is not backing down from a challenge. Embrace it and prove you’re willing to go out of your comfort zone to make sure something gets done.

  1. You Think You’re Too Good

If you’re boasting about your work but not living up to your comments about yourself, people are just going to think they can’t rely on you. Overconfidence can lead to incompetence, and that’s the last reputation you want to get in the workplace. Instead of talking about how great your work is, focus on working hard and let the product speak for itself.

  1. You Gossip

It’s easy to get sucked into the juicy workplace gossip that’s going around, but gossip can be really destructive to the work environment. If you’re going around spreading rumors, people aren’t going to trust you with anything, and they’ll likely avoid you.

Productivity also drops when you’re more focused on getting details of Barb’s date last night than on doing your job. Choose your friends at work wisely and don’t share intimate personal details. Keep work and home separate as much as possible.

  1. You Try to Please Everyone

Yes, teamwork is good — but there’s a limit. You can’t say yes to everything someone asks you to do. Making people happy and helping them out is a good thing, but you have to set some boundaries. Make sure you’re putting the work that you’re responsible for first. Then you can help the others if you have some extra time. Don’t be afraid to say no.

  1. You’re Terrible at Emailing

Office email is a big part of communicating in the workplace. Make sure your email habits are appropriate and professional. You don’t want to send an email to your boss with a lot of text language and smiley faces in it. You also don’t want to take too long when someone really needs an answer. Review how you email and make sure it’s suitable for where you work.

  1. You Hate Your Job

If you despise where you work, you aren’t going to be passionate and put the in the effort the company needs and expects from you. If you’re unhappy, it shows, and your negativity toward the place you work is going to seep into everything you do. If you feel these symptoms every day, it’s probably time to find a new job.

Take a look at your work habits and see how many of these you find yourself doing, so you can take steps to change them. You might be surprised at what you find.

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career


5 ways top hospitals get national exposure


It happens to even the best health care public relations pros.

Your hospital’s competitor is quoted in a story about a topic that falls within your institution’s purview and on the fringes of the source the reporter has used. This can be disheartening, but it’s an opportunity to learn.

Consider Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. They all have something in common: Communicators tell their own stories and, as a result, generate respectable placements.

How do they do it?

  • They create stories, not press releases.

  • Their communications team functions like a newsroom.

  • Their staff has a journalist mindset—working a beat and vetting stories.

  • They amplify content.

PR and marketing professionals at Mayo Clinic operate like news reporters. They hold daily meetings in which their brand journalists pitch story topics from different areas of the organization and discuss trending news that could lead to exposure.

Cleveland Clinic uses the brand journalism portion of its website, Health Essentials, to publish consumer-friendly stories. It also promotes content on its social media channels.


Communicators at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center use a two-tiered approach for national exposure. First, they deliver information via company-owned social media channels as well as through earned media coverage. Second, internal brand journalists cover specific product lines and mine their beats regularly for story ideas.


Here are a few tips for national exposure:

1. Create strategic content. Mayo, Cleveland Clinic and Wexner are content creation machines, consistently churning out strong material. They tailor stories to their target audiences. In addition, they think ahead about topics for which they want to establish credibility, and they pump out information in these areas.

Hospitals tend to focus on their signature product lines, such as stroke for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. When the content is on your company-owned channels, it’s easy for journalists to find it and feature your experts in a national story.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

2. Employ multi-channel distribution. Top hospitals also focus on how they can best distribute content via earned, owned and paid media placements.

Earned: Strategic use of earned media coverage can make the difference between a few fans seeing your hospital’s content and millions of people accessing it. Once you’ve determined your story is a candidate for media coverage, don’t just pitch to journalists. Instead, think of yourself as a valued content news resource, and share your relevant content.

Ideally, communicators want journalists to come to you as a credible source. Make it a snap for decision makers to find and download your stories. For instance, you can use a digital distribution tool that features easy-to-download video content such as Mayo Clinic News Network and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Multimedia Newsroom.


Owned: When developing digital content, offer it in formats and styles that work best on each social media platform. Customize each piece of material for each channel.

Paid: Consider using paid media placement tactics if those first two options don’t meet campaign goals. Many health care brand managers use sponsored social media posts. Paid media placements can give content an extra boost, but use that approach strategically.

3. Guest-blog. Create guest blogs to get your content featured on other credible websites. First, identify the websites and blogs where you want to be featured. Once you determine your targets, pitch your health care experts to the site’s managers.

Look for a balance that addresses what the blog owner wants, as well as your desired area of expertise. Also, don’t write for a narrow audience. If your content is written for a broader audience, your blog could syndicate, which is like hitting the guest blogger lottery.

4. Newsjack. Top hospitals use this tactic to insert their experts into breaking news stories around the world. This requires communicators to think on their feet and be ready to provide experts when news breaks.

When your expert and message are immediately available for journalists, they will be the go-to resources. Set up a system to constantly monitor for breaking news or trends in pop culture that relate to your signature sweet spots. It’s a crowded content world, so act quickly.

5. Maintain relationships. Leading hospitals understand the importance of nurturing relationships with top-tier journalists. Send reporters helpful information and tips related to their beat even when you don’t have a story that’s tied to your brand. The extra effort can help them if they are in a pinch for a story idea, which will enhance your relationship.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

This article was created in partnership with MediaSource.