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Things That Will Cause You to Get Fired From Your Job

Updated on August 19, 2020
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I have a BA in history and creative writing and an MA in history. I enjoy politics, movies, television, poker, video games, and trivia.

Don't Undervalue Being Employed

Being employed is a valuable thing, especially these days with the economy so depressed. Even in an up economy, a job is something to be valued, even cherished. While true that most jobs are drudgery and a means to an end, purposely misbehaving on the job can not only lose one their current job, but make it difficult to find work in the future.

Thus, it's amazing how many people behave in a way that dramatically increases the liklihood of them losing their job at any given moment. Below are some classic, humorous, typical, and not-so-typical ways people behave that are just about guaranteed to help them lose their job.

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Here are some ways to get fired from your job

Urinating in the Office Coffee Pot

I think that generally, if you urinate on anything in the workplace, you are going to lose your job unless maybe you're a zookeeper or something and you're in the monkey cage and you really have to take a leak. I mean, there's pee in there anyway, right? Still, a better sense of decorum is probably wise. Of course, there's voluntary urination and involuntary urination, but that's what Depends are for. Still, I think that there's always that first time when you realize you have a problem with involuntary urination and that very well might occur in the workplace. Maybe that's the one situation where you will not be fired.

So, barring that one instance, this point is really referring to voluntary urination - peeing on somebody's chair, desk, or on them directly. These activities will all get you fired. The urinating in the coffee pot is something I saw on a video some time back. Some guy actually did this. I think he not only got fired, but got arrested as well. So if you want to get fired and arrested, go ahead and urinate in or on something people eat. Not only are you deranged, but pretty stupid, since most places have security cameras. Not to be too gross, but this goes for defecation as well.


It's rather amazing how many people steal from work, be it a few paperclips or a full-scale embezzlement. The second you start taking things from work should be the second you realize that sooner or later somebody is going to catch you and you'll be fired. And just as an aside, remember that people who steal are generally stupid, which is why they get caught, so if you are seriously considering some plot to rob your employer, it's quite likely you are stupid. This realization may end up saving you a lot of grief because it's very rare that stupid people ever realize that they are actually stupid.

Inappropriate Language

There's a wide array of language that falls under the category of "inappropriate". Any use of profanity in the workplace is generally a one-way ticket to a pink slip. Keep in mind that while you may feel perfectly comfortable using profanity on your own time, work is a place of decorum and profanity is likely to send up red flags for your co-workers. If you use profanity within earshot of your customers, even worse. Besides profanity, sexual innuendo is always a bad idea. Although such language is most often used by men, it's become more common among women now too. Basically, talking about the looks or anatomy of anybody else is going to get you canned.

Annoying Your Co-Workers

All the stuff above this one is annoying to properly behaved co-workers, but there are lots of subtle things that occur in the workplace that require the well-behaved employee's attention. In general, it's important that your co-workers like you and respect you. If they don't, then they're that much more likely to complain about you and that kind of stuff gets around and reflects poorly on you. If you're a loner type, an introvert, just don't want to be bothered, it's important to cultivate a positive relationship with your co-workers. It's one thing to have a negative relationship with one co-worker. Everyone has some workplace conflict, but if everyone hates you, it's likely that you're doing something to cause it and eventually you'll lose your job because of it.

Public Drunkenness

Unless you're an alcohol tester for a beer company, going to work drunk or hungover is likely to be noticed and get you fired, particularly if it affects the quality and quantity of your work. If you're an alcohol taster though, people are likely to think you were working late. You can eat all the breath mints you want and gargle with all the mouthwash you want, but sooner or later somebody is going to mention your lack of coherence to somebody. This is why alcoholics tend to have a difficult time holding a job. Nobody wants them around. Sure, there are functional alcoholics, but at the very least, you limit your opportunities for career advancement. And if you don't think you are an alcoholic and you're showing up to work hungover on a regular basis, you are likely an alcoholic, unless your job really, really sucks and you want to lose it. Like you clean up cadavers or something.

Body Odor

Nobody likes somebody who smells. Nobody wants to sit in their office or cubicle and have your wafting body odor invade their nose. Sooner or later, they'll be taking about you at the watercooler saying things like: "Do you think Larry bathes in manure?" or "Do you think Larry forgot to wipe his ass this morning?" Seriously, your co-workers will be speculating on two things: what your problem is and how long it will take you to get fired.

Calling Your Boss an Idiot to His or Her Face

Just about everyone who works for a living believes that they can do their boss's job better than their boss. This is a pretty universal feeling. It's also a pretty universal experience that employees stand around and discuss what kind of stupid things their boss does on a regular basis. However, usually such discussions are kept on the QT. It takes a bold person to march into the boss's office and actually tell the moron that he's a moron. Even if you're thinking you're doing it as constructive criticism and say something like "Hey, if you weren't such a moron, you could really do a good job because otherwise you seem like a decent person", it isn't likely to be taken that way. It's one of the prerogatives of being a boss that you can fire people who call you an idiot. The odds are good that your boss thinks he's pretty smart and that you calling him an idiot means that you're an idiot.

Inappropriate Sexual Advances

While there are a ton of stories about men and women who make inappropriate sexual advances and get away with it, these are generally sensationalized stories that are exceptions to the rule. Yes, people in power do tend to get away with stuff like this, but generally speaking, unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances of any kind are going to lead to you being reprimanded, transferred, or just fired. There are all kinds of ways to accomplish this: being too friendly, unwanted touching, following somebody around the office, giving them notes expressing your affection over and over again, showing up at their house unannounced wearing nothing but your socks, ejaculating on the hood of their car. And that's not even the crazy stuff.

Welcome to the unemployment line! (public domain)
Welcome to the unemployment line! (public domain)

Here are some more ways to get fired

Not Showing Up

It's actually rather shocking how many people don't show up to work and then wonder why they get fired. "Why are you firing me?" they ask. "Because you weren't showing up to work," the boss says. "But I wasn't feeling well," they say. "Did you think to send a doctor's notice after being gone for three weeks in a row?" the boss asks. "But I was doing a really good job," they say. "Where?" the boss asks. You get the idea. If you want to keep your job, you have to show up. This means being on time, all the time. This means being prompt to meetings and other such things. This means keeping appointments with vendors and people outside the office who might report back to your boss. Rest assured, if you don't show up, you're going to lose your job.

Getting Into a Physical Altercation With One of Your Customers

Customers are both our most valuable asset as business people and frequently our most annoying. However, this doesn't mean you punch your annoying customers in the face or put one in a choke hold or kick them in the groin or set their pants on fire. Amazingly, this also applies to your co-workers. Try not to get in fights with people. And while this point mainly addresses physical altercations, it's best to avoid verbal altercations as well.

Not Working

I like my work as a writer, so I'm providing this bonus point about how to lose your job as a demonstration about how to deliver more than you promise, which is a good way to keep your job. Thus, delivering less than people expect is a good way to lose a job. However, even worse than that is simply not working. It's actually amazing, but many people lose their job because they weren't doing what they were told or were simply not working at all and I mean that literally. If you're hired to do a particular job like, I don't know, digging holes, and you don't dig any holes, you're probably going to get fired. In fact, if you spend your work day doing just about anything that isn't related to what you're supposed to be doing, you should start to worry. This would include playing video games, updating your Facebook status, shopping on Ebay; etc. Try working if you want to keep your job.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Allen Donald


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