Grow up: 10 bad habits that make you look immature at work

Goofing off at work

There's a difference between sounding crabby in a 4:30pm meeting occasionally and being a habitual crabapple

When you're a kid, you don't yet have the tools that help process actions and your emotions – tools like maturity, patience or looking at the context of a situation. And apparently for a lot of adults, maturity and patience still prove difficult to master: three in four employees (77 percent) have witnessed some type of childish behavior among colleagues in the workplace, according to a new CareerBuilder study.

Letting emotions get the best of you
Everybody has a bad day, but these are the kind of actions that create toxic workplaces and add drama to your career—none of which will position you as Employee of the Month. So what bad behaviors are standing out to your boss? When asked which child-like behaviors they've witnessed colleagues displaying in the workplace, workers gave the following answers:

1.Whine: 55 percent

2.Pout over something that didn't go his/her way: 46 percent

3.Tattle on another co-worker: 44 percent

4.Make a face behind someone's back: 35 percent

5.Form a clique: 32 percent

6.Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 percent

7.Start a rumor about a co-worker: 30 percent

8.Storm out of the room: 29 percent

9.Throw a tantrum: 27 percent

10.Refuse to share resources with others: 23 percent

Bad habits for a bad career
None of those behaviors will make your co-workers admire you more, nor get you closer to a promotion. In fact, they may even act as red flags in your career path. An earlier 2015 CareerBuilder survey among employers found that some specific adolescent behaviors can have a negative impact on an employee's chances of being promoted, including:

  • Negativity: A majority of employers (62 percent) say they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or pessimistic attitude (whining, pouting, etc.).
  • Vulgar language: More than half of employers (51 percent) consider vulgar language an indication that an employee is not ready for promotion.
  • Gossip: Nearly half of employers (44 percent) say they would think twice before moving an employee who participates in office gossip up the ranks.
  • Sloppiness: Employees who do not clean up after themselves can hurt their chances for a promotion in the eyes of 36 percent of employers.

Real-life drama and workplace tantrums
There's a difference between sounding crabby in a 4:30pm meeting occasionally and being a habitual crabapple. When asked to name specific immature or adolescent behaviors they have seen at work, employers reported the following observations of one or more employees:

  • Company owner threw tantrums, yelled and slammed doors when he didn't get his way.
  • Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
  • Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
  • Employee ate other employees' food from the company refrigerator.
  • Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
  • Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, then pretended to be their advocate.
  • Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cell phone and showed it to her "clique."
  • Employee went to lunch and never came back.

"Some degree of what we may consider 'adolescent' conduct can be harmless, enabling employees to let off some steam and even promote a sense of camaraderie in the office," says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. "But there's a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behavior. Actions like spreading rumors, 'tattling,' and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment." Leave the drama for your favorite TV shows and focus on your work and having professional relationships—your career will thank you.