Skip to main content

Commonly known career limiting moves (or CLM’s) have been around for ages and many have stood the test of time. Dressing inappropriately at work is just as hazardous today as it was in the ‘50’s – only our definition of “appropriate” has probably changed over the years.

But with the advent of technology, there are more ways now than ever to limit your career. So if you’re looking to get fired or skipped over for that coveted promotion, read on and follow these six simple steps!

If you think we missed something, please add your career limiting moves to our list by commenting below!

1. Complaining About Clients on Social Media

If you want to lose clients and, subsequently, your job, a great way to do this is to log on to Twitter and start bashing them publicly in real time. This is especially effective since your client can probably cross-reference the time and date of your tweet with your last meeting or phone call and figure out if you’re referring to them!

Not only might you insult that particular “difficult” client, but you are showing all your customers or potential customers your character and that you’re willing to slight them in public forums. Who wants to work with someone like that?

2. Sharing Proprietary or Confidential Info Online

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your work. Just remember one thing: it’s not your work!

Yes, you may have developed/written/created it, but it actually belongs to the organization or clients who paid you to do it.

Blogs, social networks, and file-sharing sites like or SlideShare make it easier than ever to share that amazing presentation, report or creative work you did, especially if you’re thinking about beefing up your online portfolio. But consider how your boss or client would feel if they came across their proprietary work online – especially if it contained confidential info about their organization.

Also consider – what if the competition saw it? If you have to think twice about sharing it, don’t share it.

3. Plagiarizing

Plagiarizing is a great way to lose your job and even get into some legal trouble (you know, just for fun). But if you really want to make it easy for them, just steal your work right off of the internet. That way, all he or she has to do is copy and paste a line from your report and plop it into Google. This will lead them right to the source.

4. Bash Your Employer (Current or Former) Online

This one is a pretty obvious career-limiting move. By now, most people should know it’s not smart to bash your boss or the organization that employs you online, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or any other forum – no matter how “private” you think it is.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me how easily common sense escapes us. Case in point: a friend of mine hated his old job at a large private corporation, but fortunately, he was able to land his dream job and part amicably with the old employer.

He was happy to know he could always go back for references or other opportunities. That is, of course, until he created a Facebook page called (something to the effect of) “I worked at ABC company, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt,” which was dedicated to sharing how much he disliked working there. Thankfully, he has since followed my advice and taken it down.

5. Make Your Not-so-tech-savvy Boss Feel Bad

Organizational leaders are often superhuman beings with a million things on the go at once. They work long hours, often travel, juggle overlapping meetings and are putting out more fires than the fire department. But alas, nobody is perfect!

Many senior leaders are of generations that did not grow up with computers or iPhones, let alone the internet in their jacket pockets. In fact, they may have already been in the workforce for decades before the internet came along.

So when a boss asks you for help with technology, don’t get frustrated or patronized and embarrass them. Be discrete and respectful, and soon, you will be seen as their go-to person.

6. Write Poor Emails

My boss once wisely said, “If you wouldn’t put it on the front page of a newspaper, don’t put it in an email!”

Never assume that your email to Jane in the cubicle next to you might not accidentally get to the CEO! The boss is one click away from receiving absolutely anything that goes out. All Jane has to do is click “forward.”

In this era of dwindling face-time, your emails are increasingly a representation of your work ethic and professionalism. It’s a sign of respect to write a professional email, even if it’s a casual message to a colleague. Plus, it is much more convenient for them to click “forward” and type “FYI” (think of how often you do this) than to have to paraphrase someone’s email because they couldn’t be bothered to use full sentences.