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Your co-workers are judging you. Beneath a veneer of professional collegiality, they're taking note of the mess on your desk, how loudly you chew, even your word choices.
Obviously, serious misconduct such as discrimination and harassment can lead to a job loss. But small irritants can hurt productivity and build walls between co-workers.
"Those little annoyances, like having a really sloppy work area or being a disgusting desk eater, can loom large," says Charles Purdy, senior editor at jobs site Monster.com.
To avoid negative judgments from your co-workers, experts advise avoiding the following behaviors.
1. Sucking up to the boss
The boss's pet who ingratiates himself at the expense of his co-workers incites negative judgments, says Meredith Haberfeld, a New York-based executive and career coach.
For example, Ms. Haberfeld consulted for a human-resources company where a junior employee pointed out his co-workers' mistakes after errors had been made.
"He created ill will with his colleagues because he didn't ever go to them to provide any insights while he saw the ship sinking," Ms. Haberfeld says. "Nobody wanted to work with him."
Trying to take work from your colleagues, or take too much credit, are also bad moves.
"These people are seen as overly self-interested and therefore untrustworthy and difficult to work with," Ms. Haberfeld says. "At a certain point, to go further in your career you need to not just be liked by your boss, you need support from your peers and people more junior."
The occasional bit of gossip can relieve stress. Too much can make you look bad.
"Sometimes it's fun to talk about the boss, but the person who is always complaining is widely disliked as well," Mr. Purdy says. "Toxic negativity makes people feel like you are not a good co-worker. People associate negativity with you."
According to a 2011 Monster.com survey, respondents reported that among their...