Finding a part time job can be easy enough and landing that part time job by going through the application and interview process can be a bit stressful and a nerve-racking experience. We have lots of tips for you for getting yourself through that situation so that you can bag the job and start work.

However, once you start your part time job, that’s not the end of the story. It’s important that you play your part in the workplace and be part of the team. Yes, you want to get involved with the tasks in hand and impress your boss but you also need to fit in with your colleagues, too. After all, no one wants to be the unpopular person in the workplace. Situations like this can cause you to want to leave your part time job.

So, how do you be the popular person in your workplace? Well, did you know there are certain habits and actions that can make you look unprofessional at work? These might be one off actions but, sometimes, it could be a habit of yours that you might not even be aware of – something you regularly do that is causing your colleagues to consider you unprofessional.

If you’re lucky, one of your colleagues might be able to let you know of your annoying habit in a constructive way so that you can do something about it. If you’re not so lucky, you could end up in front of the boss while they have a quiet word with you. Some bad habits or actions could mean you are letting your team down or going against company policy and, worse case scenario, this could result in you losing your job.

So, let’s take a look at some of those habits and actions that could make you look unprofessional in your part time job. If you recognise any of them in yourself, take action now so that you can contribute towards a happier workplace.

Constantly Complaining Can Be A Bad Habit

What’s your mood when you go to your part time job? Would you say you are a cheerful person who just gets on with the job and has a friendly chat with your colleagues? Or, being honest with yourself, would you say you have a habit of complaining a lot?

The air conditioning is too cold. The heating is on too high. My desk chair isn’t high enough. Why does my phone keep ringing all the time? I wish customers would just leave me alone. My uniform is so uncomfortable. It’s too big. It’s too small. I hate working at weekends. I’m sick of having to wake up early.

Even if you are only in the workplace a few hours a week with your part time job, of course, we all feel the need to complain every now and then. And once in a while is fine. You might even find you have something in common with your workmates re your complaint and then you could perhaps all get together to get it sorted out. Speaking with your boss about getting the heating turned down, for example.

But, constant complaining is a different story. If you are the person who is always moaning, you will be bringing the mood down in your workplace and soon, you will find work colleagues trying to avoid too much contact with you. They have enough to do without listening to your rants all the time.

Being Negative In The Workplace

Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person? A pessimist or an optimist? Negative people can bring down the morale of a workplace so when you are doing your part time job, think about how you are reacting to challenges in your job.

If you are working on a team project and colleagues are putting suggestions forward about how to get the task completed, constant ‘That’ll never work,’ comments will make you seem negative and unprofessional. If you are convinced something won’t work, try to think of other ways of articulating your concerns in a way that doesn’t put your colleagues down and in a way that doesn’t sound negative.

Flirting In The Workplace

If it’s a two way thing and you are flirting with someone you like and who you can see likes you, too, then a bit of harmless flirting can be acceptable to a certain level. After that, keep the flirting with each other outside of work hours. If it’s the work’s party, take care. Don’t forget, you’ll be on full show to everyone and your actions will be talked about in the workplace, later.

Flirting can become a real problem if the other person is not impressed by your actions. Not only will you look unprofessional, you could also find yourself in hot water; especially if the person you are flirting with feels they are being sexually harassed.

Being Messy Around The Office Or Kitchen Space

Yes, we know that some of us are just naturally messy and disorganised people and that’s fine. But if you are one of those types of people, think about how your mess is affecting others in your workplace. It doesn’t make you look professional and your colleagues can find it annoying when you leave used teabags on the work surfaces in the kitchen and cutlery all over the place.

If you share a desk space, your colleague doesn’t want your mess encroaching into their space. And if you are doing a job share, this is especially important. Anyone who comes in to take your place doesn’t want to be wasting time clearing up after you and finding what they need before they can even begin their work.

Some people work better in their own ‘organised chaos’ and whilst that can be acceptable in the workplace, your colleagues will feel you are much more professional if you know to keep a bit of a lid on that chaos and clear up, occasionally.


Procrastination in your part time job is certain to make you look unprofessional. Whilst lots of people might stray off task to have a sneaky look at a quick online holiday booking or the latest fashion designs, if you are constantly doing this, it will be noticed. Colleagues and superiors will know you are not pulling your weight and also, perhaps not dedicated to your part time job.

If you are really struggling to stay on task and find yourself procrastinating – doing any other task apart from the one you are supposed to be doing, then maybe it’s time to leave this role and look for a part time job that you will find more rewarding and fulfilling. Procrastination will become a thing of the past.

Trying to Please Everyone

It might feel as though you are doing the right thing in trying to please everyone in the workplace but these actions can actually make you seem unprofessional. In trying to please everyone, you are not taking responsibility for the important tasks you need to get done. You will be taking on too much work and not doing the best job you can.

In the workplace, prioritising tasks and learning to say no to other tasks or requests shows that you want to do your job to the best of your ability. Done the right way, it will also lead to colleagues respecting you more because they know you are not going to be a pushover. This will make you look more professional and competent doing your part time job.

Being Late For Work Or for Meetings

We’ve all got those friends who we just know are going to turn up late for a night out or other social event. And even for social events, this can be annoying, especially when this friend does it all the time.

So imagine that in the workplace. It can be tempting to think that just because you are working part time, it might not matter so much if you arrive late to work. If you do this constantly, however, you are going to look very unprofessional.

Constantly being late for work or for meetings can show:

  • You are disorganised
  • Your time management skills need work – especially important if you are working more than one part time job
  • You are not dedicated to your job
  • You don’t respect your colleagues or your bosses who do make the effort to arrive on time

There are lots of reasons why people can be late for work and sometimes, there is just nothing you can do about it. You might be a parent with a child who is sick so you need to make alternative childcare arrangements. You might have been sat in unexpected road traffic or your train was cancelled. One off situations can be acceptable but making a habit of it in unprofessional.

Not Paying Attention In Meetings Or Other Important Conversations

Are you a daydreamer? Does your mind tend to wander when you are in staff meetings, board meetings or part of other conversations to do with work? If you make this obvious by gazing out of the window, yawning, doodling on a piece of paper or playing on your phone then you are going to come across as unprofessional to your superiors and colleagues.

Colleagues, customers and visitors from other companies need to know you are listening to them and their requests. You need to be able to build relationships with them – not make them feel like you are not interested in them or the company you work for.

Bragging Or Being A Know It All

Many workplaces have that person who has been there and done that and they know more than everybody else. At least, they think they know more than everybody else. If you have come across Mr or Mrs Know It All whilst working part time, you will know how you feel when they walk into the same space as you. Chances are, you will be rolling your eyes as they start to brag about their latest success.

If you know that feeling, make sure you are not that person in the workplace. Not only is it annoying for your workmates, in a business situation, it can also make you look unprofessional. Bragging about your successes with the last company you worked for is not interesting to the rest of your work colleagues. They want to know what you can do for your current company and they want to know you are going to listen to them, too. Talking over people in an ‘I know everything’ way makes people think you are unprofessional. You need to take other people’s ideas onboard, too, and work with those.

Likewise, in a social setting, talking too long about where you have been travelling or what you are good at can make your colleagues feel as if you are not interested in anybody but yourself. Be a good listener as well as being a good talker.

Being The Workplace Joker or Comedian

The workplace joker can be one of the most popular people in the room. We all need to have a bit of a laugh every now and then whether we are at work or in a social situation. However, too much fooling around and you will find yourself with a reputation for being unprofessional. There is a time and a place for being the workplace comedian – and there is also knowing when to stop. If someone is clearly not finding your jokes or actions funny then quit while you are ahead!

Too much fooling around instead of getting on with your job – and preventing others from getting on with their work can land you in hot water with your managers. It’s a balancing act and if you are not sure where that balance is, stick to your tasks in hand and be the professional that others want you to be. After all, it is what you are paid to do.

Using Social Media To Criticise Your Part Time Job

Don’t take to Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms to criticise your part time job, the firm you work for, your colleagues or your superiors. If you have any issues with anything, discuss them privately. Spreading gossip all over Facebook will give you a reputation for being unprofessional.

Make sure you are aware of howe all your privacy settings work if you don’t want bosses and other colleagues to see certain photos or updates you want to put on Facebook.

Inappropriate Dress And Low Hygiene Standards

Okay, if you are a part time mechanic, you’re not going to be going to work in your best three piece business suit. But you will be dressed appropriately – overalls and any necessary safety gear. Even if you are doing a part time job where you need to get your hands (and more) dirty, looking after your personal hygiene is still of utmost important because you will still be working with colleagues and, in some part time jobs, dealing with customers.

For some part time jobs – front of house roles in hotels or reception areas, for example – you could be the first person that customers and other professionals come across. As the face of the company, you need to look professional, smart and well groomed so that you give a good impression of yourself and the firm you are working for. Anything less and you will come across as unprofessional and also make the company look bad, too.

Causing Conflict With Colleagues Or Between Colleagues

Don’t be the one to stir trouble in the workplace. If a colleague decides to gossip about someone else to you, keep it to yourself rather than spreading it around. Likewise, if someone tells you something discreetly and in confidence, passing this news around could land you into hot water. You could end up with a reputation for being a dangerous gossip rather than a professional member of staff. You could also find yourself withy more serious problems such as being part of tribunals if a problem escalates in the workplace as a result of the problems you have caused with colleagues.

Calling In Sick When You Are Not Sick

Just because you are working part time does not mean you are not a valuable member of the team. If you ring in sick, other staff members will need to work harder to cover your absence. A strong team of staff don’t mind covering for sick colleagues – after all, we all get sick from time to time.

However, if you get a reputation for ‘taking a sickie’ because you want to go to the big football match or other events, your colleagues will think you are unprofessional. Not only are you not taking your part time job seriously, you are also not taking into consideration the fact that everyone needs to work harder because of your absence.

Companies have written policies in place about staff sickness and if it comes to the attention of HR that you are perhaps ringing in sick a little too often, you could find yourself going through the company’s disciplinary procedures.

Being Under The Influence Of Alcohol

It goes without saying that whatever part time job you are doing, getting drunk on the job is going to make you look unprofessional. And, depending on the role, you could also be putting yourself, colleagues and / or customers at risk of harm in some way.

Even if you are doing part time bar jobs and catering roles, it is still unprofessional to get drunk on the job. If someone offers to buy you a drink, save it for later when you have finished your shift. For some people, as well as alcohol affecting the way they carry out their job, it can also change their personality. If people recognise you are drunk on the job, you could end up facing disciplinary proceedings.

We are all human beings and mistakes that can make us look unprofessional in the workplace are easily made. Bear in mind, though, that most reasonable people are tolerant of the odd mistake here and there. The trick is not to make a habit of any actions that can make us come across as unprofessional.