Habits come in all varieties, but we tend to think of ‘bad’ habits whenever the word ‘habit’ is mentioned. Maybe that is natural from childhood on through adulthood. Maybe we were admonished so often as youngsters that we see the word as having a bad connotation.
Habits are defined as: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
Even this definition of a habit is tinged with the stigma that a habit is usually bad. But, that is far from reality. If you have the habit of smoking you probably realize that is, by definition, a bad habit. But, if you have turned that habit into a habit of no longer smoking, then you have traded a bad habit for a good habit; maybe that is chewing gum. But be sure you don’t have the habit of loudly chewing your gum.
We often become creatures of habit, and we do not always recognize that in ourselves. We tend to go to the same restaurants and we might have a habit of ordering the same dish since we’ve developed a liking for it. We patronize the same gas stations. We watch the same TV shows. We have a favored news program that has become a habit. We have a favored theatre. We have a favored meal. We have a favorite kind of music. We may even have a favorite Bible verse.
In the workplace, habits, even good habits, can be the source of irritation for our associates. Have you ever tired of the person who slurps her soup at lunchtime? Do you annoy others with the tune you habitually hum? Do you always begin a conversation with the same opening line? Are you constantly clearing your throat?
The most innocent thing we do might be the source of irritation for others without us even recognizing that.
It is, unfortunately, usually easier for us to identify the bad habits of others than it is to identify habits we have that bother others. It takes a very good friend, a kind-hearted person, to help us see those kinds of things about ourselves.
When we demonstrate that we can take a bit of criticism without ‘losing it’, we have taken a huge step toward being a better associate.
Habits during employment interviews can make or break the interview. A good habit played to excess will be as damaging as a bad habit displayed during the interview in your job search. A good friend can be an excellent source of constructive criticism…if we are confident enough to make that request and to handle the resulting discussion positively.
Alan Campbell, Account Executive