Adolescent Actions Common in the Workplace

Does the office sometimes remind you of high school, or even elementary school? Surveys by CareerBuilder suggest adolescent behaviors in the workplace are common.

More than three-quarters (77%) of employees surveyed said they have witnessed some type of childish behavior among colleagues. More than half (55%) have seen whining, and 46% said colleagues have pouted over something that didn’t go their way.

Other juvenile behaviors witnessed by employees included:

  • Tattling on a coworker – 44%;
  • Playing a prank on a coworker – 36%;
  • Making a face behind someone’s back – 35%;
  • Forming a clique – 32%;
  • Starting a rumor about a coworker – 30%;
  • Storming out of the room – 29%;
  • Throwing a tantrum – 27%; and
  • Refusing to share resources with others – 23%.

Specific immature behaviors included:

  • 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 coworker 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”; and
  • Employee went to lunch and never came back.
NEXT: Adolescent behavior hurts chances of being promoted.

A survey among employers found that certain juvenile behaviors can have a negative impact on an employee's chances of being promoted.

A majority of employers (62%) said they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or pessimistic attitude (whining, pouting, etc.). More than half (51%) consider vulgar language to be an indication that an employee is not ready for promotion.

Forty-four percent said they would think twice before moving an employee who participates in office gossip up the ranks. Employees who do not clean up after themselves can hurt their chances for a promotion, according to 36% of employers.

The surveys were conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,532 hiring and human resource (HR) managers ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed) and 3,039 employees ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 14 and June 3.