3 Toxic Signs Someone Is 'Busy Bragging' At Work

What seems like a superstar worker might be a manifestation of counter-productivity.

Woman acting busy while her co workers are actually busy working Liudmila Chernetska, seb_ra | Canva

They rush around like they are the royalty of "Get-Work-Done" town, yet their impact on workplace culture has a counterproductive effect.

Here are 3 toxic signs someone is 'busy bragging' at work:

1. They are always in "back-to-back meetings, can't talk now"

If every time you greet someone in the hall and ask how they are, they respond with “Can’t talk. I’m in back-to-back meetings,” it might be a sign of busy bragging. While many workplaces have too many meetings, some people use their packed schedules to flaunt self-importance. If the meetings aren’t aligned with your priorities or your attendance seems unnecessary, speak up. But constantly mentioning it can make you seem arrogant, and you won’t win any points with your colleagues.


Lisa Petsinis, Career & Life Coach

She gives thumbs down to busy bragging Raushan_films via Shutterstock

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2. They're the most precious pea in the pod

They act as if any work they are doing is more important than the work of others, even when their colleagues do the exact same work. They want others to see them as a kind of in-office "influencer." I think the trend stems from Internet influencers who try to convince followers they are important, successful people ——even when they are not. Empty boasts have made narcissism seem attractive and key to success. Unfortunately, in the workplace, it only makes a person seem like a bragger who is constantly trying to get people to envy them, which can breed hostility in an environment that relies on a team mindset.


Dr. Gloria Brame, Therapist and Author

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3. They boast about long hours 

People working longer hours are less productive than their coworkers with a more ‘typical’ schedule.  A 2014 Stanford study on work habits revealed that productivity takes a negative plunge when an employee works for more than 50 hours a week. When that time frame exceeds 55 hours, productivity decreases to a point that essentially makes overtime hours useless. 


You need to find your productivity sweet spot. We often think more hours mean more output, but for knowledge workers, more hours can lead to less productivity. Everyone has a zone of genius—a period where they do their best work. For me, it’s about four hours a day in the morning. Identify your most productive hours and focus your creative work during that time to maximize output.

♬ original sound- Ajit Nawalkha

So, if you’re spending an extra few hours at the office, it might not be benefiting you as much as you think. Not only is it taking away from personal time, sleep, and productivity, but it’s also giving you a reason to resent work, making things worse. Of course, some workloads require a bit of extra time here and there, but, for those that can, it’s important to set boundaries that separate your personal life from work.


Zayda Slabbekoorn, Writer of human interest, social advocacy, and pop culture

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Being busy to get work done is a great thing. However, there can be a detrimental effect of someone constantly bragging about how busy they are, how much they do, how important they are, and how the team won't survive without them. 

The bragging sets the bar of expectations too high and exacerbates an exploitive corporate culture of ever-higher profit margins and increased sales, while also distracting colleagues from the reality of a lack of real productivity from the braggart.


A busy bragger at your workplace can be demoralizing and distracting, so don't let the inflation of their ego break your spirit and productivity. In time, the busy brag will most likely fade away or be consumed by their addiction to busyness.

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Will Curtis is a writer and editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.