7 Words Not to Say in the Workplace

Seven deadly office words.

Seven deadly office words.

No, they're not the words you're thinking -- but don't say those either, of course. These seven little words may drip effortlessly from your lips, but to your boss they say volumes about your attitude toward your job. Use these seven words and your boss has seven of her own for you: uncooperative, untrustworthy, unhelpful, unreliable, undependable, unmotivated and (ouch) unemployed.

NO

"That's not my job." "I didn't spend 6 years in college to create slides." "Give it to Susan, she has nothing to do." By saying "no" to a project, you could miss a chance to learn something new. Whether you think the task is beneath you or you're not passionate about it, refusing to take it on makes you appear disinterested and uncooperative (uh, and bratty). Remember your boss is asking for your help, so she obviously thought she could depend on you -- don't let her down. If you have the time, say "Yes."

SURE

Even if you know you won't get the task done, you still tell your boss, "Sure, I can do it," and then you dismiss the request as soon as you walk away. If you don't have the time or the skill set to tackle the task, be honest with your boss so she can find someone else. It's not just her you'll disappoint, you'll let down your whole team. If you're a repeat offender, your boss will question if you can be counted on and you can kiss your career goodbye.

CAN'T

"I can't wait to get out of here." "I can't deal with her." "I can't believe it's only Tuesday." No boss wants to manage a whiney, negative employee who creates a toxic work environment. Improve your office rep and make like the little engine that could. "I think I can, I think I can..." Develop a positive, can-do attitude if you want to increase your chances of a successful, happier career.

NOW

"I wanna raise noowwww!" "You promised me the corner office noowwww!" "I want that promotion noowwww!" Careful, your overdeveloped sense of entitlement is showing. Be patient and take the opportunity to develop your professional prowess instead of expecting career handouts when they aren't yet earned.

I KNOW (OK, 2 Words)

Your boss is in the middle of explaining something to you and you interrupt with "I know, I know." Well, you may as well have just rolled your eyes at her. And the fact is, you probably don't know as much as you think do -- and at some point, it'll become quite clear to your boss. Take the opportunity to listen and learn something. It's OK to admit you don't know something and even if you do, you might learn something else in the process.

LIKE

"So I was like, we can make that happen, seriously." And he was like, "That's awesome." And I was like, "I know, right?" And he was like..." Grow up already! Start using words with more than one syllable in the workplace if you want to be taken seriously -- seriously.

 

About the Author

Based in Wilmington, N.C., Melissa Warren has been writing professionally for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in “Our State” magazine and other regional publications. Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a certificate in professional writing from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.

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