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What Not to Say at Work

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As we start the work week, we all know there are certain things you shouldn’t say at work that are just a given. Here are a few things not to say that maybe we don’t think about. 

I am guilty of this. When someone asks us to do something and we can do it, we’re glad to help out. After the task is completed, oftentimes we are thanked for our extra work. When someone says “Thank you”, whatever you do, don’t say “No problem.” When you say that, it sounds like what you did wasn’t a big deal and that you don’t need to be thanked, when in your heart, you know you went out of your way to get the task accomplished. You should say “You’re welcome” instead. That implies that you did go out of your way, but that you’re happy you could help out.

When someone gets a promotion or something you think you deserve, don’t shout out loud, “That’s not fair!” You can say it in your head, which is what I have done from time to time, but don’t say it. Don’t complain. Instead, make your case to your boss why you deserve the next raise or promotion. Sometimes you’re going to get passed over no matter what you say or how hard you work. It’s just a fact of life, and no, it’s not fair, but that’s how it goes. If it keeps happening, maybe you need to find another place to work, but first be proactive about getting a promotion where you are, don’t just whine about not getting it.

I’ve always lived by the credo, “If it’s not beyond a reasonable request, don’t say no.” If Chad asked me to pick up his dry cleaning, I may draw the line there, but if your boss asks you to do something a little out of your job description, don’t look at them and say “That’s not my job.” That’s one surefire way to get passed over for a promotion, which will likely lead to you saying “That’s not fair.” Even if it’s not your job, but someone does need some help and your boss thinks that you can help complete the task, just nod and smile. You’ll look like a team player. If you really can’t help, say “I’d love to help, but right now I have to do this, that and the other thing.” If they can see that you’re very busy, they may take one thing away from you so you can help, or they may go to someone else, but don’t tell them it’s not your job.

When you’re asked your opinion about something, they’re asking what you think, but don’t tell them what you think in those words. Don’t say “I think…” It makes you sound like you’re unsure of yourself. Some say the words, “I think” should be banished from our professional vocabulary and replaced instead with “I believe” or “I’m confident that…” We’re also urged to get rid of starting sentences with “I could be wrong” or “Maybe this is dumb, but…” You’re just sending out the wrong vibe and asking to get shot down.

This next one just depends on how laid back the atmosphere in your office is, but “you guys” apparently isn’t acceptable anymore. It’s better to use the word “everyone”. Even if you’re asking about lunch; instead of asking “Where do you guys think we should go?” Ask, “Where does everyone think we should go?” If you hit a snag at work, ask “What do you think we should do?”

I’m guilty of a lot of these things. Are you? Want the rest of the list? Click HERE.

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