7 Things You Should Never Say at Work
By Kathleen O’Malley
We’ve all been there – work is tough, tough, tough. We’d like to be our most professional selves when we’re at work, slaving away over this or that. But frustrations come up and we slip, sometimes spectacularly, sometimes in a tiny little way that gets us fired. It’s often hard to know exactly what you should or shouldn’t say to your boss or your coworker, and where those sensitive lines in the sand are. However, there are certain things you should just plain not go near at the workplace. Are you guilty of any of these?
1: “That’s Not My Job”
First rule of the office: play nice with others. If someone asks you to do something that’s outside your job duties, just do it. Everyone likes a team player, and chances are, the person asking you to do something you don’t want to do knows that you don’t want to do it. Now, this doesn’t mean you should do anything unethical. It just means to chip in and help out when you can – even if that means checking the mail or doing the dishes.
2: Swear Words
In a professional environment, it is really important to keep your language clean. Using swear words is likely to diminish you in the eyes of your colleagues, especially the older ones. Be careful, and speak in a way that your grandmother would approve of. It really helps if you can avoid stubbing your toe at work, since that’s one scenario where it’s very hard to keep an expletive from escaping.
3: “Well, there’s this chick at work…”
Chick If I could have a super power, being able to reach out and smack anyone who says, “Well, there’s this chick at work…”would be high on my list of powers.
Calling a woman a chick is not treating her as a peer and is subtly sexist. Use the term woman, please. Unless you work with baby chickens. Then chick is perfectly acceptable.
4: Giving Body Parts Power
Speaking of sexist language, let’s try not to give male body parts any power. Please take the phrase “grow a pair” out of your language at work and at home. As long as we’re restricting male body parts to indicate power, let’s not use female body parts to indicate weakness.
5: “I Don’t Have Enough Time”
If a colleague asks you for help, talk with them. Don’t make their priorities yours, but see how you can assist. You never, ever know when you’ll be your colleague’s supervisor, or vice versa. Set boundaries, but be helpful. Ask your colleague, “Sure, when do you need it by?” so that they know that you won’t prioritize their needs above your own.
6: “Whatever You Say”
The other side of that coin is to never acquiesce to everything you’re asked to do. You were hired to use your brain, not simply fulfill orders. If something doesn’t make sense or you have an alternative idea, speak up! Unless your boss truly wants you to be a yes-man or -woman, speaking up when you disagree with something is the right thing to do.
Anything that is overly personal should be avoided at work. Nobody at work needs to know about your irritable bowel syndrome. If you’re friendly with colleagues, that’s great! Fantastic! However, there’s a line between what you’d tell your best friend and what you’d tell your work-best friend. Or at least there should be.
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