8 Phrases You Should Never Say At Work

shhhhOne wrong word, or thoughtless response, can ruin a reputation… and stick with someone for a long, long time, especially in the work place.

Unfortunate, since we tend to spend more time at work than anywhere else – and are prone to  letting our guards down perhaps a bit too often.

To avoid a major fail in the workplace, be sure not to utter these eight phrases at work:

“That’s Not My Job”

Telling someone “That’s not my job” effectively suggests you don’t care… and aren’t willing to help.

It’s okay if you need to direct someone to a different department or if you have a heavy workload that won’t let you take on anything else. However, be careful how you relay that information—and realize it may be you asking for a favor next time.

“…Or Else”

Threatening or giving anyone in the office an ultimatum rarely ends in success.

Whether it’s to a long-time employee or the newest intern, be careful with your wording. Making demands can quickly label you as difficult to work with and not a team player.

In another instance where the “…or else” sentiment may be used: You may be tempted, when looking for other job opportunities, to threaten your employer with that information. If you feel that intimidation is the only way to have your voice heard, you may want to re-evaluate your work environment (and perhaps your state of mind).

“Last Night Was SO Crazy”

Overhearing you talk about getting wasted isn’t going to impress your boss. Alternatively, it may make you appear to be irresponsible and careless—especially if you come to work hungover and bored.

Even if you have a casual work environment, keep the weekend party stories to yourself!

“To Be Honest…”

Beginning a statement with “to be honest” usually relays the message to listeners that something negative is about to be said. It also implies that you know you’re about to be rude, but don’t care. More important, this phrase can lead colleagues to wonder if they should doubt the integrity of previous statements that lacked that introduction.

Without being offensive, learn to communicate what you need to say in a straightforward manner.

“You Look Tired”

Instead of blurting out that someone looks under the weather… show some compassion! There may be a legitimate reason for the weary look, such as sickness or stress. But it could be that she was running late and didn’t put on any makeup, or he is going through something he doesn’t want to talk about.

“How Did They Get Promoted?”

Nothing can ruin your career faster than a negative, poisonous attitude about your co-workers, boss or company. Stay away from name calling bad-mouthing at all costs. Not only will it make you seem childish, but it may quickly put your name on the next version of an elimination list.

Simply put: office gossip is never a good idea!

“This May Sound Stupid, But…”

Prefacing comments or suggestions with discounting phrases such as “I may be wrong, but…” or “this may be a silly idea, but…” diminishes the impact of what you’re about to say. Instead of sounding authoritative and confident, you’re reducing your credibility and your opinion’s value. And perhaps your standing among bosses, mentor and colleagues.

Eliminate these phrases from your work vocabulary, and instead speak with empathy, certainty and conviction.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Levo League!

Levo League


About the Author: Steven Barnes, a freelance writer by day and a nurse’s assistant by night, is a valued contributor to Levo League.



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