If you show up to work, look your boss in the eye, and say “I hate this job,” that’s probably going to end with you not having that job anymore. While we understand that there is a certain level of decorum one most employ on the job, there are apparently phrases that you should never say, assuming you want to keep working where you work. Some of these off-limit phrases are ones we’ve all thought at least once, but now we know to never say them aloud.
Listen, we take any source that tells us what to do with a grain of salt, but according to LinkedIn influencer (yes, influencer) Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies on “emotional intelligence tests and training,” these are some of the phrases that can make you look bad at work or, as he puts it, these are “10 things intelligent people never say.”
As in, these phrases probably make you look really bad at work:
1“This is the way it’s always been done.”
It’s an easy one to fall back on in times of frustration, but it sends the message that you are resistant to change.
2“It’s not my fault.”
Yikes. Always own up to your mistakes and always be accountable for your actions, even if you were only marginally involved in that action. If it’s really not your fault, Dr. Bradberry says to “offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your boss and colleagues draw their own conclusions about who’s to blame.”
Instead of saying, “I can’t,” offer up a solution for what you can do. Dr. Bradberry suggests saying “I can come in early tomorrow morning. Will that work?” instead of telling your boss that you can’t stay late.
4“That’s not in my job description.”
If you’re asked to work on something that feels like it’s outside your pay grade, talk to your supervisor about what exactly your job description entails and if it is changing. This one goes hand in hand with never saying “this is the way it’s always been done” because welps, looks like your job is changing.
5“It’s not fair.”
How do we put this nicely? Saying “it’s not fair” sounds like you’re whining. Don’t do it. Life isn’t fair and we all know that already.
6“They’re lazy/incompetent/a jerk.”
This is the quickest way to make enemies in the office. If someone is actually lazy, chances are everyone else knows it as well. Also, one person’s incompetence shouldn’t affect your ability to do your job, and if said lazy person makes more money than you, well, see the section on “it’s not fair.” Do what you can to change your situation: have open discussions with your manager, evaluate your duties and how engaged you are in performing them, and don’t stoop to the level of another employee who is not carrying his or her weight. Most of all, know that you can always look for another job in your field that matches your talents and pay requirements.
You can read the full list of off-limit phrases at Business Insider.