Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 11:55 pm | Fog/Mist 49º


John Daly: 6 Things You Should Never Say at Work

[Noozhawks note: Beth Braccio Hering researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder. This article is reposted with permission.]

During a recent research project, I ran across an article featured on CareerBuilder.com written about a year ago. It’s about the things you should never say out loud in the workplace to your boss or coworkers. I thought it was so relevant, particularly with the image a person can create through communication alone, that I wanted to share it with you. These six statements will ruin your reputation, and they come across as whiny, haughty or just downright untrue. My best advice, if you want to say them, zip it.

1. “I can’t take on any more work. I’m completely overwhelmed already.”

Run your fingers through your hair and let out a big sigh during this lament and colleagues will either nominate you for an Academy Award or provide the number of a good therapist. Professionals work on solving problems, not creating drama.

“Yes, the recession and corporate downsizing has meant fewer people doing more work; however, employers want employees who can manage their workloads and communicate when they have reached their maximum capacity,” says Lisa Quast, CEO of Seattle-based Career Woman Inc. and author of Your Career, Your Way! “A much better comment is, ‘Let’s look at my project list and see where we can work this in. It might mean moving something else out to a later date.’”

2. “Joe is an idiot.”

Yes, maybe he is — and he may be your boss someday. Don’t say something you’ll later regret. Even if he doesn’t find out, bad-mouthing a co-worker can make listeners wonder what you say about them when they aren’t around.

“Never throw your colleagues under the bus or talk about them behind their back,” says career coach Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

“Colleagues who trust and admire you will be your best support system to promote your reputation as desirable and valuable. When they don’t feel that you are transparent in your intentions, your disruptive actions will raise doubts about your ability to be both a team player and a team motivator. Both are essential assets for effective leadership.”

3. “That’s not fair!”

Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions and co-author of the upcoming book, Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management, notes that this statement is frequently uttered by younger workers. “It may sound harsh, but in the working world, fair does not always mean equal. It can be difficult to understand that at work it’s not always fair up and down, but it’s also not fair across. For example, a company may hire 100 entry-level employees on the same day. Are they all going to get promoted or receive raises on the same day? No. They may work different hours a week, at different locations and for different types of people. It will never be fair in your career, so get over it.”

4. “That’s not how we did it at my old company.”

Make such a comment and colleagues may wonder why you ever left the other employer. As Quast notes, “No one likes an arrogant know-it-all who thinks they’re better than others or who believes their previous company did things better.” Skip the comparisons and focus instead on articulating your ideas clearly and respectfully.

5. “I’ll have it on your desk by 3 p.m.” (when you know you won’t)

Your boss and colleagues have deadlines, too. When you fail to deliver, it affects others. On those rare occasions when you can’t fulfill a promise, have the decency to give a heads-up. Deadlines may be changeable or perhaps other workers can shift focus to help out.

“(Don’t) tell people — whether they are colleagues, vendors, clients and customers or management — what you think they want to hear instead of the truth,” Cohen says. “For example, if you knowingly provide a client with incorrect information about a delivery date and you fail to honor that deadline, you risk tarnishing both your credibility and the reputation of your company. The potential impact may be enormous as customers abandon you for a more reliable provider.”

6. “I’m bored.”

Nothing good ever comes from this statement. Overworked colleague Mary will want to slug you, cubicle neighbor Jeff will think you’re a slacker and your boss will question why he’s bothering to give you a paycheck this week.

“There’s always something you could be doing,”​ Karsh says. “Take the initiative to tackle new projects; don’t wait to be asked to do something. Be innovative and find new projects to work on to make your boss’ life easier. Figure out what is keeping your boss up at night, and solve that problem.”

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >