You’ve probably heard the saying that reminds us to be careful with our thoughts, because thoughts become words, and words become actions. This is especially true when making comments at work. Everything that goes from your mouth to your boss’s ears either reinforces your professionalism or raises a red flag. Your words and actions reflect your competence, reliability, and dedication.
Here are 6 Phrases to Avoid in the Workplace:
- “It’s not my job.” When your boss asks you to do it, it’s definitely your job. If you feel that the request is truly outside of your expertise and that you cannot accomplish the task alone, you can still respond in a respectful way. Affirm your boss’s confidence in you, and demonstrate your ability to grow with a response such as, “I am happy to take on the task. I am not an expert on this topic, but I will find out who I need to talk to and what I need to know in order to get this done.” Show your boss you are willing to roll up your sleeves and jump in head first.
- “This position is only a stepping stone.” Even if you think you are destined for better things in the immediate future, there is no reason to announce it to everyone at work. This phrase is often an attempt to excuse yourself from giving your best effort. Instead of considering yourself as having one foot out the door, embrace the current opportunity to learn and grow. Even if it’s making the morning coffee, you are demonstrating you are a team player, and your boss will note it on your reference letter.
- “I’m not feeling it.” Being a professional means that you forge ahead with the tasks in front of you, whether you feel like it or not. As long as you are earning a paycheck from the company, it is your responsibility to give it your all. When you are finished with the task, start polishing up your resume because you will probably be needing it very soon if you continue on with this attitude.
- “You owe me one.” If you help your boss out of a jam by staying late or working on the weekend, you will immediately blow any good karma you have just generated with a flippant comment. Even if you have a loose and casual relationship with your supervisor, avoid implying that you expect a “payback.” Your job is to support your boss and be a team player.
- “I’m just not a morning person.” Variations of this comment include, “I stayed up way too late last night,” or “I swear, I’m never drinking hard liquor again!” Regardless of how you feel – or why you feel that way – convey the image that you are ready to work. Apply a little lip-gloss, pour yourself a strong cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, and get your day started with a smile and a positive attitude.
- “Can I leave 15 minutes early – I worked into my lunch today?” A clock watcher is clearly someone counting the seconds until it is acceptable to leave. If you are consistently five minutes late and the first one out the door every day, you are letting your boss know you are not invested in your job. A professional on the way to the next level is willing to put in the time it takes to become a success.