Even though it’s 2016 and you wear sneakers to your office, the workplace still has some etiquette. It’s necessary to be slightly cautious when talking to your superior, even if he or she is the best boss on the planet and totally deserves one of those novelty mugs. The slightest slip-up has the potential to make and break your career. Here are the 11 things you probably shouldn’t say to your boss.
1. ‘That’s not part of my job.’ The longer you work, the more you’ll realise that no job description is set in stone. You will come across tasks that require you to be flexible. Remember, the more shit you’re happy to get done, the more indispensable you become – and learning some new skills never hurt anybody.
2. ‘It’s not my fault; it’s Sarah’s fault.’ The blame game doesn’t have any place in a professional environment, so it’s wise to be wary. If you’re innocent, explain why without obviously pointing fingers. Taking responsibility will actually make your boss have more respect for you.
3. ‘My old boss did this differently/better.’ It doesn’t matter how your boss’s predecessor ran things – this is a new person with new methods. Your current boss holds the position, so it’s not your place to challenge new processes.
4. ‘I’m so hungover I can’t even.’ Fine to tell your work-wife, but your boss doesn’t need to know about how out of hand your Wine Wednesday got last night. Put on your big-girl pants and suck it up.
5. ‘As a millennial…’ We get it – your boss is basically one foot out the grave, and has a mindset from the seventies. It can be extremely difficult to see eye-to-eye with someone who thinks ‘Instagram’ is a unit of measurement, but your boss probably doesn’t want to be reminded of his or her mortality, or be made to feel like your youth makes you wiser.
6. ‘If I have to.’ Your boss hears this as, ‘I don’t want to do this ridiculously inane task, but I’ll force myself because you’re my superior and I can’t outright say no because it’s not like I have a choice.’ Which is exactly what you mean, isn’t it?
7. ‘If I don’t get this, I’m going to resign.’ Giving an ultimatum isn’t the best way to go, and it likely won’t have the desired effect. Rather let your boss know why you should get the promotion – what you can do in the role. Threats will get you nowhere, so don’t even bother.
8. ‘At my last job we did it this way.’ It doesn’t matter how you did it at your previous company – you’re in a new place under new leadership. Also, your boss won’t exactly enjoy hearing about how you think your old company did I better.
9. ‘I can’t work with Nandi.’ Don’t put your boss in a position where she or he has to choose – that’s asking for trouble. You’re not always going to be in situations where you only have to deal with people you love – this is the real world. Put on your big-girl pants, grit your teeth and suck it up.
10. ‘Why did Mark get the promotion and I didn’t?’ Focus on your own career, not others’ salary or promotions (unless what you’re witnessing is blatant, in-your-face favouritism). Try and have a more professional discussion about where you can improve.
11. ‘That’s impossible.’ How do you know if you haven’t tried?