6 Things Never To Say To Co-Workers

By Beth Braccio Hering

Don't tarnish your reputation by making whiny, haughty or untrue statements. Remember, silence can be golden -- especially if it prevents you from uttering one of these potentially career-damaging phrases: 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's life easier. Figure out what is keeping your boss up at night, and solve that problem."

My Coworker, My Nemesis

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denise bruton

The people i work with are so childish and sometimme i just don"t pay them any mind when they act like that i do my job and pray for them. ...... DB

May 11 2013 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Sutter

Excellent advice to heed for everyone in the corporate world especially the newbies and/or soon to be newbies (college grads that is). However, I never recommend anyone taking the high road when something is amiss or truly not fair - I always want to leave that door open for constructive criticism from every level of my team and group of co workers. Best advice is to think before you speak.....

May 02 2013 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

About a month ago I was having a particularily bad day at work. I work with a bunch of people who don't know how to refill things. Found myself muttering, " I work with idiots." Thankfully caught myself before anyone heard. Anyone else just want to shout that out every now and then?

May 01 2013 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all this because everyone gave the finger to unions and or the conception of....way to go.

May 01 2013 at 4:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've personally said #2 and #3. I've also said my GM is a horrible manager. And she really is. But needless to say, I still come to work everyday, I still do my job as required and then some, if I am asked. I've also said they don't pay me enough for this, and I will continue to think it, every day that I am here. But my job performance will not be effected by my opinion. I've been here 8 months without taking any sick days or anything. I've seen no benefits, nor will I (As you can imagine, my GM doesn't care for me very much, but unfortunately my opinion of her is not reason enough to fire me.) Essentially, it didn't make the job any worse or any better. It's funny though, I don't understand how she became a GM when she was fired from her last two jobs, but I guess that's beside the point. Bottom line is, you can say it, you can mean it, but you better have the proof in your pudding before you say it, and make sure you are doing your best.

April 30 2013 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Laura's comment

Another good thing is that I work the night shift, so I very rarely have any interaction with my GM at all. On a side note, the person I said all of the above to, yeah she was new, and she was friends with the GM, not that it makes it any better or worse. It's just kind of interesting. Can't even remember what it was that set me off, but it's out in the open now.

Of course I am on this new leaf thing. I am planning on apologizing for saying it to the new person, and not going to her, but it won't change my opinion.

Recently, I started a second job and I realized something, i just don't have the time or energy between two full time jobs, college, and raising a 2 year old to harbor resentment due to the inability of others. Not to mention, they just don't pay me enough to care about what others do or don't do. As long as I do my job and am here on time every night, that's all that matters in my book.

April 30 2013 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

doh! I thought they were gonna say the line from johnny paycheck's song. or I quit and now your gonna have to do your own work boss. or you hired him boss now you get to fire him after you brought him in from his other job which he now doesn't have and can't go back to. don't ask me about my co-worker your the one who hired him. : ) don't ask me for my opinion if you really don't want to hear it boss, ask the other workers what they think of the guy you brought in and put in charge ,when they have more on the job training than he does, because my opinion didn't matter when you hired him. or put my fingers in my ears and go nah nah nah na nah nah!!! while the boss is trying to tell me how to do my job I have been doing for the last 20 years without missing a day. : )

April 30 2013 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently whoever said here that idiots don't get promoted never had one as a boss or saw an episode of The Office. I'm so glad that I'm on Social Security for my bipolar condition at 48. Never missed working for a living since. Saw so many stupid mistakes and the bosses kept changing their minds about things literally from one day to the next. For someone who needs consistancy, that was poison to me.

April 30 2013 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ides315r's comment

The fact that you are leaching off the system disgusts me....The fact that you think it is ok is even worse....you are the epitome of everything wrong with this country.

April 30 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Never come back from sick leave with a sun tan.

April 30 2013 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

7. I don't get paid enough to do that, get someone else...
8. Can I leave early today I have an interview I have to go to....

April 30 2013 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BRUCE's comment


April 30 2013 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you are swamped with work and the boss asks you to do more there is no reason not to ask if the new work is of a higher priority than the several things you are presently working on. If it is fine , if not ask what priority it has.

April 30 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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