From ATI

Phrases Not to Use at Work

Top 5 Phrases Not to Use at Work

Our workplace, it can often be an overwhelming, frustrating and downright maddening place. The reality is that when we spend such a significant part of our lives somewhere, it’s bound to cause a few frustrations. Having work-related irritations is a very normal thing, the problems arise when we allowed those frustrations to go from just floating around in our head to flowing out of our mouths. Communicating with a negative attitude is one of the main reasons people fail to receive promotions or advancements, even if they are performing exceptionally with regard to their workload. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize some of the common “water cooler conversations” could be exactly what’s keeping them off that promotion list. So, what are some of the most used phrases you should ban from your at-work vocabulary? Here are our Top 5:

1.  “That’s not my job”

If someone asked you for help and you received the above response, I’d assume you’d be a little taken back. Being an active and engaged member of a team means stepping out of your job description once in awhile to offer someone else some help or outside perspective. However, this is not to say you should allow this to dominate your day. If you are overwhelmed and have been asked to help with something outside of your responsibilities, speak to your manager and let them know you would be happy to help, but you need to know what other assignments should be put on hold so you can focus on the outside project.

2.  “I don’t get paid enough for this.”

Realistically, when you signed on for your position you were given a detailed list of your roles and responsibilities. If not, you should be able to have a polite conversation with your management team about what they are so expectations are clearly identified. If you are being asked to work on projects that you believe do not meet your level of education or skill, it should be something you can discuss with upper management so they know you are not capable of offering the best assistance to that project. Outlining where your skills are best used may help to increase productivity and employee morale.

3.  “I hate this place.”

Nothing says immaturity like throwing around judgmental statements about an employer. That may seem a bit harsh, but there are much better ways to identify and voice frustrations than making rash statements just to blow off some steam. With most companies, there are policies and procedures in place to properly communicate a problem or issue within the organization, follow those steps before lashing out to the person in the next cubical.

4.  “You guys”

This may seem strange, but calling a group of people (which may include women) “guys” can be seen as slang and unprofessional. Although it has become a casual and friendly way to address people, it should be reserved for social conversations among friends rather than colleagues.

5.  “That’s impossible”

Are you sure you have thought through every possible circumstance or solution and you have deemed there is no way to solve the issue or need? Even if the resolution suggested is impossible, saying it out loud displays a very negative and pessimistic attitude. Leadership wants to see a motivated and problem-solving person moving up within the organization and making statements saying the opposite aren’t well received. If you find yourself at a dead end, try using phrases like “What can we do instead to make this better?” Or, “Even though we can’t seem to find a way to make this happen, maybe we can try another approach instead?” Maybe you are reading this and you know these statements are common talk around your office. The best thing you can do is be the first to set the example for a more positive environment. Enlist a buddy to keep you in check when you make a statement like the ones above. Or, record yourself during a meeting or presentation to see if you are saying some of the wrong things or not coming across with a motivated and engaged tone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start to see yourself on that promotion list after all!  


Jeff Becker

Developer, Designer, Copywriter, Marketer. Connecting clients via original digital content & events to the tech world. Whether I’m chasing a tornado, flying an airplane, planning the next executive event, or designing our next customer facing media, you always have to stay one step ahead. What's next?