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15 Things Your Boss Wants You to Stop Saying

When speaking to your boss, you should always maintain a level of professionalism. Saying the wrong thing could really do some damage to your career.


"No, I don’t have the time"

When your boss asks you to do something (as long as it doesn't violate company policy, of course), there is no reason for you to ever answer with the word "no". Even if you are super busy with other projects and you really feel that you don’t have adequate time to do it all, ask your boss to help you prioritize which task you should do first. That way you don't look like an employee that has a "can’t-do attitude," but rather, one with a "can-do attitude."


"It wasn’t my fault: It’s so-and-so’s fault."

Playing the blame game is a treacherous road to go down, and it’s childish. If you are innocent, then explain to your boss why. You should never throw any of your coworkers under the bus, especially if you may be at fault. If your boss sees that you’re frequently pointing the finger, at some point they may wonder who really is to blame. Check out these 16 smart ways to get your boss to trust you.


"I’m looking for a new job"

Of course employers know that at any given time, a person from their staff could be searching for new work, but there’s a big difference between your boss thinking you may be looking and knowing that you’re looking. In a perfect world, you should be able to let your boss know that you are actively seeking new work; however, most bosses will take this as a slap in the face. It’s better to give them your two weeks' notice when you do find that new job.


"I don’t know how to do that"

If your boss asks you to do something, and you’re not sure exactly how to do it, you definitely should not let on that you are clueless. Instead, ask her for direction on how to get started (i.e., is there a co-worker who can teach you? An online tutorial you could follow?). This shows that you’re ready and willing to learn, without admitting outright ignorance. Watch out for these clear signs that you can't trust your boss.


"I’m broke. I need a raise."

It’s not that you should never ask your boss for a raise, but don’t go into salary negotiations talking about needing more money because of your financial woes. Your boss won’t be swayed. When you do ask for a raise, be armed with evidence of your achievements in the workplace and keep your personal life out of the equation.


"The old boss didn’t do it this way"

You wouldn’t want to be compared to an ex-coworker in your new position, and your new boss most likely feels the same. Also, your boss may think that you are stuck in your ways, that you don’t adapt well to change, and that you aren’t flexible. This may lead to you being cut out of new projects or assignments because it appears that you can’t handle change. Make sure you know which 10 seemingly "innocent" things could totally get you fired.

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"It’s slow. I'm leaving early today."

If you need to leave early for a doctor’s appointment, that’s one thing. But you should never ask your boss to leave early because you don’t have anything to do. Bosses like it when their employees show initiative, so if there’s a lull in your day, you should find out what new projects are on the horizon.


"I’m bored"

You are being paid to be productive at work, as well as remain enthusiastic, and it’s not your boss’s responsibility to find a way to make your job more interesting. Instead of saying “I’m bored,” volunteer to spearhead a new and interesting project or ask your boss for more responsibilities.


"I’m so hungover"

If you have become close with your boss and have developed a friendly relationship, it may seem fine to you to tell them about all the fun you had last night...but it’s not. If this is happening frequently and you’re coming in five minutes late here and ten minutes late there, your boss may start to question if your partying has something to do with the lateness. At the end of the day, you must remind yourself this is the person who makes the decisions about you receiving raises, promotions, and bonuses. Here are 13 things HR won't ever tell you about keeping your job.


"My kids are giving me a hard time"

Chances are, your boss isn't going to be particularly emotionally invested in your kids' tantrums. Or your recent breakup, or your infuriating dinner with your in-laws. As a general rule, your home life and your work life should stay separate. Not only are these details a little on the personal side to be sharing with your work superiors, but your boss might see it as you making excuses for not getting your work done. Of course, if you're dealing with a major change, like a seriously ill family member, you're well within your rights to request the time you need. But your boss shouldn't know about every going-on of your home life. Don't forget that your boss may well be dealing with stressful situations outside of work, too.

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