What Did You Say? Six Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss by LawCrossing


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RESUME MAVEN                                                                                             www.lawcrossing.com      1. 800.973.1177

                           What Did You Say? Six Things You Should Never Say to Your
                           [By Mary Waldron]
                           You’ve dreamt about it at one time or another. Telling off that supervisor or manager who really makes your blood boil would be
                           satisfying, wouldn’t it? Well, keep fantasizing all you want because you should never go through with it. Don’t even save it for
                           your last day. It’s just not worth it.

In addition to those tell-it-like-it-is moments       into a meeting or call with this line, with no     you. Many times, unless your firm is in the
that you’d love to let loose at the office, there     explanation, is disrespectful and tacky.           top tier, projects that do not directly relate to
are a few specific phrases that you really                                                               your job will get assigned to you. It actually
should keep to yourself. Read on to find out          Any time you want to talk to your boss about       happens more often than not.
some of the most annoying and damaging                something, whatever it may be, give him or
comments you can make to your boss.                   her a quick synopsis in a phone call, email,       Don’t look at these assignments as time-
                                                      or message. That way, if it’s a matter that        consuming, mindless tasks. These are actually
1. “I know what I’m doing.”                           can be cleared up without meeting or at a          little jewels that you can leverage to get your
                                                      more appropriate time, his or her time can         next raise. When it’s time to be reviewed for a
In a successful business relationship,                be saved. The one thing you never want to          raise, you will have a neat collection of extra
especially if you are lower on the food chain         waste or disrespect is your boss’s time.           completed tasks that will hopefully boost your
than the other person, there should be some                                                              chances of getting more money.
level of humility and a willingness to grow           I used to work with an employee who would
and improve as a professional. So when your           do this sort of thing to our boss almost on a      Taking on additional responsibilities also
superior criticizes how you approached a              daily basis; it was out of control. She would      helps establish your reliability, trust, and
project or a situation, you really should take        march to his office, knock on his open door,       team-player attitude in the eyes of your boss.
heed. Usually there are some good reasons             say, “I need to talk to you about a couple         This is priceless in terms of your current job,
that person is above you, and you should take         things,” walk in, and sit down before he could     as well as your career’s future.
his or her advice seriously.                          even say anything.
                                                                                                         4. “I didn’t have time to do it.”
Even if what your superior says is illogical,         Although my former boss should have
unethical, or just plain wrong, you should            stood up for himself and sent her away,            I’m not asking you to lie to your boss. Yes,
accept the words with open arms and                   this employee’s behavior was incredibly            sometimes you won’t have enough time to
attempt to find some sort of use for them.            disrespectful and annoying. She would              complete everything on time, but this should
Besides, an ego-driven comment like “I                demand our boss’s attention for matters that       not happen when your boss is waiting for
know what I’m doing,” no matter how much              he had no time for—he had more important           something. If your boss assigns you a task,
you think you know, sounds uncooperative,             things to worry about. She usually would           get it done as soon as possible—even before
closed-minded, ignorant, and rude. Even the           vent about her problems with completing            he or she needs it. This will help build your
most seasoned professionals admit that they           her tasks and duties, which voiced a more          credibility with him or her.
learn new things every day in their careers,          serious problem, I think. But the point is you
and that really is the truth. So don’t shoot          need to value your boss’s time and try to          If you have a boss who assigns you five to 0
yourself in the foot by making such a bold            solve your job’s problems and issues without       gigantic extra tasks per week, all with the
and arrogant statement.                               cornering him or her in an office.                 same due date, okay, yes, you have an issue.
                                                                                                         My point is you should take action on every
2. “We need to talk. It’s important.”                 3. “That’s not part of my job description.”        single task assigned by your boss as soon as
                                                                                                         you can. Prioritize your tasks and strive to
This one is a killer. I wish more professionals       If your boss asks you to put on a chicken          complete those which must be done on time.
realized what a nuisance this is. Bothering           suit and do the Macarena, you do it. Okay, I
your boss about an insignificant matter is            guess that’s a bit degrading, but my point is      If you cannot complete a task by its due date,
bad enough, but trying to trap him or her             you should do whatever your boss asks of           do all that you can for the time being so that

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RESUME MAVEN                                                                                      www.lawcrossing.com     1. 800.973.1177

when you have to answer to your boss about       from making it to your dinner date on time,      If the issue is really not your fault, you
the task, you can report on its progress and     you need to bite your tongue. Sometimes          should still handle the situation carefully
pinpoint a date when it will be done. We’re      you need to work late to complete timely         and gracefully. I’m not asking you to create
not machines, but if we manage our time          assignments, and sometimes you need to           a façade for your boss. Choose your words
properly, we can at least get the ball rolling   work late to show your boss that you’re a        carefully in situations where someone else
on most tasks, even if we physically don’t       superstar in his or her company. It’s just       is at fault for the failure of a project. Present
have the time to complete them.                  the way life is. Again, as with doing extra      how you contributed to the project and
                                                 work, you need to tough it out to work toward    explain everything from your point of view.
Some bosses don’t even particularly care         greater rewards.                                 Then your boss will see your side of the story
whether the task is done; they just like to                                                       and figure out whose fault it is without you
test employees or see how well they can          6. “That was so-and-so’s fault.”                 even mentioning the guilty party.
execute the task. So if you walk into your
boss’s office and tell him or her you didn’t     Blame: another ugly thing to see an
have time to finish your task, you will have     employee do. Never lower yourself to
failed the test and lost major credibility       pointing fingers in front of your boss. If you
points.                                          did screw up, admit it to your boss and take
                                                 the heat. If you simply apologize and do
5. “It’s 5:00 p.m. I’m going home.”              what you can to help fix the problem, your
                                                 boss will see that you learned a lesson, and
Even if your boss schedules a meeting with       hopefully he or she will move on from it.
you at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, keeping you


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