7 Phrases You Should Never Say at Work

7 Phrases You Should Never Say at Work


No matter how skilled and accomplished you are, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way your colleagues see you and may always cast you in a negative light. What you say and how you say it can have a big impact on your success. So here are the 7 things you should never say at work if you want to be successful.

“That's not in my job description”

In today's work environment, employees are often asked to go above and beyond as a matter of routine. Job descriptions are written for a purpose. However, they are not weapons to be used against your manager. “That’s not my job" can make you look stubborn, lazy and generally uninterested in the company's success. Saying this phrase or a variation of it suggests you are not interested in growing your skills and that you are not interested in going the extra mile to help the organization.

“It's not fair”

Whether this is true or not, this is one of the most unhelpful things you can say at work. The point in avoiding this phrase is to be proactive about the issues versus complaining, or worse, passively whining. Instead, find more concrete, fact-based objections to something you want to change, rather than relying on emotional appeal.

“This is the way it’s always been done”

Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a six-month-old process could be outdated. Being a stick in the mud won't get you very far in the workplace. Saying “this is the way it’s always been done” not only makes you sound lazy and resistant to change, but it could make your manager wonder why you haven’t tried to improve things on your own. If you really are doing things the way they’ve always been done, there’s almost certainly a better way to do it.

“I hate this job”

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Mangers are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

“No Problem”

When someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something, and you tell them no problem, you're implying that their request should have been a problem. This makes people feel as though they've imposed upon you. What you want to do instead is to show people that you're happy to do your job. Say something like “It was my pleasure” or “I'll be happy to take care of that.” It's a subtle difference in language, but one that has a huge impact on people.

"It's not my fault”

Be accountable. It's never a good idea to cast blame to anyone. If you had any role, no matter how small, in whatever went wrong, own it. If not, offer an objective, or explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your manager and colleagues draw their own conclusions about it. The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for their actions. Some will avoid working with you altogether, and others will strike first and blame you when something goes wrong.

“I can't”

Some people don't like to hear "I can't" because they think it means "I won't". Saying "I can't" suggests that you're not willing to do what it takes to get the job done. If you really can't do something because you truly lack the necessary skills, you need to offer an alternative solution.


One way to lessen your workplace stress and tension towards your colleagues is to know what not to say. Nobody can’t stop or control you what you want to say, but there's always a polite, honest and effective way to convey your message especially in the workplace.