Here are six statements to avoid saying at work if you like your job and want to keep it:
1. "I'm bored."
What you mean: They don't give me enough work to keep me busy.
What they hear when you say it: "I'm not motivated enough to find something worthwhile to do"—OR—"There's plenty to do but I don't have my priorities straight."
Why it's a problem: Intentionally or not, you're openly admitting that you don't know how to manage your time, and people will wonder why they're so busy while you're bored and twiddling your thumbs.
2. "This place isn't as fun as it used to be."
What you mean: Things have changed so much that the original appeal that led me to work here is missing.
What they hear when you say it: "I don't like working here anymore."
Why it's a problem: You come across sounding like Whiny McWhinerson-Buzzkill. You can bet that plenty of people still enjoy working in the place you now despise. Even the ones who might agree are probably trying to make the best of it. Either way, a complaint like this quickly breeds negativity for all who have to hear it.
3. "These managers don't know what they're doing."
What you mean: I think things could be managed better around here.
What they hear when you say it: "I don't approve of the way management handles the work load/policies/meetings and will not produce my best work as long as they continue working this way."
Why it's a problem: You're pretty much begging to get fired, which might not be a problem if that's exactly what you want to happen!
4. "It's stupid that they don't let us use social networks."
What you mean: It's stupid that they don't let us use social networks. (No misinterpreting this one!)
What they hear when you say it: "Facebooking, tweeting, or instant messaging is more important to me than working."
Why it's a problem: You're not getting paid to be a social butterfly. If your company doesn't allow access to social networking sites, it's probably because employees have abused the privilege. It's not unreasonable to expect you to focus on company goals and not on your constant updates of followers.
5. "How come s/he has an office and the rest of us are stuck in a cube farm?"
What you mean: That person doesn't seem qualified or important enough to deserve an office.
What they hear when you say it: "I think I'm more important than that person and I hate being mixed in with the rest of these bottom feeders."
Why it's a problem: Whine whine whine, complain complain complain. You're where you are because they think you should be there. If they thought you needed an office, you would have one. If you want an office, ask what you can do to earn a promotion to a position that comes with one.
6. "I better take it easy—I don't want them to expect this level of productivity from me all the time."
What you mean: Hahaha! It's a joke! Seriously, I had a productive week and I'm proud of what I accomplished.
What they hear when you say it: "I'm not putting in the effort I should be. You should only expect 100% productivity from me every once in a while."
Why it's a problem: The fact that you made this statement, even if you were joking, makes your employer question their decision to hire you. You're basically telling them you're not interested in working hard and they shouldn't expect much from you. Seriously bad message to send!
We may all have these thoughts at times, but some things are better left in your head and out of the lines of conversation. If you still insist on complaining to your coworkers or manager in this fashion, I guarantee: 1) You'll be labeled the Office Whiner, and 2) your coworkers will begin to resent you and avoid working with you whenever possible. It'll only be a matter of time before someone sets you straight—just hope it's not in the form of getting canned!
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