Words You Shouldn't Use At Work

I read an article on Yahoo! yesterday.  It was written by Linnda Durre for Forbes.com. 
I know, it’s hard to believe, but I do read – World Weekly News and a lot of other true stuff on the internet. 
Anyhow, getting back on track.  The topic of the article was “Worst Words to Say at Work”.  The gist of the article was “using these words only weaken you and make you sound noncommittal, undependable and untrustworthy.
Here’s the list:
According to the article “try” is considered a weasel word.   
Remember what Yoda says to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: "Do or do not - there is no try."
"Whatever" is considered a dismissive insult and a verbal slap in the face.  
Maybe “you’re an idiot” is a better choice.  NOTE:  This response is solely my own – use it at your own risk.

"Maybe" and "I don't know"
Since when is admitting “I don’t know” wrong? 
Isn’t it better to admit ignorance upfront than it is to bull-shit and be found out later on? 
The article recommends if someone uses “I don’t know”, you shouldn’t let them off the hook so easily.  It recommends that you ask, “When do you think you will know?" or "How can you find out?"  If someone hounded me like that, there question would go to the bottom of my “To Do List” and would stay there until hell froze over.
"I'll get back to you"
I guess taking the time to find out the correct facts is not acceptable.   Once again, it’s better to bull-shit your answer from the beginning.
Using the word “if” is viewed as “playing the blame game”.  WTF?   
“If” my boss doesn’t review a contract, I cannot provide a response to the customer.  No blame there – it’s FACTUAL.

"Yes, but ..."
When a co-worker uses the line “yes, but” – the article recommends you respond with something like this: 
"You know, Jackie, every time I offer you a suggestion you say, 'Yes, but . . . ,' which makes me think you don't really want to solve this problem. That's not going to work. If you want to play the victim, go right ahead, but I'm not going to allow you to keep this up and I may have to report you."   
I can’t believe Forbes has even published such crap.  It’s quite obvious that the person who wrote this article has NEVER worked in an office environment.  That time of response would NEVER be tolerated by anyone and it would most likely earn the person who said it a punch in the face.

"I guess ..."

I agree on this one…it’s weak.  Just say “yes” or “no”. 
"We'll see ..."
Instead of using “we’ll see”, it’s better to be decisive and honest by saying, "I need more information.  Please present your case or send me the data - both pro and con - so I can make an informed decision."
I’ve used this phrase plenty of time when parenting, but I’ve never heard anyone in a corporate environment use this phrase.

Maybe this list is the reason why I haven’t gotten very far in corporate politics.  I believe in honesty.


f8hasit said…
I read that article too yesterday. And breezed through it, not really reading everything written because my knee jerk reaction was, "They REALLY printed this? Whatever."
Simply Suthern said…
I read the aticle as well.

I understand what they are saying but to throw perfectly good words and phrases out the window is nuts.

I work in research. We TRY a lot of stuff. Will it work? I QUESS, MAYBE, but I DONT KNOW. I'll push this here button and WE"LL SEE. IF I survive the test I'LL GET BACK WITH YOU. Did I survive? YES, BUT it hurt. Should I try it again, Yea, Whatever.
Brian Miller said…
i would suggest this article was written by a student of corporate hedgemony. i tend to fall more into your belief system as far as this goes...
Beatriz said…
You know this is some hipster who carries the laptop to the nearest Starbucks and orders a triple-espresso because they are so busy!

I agree with @simplysuthern. Those are gold standards in research :)
Unknown said…
This is very good!
I agree....Some are more obvious than other. LOL
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Sarah said…
Yeah I am with you - some of them make sense and some of them are super dumb! How can you never say 'I'll get back to you' if you really don't have an answer? If they call are you supposed to put them on hold until you get an answer, even if it takes an hour? What if they walk to your desk and you don't have an answer and have to leave to go get it - do they come with you or just wait at your desk? Silly! I need to start reading more intelligent articles like that - I read crap when I get home from work. :) Except your blog - no crap here!!
Brindy said…
This makes me so glad I am retired from the office environment. Working alone means you can use what ever words you want and no-one can judge whether they are strong or weak.

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