Navigating the workplace is as much about camaraderie and etiquette as the work itself. If you and your colleagues do not nurture a positive and thoughtful work atmosphere, working relationships and the work itself can suffer. One of the most important things to avoid at work is something you can control (for the most part)—saying something to offend or hurt a fellow employee’s feelings.
You spend far too much time with your co-workers to have to walk on eggshells after an unpleasant incident. So consider these four things to never say at work to keep the peace with your colleagues:
1. That’s Below My Pay Grade.
Everyone is busy. At least, everyone feels busy and as if some tasks are below their pay or skill level. But think about the people who normally do that job and how they might feel about you insulting their position and the pay they receive for it. You might receive a chilly reception the next time you need them on the job. It is always best to try to help and pitch in when you can. But if you simply cannot help a colleague, find a more diplomatic response, such as “My desk is overflowing, I’m sorry,” or “I wish I could, but I’m not sure I’m up to speed on that task.” A little humility or respect goes a long way—even when you can’t help out.
2. This Isn’t Fair.
You know the standard response to this particular phrase: “Life isn’t fair.” And even less so in the workplace. Whining does nothing to help in coming up with a solution. Your colleagues might even lose some respect for you, so be careful with this one.
3. I Can’t Stand the Boss or the Company.
Anything negative about management or the company is something you mutter well under your breath, or better yet, something you tactfully communicate using the appropriate medium. Everyone feels this way at one point or another—but saying it over and over again can bring down the morale of your colleagues and cause bigger trouble if someone in charge hears you.
4. It’s Someone Else’s Fault.
Even if you know you didn’t cause a problem in the workflow, and you know precisely who did, it’s extremely poor form to out the person who dropped the ball. Let the person or the records speak for themselves.