As an office newbie, making common mistakes may be inevitable during your first real-world, work experience. However, when it comes to communicating with the boss, applying the old adage “Think before you speak” can prevent Hurricane Katrina-like damage to your career. Here are four things young professionals should never say to a manager:
“I don’t know.”
Not knowing the answer to something a manager asks you is fine, but it then becomes your responsibility to find out. Thus, a better answer to any question you don’t know the answer to is, “I’ll find out right away.”
“That’s not my job.”
As tempting as this may be, protesting that something isn’t in your job description is a surefire way to lose the support of your boss. In reality, most people end up doing work that doesn’t fall within their job descriptions and your best bet is to have a can-do attitude.
“I partied too hard last night.”
If you were playing hard after working hard, skip the cringe-worthy details of your night on the town when talking to your boss—or even in earshot of your boss. Even if you consider your manager a friend, spilling the tea about your turned-up night will probably earn you a major side-eye. Staying on top of your professional game will pay off when it’s time to discuss advancement.
“Well, I e-mailed you about ______.”
Some employees think that once they’ve hit the “send” button, they’ve done their part and it’s now out of their hands. If your boss doesn’t reply to an e-mail you need feedback on, remember to follow up to ensure he or she received it. Also, keep in mind that e-mail is fine for basic communication, but if you need to relay important or time-sensitive details, pick up the phone—or better yet, walk down the hall and tell your boss in person.
What are some of the worst statements you’ve ever heard someone tell their boss? #SoundOff and follow Jamie on Twitter @JayNHarrison.