6 things you should never say at work

Whilst the Village People proved to us that actions can indeed speak louder than words, the unwritten minefield that is the office has ensured that anything you say can and will be used to paint a picture of you both as a person and a professional (and occasionally held against you in a court of law).

Now while the old adage of think before you speak seems more fitting for the playground than the water cooler, it appears to become no less apt once you learn to knot a tie. Much more than just seven dirty words though, the list of things you shouldn't say at work is infinite and failing to catch them before they make that transition from thought to speech bubble could prove detrimental regardless of the intention.  

1)  "I was so drunk on Saturday and stole a llama from the circus"

Though you might think that everyone enjoys hearing about the drunken adventures of a 9 to 5 filing clerk, you really should refrain from revealing every detail of your party lifestyle. Jaegerbombs at 2am and waking up on the wrong side of someone else's bed might be your idea of a good time but doesn't exactly scream "promote me!'

2) "This isn't how we did it at my old place."

While you think you're being helpful, you're actually echoing the sentiments of someone who compares their ex to the person their currently sharing a bed with. Constructive advice on how systems and services can be improved is by all means valid, but constantly harping on about your previous job could soon lead you right back there.

3) "I don't get paid to do that" / "that's not my job"

Often said in frustration, implying that certain jobs are below you or believing that your job role is fixed suggests that you're not a team player. There may be no I team, but there's certainly one in 'fired.'

4) "I don't get paid enough for this"

Closely related to 'that's not my job,' insinuating that your time is somehow worth more depending on what assignment you've been tasked with is likely to be counterproductive. You're probably thinking that saying this might encourage your employer to part with a few more pennies, but it's usually those who get their heads down without protesting who profit.

5) "So two stereotypes walk into a bar."

Stop yourself right there. If you have to look around before opening your mouth, I'd recommend that you don't open your mouth at all. While the Richard Keys dictionary may list racism and sexism as synonyms for 'banter,' jokes and comments of poor taste can divide the office and hurt your popularity.

6) "I make a really good brew"

Admitting your superhuman tea and coffee making abilities is a classic rookie mistake as this will undoubtedly lead to more time spent at the kettle than at your desk. We all understand the need to ingratiate yourself to colleagues, especially if you're the office newbie, but the tea round can be tamed by no one and you'll soon find that it becomes a recurring inconvenience. Top tip; make a memorably bad brew when you first start and I guarantee you'll never be asked again.


It was once said that it is better to remain silent and appear a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Now while this isn't the best of advice for a stadium announcer, it would perhaps make a fitting post-it-note around the border of your computer screen.