Words you should never say and lines you should never cross- with your BOSS (Self-censoring!)

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From extreme spitefulness to great camaraderie, we must have seen it all with bosses. Maintaining a perfect balance of both professional and personal life without a hitch, comes with experience and the respect you have for your profession and people around you. Perhaps, taking any professional connection to personal level can just screw up your career in seconds. Even if you’ve had a boss you’ve been friends with, the crux of the situation is, at work, there are,

  • Words you should never say

  • Things you should never write

  • Lines you should never cross

Any dumb move, or slip of the tongue can swiftly ruin all the years of your hard work. When you choose to be in a profession, you must work on your fitness and be worthy of it too. To say simply, no matter who the boss is (your friend or foe), there are certain suavities at work that one needs to follow, till hell freezes!! Yes!!

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Words you should never say:

Whether you express them deliberately or otherwise, there are certain words which can get your boss fuming (even if he chooses to maintain composure now), you are sure to face the repercussions later. Here are a few examples of such words!

“No”, “It’s useless”, “I don’t like him/her/it”, “what’s in it for me?”, “Why should I do it”, “I don’t know”, “That’s not my job”,” I told you already”, “We never do it that way”, “You are wrong”, “Our previous boss was so cool”

never say things boss

Don’t they all sound slump and unprofessional? There is nothing positive, challenging, motivating, promising in these words and most apparently are thoughtless and negligent. Be considerate, there is a reason why your boss is YOUR boss.

Not able to fix upon what’s good and what’s not? Then, it’s better to practice empathy. I said so, as I know it does not come naturally to all, and there’s nothing wrong about that. Imagining yourself in the place of others will help you censor yourself before you utter the word.

Things you should never write:

It looks like email etiquette, partly yes! The most powerful mode of business communication is written communication. However, there are some scenarios in which, this mode is counter-productive. Never use your writing skills and/or technology to express,

  • Dislikes and disagreements
  • Informal Language/dialogue
  • Conflicts
  • Lengthy explanations
  • Salary Negotiations
  • Personal feedback
  • Personal Conversations
  • Concerns with peers

never say things boss

Even when you are dissatisfied at work, uninformed, irrelevent CC’ing/ BCC’ing of your Boss’s manager/s to escalate your concern is only going to backfire.

Be loyal, be mature! Always remember, therefore, the best quick fix to sort out differences is to TALK in person. Arguing in emails or IMs (instant messengers) is awful and unprofessional, you never know when there will be a slip of the pen.

So, get your point across productively, not destructively!   

Lines you should never cross:

If words and phrases were one thing, there are certain self- boundaries you need to set, no matter how friendly your boss is.

never say things boss

Bypassing the Hierarchy:

The official hierarchy exists for many valid reasons, and primarily for an effective management. In all matters of concern and regard, your immediate Boss should be your first point of contact. Your company expects you to respect this practice. Escalating matters, formally discussing work, by skipping hierarchy levels creates havoc and distortion at workplace. It’s an outright insult to your boss. Can things get normal once that trust is broken? Guess not!

Taking things for granted:

Many corporate companies encourage working in casual environments only to make their employees feel less stressful about stringent work cultures. This leverage shouldn’t be taken too far to consider things insignificant. Here are some instances like that, below:

  1. Disregarding/ questioning/ ridiculing your Manager’s mettle
  2. Making (personal) use of company’s property
  3. Exploiting the choice of working from home
  4. Not intimating about leaves/ vacation / short term absence
  5. Discussing your family concerns to get excuse from work
  6. Not maintaining/ adhering to company’s standards at work
  7. Missing, updating departmental records just because your boss is friendly
  8. Spending productive time in sharing personal stories

All the above, are only a few examples of the lines you should never cross no matter how casual your boss and his working style is.

Confidential Information:

Inquiring about who would get promoted from your department, intriguing to obtain the inside information on new policies, news etc., requesting your boss to reveal any kind confidential information only expose your incompetence and unethical behavior              .

Expecting Favoritism:

One of the side effects of having a friendly boss is the tendency of anticipating favors. Asking/expecting personal favors of any sort and any degree are plainly amateur and witless.

  • “I hope I am considered for promotion this time”,
  • “Hope you don’t consider that as a leave”
  • “Hope I get the highest appreciation”
  • “Guess, these rules don’t apply for me”
  • “I don’t feel like working today, I need a break “,
  • “Suppose, you too feel that I am worthy of this deal/project!”
  • “Hope am not the first/next person to be laid off”
  • I’ve seen people asking their boss to get coffee (It’s a different thing if a boss gets you a cup on his own),

Other Goof ups/Pathetic blunders:

Additionally, don’t experiment making these blunders with your boss, like, asking them out, telling them how pathetic your job/company is, discussing about your outside job hunting, deliberately being non-compliant to the company’s rules and regulations (unless you wish to be fired), losing temperament in public, challenging your boss’s judgement ….all these can clearly declare you unfit for your job.


The “slip of the tongue” moments are not just limited to the ones mentioned above. With experience, you gain that wit and professional wisdom to express yourself in a most productive way. Irrespective of who and how the boss is, all they note is the intent of your expression.

In short, unless you don’t intend to make yours the “Best Worst Story”, maintain a good professional esteem of yourself and for others.

Although you can stand up to speak when you feel you must, there is a certain protocol to follow.

  • Think before you speak – self-censoring !
  • Never respond when your angry
  • Choose the right mode of communication
  • Do not mix profession with personal life
  • Display good corporate civility!

All images source here

Rajeshwari Ogirala

Rajeshwari is a writer, Biz Development Manager. Passionate about people and personal development. Believes in sharing her knowledge and instilling positive work culture in people.

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1 Response

  1. Ramachandra rao says:

    Nice article Sravanthi.