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Strict, demanding, ruthless – these are the stereotypical images that flash in everyone’s mind when they think of the word, “boss.”

But in today’s setting, especially in workplaces that adapt the “work-play” culture, some bosses choose to cut his/her subordinates some slack and be a little casual.

However, that’s not a valid excuse for crossing the line.

A boss, no matter how kind, friendly, and outgoing, is always a boss. At the end of the day, this person decides about giving your raises, promotions, and bonuses.

That said, you should always maintain a level of professionalism when it comes to speaking with him/her.

Any careless, wrong statement, like saying one of the following things, could really put your career and reputation at risk.

1. “I don’t have the time”

Rule number one: “No” is never an option. When you’re asked to do something and you’re already occupied with a lot of other projects, ask your boss which tasks to prioritize instead of refusing immediately.

Always having that “can do” attitude can go a long way.

2. “I don’t know how to do that”

Again, don’t take no for an answer. If you’re not exactly sure how to do it, ask. Seek help. Learn how to get started. Is there a colleague who can give you instructions?

Is there an online resource you can access? Leave the impression that even if you’ve got little to zero knowledge about the task, you’re more than willing to do everything to learn.

3. “Yes, boss”

Okay, we already know it’s a no-no to say no, but it’s worse to make promises you can’t keep especially if you personally think it’s impossible.

If he/she asks you to work overtime every single time, come in for work during the weekends, finish your tasks while you’re on a vacation break, and other unreasonable things, you may tell your boss off.

Don’t hesitate to set expectations.

4. “I’m seeking job opportunities somewhere else”

Employers are aware that an employee could be rethinking his/her place in the company and is seeking new opportunities somewhere else. But telling this information directly can be a slap in the face.

Try to give them two weeks prior notice when you find a new job.

5.“The former boss didn’t do it this way”

Do you want to be compared to an ex-worker in your position? Of course not. Chances are that your new boss doesn’t want to feel that way too.

Yes, you may offer your suggestions but never imply that you are comparing your new boss’ ways with your old one. Your current boss may think that you are someone who is not flexible and competent enough to adapt to change.

You may end up being cut out of new assignments or projects, which is not good for your career.

6. “Got nothing to do, can I leave now?”

Just because your work is done and you’ve got nothing to do doesn’t mean you may ask to leave. Try to be as productive as possible. See if there are new projects on the horizon. Organize your desk.

Bosses are enthralled to see diligent and initiative employees who can maximize their working hours.

7. “I’m bored”

The feeling of dissatisfaction is inevitable. It comes to almost every employee at some point and you just have to deal with it and find ways to bring back your enthusiasm and productivity.

It’s not your boss’ responsibility to make your job more fun since you are being paid to do it.

8. “I need a raise so badly”

It’s okay to discreetly ask for a raise. However, your boss doesn’t need to know all the details of your financial strain.

Never go into salary negotiations, talking about needing more money rather than presenting a concrete evidence of your accomplishments in the workplace.

9. “Sorry, I’m hungover”

If you’re in a laidback office setting, chances are that you have developed a friendly relationship with your boss. He/she may engage in small talks about your relationship status and other entertaining personal matters to break the ice.

However, it’s unprofessional to talk about the fun you had last night partying. Your boss doesn’t need to know how much you drank so you can justify why the quality of your work looks like crap.

If it’s becoming habitual and it affects your performance, your boss may assume you’re not taking your job seriously.

10. “I have a crush on you”

You want to establish a good relationship with your boss – a good professional relationship, not an uncomfortable, romantic one. Don’t put yourself in such an uncomfortable position. There’s a difference between complimenting his suit and complimenting his nice body.

Even if you find him/her physically attractive, there are certain compliments that are better kept to yourself. Keep things professional.

11. “Let me tell you about the details of my sick day”

Getting sick is inevitable and you’re legally entitled to a number of sick days. That said, it’s unnecessary to state detailed information about your sick day.

You don’t have to enumerate the things that came out of your body to make your story sound more believable.

12. “I’ve got some personal issues, including…”

Just broke up with your partner? Death in the family? Any disturbing personal issues you’ve been wanting to talk about? These are just some of the painful topics to open up with a friend, a family member, and a therapist – not with a boss.

You try not to think about your workload when you’re relaxing at home, right? In the same way, you should also try to set your personal strains aside when you’re at work.

Take away all your distractions and try to remain as professional as possible. If the problem is way overpowering to the point it’s affecting your productivity, you may speak with your boss and ask to take a quick break.

Your boss will surely appreciate the gesture of taking the time to rest and get yourself together so you can fully recover and deliver effectively.

Written By
Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for HR Dept Au, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful tips on career management is her cup of tea.

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