6 things to never say at work

  | 4 min read

Don’t tarnish your reputation by making whiny, haughty or untrue statements. Remember, silence can be golden — especially if it prevents you from uttering one of these potentially career-damaging phrases:


  1. “I can’t take on any more work. I’m completely overwhelmed already.”
    Run your fingers through your hair and let out a big sigh during this lament and colleagues will either nominate you for an Academy Award or provide the number of a good therapist. Professionals work on solving problems, not creating drama.

“Yes, the recession and corporate downsizing has meant fewer people doing more work; however, employers want employees who can manage their workloads and communicate when they have reached their maximum capacity,” says Lisa Quast, CEO of Seattle-based Career Woman Inc. and author of “Your Career, Your Way!” “A much better comment is, ‘Let’s look at my project list and see where we can work this in. It might mean moving something else out to a later date.”


  1. “Joe is an idiot.”
    Yes, maybe he is — and he may be your boss someday. Don’t say something you’ll later regret. Even if he doesn’t find out, bad-mouthing a co-worker can make listeners wonder what you say about them when they aren’t around.

“Never throw your colleagues under the bus or talk about them behind their back,” says career coach Roy Cohen, author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” “Colleagues who trust and admire you will be your best support system to promote your reputation as desirable and valuable. When they don’t feel that you are transparent in your intentions, your disruptive actions will raise doubts about your ability to be both a team player and a team motivator. Both are essential assets for effective leadership.”


  1. “That’s not fair!”
    Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions and co-author of the upcoming book “Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management,” notes that this statement is frequently uttered by younger workers. “It may sound harsh, but in the working world, fair does not always mean equal. It can be difficult to understand that at work it’s not always fair up and down, but it’s also not fair across. For example, a company may hire 100 entry-level employees on the same day. Are they all going to get promoted or receive raises on the same day? No. They may work different hours a week, at different locations and for different types of people. It will never be fair in your career, so get over it.”


  1. “That’s not how we did it at my old company.”
    Make such a comment and colleagues may wonder why you ever left the other employer. As Quast notes, “No one likes an arrogant know-it-all who thinks they’re better than others or who believes their previous company did things better.” Skip the comparisons and focus instead on articulating your ideas clearly and respectfully.


  1. “I’ll have it on your desk by 3 p.m.” (when you know you won’t)
    Your boss and colleagues have deadlines, too. When you fail to deliver, it affects others. On those rare occasions when you can’t fulfill a promise, have the decency to give a heads-up. Deadlines may be changeable or perhaps other workers can shift focus to help out.

“(Don’t) tell people — whether they are colleagues, vendors, clients and customers or management — what you think they want to hear instead of the truth,” Cohen says. “For example, if you knowingly provide a client with incorrect information about a delivery date and you fail to honor that deadline, you risk tarnishing both your credibility and the reputation of your company. The potential impact may be enormous as customers abandon you for a more reliable provider.”


  1. “I’m bored.”
    Nothing good ever comes from this statement. Overworked colleague Mary will want to slug you, cubicle neighbor Jeff will think you’re a slacker, and your boss will question why he’s bothering to give you a paycheck this week.

“There’s always something you could be doing,” Karsh says. Take the initiative to tackle new projects; don’t wait to be asked to do something. Be innovative and find new projects to work on to make your boss’s life easier. Figure out what is keeping your boss up at night, and solve that problem.”

Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.


  1. i am jobless and in need of one.can you connect me somewhere,i have a diploma in forensics and climinal invetigation

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  2. Greetings
    I find this site to be so informative and educative sadly i forgot my used name.
    How can i be assisted on this.

    Kind Regards

  3. Greetings. I have bachelors of arts with education and a post graduate diploma in public administration i need a job any where.Can u plz connect me to any administrative job

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    I have a diploma in business management and two years experience in the sales and marketing field,I need a job please connect me.

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  5. Nice article.

    I have a degree in Law and i am an advocate of the high court. i have one year post admission expeience.

    I currently work at a law firm, but i am looking for a job in an NGO.

    Any assistance will be appreciated.

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  7. You guys are awesome reading your updates makes me feel motivated, I am still a student pursuing a degree in hrm but I would like to volunteer before I graduate

  8. hello, i am catherine with a bachelors degree in environmental studies and community development. i am currently working at Eco Green community based organisation of which i am one of the pioneers. i am looking for a job in any entity to contribute my sustainability knowledge at a wider scope. Thank you.

  9. Hi am Solomon am a form certificate holder but I have done computer packages. I am good in it field because I have been training different computer packages for the last 7 year and I have worked with different organization under contract bases. Currently an working as a salesman / trainer of an accounts package called Tally. Am looking for another job. That can suit my qualifications. I believe in experience. Please assist.

  10. Hi,i like this artical soo educative,iam a technician in the mobile phone industry,i would appreciate if i can get any assistance in getting work.

  11. morning
    thank you for the article and i do appreciate so much. personally i got a job from your website here in Uganda, but i am looking for a better job back in Kenya Nairobi. i have now 5 years experience 3 years as a accountant and 2 years as a Microsoft Dynamic Nav consultant

  12. Mercy K Mwiti

    Thanks for the words of wisdom, This will help us be better workers in future.


  13. Morning am Maurine Mulupi I have a diploma II in business management from Kim am desperately looking for a job please assist.thanks

  14. That is worthy reading. I liked it.I have a degree in computer science and technology. Currently not employed and looking for a IT job in any firm

  15. Thanks for bringing to my attention where I sometimes go wrong at work.Good jobs are hard to get and keep too because of the big mistakes we make from the beginning when we are looking for them

    • Hello Beryl,
      Thanks for your readership.
      We appreciate your support and contribution, keep visiting our career center for enlightening articles.


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    I have always applied for jobs with brighter monday but have never been called for an interview,until one day that I received an email from you calling me for an interview but it turned out to be a scam.It was a great lie.

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  17. this article seemed to be directed at me , let me change and looking forward to a positive work attitude and being on the lookout !

    • Hello Charles,
      We pleased to hear that you liked our article.
      Pleased do implement what you have learned and keep it Brighter Monday for more informative articles.


  18. nice article there.
    Am charity I have a masters in project management and a degree in finance second class upper. I have over 7 years experience in credit management and am currently working as a credit control assistant in a multinational logistics firm and would appreciate if you can help me get a managerial job in my field.

  19. Very helpful advice
    Am Daniel

    Currently working as an Assistant Director Finance. With PHD MBA and CPAK with GOK. am looking for a job with NO in Kenya preferably Health sector

  20. Hi, I am a graduate with 2yrs banking experience. I am currently looking for an opportunity in a financial institution.

    • Hello Nicholas,
      We endeavor to bring our readers relevant and practical tips.
      Keep it Brighter Monday for more enlightening career advice.


  21. Wow!! This are the common things that people do and they are humiliating and discouraging. Thanks and keep advising us to all those who are concern.

  22. Hahahah….. I like the I’m bored bit! This is how I usually put it, “Time really moves slowly when operations are low!”
    Otherwise it’s a great article.

    • Hello Edward,
      Thank you for taking time to go through our article.
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    • Thanks for taking time to go through our article. Keep it here for more informative articles.


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  23. Hello,

    Am a travel Consultant by profession. have been in the industry for the last 15 years and would really want to change my career. what is your advise on this line?

    • Hi Janet,

      The first thing you need to identify what career line you would like to venture into. Make sure that the career you choose is both marketable and is an area of your interest. This will ensure you avoid frustrations of the industry. Begin conducting research on that particular industry and gather as much information as you can about the industry so that you are well prepared.

      Also, understand the requirements of the industry and begin gathering them e.g qualifications. Do not be afraid of starting small, as long as you start. Do not postpone the shift if you feel its the right direction for your career.

      All the best Janet.


  24. How wonderful it feels to read this articles. I feel like am back in class and really do appreciate every info you have shared.

    • Thanks for the feedback Monica,
      We have more informative articles in store for our readers, therefore make sure you keep it Brighter Monday.


  25. Thanks for good words of wisdom.they will enable us to behave well in our job places.i have a diploma in analytical chemistry looking for a job in any phramaceutical company because i have worked in such institution and i have gain experience in such field.

    • Hello Stephen,
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  26. Thanks do much for such a piece of information you lock out the world. Very good thank u and please keep on writing such important articles to us. Am really so grratful. Thank u.

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  27. Thanks so much for such a piece of information you lock out the world. Very good thank u and please keep on writing such important articles to us. Am really so grratful. Thank u.

    • Thanks for your support and readership Esther.
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  28. Very informative message & trust me I’ve heard a couple of the points going around. Food for thought. Will sure share

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  29. Hello guys,
    Am so much proud of what you’re doing..feeding us with sweet pieces of advise..So thankful

    • Salim thanks a lot for the feedback, we highly appreciate it.
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