Here are a few career-damaging statements to avoid.

1. At 8 a.m. Monday morning, walking into the office
1. 周一早上8点,走进办公室

Don’t say: “Before you settle in, I need to talk to you about the presentation.”

Why it’s a problem: Is the presentation an actual fire that needs to be put out or just something that’s on your mind at that moment? People are still transitioning from the weekend. You may be catching someone unprepared, or she may have other critical deadlines that need her immediate attention.

Say instead: “Hope you had a great weekend! Let me know when you have time today to talk about the presentation.”

2. During a major meeting

Don’t say: “I don’t have the numbers today because the intern didn’t give them to me.”

Why it’s a problem: It doesn’t matter if the intern really did screw up—it looks like you’re throwing the blame on someone else. Which makes you seem like you’re not accountable, and it makes your colleagues wonder if they’ll be looking at the undercarriage of the bus next.

Say instead: “I don’t have the numbers right now, but I’m working with the intern to get them as soon as possible.”

3. Meeting your new boss

Don’t say: “I’m available anytime you need me. Here’s my home number, my personal email, my cell, and I’ll be on vacation next week, so here’s how you can reach me at the cabin.”

Why it’s a problem: It seems like the right thing to do—to be helpful and available. But studies show that an “always on” mentality isn’t conducive to better productivity. Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow, in fact, asserts in her TED Talk that the practice can even ultimately damage an organization.
问题出现在哪:这看起来是一件正确的事情——既能提供帮助也能腾出时间。但有许多研究表明,那种‘随时待命’的心理状态无法有助于创造力的提升。同时实际上,哈佛商业学院的教授Leslie Perlow在TED演讲中声称这种实践方法实际上最终还会损害一家机构的利益。

Say instead: “Let’s figure out the best ways for us to communicate if we need to reach each other during an emergency.”

4. During a review period

Don’t say: “Diversity is such a priority right now. You’ll have no problem getting promoted.”

Why it’s a problem: You’re asserting that someone’s accomplishments are less important than their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other marker of identity.

Say instead: “Do you want to go over any of your goals together before your official review? Last year I wished I’d prepared better.”

5. During a work crisis that corresponds with a personal emergency

Don’t say: “I know this project is a beast, but be grateful you don’t have kids. I was up all last night cleaning up vomit, and I’m on my way back there right now.”

Why it’s a problem: This is insensitive on so many levels. For one, if someone is trying to conceive, or is unhappily child-free, then baby puke would actually be a triumph. It implies that non-parents don’t have anything going on outside of work. Finally, it makes it sound like you don’t like being a parent—and that’s awkward for everyone.

Say instead: “I’m so sorry I have to leave right now. I’ll be available again at 7:30, and I’ll call to check in. Please, keep me posted, and I’ll catch up as soon as I can.”

6. When referring to colleagues

Don’t say: “My boyfriend Pedro in IT just fixed my email, it’s working great now!”

Why it’s a problem: Of course it’s not a Don Draper–level offense: You, Pedro and everyone else knows that he’s not actually your boyfriend, but when you refer to him like that, you’re downgrading his professionalism, and your own.

Say instead: “Pedro did such an amazing job fixing my email that I’m letting his boss know he’s a rock star.”

7. In your farewell announcement on the last day on the job

Don’t say: “I’ll miss you all. Here’s how you can link up with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat!”

Why it’s a problem: Chances are, you’ll run into people you know for the rest of your career if you’re in the same city or the same industry. Do you really want anyone you’ll encounter in a professional capacity to have an image of you half-naked taking a polar swim for charity?

Say instead: “I’ll miss you all. Please connect with me on LinkedIn so we can stay in touch.”