5 Things You Should Never Say To Your Boss -- And What To Say Instead

04/30/2015 08:49 am ET | Updated Apr 20, 2016

aliza light leave your mark book
Aliza Licht, Donna Karan's PR guru and author of the book Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career, gives us her hard-won advice on the most effective ways to communicate at the office.

By Clarissa Cruz

1. Don't Say: "I left a message for him."

"No one checks voicemail as quickly or as often as they check email, so you can't equate leaving one voicemail hours earlier to really making an effort," says Licht, voice of the @dkny Twitter handle. "If something is time sensitive, don't leave a message. I would always go with emailing first and following up with a call after if you don't hear back.

Do Say: "I've tried reaching him multiple ways and will be sure to follow up again shortly."

2. Don't Say: "I'm going on a vacation on X date."

Do Say: "Is it okay if I take the following days off? If so, I would like to book a vacation."

"You need to ask for permission first, and then book the time off," Licht explains. "Your boss may have projects planned that she hasn't let you in on yet."

3. Don't Say: "I'm so tired today."

Do Say: Nothing.

"Don't complain about being tired," she says. "I think social media in general has made everyone communicate in a more casual way. But you still need to mind your words and how you're reflecting on yourself."

4. Don't Say: "You never told me to do that."

Do Say: "I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I had to do that."

"This way, you're not taking the blame for something that isn't your fault, but you're not pointing the finger back at your boss," Licht explains.

5. Don't Say: "I've been here two years and I think I deserve a raise."

"Time is meaningless. You need to show why you deserve a raise. No one likes an entitled person," she says.

Do Say: "I would love the opportunity to walk you through my accomplishments this year. I think I have grown a lot in my position and I believe I'm ready for more responsibility."

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