Monster.com, a global employment website, has published an article called "Nine Things Never to Say to Your Boss." Here are the nine things, with accompanying commentary by a non-Monster.
1. "I need a raise."
"I need a raise" is rarely met with, "Please name your price and may I offer you a cool beverage while I send the appropriate emails to ensure your raise takes effect immediately."
If you nefariously come into possession of payroll information and discover the guy next to you makes more than you, you can attempt to politely extort or otherwise shame your employer into giving you a raise. This could work.
There's a more likely outcome.
"He's worth it. You're not. Now bring me a cool beverage. Chop, chop."
2. "That just isn't possible."
Bosses never warm to such pessimism -- particularly in the face of absolute reality.
"Not only is this task possible, it insults all other tasks with its vast possibilities."
"Did I say 'not possible'? I meant possible. I'm Mr. Possible!"
"I find your request refreshingly possible."
3. "I can't stand working with --."
Although justified, it's best not to share this with your boss especially if his/her name fits in the long dash longing to complete the sentence.
Here's a tip.
"I love working with --. I'm IN love with --. I can't get any work done around -- because I'm so in love. Help me. Please."
At best, your boss will change your seat. At worst, you'll be spending much more time at home.
4. "I partied too hard last night -- I'm so hung over!"
It was Tequila, wasn't it? Well, that's not important.
What's important is that you never, ever tell your boss you're hung over. Tell colleagues who might cover for you (like helping you sit upright at your desk), but don't tell your boss.
The guy who inexplicably makes more money than you? Do not tell him.
5. "But I emailed you about that last week."
Your boss gets hundreds of emails a week, of which he cares about 7. Do not assume you are in his Special Email Club for Special People.
Follow up your crucial email with a Starbucks gift card or any lawn mowing or leaf blowing needs his yard might incur.
6. "It's not my fault."
I don't have a problem with this.
7. "I don't know."
Although more acceptable than "I don't know, dude," bosses frown on naked admissions of ignorance. Plus, it's a conversation stopper. Where do you go from "I don't know"?
I don't know.
See? The vicious cycle continues.
Bosses prefer this response:
"I don't know, but I'll find out."
This step regrettably leads to more work.
8. "But we've always done it this way."
You might think this is valuable perspective, but bosses tend to hear:
"But we've always done it this way. You know, before you came and changed everything that worked. And now we're supposed to think this way is better. Excuse me while I seek Tequila."
Preferred response: "I don't know, but I'll find out."
9. "Let me set you up with..."
That's just weird.