10 Things You Can't Tell Your Boss

10 Things You Can't Tell Your Boss

10 Things You Can't Say To Your Boss

By Amanda Frank
Monster Contributing Writer

I’ve reported to a lot of people over the years. And during that time I’ve told my boss things I should have perhaps kept to myself. Divulging too much inner dialogue isn’t always the best career move. You want to nurture the image your boss had of you when deciding to bring you on board. You do need to open up and communicate; being overly reserved won’t help you build a constructive bond.

A good a rule of thumb is you want to avoid making your boss visibly uncomfortable. You definitely don’t want to make her cringe. It’s hard to find the right balance. How much information is too much? Here are ten things to keep on the tip of your tongue.

Work Scenario 1: You’re calling in sick. Or you’re back from a sick day. Don’t give your boss a play by play of the stuff that came out of your body. Don’t use words like dry heaving. These embellishments won’t make your boss more sympathetic nor will it make your story sound more credible. You’ll only succeed in making your boss nauseas and associate you with disease. It’s fine to be sick every once in a while. You’re legally entitled to an allotment of sick days.

Work Scenario 2: Don’t tell your boss you’re attracted to him or her. Don’t mention that your boss showed up in a sexy dream last night. Don’t compliment his/ her nice body. Don’t put either of yourselves in such a dangerous position. The imbalance of power is not in your favor. Save face, save your job. Keep things professional. This is no line to cross for any boss worth his or her salt.

Work Scenario 3: You’re in a work related meeting with your boss. There’s something non-work related weighing on your mind. You were going to wait until your next therapy session to talk about it, but it’s interfering with your ability to concentrate. Your boss is looking pretty approachable at the moment. Should you bring it up? No. Even if you’re about to have a breakthrough don’t tell your boss. Call your therapist and try to get an earlier appointment. Call your best friend. Write it in your journal. Check out You Tube for ten-minute guided meditation at your desk.

Work Scenario 4: You got lucky last night. You’re beaming this morning. Even if you’re asked point blank why you’re in such a good mood you should hold this one back. Same thing goes if you’re out at a restaurant/bar/conference with your boss and you run into a notch on your belt. You exchange pleasantries and make the appropriate introductions (if you’re still on speaking terms) but you do not turn to your boss with a sly fox raised eyebrow and let on that any coveting happened.

Work Scenario 5: You have a wicked story about a boss from your past. You love telling it because your old boss sounds so ridiculous and you come off like a regular hero. Portraying your former supervisor or manager like a buffoon or in any derogatory manner will only make your current boss worry about the sort of legacy they will be dealt. You don’t want to instill doubt. And you don’t want your boss to start thinking of you in the future past tense. Skip the story.

Work Scenario 6: You’re in a mood. You really don’t feel like working today. Plunging toilets is more appealing to you than doing your job today (unless that’s your job in which case I leave it to you to think of something worse.) Never articulate that or anything to make you sound like an ungrateful, entitled brat because it could irk your boss into doing something that will remind you how replaceable you really are.

Work Scenario 7: We all have a past. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of but learned from. These events might be classic. They might be sure to get a laugh. But they will cost you your polished professional image. Don’t tell your boss what you snorted in college. Don’t bring up that thing for which you were acquitted. Or the year you spent in an institution for wearing tights and acting like a vigilante. All of them, fantastic growing experiences. Keep them to yourself.

Work Scenario 8: Your boss keeps handing you projects with delivery dates you can’t possibly meet unless you stay late and come in on the weekend. Don’t say yes all the time. Occasional overtime is normal. But you need to set expectations with your boss. Don’t promise the impossible. Don’t overextend yourself all of the time. It’s unreasonable and unsustainable. Tell your boss to step off your cape, Wonderworker. Adjust your burnout inducing workload before you’re too depleted. Or start looking elsewhere.

Work Scenario 9: Your boss calls you into a meeting and delegates a task for you to complete before you leave. It’s almost quitting time and you have plans so you decide you’ll finish it tomorrow morning. Don’t tell your boss you can’t stick around because you’re heading out to meet your colorist for a root touch up. Unless you’re a Ford model it’s the equivalent of saying work is not your priority. Ditto for manicures, massages and anything frivolous. You need to come up with a better excuse.

Work Scenario 10: Don’t call your boss an expletive. Don’t tell your boss off. Some things aren’t so easy to take back. Hotheaded employees are normally deemed a liability. You don’t want to lose your job and burn your bridges. If you can’t hold your tongue you might need anger management. If you really hate your boss, you should start hunting for a new one.