Here's the Scoop: May 19, 2010
You don’t say...
When I go online, it’s sometimes interesting to click on the stories that the Home Page folks have deemed important. Just last week, there was a headline that screamed out at me: “The Worst Words to Say at Work.”
I naturally figured that I knew all of these — and a few more. But I wanted to check the list anyhow. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to see that the first word on the list was of the three-letter variety: “Try.”
According to the folks who monitor workplaces, “Try is a weasel word. People who use it probably have no real intention of doing what you ask.” I’ll try to remember that one.
Next on the list of words that shouldn’t be part of the workplace conversation is “Whatever.” The workplace word police describe “whatever” as “a verbal slap in the face. It’s a way to respond to a person without actually responding.” Yes, it is. And I like it. Sorry, “whatever” is staying in my workplace vocabulary — it’s certainly easier than performing a distasteful task.
More bad words
“Maybe” and “I don’t know” also make the list. Now, I ask you: What office could possibly run without these words? I don’t know.
This brings us to “I’ll get back to you.” This phrase is apparently most common “when people need to buy time or avoid revealing a project’s status.” To me, using this response is much more comforting than truthfully telling someone: “I have way too much to do! Quit bugging me — I haven’t even started yet.”
“If” is a very small word, but it reportedly takes on a large meaning in the workplace. “People who use ‘if’ are usually playing the blame game and betting against themselves,” the article states. “People who rely on conditional responses are fortifying themselves against potential failure.” Kind of like the folks who are predicting the end of the world in 2012 and taking survival courses.
Another response thinly disguised as an excuse is “Yes, but…” Apparently this is used by workers who “don’t really want answers, help or solutions.” I would agree with this, but…
Also making the list of bad terms to use at work is “I guess.” The authors note that this is usually said in a weak, soft-spoken, shoulder-shrugging manner and is another excuse to shirk responsibility.” Personally, I prefer this method of responsibility shirking to the loud, obnoxious variety. “I guess” can stay.
Which brings us to the always popular, “We’ll see.” This term is related to something that parents frequently say and is closely tied to buying time. I hate to be too critical, but I have always viewed “We’ll see” as a cause for hope…kind of like when my father called us in from playing hide-n-seek on a warm summer’s evening and we pleaded for “five more minutes.” And always got it.
Naturally, I think it’s important to seriously consider the wisdom of an article like “The Worst Words to Say at Work.” Will I put this information to good use? Well, maybe; I don’t know. I’ll try, if it seems beneficial. Yes, we’ll see how it goes, I guess, but…I’ll get back to you. Whatever.