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5 Words Or Phrases That Will Upset Your Coworkers

5 Words Or Phrases That Will Upset Your Coworkers

Yes, the workplace can truly be a jungle. You really have to watch your written and spoken language when it comes to your coworkers because if you don’t, you might find that your coworkers are upset and sulky. A recent survey of 1,000 UK workers found that 65% thought that good working relationships with coworkers were essential if they were to remain happy and productive in the workplace.

Basically, that means a collaborative environment where envy, hatred, blind ambition and one-upmanship are all held in check for the good of everyone. If not, colleagues may get anxious, bad tempered and suffer from high blood pressure. It’s a health issue. Just look at this Reddit thread on what co-workers can do to make life downright unhealthy.

Here are some of the most common words and phrases that are going to raise people’s blood pressure and put them at risk. Just in case you use some of these, why not tone them down or cut them out altogether? You might get a few more smiles when you arrive in the morning.

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1. Urgent

Keep this one for real emergencies. Everyone is under a lot of pressure so why increase it? Adding this to your emails and sometimes even putting it in capitals is a type of terrorism which is going to backfire on you. Nobody will believe you after a while. It’s a bit like crying “wolf” – you know the story.

I had a boss who loved sending me emails like that. I can honestly say that my anxiety levels soared and she also had this awful habit of sending them all in one batch. I was admitted to hospital (no kidding!) and doctors discovered that it was not a heart attack – just anxiety. That chest pain was really scary, I can tell you. Urgent should only be used when the word is necessary.

2. We

When “we” is used correctly to communicate collaboration in teamwork, it rocks. But when you use it to tell the boss that “we came up with this great idea” when it was actually not your idea at all, then the real owner of the idea starts to fume internally. Collaboration and teamwork are cool but when you steal credit for a really good idea, then you might notice a drop in the temperature around you and a few glacial stares. Now, you would never do a thing like that, would you?

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“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

3. Me

Substitute “me” with “I” and use either term all the time and watch your coworkers getting agitated. If you like the limelight and you think you are a star, you might like to consider a change of strategy. Blowing your own trumpet is just plain noisy. Results are what count, not your propaganda and brainwashing skills.

I love the one-liner from this year’s Edinburgh Festival when Ally Houston says:-

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“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means “me”.

4. Meetings

Did you cringe when you read this word? Mention this word or read about the next meeting in your inbox and your heart starts to beat a little faster. What is it about meetings that make them universally hated? Usually, nothing gets done and the show offs get into the spotlight again. One UK survey shows that we waste 16 hours a week or a whole year of our working lives on these meetings.

“He (Warren Buffett) doesn’t let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings.”- Bill Gates

If you are a manager, set time limits and stick to them. If you a team member, suggest that meetings are only called when action plans need to be finalized or decisions have to be made. Go for tech free meetings so that people actually listen rather than consult their smartphones and laptops.

5. I’m not racist, but……

You are making a disclaimer and following it by an offensive remark so, of course, your coworkers are going to shudder, roll their eyes or just avoid you at the water cooler. Substitute the word “racist “ with “sexist”, “homophobic” or whatever and you are the one who is more likely to offend a large number of colleagues and their friends. When you finish by saying, “Some of my best friends are black/gay, etc”. then you really have put your foot in it. You are just flaunting your prejudices and trying to marginalize minority groups by making ridiculous generalizations.

Can you think of any other words or phrases that really annoy or upset your coworkers? Tell us why you stopped using them in the comments.

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Featured photo credit: DS Meetings at HQ/Jim Larrison via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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