Here’s a few choice inappropriate comments that seem benign in nature but really have deeper vitriol. I vote that these are removed from office lexicon in 2016, who’s with me?
“Working hard or hardly working?”
This is just poor form. It implies jokingly that this person is a slacker. While it is in jest, be careful with making jokes at another’s expense. In the professional atmosphere, I try to permeate an atmosphere of lifting co-workers up not down.
“You look particularly nice today!”
Another phrase that varies but the hidden passive statement is “You don’t normally look nice.” While we’re eager to compliment others because, well, we know compliments make others feel good, unfortunately, this one points out the opposite.
“You look tired/sick…”
Mayday. Mayday. Abandon ship! You know how you aren’t supposed to ask a woman is she’s pregnant. This ranks right up there. Unless this person says “I’m feeling ill” then don’t point it out. Instead ask something like “How are you feeling today?”
“What do you work banker’s hours?”
or “Hey part-timer!”
or “I never see you”
or “You’re always gone”
Can we just put these phrases into the holy grail storage container to be stored away forever? a) Another person’s schedule does not diminish your own. b) If a co worker works less or more hours than you it doesn’t mean you are better or worse than them. Technology today allows access to employees 24/7. Just because your hours are different than another’s hours, doesn’t mean they haven’t done their job.
“Sure, but what are you going to do for me?”
True story. Just no.
a) The sexist nature of this comment alone makes it inappropriate enough and b) it also demeans the other person by accusing that they need to “be stronger.” This phrase is hardly ever used in a motivational or uplifting manner, but usually as a response to a perceived whining or complaining. It lacks compassion. Again, stick with phrases that praise others, not deject.
“Women are neater/more organized/cleaner than men…”
Ditto on point A above but even further we’re not just demeaning one person but an entire group of individuals. It implies that men are messy and unorganized which isn’t true, but even further it opens up a stereotypical window to the “that’s a woman’s job.” Dishes in the office break room? Files need to be alphabetized? Guess a woman can only do those jobs. But executive level, critical thinking and business networking or For Men Only.
Heard any “not cool” phrases? What are your File 13s? Tell us yours!