As the saying goes, “open mouth, insert foot.” If you’re lucky enough to land a job or internship in this economy, the last thing you would want to do is blow it on the first day. Read this list so you know what not to say on your first day of work.
1.) “Sorry I’m late, I got so f_cked up last night”
Say this, and you’ll most likely lose your job. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good party — hey, even your boss enjoys one too — but showing up late and hungover, and apologizing for it by using profanity, will make your employer find someone else who can do your job.
2.) “Are those real?”
Sometimes we speak without thinking, and in the corporate world, it can land you in court if you’re not careful. These days, it seems like anything can be deemed as sexual harassment, so just seal your lips the next time you see that attractive coworker’s “assets.”
3.) “That’s not my job”
Just like in life, there are unwritten rules at work. E-mailing your family and friends and surfing the web isn’t part of your job description and neither is your boss asking you to do him or her a favor. So when your boss assigns you to do something out of the ordinary on the first day, suck it up and do it. Besides, if you do well, your boss will notice that you are versatile and can handle additional responsibilities.
4.) “I don’t have time, ask someone else”
If you think about home when you’re at work and work when you’re at home, you won’t get much done. Just like “That’s not my job,” if your boss needs you to do something on your first day, concentrate and focus on what he or she needs you to do. For future reference, if you’re concerned about getting your assignments in on time but are super busy, explain your situation and say that you can take care of the request if some other projects are moved around. This will show that you care about doing well and will put forth your best work.
5.) “Friend me on Facebook/MySpace/Twitter”
If you even have or still have a MySpace account, that should be a cause for concern. Saying this puts your boss and coworkers in an awkward position, and should be avoided at all costs. Save the social interactions with them for office parties.
6.) “I can’t do it, it’s too hard”
Great. Not only will your boss and coworkers think you are uncooperative and irresponsible, but they will also think you’re a wuss. Saying short-sighted complaints like this are not helpful or proactive, so unless you have better ideas or a solution, don’t bother saying this and do the best you can.
7.) “That person (coworker, boss, boss’ assistant) is a jerk”
Any time you speak at work, there’s a good chance the person whom you are talking about will hear what you say and get back to you. These days, you also have to be careful about what you say online as comments and messages posted on forums and blogs can get you in trouble.
8.) “That’s a no-brainer”
What may seem like a simple concept to you may insult the intelligence of your coworkers if said with a patronizing tone. To them, it sounds like, “The answer is right in front of you, are you that stupid?”
9.) “To be honest with you … “
There’s probably no worse way to begin a sentence than with “To be honest with you.” No matter when this sentence is used, something negative usually follows. Worse, saying this raises the question of whether or not you are honest if you don’t say “To be honest with you.”
10.) “Whom did you vote for?”
You wouldn’t mix politics or religion at a bar, so neither should you bring it up at work. Even if your question doesn’t end up with you and the person you asked screaming at each other, you don’t know whom you are making uncomfortable around the rest of the office.
If all else fails…
Seal your lips, keep a positive attitude and diligently go about your work. There are other ways to screw up your first day of work, but a slip of the tongue can prevent you from keeping your job and performing well.