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11 things feds should never tell the boss

There are certain things you should never tell your boss. You’re late and disheveled because you knocked back a few last night. You missed a deadline because you were glued to a reality-TV marathon. You failed to show up to a meeting because you just didn’t feel like going.

In many cases, it’s better to just bite your tongue than to overshare with your boss, especially if you're a federal employee and under more scrutiny than ever. Avoiding those awkward foot-in-mouth moments is not only a must but it can end up saving you a lot of trouble -- even your job.

So what are some real-life examples of remarks feds have made to their bosses that they shouldn’t have? I asked Diane Hansen Denholm, former fed and current vice president at consulting firm North Highland, to share some of the off-limits remarks she had heard throughout the years. Together with her team she came up with 11 examples that perfectly illustrate occasions where silence would have been golden.


1. “You know I’m eligible to retire.”

2. “That’s not in my job description.”

3. “I did a pretty good job this year; here is my write-up for my monetary award”

4. “I really don’t want to go to that meeting, can’t you handle it by yourself?”

5. “Congress doesn’t really need to know this stuff.”

6. “I’m not sure where I got that data.”

7. “I prefer to work alone; I’m not good at working on teams”

8. “I can’t meet your deadline.”

9. “I have always had a crush on you.” (Said during a negative performance review.)

10. “I know you’re a woman…”

11. “I don’t know why you need that information.”


What are some other inappropriate comments you’ve heard as a manager? Have you heard your colleagues say something they shouldn’t? Share your stories in the comments. Here, oversharing is welcome.

 

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Apr 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM


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