When it comes to mistakes in the workplace we know they happen, but there are some phrases that can cause your boss to go on high alert, and question you further. Here are three phrases that don’t hold up with most bosses.
1. I didn’t get that email.
The problem isn’t usually that you didn’t get that email, it’s that you got so many emails you didn’t notice the one your boss is talking about. Rather than saying you didn’t get it be honest and say you didn’t read it. Chances are that email is in there, unless your mailbox was so full it couldn’t receive it or the attachments were so large it wasn’t received. And, if you aren’t reading emails because you’ve been focused on a deadline for a big project, let your boss know. Saying you didn’t get it just allows your boss to show a sent receipt and point out that it was sent, which is a conversation you can easily avoid, and really just distracts from the subject matter of the email in question.
2. I am sick.
You may really be sick, and if that is the case, make sure you are taking a day off to stay home and rest, not recoup laying by the pool. If you are sick, here are some tips for calling in. If you just need a day off, schedule one instead of taking an unexpected sick day. Everyone deserves to use their time off, and if you ask in advance and make sure all your lose ends are tied up at work, you manager will be more likely to be supportive of your time out of the office.
3. I’m pretty sure I turned that in.
If a manager asks where you filed a report or sent a file to a client, they are probably asking because they’ve heard otherwise. Now is not the time to use words like “pretty sure” or “thought I did.” If you don’t know the answer to the question, tell your boss you’ll need to check your files, computer, or desk, and get back to them with an answer. It’s alright to say you can’t remember, but you’d be happy to check and get back to them right away.
What’s in a phrase that makes you question the truth behind the statement? Often times a quick language shift prevents you from further accusations. If you’re vague and dishonest in your initial answer, that’s only going to come back to haunt you as you work through solving the situation.