Top 10 Things You May Not Say To Your Boss

I just read an article, 28 Things You Should Never Say To Your Boss on Yahoo Finance. I am not sure about all 28 things listed in this article, but I do agree with some of these. Here is my personal top 10 list that you probably should not say to your boss.  Or sometimes it may be understood.

  1. That’s not part of my job
  2. I don’t know
  3. How do I benefit from this
  4. Well, I did my best
  5. I’ll leave
  6. I just assumed that…
  7. At my last job we did it this way
  8. I don’t have a solution
  9. I can’t
  10. I am amazing 

Being a developer is not an easy task these days. Every client is looking for quicker turnaround. Here is one of my Top 10 Things Every Developer Must Do.

When you don’t deliver a solution on time, there will be times when you would want to say one or more of these phrases to your boss. I’ve been a developer for my whole life. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. But in no way, you should be using any of the above listed phrases. 

Note: This article assumes that you're working on a software project. You're a part of one of my team. If you tell me one of these lines, what I am thinking in my head :). Some points may apply outside of the project development.
Remember, the success of a company, or a project, or a team depends on the performance of the entire team, not just one member.
Team work wins 
OK here is my personal interpretation of these phrases and what answer should you give. So be careful when you talk to your boss.
That’s not part of my job

What you’re telling me is that you’re not a team player. You also don’t want to take any responsibilities. You’re also looking for easy way out. A company is a group of people working together to achieve a common goal and you being a team player will not help it.

You should never use this language. If there was something out of your scope, you can easily say, I’ve been busy dealing with this problem and did not get a chance to look into yet. But I am on it. It’s in my high priority to do list.

A team win is more important than a personal century.

Software development is a team project and the goal is to get the job done. Does it matter if Sachin hits a century but India loses the match? To Sachin, it may matter. But to India? Probably not. Your goal should be to win the match, not a personal century. 

I’ll leave

Ahh .. You never want to say this.

This is telling me that you’ve no interest being with the company and the project. I will fire you right away.

I was a developer once. When I started my first job, within 6-month of my career, I started managing this project and I started thinking, this project can’t survive without me. I went to my boss and put this one condition and he told me to leave. Trust me. Project will still be there. Only it will be you who will be replaced.

He is just not into you.

In my company I’ve seen couple of guys who have said this. This is a direct challenge and threat to your boss. You’re also challenging his authority. Unless you really want to leave, you do not want to say this. Your boss may agree with you for time being but in his head, he is probably looking for your replacement.

 I don’t know

If you really don’t know something, you say nicely that you’ve not had a chance to look into it yet and you’re going to look at first thing you get a chance.

How do I benefit from this

This is telling me that you’re a selfish person and looking for your interest only. I would not want you in my company. A company is more than an individual, you.

My precious.

Well, I did my best

And? And what happened? This is telling me, you gave up.

You can’t just give up.

You can’t just give up. If you need more time, ask for it. If you need more resources, ask for it.

I just assumed that…

In my early career, one day my boss walked into my office and ask me for something. My reply started with, “I assumed….”. He


That was the last day of my career, I used “I assumed..” in my phrases.

At my last job we did it this way

If you really want to piss your boss off, that’s how you start. No boss want to hear what and how did you do things at your last job.

Don’t talk about your past jobs.

I don’t have a solution

There will be times when you really don’t have a solution but you don’t need to announce it. If you really can’t solve something, you better bring a valid reason for it and explain it in a reasonable matter to your boss.

The best way you can deal with this is, I am still working on it and will continue to do so until I figure something out.

I can’t

It tells me, you’ve already given up. Just don’t give up. Keep trying and your response should be. I am working on it.

I am amazing

OK, so you’re a rock star but it doesn’t mean you have to announce it.

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