Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean…or Don’t

Your Guide to Interoffice Communication

After 20+ years in business, I’ve gotten pretty good at reading between the lines, and no I don’t mean when people are giving me the middle finger. If you sometimes need help interpreting common workplace phrases, here is my personal guide. You’re welcome.

When an employee says, “I’ll circle back around on that—,” they really mean “I totally forgot and now I need to scramble to put something together.”

When your boss says, “I’m curious why you did X,” they mean “Why in the world would you do that?”

When the employee says, “I reached out a couple times; just waiting for a response,” means “I completely forgot to reach out.”

When the boss says, “That sounds interesting, I haven’t had a chance to look into it,” means “I have most definitely taken a complete, full, and in-depth look into it and I am not interested at all.”

When an employee says, “Just as an FYI…,” they mean, “I’m now asking for your forgiveness, because I neglected to ask permission.”

When someone (me) says, “I haven’t had my coffee yet,” they (I) mean, “If you continue to converse with me before I am properly caffeinated, I will turn into a three-headed-dragon, blow fire and torch this office. Do we want that? I think not. Please walk away.”

When an employee says, “I believe so,” they mean, “I know so. I could not fathom being incorrect on this. However, since I sense some disbelief in your tone, I will use the word ‘believe’ so that you can look into it further, only to realize I was right.”

When the boss says, “Ok, put it on my calendar,” they mean “I likely will not show up at this meeting but I don’t want to hurt your feelings right now.”

When an employee says: “I can’t come in, I have food poisoning,” they mean, “I was at an after-hours party until 4 am.”

When a boss says, “We really need to change X,Y,Z,” what they mean is, “this is your task and you better get it done.”

 

 

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