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Top 21 Workplace BS Lines

Workplace BS LinesYesterday I was listening to a really smart guy named Nassim Nicholas Taleb on CNBC. When referring to the financial crisis and bank bailouts, he said, "When people say 'I will never tolerate it again', you know they will."

You know he's right. Any politician or bank CEO who says "never again," is full of it.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how often, especially in the workplace, we say one thing but mean something entirely different. Or say something knowing full well that it's complete BS. Why do we do it? I'm not entirely sure, but I can think of at least five reasons:

  • We're lying to ourselves
  • We're trying to sugarcoat the truth
  • We're trying to sound smart, but we're really not
  • We're trying to sound politically correct, but we're really not feeling it
  • We know we're screwed and would do pretty much anything to delay the pain
Best case, it's disingenuous and can erode your credibility. No, I don't mean to be judgmental. Hell, we all do it -- a lot. I'm just saying, if you want to be a better manager, a better leader, even a better person, you might want to rethink the whole idea of spinning stuff for dumb reasons. I know I will.

Anyway, here are my Top 21 Workplace BS Lines:

You say, "With all due respect, --"
You really mean, "I have no respect for you."

You say, "I don't mean to be a jerk, but --"
You really mean, "I'm being a jerk, I know it, and I mean it."

You say, "My boss gets a little high-strung sometimes."
You really mean, "My boss is a raving lunatic."

You say, "I love my job."
You really mean, "I need my job."

You say, "Everyone in my group is a star."
You really mean, "Everyone in my group is equally mediocre."

You say, "I thought that meeting went well."
You really mean, "I'm going home to hang myself now."

You say, "You're at the ceiling for your job level."
You really mean, "You're never getting promoted ... ever."

You say, "Nobody's getting a raise this year."
You really mean, "You're lucky to have a job."

You say, "You do good work; maybe you'll get a raise next year."
You really mean, "Nobody even remembers hiring you."

You say, "I could use a vacation."
You really mean, "If I don't get some time off soon I'm going postal."

You say, "The vacation was great, but I was ready to come back."
You really mean, "They had to drag me off the island kicking and screaming."

You say, "He left the company to pursue other opportunities."
You really mean, "He got canned."

You say, "She left the company to spend more time with her family."
You really mean, "She got fed up and quit."

You say, "I'll really miss working here."
You really mean, "So long, saps!"

You say, "We're reorganizing to better align ourselves with changing market conditions."
You really mean, "We're laying off a boatload of people."

You say, "We see strong market demand for our new product."
You really mean, "We got two phone calls and one was a wrong number."

You say, "We're right on schedule."
You really mean, "If we get it done on time it'll be a miracle."

You say, "I'm sick; I'm staying home today."
You really mean, "I've got a huge hangover; I'm taking a Vicodin and going back to bed."

You say, "I came in early today."
You really mean, "I'm leaving early today."

You say, "I left after 8 last night."
You really mean, "I left at 6 last night but there were no witnesses."

You say, "We're a little short on funds."
You really mean, "We were technically insolvent three weeks ago."

By the way, don't even think of saying "I don't do that stuff." We all know that you really mean, "I'm a big fat liar but I'm not willing to admit it, not even to myself."

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