Three Phrases That Could Be Workplace Warnings

July 2, 2018


We hear a lot about the best places to work, for example, Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work For list. Employers to avoid, on the other hand, are usually uncovered based on former and current employee reviews on career sites or in our social circles.

Perhaps you’ve had a feeling that something just isn’t right at work, or heard a colleague utter a phrase that causes a pit in your stomach. It can be challenging to ascertain if the feeling indicates that something is really wrong or if you’re letting your imagination run wild. Listen for these three phrases to determine the difference.

1. “I wish I could help you, but…” Research shows that most people are too reluctant to ask for help due to their human instinct to not seek advice, according to a Scientific American In the interest of time and sanity, however, it makes sense to ask for help or input. So when you muster up the courage to ask for help and are denied, it’s normal to feel discouraged and be less likely to request support in the future. If the decline comes from someone who normally is willing to help, she is probably overwhelmed and it’s just an isolated incident. If it happens on a recurring basis, however, it could mean that the co-worker has a, “Not my job,” attitude which could be a sign of an unhealthy environment.

2. “I don’t remember the last time I took a vacation.” This statement reflects ‘vacation shaming’ and is often used by people who feel it’s necessary to boast about burning the candle at both ends. They believe these remarks demonstrate their strong work ethic, however such statements send indirect statements that perhaps we should not take vacations either—which isn’t true. In fact, taking a vacation or using your personal days to do whatever you wish has been shown to correlate with lower stress and blood pressure levels, and even less weight gain. Dale Carnegie cautioned,“Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health.” Everyone needs time off to recharge and usually returns to work refreshed, and are therefore more productive than if they hadn’t taken any time off.

3. “You’ll never believe how late I worked last night.” It’s completely normal to stay past quitting time on an occasional basis. When it becomes the norm, rather than an exception, it could be a warning that something’s not right with the workplace culture, or its view of work-life balance.  People who work long hours are more likely to suffer from coronary heart diseasethan those who work standard hours. Also, according to another study, when people worked more than 48 hours per week, they were more likely to engage in “increased risky alcohol use.” If you continue to work long hours, you will definitely become burnt-out and exhausted. “What is the answer to this fatigue” Dale Carnegie said to, “Relax! Relax! Relax!”

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