Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

37 Things You Should Never, Ever Say to Your Boss

A logo with "the muse" in white text.

You might not always have the right words to say to your boss, but if you can avoid the wrong ones? Well, you're one step ahead.

To get you started, here are a few dozen things you should never, ever utter to a higher-up. Not on your last day. Not in a casual environment. Not even if you consider your boss a friend.

Unless, you know, you're looking for a way to get fired.

  1. Lunch hour isn't just an hour long, right?
  2. I took the interns out for shots last night—pretty sure they won't be in this morning.
  3. You're really wearing that to the meeting?
  4. The employee handbook is more like a list of "suggestions," right?
  5. Pretty sure the client hates us now—remind me to tell you the story later.
  6. A co-worker and I are arguing about whose job sucks more. Want to be the final judge?
  7. Mind dimming the lights in the office a bit? Rough night.
  8. Oh, I thought you meant the end of next month.
  9. I'm feeling great, thanks! I wasn’t really sick yesterday—I was at an interview.
  10. I’m happy to plan the team happy hour—I’ve got a great stash of tequila in my cube.
  11. I probably shouldn't take that project—I’ll probably have a new job locked down by the time it’s due.
  12. I mean, I’ll go to the meeting—but I won’t be happy about it.
  13. Mind if I work from home again? I don’t really work well with others.
  14. But I was only 15 minutes late!
  15. I could definitely do your job.
  16. Just had a meeting with your boss—pretty interesting stuff. Wish I could tell you about it.
  17. I’m starting to feel sick tomorrow.
  18. Just sent that confidential doc to the full team—my bad.
  19. I’ve always thought of you as more than just a boss (wink).
  20. Hey, can you give me a heads up about any department-wide drug testing about a month in advance? Thanks.
  21. I’m pretty shocked my criminal record didn’t come up in the hiring process. Stoked to finally have a job!
  22. Hey, what's the time billing code for wasting time on Buzzfeed?
  23. Can you define what you mean by “above and beyond?”
  24. If the layoff rumors are true, could I be the first to go? I’m really over this place.
  25. I’m only here until I find something better.
  26. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but...
  27. Rounding up on my timesheet is cool, right?
  28. I've been fired from every job I've had.
  29. God help me if I end up working here as long as you have!
  30. Could we get another intern? I'd really prefer not to have to work at all this summer.
  31. Does unlimited vacation time mean you'll pay me not to ever come in at all?
  32. Can you make sure the new hire is attractive? Thanks.
  33. What do you even do all day?
  34. Crazy date last night. I'd tell you about it, but it wasn't really SFW, if you know what I mean.
  35. Did I ever tell you about the time I read my old boss' emails?
  36. I can definitely do that—after I take this FaceTime call with my friend.
  37. I need some help proofing that report, so my mom's coming in later. I'll bring her by to meet you!
  38. Photo of businessman who is troubled courtesy of Shutterstock.