What we say at work is just as important as the work we do. That’s according to career experts, who say that we could sabotage our chance of a promotion – and even be flat-out fired – simply by saying these career-killing phrases: 

  • First: “It's your fault.” Even if the marketing presentation trainwreck is 100-percent someone else’s fault, never pin the blame on someone else. That’s because it’ll look like you’re trying to covering your own rear, by throwing someone else under the bus. But when you make someone else look bad – it doesn’t make you look good. Instead, it makes us look insecure and reluctant to take responsibility. Plus, pointing the finger doesn't solve the problem. So focus on fixing the situation, instead. 

  • But you should also never say, “It's all my fault.” You think you’re being the bigger person and taking responsibility – but what it looks like to the boss is incompetence. And if something else goes wrong – guess who they’re going to look at first. So only fess up to the mistakes that were your sole responsibility - and then suggest solutions. 

  • Another career-killing phrase: “It's not fair.” That just makes you look like a whiner – and who said life was fair? A more professional approach to an unfair situation is to stick to the facts. For example, if your co-workers can leave early to pick up their kids from school – but you don’t have any kids – say this: “I notice several employees leave early for personal reasons. I’d like to leave early on certain days as well. May I arrange that with you?” 

  • And here’s the career kiss of death: “That's not my job.” In today's cutthroat environment, employees are expected go the extra mile. And if you’re not willing to take on more work, or do something that’s outside your job description, your boss will find someone who will.