What not to say at work

Anyone who knows me will know that my mouth operates at about double the speed of my brain. I stumble over sentences, get the proverbs all wrong and babble in intervals that never fail to cut off the person speaking. This made for some embarrassing slips at my new job. Enjoy.

1. Made up sayings
At an interview, I was jabbering on about how excited I was at the prospect of joining the team and working in that specific role. I wanted to sound über enthusiastic, so I exclaimed “I could start Monday!”. Now I thought this was the polite version of the cocky slur “When do I start?”. I left the building and waited to hear back from the company, expecting to have more HR hoops to jump through before the paperwork was ready. The next morning a thick envelope arrives at home and informs me that I am indeed starting on Monday. With two days notice, and nowhere to live, and more importantly, no clean clothes to wear, I was forced to stall it until Wednesday. Not the best introduction.

2. Foot in mouth disease
I have a tendency to say the wrong thing. When my line manager introduced me to the rest of the office, in between the customary handshakes I made small talk on the Movember attempts, my time working out in their Singapore office, the main draw of the free breakfast and my excitement at finally meeting the elusive Sandwich Man. One guy mentioned traffic, and I launched into a speech about how the people of Manila spend all their time sitting in or talking about traffic. My line manager then told me her family live there, to which I replied, “Yes, but it’s great because you can ride horses to the summit of a volcano.”

3. Unintentional discrimination
A very friendly red-haired man approached my team and was joking about being non-PC. It was all tongue in cheek humour, and I wanted to join in. I noticed that there was a bottle of Listerine mouthwash that I’d seen at my friends house which claimed to ‘Reduce the risk of gingivitis.’ Having watched too much South Park and Family Guy, I thought this was an ‘out there’ marketing campaign that jokingly referred to ginger haired people. I mentioned this, and he informed me that it was an actual mouth disease but appreciated the comic reference. Instead of stopping there, I felt compelled to tell him that Chris Evans, an iconic redhead, had recently dyed his hair brown. I am a horrible person.

4. Inappropriate behaviour
At an event, I approached our various sponsors to explain our courier booking procedure before the final workshop sessions began. Now these are highly important and professional clients who deserve respect. As I was in a hurry, I opened up with the phrase, “As I won’t get an opportunity to…”. My head whirred over the two phrases “touch base” and “get in touch with you”. What came out of my mouth was this: “As I won’t get an opportunity to touch you…when the sessions begin…here’s the labels and tape. If you need anything I’m just outside.”

5. Possesive nature
I was tasked with ordering some electronic giveaways for upcoming events. There was a right kerfuffle with John Lewis not being able to either deliver the items or drop off in store, but I won’t bore you with the dreary details. Whilst processing the order, I introduced the sales rep to a colleague who works in finance (let’s call her Lisa). In an email confirming the payment, I copied her in and typed ‘my colleague’. Feeling like I’d been too formal, I edited it to her name. Reading it back from my ‘Sent’ box, I realised with sudden dread I’d left in the ‘my’, so it said ‘my Lisa.’ I laughed it off, but oh the horror!

6. Too much information
At our team lunch, we were treated to a few cocktails. I already disclose far too many things about myself, but alcohol makes it worse. After popping to the ladies, I plonked myself back down and turned to a senior member of the team. I told her that I have been peeing a lot more since coming back to the UK from Singapore, and this is probably because I’m not sweating so much. What a charming story – I’m surprised I still have a job!

Do you have any howlers to share? I’d love to hear them and cringe at your stories instead…

Picture credit: http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/31913/I-HAVE-NOTHING-TO-SAY



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