Really. Did you really just say that. At work?

Nine (9) hours. That’s the total amount of hours professionals work every year, in most ‘developing’ countries. Think about it! That’s a lot of hours spent with the same set of people trying to meet set goals. It’s enough time to make you get too comfortable with coworkers, and take each other for granted.

It might be fun for a while but there can be disastrous results when colleagues don’t maintain a professional relationship. Here are a few things colleagues have said to each other that have caused terrible rifts.


You just keep gaining weight! –

This shouldn’t be said in any professional setting at all and chances are that we would take offence if it’s said by anyone other than our no-nonsense grandmothers or personal trainers. Most men interviewed complained that women say this to them all the time but then they take offence when tables are turned!


How can you sit here when the office is this dirty? –

Female staff complain about hearing this a lot. So because she’s a woman that means a dirty office should bother her more? Is she supposed to get on her hands and knees to mop the floors? Just because I’m female doesn’t make me your go-to girl for cutting and sharing birthday cakes, cleaning the dispenser or tidying up the break room. Everyone should pitch in for that.

If you are tired of the job, resign! –

I have heard this said a number of times. Not to me but all the same it can be an inconsiderate thing to say especially since it’s usually said unfairly. Instead of being so insensitive, why not try to find out why a person seems slower than usual or tired? For all you know the person might be battling with sickness or something equally stress-inducing.

I hate this job –

Don’t ever tell a colleague that you hate the job you/they are doing. They may hate it too but if you are on their team then they are counting on you.

How can they do that if you hate the job? People tend to check out mentally when you let them feel that you have lost interest in something you are both involved in. It’s also an easy way to lose your job especially now when many people are getting laid off. I’ve realized that there’s usually a deeper issue when people say that they hate their jobs. You need to find out why you feel this way.

Stop asking stupid questions –

Too many times, these very words are spoken to newbies and it makes them afraid or confused. Of course there are some people who ask irrelevant questions can be exasperating and time-wasting but I will take someone who tries to make sure they understand what’s required over someone who doesn’t pay attention and consequently costs money, clients or a hard-earned reputation.

Why don’t you just do something to your hair? –

Hair is a very touchy subject especially where African ladies are concerned.

The subject of natural hair versus relaxed hair has also been a running hot topic for the last few years.

Social media wars have erupted because of hair comments and many celebrity reputations have been tarnished as a result. Some people actually believe that kinky hair is unprofessional and that straight weaves aren’t! Ridiculous as it may sound that a person’s natural hair may be considered annoying, it is the reality. What a person chooses to do or not do with their hair is up to them. Except if that person’s hair choice doesn’t conform with the organizations policies, let them be.

I saw your name on the lay-off list –

Following lay-offs that have occurred this last three months and warnings that there may be more in the future, consider this timely advice – if you happen to see or know that someone’s going to be laid off, please keep it to yourself. While this may sound cruel, it is for the best.

Chances are you should never have seen it anyway and if you should have then you aren’t supposed to share this information. You can’t predict how the person will take it. They could take it calmly, shed a few tears and start making plans. Or they could get very angry and start yelling your news out.

They could march up to the boss’ office to say they think they have worked harder than you and you should be getting laid off instead of them. Or they could do the unthinkable, like the 49 year old man who opened fire on coworkers in Houston after getting laid off. You can’t be too careful.

I had a dream that you and I were naked –

It’s happened more times than you will believe. You are probably thinking ‘What are people eating for dinner if they are having naked dreams afterwards! This is wrong on every level. It even borders on sexual harassment.

One lady told us that she got really angry with the coworker who said this to her and they stopped speaking. She probably told her friends and he lost their respect. Perhaps he did dream about them being naked and maybe they were knitting and watching Netflix but whatever the case, he should have kept it to himself.

How do you know your Holy Book isn’t just a pack of lies? –

I hint as many young professionals as I can, if there are two subjects to avoid at work they would be Religion and Politics. This is because they are extremely touchy at this point.

Everywhere in the world, people are butting heads on matters of elections, policies and religion especially with the alarming numbers of shootings, bombings and all-round wickedness perpetuated by terrorists.

These two subjects can set off extreme emotions and the office isn’t appropriate to display such emotion.

What would you do if a colleague said any of these to you? Would you laugh it off, give them a stern talking-to or send an ‘Urgent’ email to HR?