There’s a few little things that sneak in to conversations and emails that you probably don’t realise you’re doing, until someone points them out to you.
No problem VS You’re welcome
Darlene Price has a great list of phrases you should never say at work. One that really stuck with me was replying to “thanks”, with “no problem”. It was something I did reflexively, either because I thought I was Australian, or because I wanted to minimise the work I’d done. As the article above explains however, it also implies that it would be a problem in other circumstances. Whilst that may be true, there’s an implicit “it’s OK, this time” vibe that, once I spotted it, started to come across to me like a passive aggressive threat. I don’t think that’s how it was perceived, but once I saw that, I couldn’t unsee it, so stopped using “no problem” almost immediately after reading that article.
You’re smart VS You worked hard
This is a parenting basic tip, but it’s a useful thought in general. If you’re smart, then you’re #1, so why try harder. If you worked hard, then you can see the effoer for your reward, and hard work is not a barrier to future success. If you’re smart and you fail, then you’re just not smart enough. If you worked hard and fail, then you either keep working, or seek help. It’s OK to ask for help if you’ve put effort in and need support. It’s not OK if you’re not smart enough, your ego will get in the way.