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If you write this word in an email, it could cost you the job

Before you press end on your next email or jump in a Zoom conference call with your higher-ups, make sure you never say “whatever” unless you want to annoy them.

Finding the right language to use in an email or in meetings can sometimes feel like skating on ice. There are moments where familiarity could make you feel comfortable and become less strict with the words you use, whether it be telling a joke or saying what you have to say however you feel.

But before you press end on your next email or jump in a Zoom conference call with your higher-ups, make sure you never say “whatever” unless you want to annoy them.

“Whatever” has been coined as the most annoying word or phrase used in conversation by Americans for the twelfth consecutive year, according to a new study.

Marist Poll recently conducted an analysis on annoying words or phrases that are used in the vernacular, finding that 47% of Americans get peeved when someone says “whatever” in conversation.

“Whatever” beat out “like” (remember when your teacher said to never use this to describe anything?), which ranked as the second most annoying word (19%) followed by the phrase “in my opinion,” which irked 13% of Americans.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing businesses to move remotely the past year, getting used to technology has come with some blips for all workers. As meetings have shifted from in-person to conference calls like Zoom and Google Hangouts, a new phrase that annoys many Americans is a product of the pandemic.

“You’re on mute” annoyed 9% of Americans, which can often be heard when you’re in a Zoom conference with coworkers or colleagues. The word “actually” also bothered 9% of participants.

The study, which polled less than 1,800 adults in the US, also found that the annoyance behind “whatever” wasn’t just based on one region hating it more. In the Northeast, more than half (54%) of Americans said it was the most annoying word or phrase used, while 51% in the West and 45% in the South also found it irksome. Women were more likely than men to dislike it as well, according to the study.

While it isn’t every day that these types of phrases are used in a professional setting, it’s worth remembering that a slip of the tongue could give off the wrong impression or message to colleagues especially in the digital workforce, where there’s less room for language error.

In a job interview, there are a few words or phrases that you want to avoid, according to executives and HR pros. Phrases like “I don’t know” and “I hate” were listed as two of the phrases to avoid due to the former expressing a lack of interest in a position, while the latter can risk making you appear “hot-headed, unprofessional and confrontational.”

Here are the words or phrases you should never say in an interview:

“I don’t know…”

“I hate…”

“Oh, sh*t.”

“Did you see what Trump said today?”

“I’ll do anything you ask.”

“How much does this job pay?”

“What are the benefits?”

“I’ve been to hell and back.”

“That is a great question!”

“I have a rare gift/quality.”

By Kyle Schnitzer, First published https://www.theladders.com/ December 22, 2020