Caution: Tell your Boss Anything

This new service is a minefield. One you would be wise to stay away from.

According to the website, the ultimate goal is to, “encourage useful discussion that resolves difficult workplace issues. We provide a safe environment in which to do that.”

However, safe doesn’t necessarily mean completely anonymous. The site claims, “Unless required to by law, we will not reveal your identity.”

The service, as noted in this LifeHacker.com article, might reveal the sender. “The catch? Tell Your Boss Anything flags messages with violent phrases or cursing, and if a manager flags a message because it’s abusive, Tell Your Boss Anything might reveal your identity. Keep a level-head if you decide to fire off an email to your boss.”

If you’re going to be level-headed, why not have a conversation with your boss instead? Not to mention, if you’re in a small department or have a unique writing style you’ll be giving yourself away.

Don’t just act smart

To get your ideas across use small words, big ideas, and short sentences.
– John Henry Patterson

A recent Forbes article on clichés reiterates how clichés permeate business.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should. It’s both cringe-worthy and awesome.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cliché is “a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it” and “something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace.” All of the clichés in the list are spoken in more than just an MBA or middle management setting. You’ve probably heard many of them around your office, if not said at least a few.

It’s easy to fall into the speech patterns of your co-workers, you spend at least eight hours a day with them. Plus, every industry has jargon (medicine, journalism. etc.). The catch is using that jargon outside of the office or with people outside of your industry.

If you can’t explain your idea without using jargon or clichés, how good is that idea? How likely is the project to succeed?

The next time one of the 89 phrases referenced in the article falls from your lips, think about what you really meant to say because it probably wasn’t, “We’ve got to increase our mind-share with the customer” or “We want this to move up and to the right” or “We’ve got too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”

Carpooling Rules


If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a city with mass transit, you can still save gas, the environment, not to mention your personal energy and time by carpooling with your coworkers. The key to keeping every one happy is to create some basic ground rules. While the specifics will vary from car to car and group to group, some basics to get you started can be found in this MSN Career Article.

Ride sharing can be a good opportunity to interact with coworkers from other departments that you wouldn’t normally have a chance to see regularly. If you use this time wisely, it may even help advance your career. As the MSN article suggests, if appropriate, this can be a good place to review speeches, get an other perspective on a proposal and test presentations and speeches.

The top 10 list from the article:
1. Be on time
Even early. Always. Call if you aren’t going to make it so your coworkers aren’t waiting around for you when you are home with the flu.

2. Avoid eating or drinking in the vehicle.
Even if the driver says it is ok, this is not the time to test your new spill proof thermos. You don’t want to be the person who spills clam chowder in your coworker’s brand new car.

3. Discuss and agree on pickup points as well as main and alternate routes beforehand.
Some cities have commuter parking lots. Others don’t. Have plans for bad weather and construction.

4. Let the driver choose the radio station or CD.
Even if you find pop music to be the most grating and awful sound in the world, don’t complain. Maybe there’s a book your entire office is reading, or your boss suggested. Perhaps a business related book might be just the sound everyone can agree on.

5. Refrain from using your cell phone; if you must take or make a call, be brief.
Be respectful. If you’re expecting an important call, give your coworkers a heads up. Same goes for texting. And for goodness sake don’t leave the ringer on or clicks, or beeps or anything that make noise.

6. If you’re feeling under the weather and could be contagious, stay home or ride alone that day.
See point number one. Make sure to alert your rideshare group if you’re not going in. Don’t be the person coughing and sneezing all over everyone. If you absolutely must go in, drive yourself.

7. Pay your share of expenses on time.
Establish this early on. Does everyone pay $15 every two weeks? Or does the driver switch on and off?

8. Keep your conversation appropriate, so as not to offend or cause other riders discomfort.
If you wouldn’t want your boss to hear you say it, or have the details of your conversation broadcast over the office intercom system, don’t talk about it during your commute. Silence is better that an off-color joke that could haunt you for years.

9. No back-seat driving!
Self explanatory. Unless the situation poses imminent danger, stay quiet.

10. And finally, respect your fellow riders’ privacy. Inevitably you may overhear a fellow carpooler vent about his boss or discuss a problem she may be having with her child. What goes on in the carpool stays in the carpool.
Again, see number eight.

More tips:

  • Shower often, wear deodorant and avoid strong cologne and perfume. Remember you are in a very small space and a scent that is subtle to you could easily overwhelm the person sitting next to you.
  • Climate control should also be discussed and agreed on early. Should everyone wear their coats in the car in the winter? Is your office temperature freezing in the summer causing everyone to dress in layers?
  • Review emergencies. What happens if the driver or a passenger needs to get home before everyone else because of an emergency or they got food poisoning at lunch?

The main point is to be flexible, open-minded and willing to follow the rules established by the group so every person arrives at the office safe, happy and with extra money in their pockets.

Do you car pool?