Searching for a job? In the middle of a contract-to-hire agreement? Working full-time? Regardless of your current position, there is a certain degree of professionalism expected from you in the workplace. Whether interviewing with a recruiter, working in the field or interacting with other professionals in the engineering industry, it is important to present yourself in a respectable manner. In order to be (and speak) your best, leave these five phrases at home.

“That’s not fair.”

Complaining at work is a sure way to kill your reputation and give off a negative vibe in the office. The time you spend complaining or commenting on fairness could instead be spent engaging in your work to make it better. Part of being a professional is always looking for constructive solutions to better the current results.

“That’s not my problem.”

Teamwork is crucial to workplace success. If you aren’t willing to take responsibility and work collectively towards a solution, then chances are employers and coworkers will no longer want you to be part of their team. Taking initiative to improve current or potential problems, even when they aren’t directly “your problem”, will lead to a healthier work environment, more productivity and stronger work relationships. You may even find that tackling problems outside your usual realm is a great way to learn and grow as a professional.

“That’s how it’s always been done.”

While there is value to tradition, resisting change in the workplace can be alarming. Companies are looking to grow, so if you aren’t optimizing and making things better, you lose value as a professional. Technology is advancing too quickly to be complacent, especially in the engineering industries. Instead of settling with how something has been done in the past, be a thought leader and encourage team members to brainstorm new ideas. Social media and industry articles like TriMech’s blog are great resources to stay up-to-date on what’s new on the market.

“There’s nothing I can do.”

One of the key attributes hiring managers look for in an employee is problem solving and perseverance. Being dismissive reflects poorly on your ability to think through a limiting situation. If your hands are tied and a certain outcome is not realistic, a better alternative would be to discuss current restrictions and plan of action to achieve the next best outcome.

“I am too busy.”

Unfortunately, being busy is not an excuse in the professional world. When a client needs a project, it is your job to prioritize and make sure everything gets done. If you are already managing your time to the best of your ability and are overwhelmed by your workload, a better response might be to say “I’m unable to prioritize that at this time. Let me see when that can be taken on.” That’s an honest answer that also focuses on a solution.

There are several tips and tricks to help you succeed as a professional and build strong relationships in the workplace. For more ways improve as a professional, read our blog about building your personal brand.