What They Say vs What They Really Mean (Work Edition)

Disclaimer : If you are my current employer (or my potential employer), please refrain from reading further. Any resemblance to actual events are definitely not coincidental.

We would’ve all heard (or said) these classic MBA slash prep school statements at work. I am definitely guilty of saying some of them myself as and when the situations demanded.

So, with my superpower of exaggeration and reading your mind voices, here we go, some of the classics from work.


What They Say : We have a lean team here.

What They Really Mean : Kiss your work-life balance a goodbye. We know this is a severely understaffed situation – may the odds be ever in your favour.


What They Say : It was a steep learning curve.

What They Really Mean : I actually thought this was going to be a disaster, but I survived! I think.

Andd.. Repeat in loop!

What They Say : In email, As per our discussion… / As spoken over the phone earlier..

What They Really Mean : I’m making know that I have told you these things, now this is on you OR it can also mean as attached photo below.


What They Say: I will have limited access to email, and will get back to you as soon as I can.

What They Actually Mean : Stop looking for me!

A sample Out of Office email, crafted by someone close to my heart 😛

What They Say : Let’s try to get this done by (unreasonable deadline), take it as a challenge/motivation.

What They Really Mean : I know it can’t be done, but at least I can guilt trip you about this when deadline approaches.


What They Say : During online meeting, sorry I was muted OR I think I was disconnected for a bit there.

What They Really Mean : I wasn’t listening at all.


I sincerely welcome your comments on some of the things you say while mentally rolling your eyes at work. I recommend it to wash away your Monday blues.

P/s : Picture credits to Google Images (minus the OOF email).

Pp/s: If you’re my future PhD supervisor, please also disregard my incapabality of proper referencing.

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