Is this ONE WORD making you seem like a subordinate at work?!

Is this ONE WORD making you seem like a subordinate at work?!

This ONE WORD could be ruining your reputation at work. Do you use it?! If you're a working mom, check out this article on the J-word that could be causing you to sound more apologetic and subordinate that you really are!

I recently read an article on LinkedIn about a study that was done around ONE word in the workplace, and the affects on how we as women are perceived at work. I was shocked to find out what this one word was, and just how true it was! (for me anyway!)

So what’s the word?


At first you might wonder when you ever use this word. However, the study found that more women than men used it, and in more circumstances, those that used this word were seen as apologetic and subordinate.

So in what circumstance might you use it? I realized I was using it all the time.

On an email to someone who hadn’t responded to me after several days:

“I just wanted to check in on the status of my request below…”

On an email to my boss:

“I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be working from home on Thursday…”

When I read these sentences now, I realize just how true the original article‘s author was. I never realized that my innocence of using this word was screaming “permission” and “subordination” instead of “authority” or “confidence”.

To the person that didn’t respond?

“I want to follow up on my request below…” I don’t need to specifically call them out (yet), but I don’t need to tiptoe around my request and make it sound like “I’m just checking in…if it’s convenient for you, can you respond?!!?”

To my boss:

“I’m working from home on Thursday…” Because you know what? We already discussed that Thursdays are work from home days. I’m not apologetic that I asked for them, and I’m doing you a favor by reminding you. I don’t need to double check, or make the situation feel as though I’m getting out of coming to the office by working twice as hard at home.

The whole point?

As working women, MOMS especially, we tend to feel a lot of guilt. Everywhere. About everything. Guilt that we’re spending so much time away from our kids. Not spending as much time as someone else at the office who doesn’t have kids. There’s guilt all over the place, and if we let ourselves communicate in a less-than-confident manner (whether we mean it that way or not), we start to feel that guilt even more. Let’s not feel guilty anymore for DOING OUR JOB and asking for an update when we haven’t received one, or asking a question because we don’t know the answer, or using a placeholder like “just” as a filler word to make something sound sweeter, better, or more understanding. There are better ways to convey these feelings without sounding apologetic or less effective, and we need to consider removing it from our vocabulary in the workplace.

I’ve discontinued ALL use of the J word in email communication, and I’m working on the verbal piece of it (because it applies there as well!!). Do you agree?! I’d love to hear your comments!



  1. October 24, 2017 / 12:13 PM

    Great post thank you! I am working on removing “just” from my work vocabulary but it can be so difficult to change habits we’re so used to…

    • Meredith
      October 26, 2017 / 7:54 PM

      Thanks so much! Yes, I caught myself writing it today again! I never realized how much I use it!!

  2. October 25, 2017 / 9:36 AM

    Oh this so true. I shared this on my FB page, because more need to hear it!

    • Meredith
      October 26, 2017 / 7:53 PM

      Thanks girl!!

  3. October 26, 2017 / 9:01 PM

    Wow.. I’ve never really looked at that word in that light. But I completely agree and think I’ll be trying my best to avoid this habit!

    • Meredith
      November 8, 2017 / 8:23 PM

      I know, it’s crazy right?!

  4. October 30, 2017 / 11:06 AM

    Oh my gosh! I didn’t realize it until now but that is true! I use it ALL THE TIME! Now, I have to make an effort to remove it from my vocabulary! And yes, I agree with you about feeling guilty all the time. When my kids are sick and I need to work from home, I feel guilty. When my kids have an event at school or doctor’s appointment and I need to step out for a bit, I feel guilty. I really have to stop feeling guilty about these things!

    Belle |

    • Meredith
      November 8, 2017 / 8:22 PM

      Mom guilt is SUCH a real thing right?! AHH!!!

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