8: "We need to talk." "We need to talk" is the most frightening phrase in all the world. It doesn't matter if you hear it from your partner or spouse or your boss. If you hear it from your boss there are only two outcomes: You are being fired or you are being given more work that you don't have time to do. Derivations include: "Can you step into my office?" and "Close the door behind you."
7: "I need an update on the project."
Translation: Someone above your boss wants to know what is going on with your project. He or she is anxious for reasons that are either: a) so obvious, you were already working 80-hour weeks to finish it, or b) so opaque that you will now spend 80 hours per week finishing the project that no one wanted in the first place. If it's a client, you can bet the finished project will sit on a shelf three months after you finish it anyway. Derivations include: "The client has new parameters," and "Drop everything, Friday afternoon is a great time for a fire drill."
6: "That was fine."
If your boss's response to "Did you get that thing I worked all night on?" is "That was fine," one of two things is true: a) It wasn't fine and the boss is going to fix it behind your back, or b) it wasn't important to begin with. Either way, you're in trouble. This is the ultimate "meh." And your career is now meh, too. Derivations include: "I submitted your annual review. Sign it when you get a chance. No we don't need to talk about it."