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NEW YORK (
MainStreet) -- When you need a day off or have questions about your career, your boss is the best source of information you could hope for. Many employees chat with their managers every day about everything from new accounts to what's for lunch. But even if you and your boss are buddies, there's still a line between manager and subordinate that shouldn't be crossed -- especially when it comes to small, nit-picky questions that can annoy your manager and make you look helpless.
Even if you're tempted to ask your boss about everything on your mind, some things are best worked out with a colleague or kept to yourself. We checked in with experts to find the top 10 types of questions you should never ask your boss.
1. "How do I do this?"
If you ask this question, your boss will feel you don't even have the "basic competencies" to perform your job, says Morag Barrett, CEO of
SkyeTeam, an international HR and leadership development firm.
"Instead say, 'I'm considering X, what are your thoughts?'" Barrett says. "Coming into the conversation with at least a suggestion shows you've thought it through."
If it's a job you've never done, start by doing some research -- your colleagues can help get you started. The important thing is that you demonstrate the drive to learn.
2. "What are we here for?"
"Please don't walk into a meeting without a clue as to why you're there," Barrett says. "Arriving at a meeting unprepared and then announcing it is just the worst."
Even if you haven't had time to do all the required reading before a meeting, prepare as best you can and be attentive to what's being said once you're there, she says.
3. "Why did Jon get promoted when I have more time in the position?"
Serious questions about your career trajectory should be asked only if you're engaged with your boss during an official review, and even then, you should take a more confident approach, says Russ Hovendick, founder of
Directional Motivation, a career resource consultancy.
"It's natural curiosity to want to know why you got passed over, but it should be addressed at a targeted time," Hovendick explains. "Also, make it positive -- 'I notice that Jon got a promotion and I'm happy for him. I'd like see how we can formulate a plan that might lead to promotion for myself.'"