4. "Why do we have the temperature set the way it is?"
"Your boss is not the maintenance man. He probably hears people complain several times a day, 'It's hot in here,' 'It's so cold in here.' The only thing it makes him think is: 'Oh my god, grow up!'"
Instead of annoying your boss with facilities issues, reset the temperature yourself or contact your building manager for help, Hovendick suggests. You could also take a survey of your colleagues' "ideal temperature" and make a formal request to have your office kept at a consistent temp year-round.
5. "How long before you retire?"
When you ask this question, you're basically asking, "How long are you planning on staying?" Hovendick says. Unfortunately, it's going to make your boss think one of two things: that you're out to get their job or that you think they're too old for the job, and both have serious negatives attached.
"Why do you really need to know that?" Hovendick asks. "They may be trying to retire and they can't, and you're just going to make them sad or frustrated."
6. "Is the office closed on Columbus Day?"
Questions about HR policies are procedures are to be avoided at all times, says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at
"When your manager makes time to speak with you, make it count," Augustine says. "Instead of squandering it away with questions that are below your boss' pay grade, focus on matters that only he or she can answer."
Whether you're new to the company or simply forgot the details of a policy, it's best to direct your questions about holidays, official vacation policies and your benefits to the Human Resources department. Or better yet, consult your company handbook to find the answer, Augustine says.
7. "What type of name tags should we buy?"
"You'll often find that leaders are 'big idea' guys and gals who want to talk about new initiatives in broad strokes. While they may lead the overall strategy of a project, they don't need to be bogged down with little details and cross-functional coordination that will need to take place behind the scenes," Augustine says.
Find out how involved your boss expects to be in the project so that you avoid asking for input on the smaller, more detailed levels of planning. You're more likely to be criticized for being indecisive, rather than praised for your thorough communication.