Don't Say That at Work - Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Mistakes (DRM-Free eBook or Audiobook)

Michael D. Callaghan
7 ratings

No longer an Amazon-exclusive!

What is this book all about?

This book is an eye-opening guide to the communication mistakes we all make and what to say instead.

Have you ever been told that your communication style is "too confrontational?" Do you have problems persuading your coworkers and managers without sounding arrogant or condescending? Have you said something and immediately regretted it? Have you ever said something you can't take back? Have you ever wondered later, 'what was I thinking???' 

We have all been there. We all make mistakes. We all suffer from a lapse in good judgment from time to time. Sometimes these mistakes are a "one off" but when made repeatedly can lead to a domino effect of problems. When that happens, it can be hard to recover.

The important thing, as professionals, is that we learn from our mistakes and hopefully do not make the same ones again, thus stopping the dominoes before they all fall.

I've been making the mistakes contained in this book for almost three decades as a professional software developer. I was fired from one my first jobs for being too arrogant. I once nearly lost my job because I knew better than my leadership.

Had I never learned from these mistakes, they probably would have been the end of my career. Fortunately, we humans are good at learning from experience. This book is your chance to learn from mine, and hopefully have a good laugh at my expense from time to time. In fact, I hope you do laugh. I often look back, chuckle, and wonder what had possessed me to say something.

Table of Contents

These are the topics included in the book:


  • Don't Succumb to Prejudice
  • Don't Assume Unwisely
  • Don't Get Angry


  • Don't Whine
  • Don't Use So Many TLAs
  • Don't Talk So Fast!
  • Don't Be Dishonest
  • Don't Be Too Honest
  • Don't Criticize in Public
  • Don't Talk Politics
  • Don't Blab on Social Media
  • Don't Provide Unnecessary Details
  • Don't Have an Attitude
  • Don’t Tell Me “No”


  • Don’t Interrupt
  • Don't Look at Your Feet
  • Don't Throw Temper Tantrums
  • Don't Demean Others
  • Don’t Air Your Grievances
  • Don't Be Rude 

What are people Saying?

D. Solomon (via Amazon)

Such a fun and enlightening read! Mike has a real gift with storytelling and this talent shines through in each chapter. Highly recommend for anyone in the professional world and in particular technology.

Steven Vore (via Booksprout)

Like most of us "experienced" folk, Michael has seen - and done - a lot in the workplace. Not all of it was good, of course; we all have our moments that we look back upon and wish we could change. Michael brings us some of his such moments in this easy-to-read yet enlightening book, aimed at helping you "step in it" fewer times than we did. Read and take heed.

Genifer S (via Booksprout)

I read business self-improvement books on a regular basis. Some books require you to have been "in the field" for a while to figure out how to apply their contents. This in not one of those books. In fact, I'm inclined to recommend it to every high school and college student before they start jobs or internships.
I appreciated the how each chapter walks the reader through examples of the problem behavior, analysis of where the person exhibiting the behavior may be coming from, and recommendations for how to either change the behavior, or respond to it.
I will also mention that this isn't just a business book. It is a roadmap to getting along with people in any situation, including the classroom, or, as one chapter relates, in airports when your flight has been canceled.
The situations in this book will be familiar to anyone in the workplace, no matter their employment background. The examples are oriented toward white collar workers, but the takeaways are utterly relevant to workers in all roles.
It's a quick read I would recommend to anyone looking to polish their interpersonal communication skills.

Mr Krikt (via Booksprout)

As a software developer myself I was surprised at how many of the anecdotes and warning tales I can empathise with, reminding me of my own mistakes or those of colleagues.
I think that people with of a few years within a similar office job will have had many opportunities to come to the same conclusions. That said, it would do no harm to refresh themselves, and each section is a chance to review your own behaviour which I enjoyed relating to my own experiences. The inclusion of recent anecdotes does drive home that this is an ongoing process of improvement.
I think this would be particularly useful as a shortcut to people fresh into this line of work.
Overall an enjoyable, manageable read.


Why did you write this book?

The idea of the book came about in response to a few tweets and a couple of blog posts about spelling, grammar, treating others with respect, and what happens when you fail spectacularly. Someone finally commented that I should consolidate all my stories and advice into one place. Don't Say That at Work was born.

Can I get a print version?

Yes, the print version is available through* and these country-specific Amazon stores: UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP | CA

Are you concerned about retaliation for any of the stories?

First of all, most of the stories are about things I did, which were entirely my own fault. 

That said, I have taken care not to reveal the identities of any individuals I describe in the book. It is possible that those who shared the experience with me could guess the people involved, but I'm not worried about that. They were there. 

I have also tried to be careful when naming names of my employer when things happened. In most cases, I believe I have treated them fairly. 

What if I hate it?

I don't want anyone to be unsatisfied with the book. If you don't like it, simply reply to the confirmation email within 30 days of your purchase and I'll refund your money.

Is it complete?

As of right now, it is complete. One thing I like about this sort of format is that mistakes are easy to correct. If you find a mistake or have other feedback, please feel free to let me know.

* Amazon links are paid affiliate links.

This product is not currently for sale.
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