How to professionally say "That's not my job" at work?

如何用英文有禮貌地說“That’s not my Job”

Ever felt like you need a PhD in diplomatic talk just to survive the office drama? We get it. Navigating work conversations can be trickier than teaching a cat to tap dance. But it’s alright, because today, we're teaching the cheat codes to gracefully dodge extra tasks, admit you're clueless without looking lost, and dance around deadlines like a pro. So, let’s learn the art of saying "Not my job" without causing a corporate earthquake.


  1. When your colleague asks you to take on a task that falls outside your job scope:

Avoid saying: “That's not my job.”

Say: "I'd be happy to help, but I believe this falls outside the scope of my current responsibilities."

Say: "I want to make sure I'm focusing on my core responsibilities. Perhaps [mention a colleague] would be better suited for this task."

Say: "I'm currently focused on [mention your current projects or responsibilities], so taking on this task might affect my ability to meet those commitments."

  1. When you have no idea about a particular project or thing and suggest involving someone else:

Avoid saying: “It’s not my expertise; I have no idea.”

Say: "I'm not familiar with [project/thing], and I want to ensure you receive the best assistance. I recommend reaching out to [mention a specific colleague or department] as they might be better suited to help. I'm happy to facilitate the connection if needed. Thank you for your understanding."

  1. When your supervisor assigns you an additional task, but your current workload is already substantial:

Avoid saying: “I have had a lot of things to work on. I don’t have time for this.”

Say: "I want to ensure that I can give my full attention to each task and maintain the quality of my work. Given my current workload, is it possible to revisit the priority of tasks or perhaps shift some responsibilities to accommodate this new assignment?"

  1. When addressing a mistake while still maintaining professionalism:

Avoid saying: “It’s not my fault. I just followed your instructions.”

Say: "I followed the instructions provided to the best of my understanding, but it seems there might have been a miscommunication or oversight in the process. I'm committed to resolving this issue and ensuring it doesn't happen again. Can we discuss the specific steps or details that may have contributed to the error, so we can work together to find a solution?"

  1. When you're asked to take on a task with an unrealistic deadline:

Avoid saying: “There isn’t enough time for me to get it done.”

Say: "I want to deliver high-quality work, and to do that, I'll need a bit more time. Could we discuss a more realistic deadline or explore how to adjust other timelines to accommodate this task?"

  1. When you’re being asked to take on responsibilities that are not in your job description:

Avoid saying: “It’s not on my job description.”

Say: "I'm dedicated to my current responsibilities, and I want to ensure that I can excel in those areas. Taking on [specific task] might divert my attention from my core responsibilities. Could we discuss how this task aligns with my role and priorities?"

  1. When you are asked to perform a task, but you believe there's a more efficient way to handle it:

Avoid saying: “I don’t think it works.”

Say: "I appreciate the task at hand, and I'm thinking there might be a more effective approach. Would it be acceptable if I propose an alternative method that aligns with our goals and could potentially save time/resources?"

  1. When you're uncertain about the expectations or requirements of a task: 

Avoid saying: “I don’t understand what you mean.”

Say: "I want to make sure I fully understand the task to meet your expectations. Could we go over the specific goals, desired outcomes, or any particular aspects you'd like me to focus on?"

  1. When you're asked to take on additional responsibilities during a particularly busy period:

Avoid saying: “I have had a lot of things to work on.”

Say: "I'm currently handling a high workload due to [specific project/deadline]. While I want to contribute, I'm concerned that taking on additional tasks might compromise the quality of my current commitments. Can we discuss how to manage the workload effectively?"

  1. When someone's messages are not related to your responsibilities without being dismissive:

Avoid saying: “stop messaging me, it's none of my business.”

Say: "I appreciate your messages, but I'm currently focused on my assigned tasks and responsibilities. If there's anything work-related that you need assistance with, please feel free to let me know. However, I'd prefer not to be involved in matters that are outside the scope of my role. Thank you for your understanding."

And that's a wrap, you're now ready to saunter through the office communication maze like a linguistic ninja. But hey, why stop here? Fancy leveling up your language game? Consider taking a trial English lesson with us. Unleash your inner wordsmith, impress your coworkers, and who knows, maybe that promotion will finally have your name on it.