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Looking for work-life balance in your next professional post? Keep it to yourself.

In a fell swoop, an Australian HR professional has rendered that once-trendy (now terrible) trio of words toxic. In other words: utter them in a job interview at your peril.

Down under, a recruitment expert by the name of Kara Atkinson has drawn a link between unsuccessful employment interviews and the stated preference for this millennial imperative by the candidates who were kicked to the can. 

Work-life balance is an overused term, says Atkinson, and it’ll murder your prospects if you bring it up. More than that it’s a privilege, she says, that is “aspirational and earned.” Ask for it and the interviewer will presume you’re a slug without a strong work ethic.

The news is enough to give a person pause—especially if the person wants, um, any work-life balance.

Herewith, then, some alternatives for making this ask—without seeming like you have.

  • “I like reading and golf and beaches. I work better if my life includes them.”
  • “I am a Libra. My soul functions more productively if everything in my life is in equilibrium.”
  • “My last job was terrible! We never took catered nature trips and there was no masseuse on staff.”
  • “I like watching live turtle races at my neighbourhood gym. They take place every day at 5:30. It’s important to get there on time to score a good seat.”
  • “My circadian rhythm is everything to me.”

If all else fails, plonk a scale on the desk when you arrive at the interview and answer the questions peering across it.