Monday, October 7, 2013

Warning! The Things You Must Not Tell Anyone At Work

There are some things we shouldn’t tell anyone at work. Sharing the ‘wrong’ things with co-workers can quickly backfire and leave us exposed, vulnerable or side-lined. While some banter with colleagues is great it is important to know where to draw the line.
Like most of us, I have definitely been there. We usually get an immediate sense for when we have crossed that line between acceptable banter and telling people things we shouldn’t have. It is the looks we get as if they wanted to say: I never thought YOU would do THAT!? Or YOU believe WHAT? You are no longer the person I thought you were…
Anything you tell colleagues will spread faster than a revelation of a secret sex tape showing Kate Middelton and Justin Bieber would on Facebook and Twitter. Always remember everyone loves to pass on gossip. What’s more, most people continue to talk and complain about colleagues when they get home or see friends.
So here are my top 10 things I believe you shouldn’t share with anyone at work:
  1. Salary or money details – Never talk about money at work, be it details about your salary or how much you have spent on your house, car or latest gadget. Talking about money can trigger lots of negative feelings such as jealousy and resentment.
  2. Intimate details about your love or sex life – you might have the most amazing or most miserable love life there is but don't ever share the detail at work.
  3. Whether and how much alcohol you drink – even if you are nursing the hangover from hell or want to share the excesses of your super party weekend, don’t do it at work. It will always look unprofessional. And as for talking about other drugs – don’t even think about it!
  4. Political views – You might feel like saying: Why would anyone in their right mind vote for Obama? Simply don’t do it. Politics can divide people and open up a massive can of worms.
  5. Religious views – The same applies to religious beliefs. It is great that people have their religions but remember that most wars are caused by religious differences.
  6. Non-pc jokes – We all like to have a laugh at work but not if it means you discriminate against anyone. If you feel the need to share jokes just think twice whether they might offend someone.
  7. Your Facebook account – Making friends at work is wonderful but I feel that connecting with all colleagues on Facebook is a step too far. I use LinkedIn for colleagues and Facebook only for close friends. I think it is so hard to control what goes out to others (e.g. comments of friends of friends etc.). Almost every day I see posts and pictures on Facebook that make me cringe (where friends of friends have posted completely inappropriate things) and it is best to keep colleagues out of that loop.
  8. Medical details – For whatever reason we love to talk about our illnesses and ailments. A bit like kids that can't wait to show others their scratches and bruises. Even though we all want to hear about medical details, work is not the place to share how you had an anal probe inserted to check for haemorrhoids.
  9. Gossip and negative comments about co-workers - Even if you think that everyone agrees David from the accounts department is a massive jerk – don’t say it out loud!
  10. That you are looking for a new job – You might feel unhappy in your job and are actively looking for now post, but don’t tell anyone at work. It will very quickly come out and could leave you in an awkward position.
So here you have it, my top 10 things you shouldn’t share at work. Of course you can disagree with any of them and hopefully you’ll let me know where you agree and disagree. Also, there are probably others you would add to this list – please let us know what they are…
Finally thought: Of course there are some work places where it is safe to share more personal details. I am not advocating that you become a work robot that ever share any part of your personality with others. The point I am making is that at work it is usually inappropriate to share these things and can give unwanted ammunition to those who want to expose or side-line you.
Author: Bernard Marr