Disclosing information about yourself at work can be a double edged sword. While you have to open up to your colleagues in order to build a professional network, not knowing the limit of such disclosures can be a horror movie come to life.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown that those with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful at work. In other words, a typical case of TMI (at work) may bring dire consequences to your career!
We get that you spend most of your time at work. Unfortunately you can’t completely let your guard down (the way you do with your family, friends or even your cat/dog)! It’s essential to understand the fine line between make or break.
One should smartly navigate around these topics at work…
1. Political Stand
It may seem like a no-brainer to avoid such a controversial topic. However, in a country as diverse as ours, we encounter these topics so commonly—we can even find them being discussed at roadside stalls or at the good ol’ favourite mamak! What more at work?
In some ways, knowing your political stand can say a lot about what kind of person you are, and it will immediately reflect on your personal outlook to others. There is an art to specifically converse around these issues without giving too much of your standpoint away (it’s called sitting on the fence), so learn it and be tactful.
Everyone has their own deep personal beliefs and no one else should have a swipe at it. In a topic like this there is no real right or wrong, just to each his/her own. It’s likely that if you assert even an opinion against someone else’s belief, the listeners might change their perception of you (negatively or positively, could be either).
You need to know who you are talking to and what level your relationship is with that person you are talking to, then only will you be able to discuss this topic. Tread lightly around topics like this and take middle ground or “pass” if you’re stuck in a sticky situation.
Let’s face it—everyone gets a little more edgy when it comes to monetary issues. We can’t blame them, because not all paychecks are created equal! Never discuss salaries as you never know if you’re being compensated differently from others.
Then there will come the whole whirlwind of, “I’m doing so much more work than you and why am I getting so much less,” kind of statements. Differences in salaries can cause resentment and in worst case scenarios, your own discontentment at work!
4. Getting Too Personal About Life Outside Of Work
Save your crazy hangover stories, bedroom gossip or your relationship drama to your close friends and family OUTSIDE of office please! While discussing about your love for The Walking Dead isn’t bad, you probably should NOT mention your tendencies towards the gore associated to it (don’t deny it, we know there are some Bolton Ramsay-like sadists out there).
You wouldn’t want to give your colleagues the wrong impression, would you? What you like to do and don’t like to do can give people a somewhat clear view of your personality and your values as a human being. This can also impact how they treat you in the office and ultimately change the work relation dynamics, for the worse or better, we don’t know so just be wary of it.
5. Work Gossip Or Conflicts
Well, a definite liar will tell you they don’t fancy even the tiniest bit of office gossip (come on gossip is seriously juicy ain’t it?). However, participating in a (REALLY fun) conversation such as this will definitely garner you a group of haters and plenty of resentment (yes, sadly). Particularly if such gossip revolves around your superiors or the seniors in your office. There will be 2 different groups: those that believe the same gossip and those that don’t. You will end up in either one of them which then creates a love-hate relationship.
Even if there is a group of people you don’t particularly like to work with, the best course of action would be to avoid conversing about such conflicts even among your clique of colleagues. Information can spread really fast and gossip can reach ears that should not hear it like wildfire. So yes, be careful with what you rant about!
6. That You’re On a Job Hunt
Unless you really want to piss off your boss, by all means avoid this conversation! This is because if word SOMEHOW leaks out to your boss that you are hunting for a new job, things will turn out for the worse for you with your boss.
You wouldn’t want them to fire you just before you submit your notice or sideline you for the remaining time in the office. And… if by any chance you decide to stay in the company, things will be extremely tense for you.
We’re not saying that workplace relationships are bad, could be a landmine just waiting to be tripped and must be tiptoed around lightly. Instead, a good relationship with your colleagues will foster an amazing environment to work in, and it is imperative that you know what can harm that relationship.
Keep in mind that this is your workplace and not college or school.
If you once had a slip of the tongue and immediately are noticing the bad signs—don’t fret, it’s not the apocalypse! Start by personally apologising and rebuild your image among your colleagues (or boss!) while maintaining a high level of professionalism in your interactions.
Remember that individuals with a high emotional intelligence who understand how othera feel will go far in any community that they are in, especially in an office!
This article was originally written by Rebecca Koay with the title “6 Things You Should Be Careful Talking About In Office” and was first published on Wobb, a job application platform for millennials who value the importance of good working culture.
Feature Image Credit: Dreamstime