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Tuesday, 07 March 2017 13:09

Eight things not to talk about at work

"You must know where the line is and be careful not to cross it, because once you share something, there is no going back.” Dr. Travis Bradberry

Sharing aspects of yourself to your work mates is an important part of developing relationships and can add to your sense of enjoyment at work. However, the amount you share and the content of your conversations can be a turn-off for some.

1. Politics

Our political beliefs are too wrapped up with our inner-selves to be discussed at work without rubbing others up-the-wrong-way. Also, disagreeing with others political views can alter the perceptions your work-mates have of you. Negative political vibes can be felt as a personal attack on other peoples’ values.

2. Criticizing a work mate

We all work with people that don’t meet our standard of performance. The thing is, if you can’t help them improve or have no power to ‘give them the sack’, then there is little to be gained by whining about their poor performance. When you gossip about other work mates it may appear to be an insecure way of making yourself look better.

3. Personal wealth

Talking about how rich you are, your new expensive purchase and your pay rate can create a barrier between you and your colleagues. Others can view your comments as bragging and result in them feeling resentful about their own circumstances.  When people know how much you earn, they may begin to compare you and your wage with their notion of fairness – everything you do will be measured against your pay-rate!

4. “I hate my job”

People grow tired of hearing others complain about how much they hate work. This fatigue brings down morale. Worst of all, your boss will see and hear your griping and may begin favouring others who have a more positive outlook at work. Having continual negative attitudes will also make it harder for you to feel happy. Find the great things about work and talk about them, and work positively with your boss to make improvements with the things that irk you.

5. Bedroom bragging

Too much, or not enough? No one wants to hear about it. It creates an uncomfortable tension between people and besides, it could tarnish your reputation. Once you’ve crossed this line you might never repair the damage.

6. Bedroom envy

“Your thoughts are your own. Think whatever you feel is right; just keep it to yourself”. Speaking about your thoughts on a work mate’s sexuality is most likely considered inappropriate to the people around you. Also, appearing envious of someone else puts you and them in the same sexual frame. It’s creepy. Don’t do it.

7. Glory days

Your fun and frivolous youth can be entertaining to some, but work mates might form the view that your past poor social judgement and risky behaviour has not matured with the years. If your reputation is important to you then disclose past indiscretions to a trusted few and consider the workplace is seldom the forum for bragging about the glory days.

8. “I wish I was somewhere else”

If you are thinking about a career move or simply wanting a change because “I hate my job” (see 4 above), avoid talking about your plans. Bosses and work mates may react to what they consider ‘disloyalty’ and begin treating you differently. You may find they cut you out of the loop on important decisions. If you have given notice, avoid bragging about the grass being greener on the other side in case someone takes offence and tries to make your remaining time there hell. Also, be aware that deciding to stay after telling everyone you’re going may result in others not trusting you with new tasks or simply treating you with indifference.

Adapted from Dr Bradberry. 2017.


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