"You can’t build a strong professional network if you don't open up to your colleagues. But doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.”
“The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with,” observes Tim (the British equivalent of Jim) on the original incarnation of “The Office.” “You know, you don't know them, it wasn't your choice, and yet you spend more time with them then you do your friends or your family. But probably all you've got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for 8 hours a day.”
And yet, relationships of varying intimacy do form among co-workers. “You can’t build a strong professional network if you don't open up to your colleagues,” Dr. Travis Bradberry recently wrote for Inc. “But doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.”
Sharing your favorite TV show, for example, is probably safe, unless that show happens to be “Naked and Afraid.” “Sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form,” Bradberry advises. “Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos in hindsight.”
Bradberry compiled a list of the 12 most common things people reveal to coworkers that they should not.
1. That they hate their job
You’d think this would be a no-brainer. Few things sap office morale than a naysayer and complainer. “Doing so labels you as a negative person and not a team player,” Bradberry says.
2. That they think someone is incompetent
Complaining about your job is bad enough, complaining about someone else’s performance in doing their job can be equally harmful to your professional advancement. “Announcing your colleague's incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make yourself look better,” Bradberry cautions. “Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your co-workers' negative opinions of you.”
3. How much money they make
There are three definite topics of conversation from which employees should probably steer clear. One is your salary or the salary of others. The other two are…
4. Their political and religious beliefs
Nothing good can come of this. “All it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict,” Bradberry writes.
5. What they do on Facebook
Another seeming no-brainer. One picture is worth a thousand words, unless that picture is of you sloppy drunk in Cabo, in which case, the one word is, “Disgusting.” If you can’t censor yourself on Facebook, Bradberry recommends, do not “friend” your co-workers. Maintain a professional “social” network on LinkedIn.
6. What they do in the bedroom
7. What they think someone else does in the bedroom
8. That they're after somebody else's job
“Great employees want the whole team to succeed, not just themselves,” according to Bradberry. “Regardless of your actual motives…announcing your selfish goal will not help you get there.”
9. How wild they used to be in college
10. How intoxicated they like to get
Both of these come under the heading of “TMI”
11. An offensive joke
Did you hear the one about the Jew, the black guy and the blonde? If so, keep it to yourself.
“Offensive jokes make other people feel terrible, and they make you look terrible,” Bradberry writes. “You never know whom people know or what experiences they've had in life that can lead your joke to tread on subjects that they take very seriously.
12. That they are job hunting
Tell enough people this one, and pretty soon, you might have to.
Did Bradberry miss any? Share your thoughts on the things that people should never say at work.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.