What not to say to co-workers is a topic that I thought of several months ago when I was writing up a list of blog post ideas. I jotted down a bunch of points under the title but never turned them into a post because I thought it might be viewed as old fashion and out-of-date.
But today while having lunch I thought that it might be a fun post to write because it will be interesting to see which points people agree with and which they disagree with based on their experiences.
Obviously it is important to build strong working relationships with your co-workers no matter where you work. And building those strong relationships can take time. After putting all that effort into building good relationships with your fellow employees the last thing you want to do is to jeopardize any of those relationships by talking about the wrong things.
We all know that every work environment is different. While one person could be working in retail, another could be working as a chef, and still others could be working in corporate offices.
As well, what goes on in work environments these days is different then what was happening 20 years ago. Add to that the fact that what is frowned upon in one work environment may be fair game in another location.
Okay, here are some guidelines on what not to say to co-workers.
Don’t talk about your intimate relationships. Don’t tell your co-workers about your sexual encounters with your significant other, or your best friend’s mother, or the new hot girl in accounting.
Don’t gossip. One of the things that happened over and over again in many of the corporate offices that I worked in was office gossip. Many people think that the best way to get to know their co-workers is through office gossip. I think they couldn’t be more wrong. You can quickly create a bad image of yourself by participating in gossip. While it may seem fun and harmless in the beginning, it can quickly create big problems. People hear you gossip and they remember that you like to gossip. Some even go so far as to form opinions around how good of an employee you are based on the gossip they hear you spreading versus the actual work that you get done.
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Never ask a woman when she is due unless you are absolutely sure you are right.
Don’t talk about all the parties you attended on the weekend and how you drank gallons of beer and did drugs for 10 hours straight.
Don’t whine about your personal problems on a regular and on-going basis. Everyone has stuff going on in their lives. While you may feel that some of your co-workers have become your best friends you never know what the future holds and how things can come back to haunt you until the first time it happens to you.
Don’t discuss your paycheck. This is typically a work place policy, but again every place is different. I would be quiet, just to be safe.
Don’t talk about your personal finances with your co-workers unless you work with financial advisors and it seems appropriate to discuss your personal finances with them.
Religion or Cultural Beliefs
Don’t talk about religious beliefs or different cultural beliefs. Work environments consist of different people from all over the world and it is important to keep that in mind when you speak. While your co-workers may smile or even laugh as you speak about different religions or different cultures, these things may actually make them feel quite uncomfortable.
Don’t vent to someone in your workplace about someone else in your workplace that you are having difficulties with. Again, some how, some way, it will come back to bite you in the ass. Trust me!
Don’t toss out negative jokes about management or other co-workers. Just because you think it is funny doesn’t mean anyone else does. While everyone may laugh at the time, they may just be laughing because they now feel uncomfortable around you.
Don’t swear at someone that you work with. While you may just be speaking to the person seated next to you, others may overhear you and may take offence.
Keep in mind that while many work environments can get quite stressful at times, for whatever reasons, talking about certain things and making co-workers feel uncomfortable will only add to the stress.
So did I miss any points on what not to say to co-workers? Again, I am interested in hearing your perspective of what should and shouldn’t be said based on your experiences in your present or past work environment.