We’ve all been there – gathered in the break room with a few co-workers feeling like throwing some major shade. Resist the urge to partake! Remember: just because you’re not in the boardroom or at your desk, you’re still in the office. Here, CCC CEO Eli Howayeck breaks down 11 things you should never talk about with your co-workers at work.
1) Don’t disparage your boss, senior leadership, peers or subordinates (it says a lot about your character, as tempting as it might be). If you must, do it one on one and privately if you need to vent
2) Don’t over expose your medical issues or those of your family (talking about cancer dermatologic issues is ok), but discussing pregnancy, having kids, etc is sensitive because a co-workers could be struggling to get pregnant and your comments can garner resentment
3) Don’t say, “my therapist told me….”. Mental health is important and most people should have a therapist but there’s still a lot of stigma and judgement – while there is not shame around it, people will still judge (which can hurt you in the workplace if someone is gunning for your position or looking to find an inappropriate advantage over you).
4) Don’t discuss your side hustle or side gigs. Its a huge red flag. 1) you shouldn’t be soliciting in your place of work 2) you don’t want the company to think you have more important priorities outside or be perceived as using work time to promote non work related financial interests
5) Keep political comments at home or leave them very vague. We’re in too polarized of a climate now and both sides think the other’s crazy – steer clear. You will definitely offend someone or draw the silent ire and potential negative judgement from the person who says (oh, they are not on our team). Its too tribal. It’s ok to listen, but don’t chime in, stay neutral by saying, “its all too much for me these days. What a mess!”
6) Don’t overshare trauma’s. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t always make you stronger. Sometimes it weakens you but gives you wisdom. Trauma’s stemming from a cheating partner, a nasty divorce, physical or emotional abuse, addiction, etc is real and more common than you might expect, but its still opens you up to unfair judgements. You can be authentic and vulnerable in other ways without exposing yourself to unfair judgements (silent or spoken)
7) Personal financial management. Most Americans spend too much, save too little, and are prepared for a financial shock…but that doesn’t mean you should detail your issues. It can call into question your decision making, values, fiscal responsibility. It’s okay to say, “I need to budget better” or “I raised my 401k contribution percentage” but don’t mention the size of your credit card debt or how much equity you have (or don’t have) in your home.
8) Don’t engage in eye rolling or negative comments about leadership initiatives and stretch goals. Don’t advertise that you’re not on board. You behave as you believe so even if you keep things to yourself, your body language is going to give you away.
Eli Howayeck (MBA, Kellogg School of Management), Founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts, is passionate about helping motivated people achieve their career, educational, or personal goals and helping businesses, large and small, overcome a variety of challenges facing their business.