In the corporate world, trust in teammates is an important part of getting things done. Almost every office is organized into teams, and each team member has a role in making sure the group’s objectives are realized. So it’s important to build trust in the team. It’s fairly common for people to share personal things as they build the bond. It could be over lunch or as people gather to discuss strategy or work on a task. But the old expression TMI – Too Much Information – is always a line that could be crossed. Let’s look at 10 things that you should not be eager to share with your colleagues.
10. Your Hatred For Your Job
Every job has some aspects that the holder of the job does not like, and most people accept that and try to make the best of it. Since everyone is already dealing with some unpleasant things, the last thing most of them want to deal with is someone who regularly complains about what they don’t like about their job. The obvious drawback is you being labeled a whiner, which will count against you with the boss. But additionally, you will put out negative energy that people will do anything to avoid.
9. Your Teammate Is Incompetent
It’s a given that every office has some incompetent people, and the rest of the office can usually figure out who they are without others talking trash about them. According to Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make yourself look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your co-workers’ negative opinions of you.”
8. Your Pay
No matter how pure the intentions of the management, there’s no secret formula that allocates pay to the employees with 100% perfect fairness. The best managers do the best they can with what they have been allotted by those above them. Workers who tell what they make set themselves – and their teammates – up for comparisons based on seniority and job title, and that makes a perfect breeding ground for resentment and other negative reactions.
7. Your Politics
People say it so often, it’s become a cliché – never talk about religion or politics. This is one of those times when the tired, old cliché has a lot of merit. People’s personal beliefs are indeed quite personal, and when someone disagrees, it can feel like an attack on someone’s identity. It takes a great deal of tact, sensitivity and maturity to voice opinions about the latest political event without causing severe conflict. A very quick tour of any social media platform will reveal those qualities are not always what comes to the surface. If someone does express their views, the best thing you can do is listen and not offer any challenge, even if you disagree. But everyone is probably better off if no one brings it up in the first place.
6. Your Love Life
Some things on this list might make you wonder, “why would anyone be talking about this at work?” This is one of them. There is no advantage to discussing your love life at work. At all. Whether you have no love life at all or one you think should be the subject of a novel or movie, it’s extremely likely that your co-workers don’t want to hear about it. This is one of those extremely personal aspects of life where everyone has some kind of challenge, and being introduced to the love life of a co-worker isn’t going to benefit them.
5. Your Co-worker’s Love Life
Along the same lines as your own love life, most people have no desire to hear what you think constitutes the love life of other people in your office. For Person A to speculate to Person B about the love life of Person C is immature at best and severely damaging at worst. Comments about the sexual orientation or relationship status will earn you a bad reputation very quickly.
4. Your Wild Youth
We can admit it – those college days when you drank prodigious amounts of alcohol, played pranks, stole road signs and woke up hanging upside down in a place you have no idea how you got there might have been fun. But waxing nostalgic about them 5, 10 or 20 years later with professional colleagues can send the signal that you lack self-control. The default assumption won’t be that you were like that once, but have developed fabulous judgment since then.
3. Your Drinking Prowess
Speaking of the wild days of yesteryear, speaking about how much you can drink or how drunk you got last weekend reeks of immaturity. Most people will not think how fun you are. They will think that you are unreliable and having poor judgment. Enough people have negative views of drugs and alcohol that you will not endear yourself to a majority of the staff. So if you are still in your “wild” phase, just keep it to yourself and your friends outside of your office.
2. Your Facebook Activity
This is where we opine that at times, it’s best to not be Facebook friends with the boss, or even peers in the office. There seems to be some spell that social media puts on people such that embarrassing – or unethical – behavior simply won’t be seen by people that would be harmed by seeing it. The photos of you wildly carrying on during the beach trip don’t magically disappear just because you deleted them. If important people see your escapades, you may be cast in a negative light, or disciplined more harshly. Keep social networks in their compartments – LinkedIn for business connections, and Facebook for the personal stuff.
1. Your Hunt for Another Job
If you tell your colleagues you are job hunting, this news is going to spread very quickly. Team leaders don’t want to have to deal with the headache of a team member that doesn’t want to be there. Your motives, drive and work ethic will be naturally questioned. Further, if the next job (or series of jobs) you apply for doesn’t’ yield a new position, then you are definitely in a bad spot. The best course of action is to keep your job search secret until you land a new position, then tell everyone.
Navigating the corporate world can be challenging at times. But we can make it more challenging for ourselves by sharing too much in the office. Try to avoid these potential land mines so you can continue to build a good reputation and a solid career.