“TMI” … Never Reveal These 5 Things at Work

Too Much InformationRobin Madell, in an article for US News.com, says that over-sharing with co-workers can hurt your career. When you spend more hours with your colleagues than with your family, it is natural that you’ll get to know each other. But before you start divulging details about your personal life in an effort to connect with co-workers, beware. There’s a fine line between appropriate sharing and creating confidences that might kill your career. Whether you’re a new grad preparing to start your first job or a seasoned industry veteran, the rules are the same when it comes to “TMI” (Too Much Information) in the workplace. Here are the highlights of the five types of information to never with co-workers.

You can find the original article here.

  1. Negative feelings about your job or colleagues
    With social media just a click away, it can be tempting to vent about a bad day at work with your online network. But even if your profile settings are marked as “private,” it’s always a bad judgment call to fume either on Facebook or in person about negative feelings or experiences you have regarding your company, colleagues or job. Even if you think you’re more …any details of your work – especially if it is negative or might be confidential. Employers love positive staff posts, but it takes a while to determine what’s appropriate. If in doubt – don’t!”
  2. Opinions that may cause controversy
    While it may seem like a no-brainer to avoid discussing controversial topics like politics and religion at work, the importance of doing so can’t be overstated. Nothing good can come from discussions that create dissension among colleagues. Plus, in the worst-case scenario, saying something that offends someone else on these matters may lead to a lawsuit. “There’s an old adage that goes: ‘Do not share things that you would not want your mother, boss or priest to know,'” says Jenny Korn, scholar of online identity at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Now, I would substitute parent for mother. The advice still stands, because it operates on not discussing things that might cause discord with a person that is in a position to judge one’s behavior, like a parent, boss or priest.”
  3. Health issues
    Sharing positive health habits like exercising on your lunch hour might earn you respect in the office. But be wary of slipping into the negative when detailing health-related issues or disclosing health conditions or health history, cautions Charley Polachi, managing partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. “Discussing your health history can create uncomfortable situations for yourself and others,” he says. “There are very few situations in which health history would need to be brought up, and if it does need to be addressed, it should be in private between an employee and his or her direct boss.”
  4. Relationship issues and family troubles
    Negativity in any form can be a turnoff for others in the office, and this goes for what you share about your personal life, too. “If you’re always talking about how your home life is in shambles, your boss might think twice about giving you a promotion, because they may think you can’t handle the additional stress,” says Ian Cluroe, Alexander Mann Solutions’ head of marketing in the Americas Region. Yet even if the personal experiences you are sharing are positive, when it comes to talking about relationships, dating or home life, discretion is key. “We like to know a little about the people with whom we work – and that’s the key: a little,” Santiesteban says. “If your colleagues are intimately aware of your romantic relationships, your parents’ quirks, your health/medication issues and the mileage on your car, you’ve crossed the line.”
  5. How much money you make
    You may hope to find out how much your cubicle mate makes by sharing your own salary level with him or her. Yet Herrera says revealing salary and pay details can cause division, resentment and strife among employees. “From a management perspective, variations in salaries are justified by unique variables,” he says. “But employees within a department or with the same job title would argue otherwise, because from their point of view, they’re working harder, are more educated or have been with the company longer.”

Ian Cluroe says, “Just remember that everything you say leaves an impression – and if you want to create a good impression that will further your career, less is more.”

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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