January 9, 2014
35 topics to avoid discussing at work
You spend most of your waking hours at work. You may even consider your boss and co-workers as friends. Which is nice.
But never forget that you can't totally let your hair down at work.
Why? Because the workplace is a public place and, therefore, public rules of decorum prevail. A lot of subjects, even those discussed on TV, are unsuitable for work. Airing them can make you look bad, damage your chances of promotion or even get you fired.
Here are 35 topics to refrain from talking about on the job:
1. Your politics
2. Your religion
3. Your salary
4. Your medical history
5. Your sexual exploits
6. Your plans to quit
7. Your aches and pains
8. How much you just paid for something
9. The progress, or lack thereof, of your therapy
10. How much time you spend on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
11. How messy your house is
12. Your extensive knowledge of curse words
13. The fact that you're ovulating, PMSing or having your period
14. Your hot flashes
15. Gory details of any major illness/accident
16. Your Viagra side effects
17. Your tax problems
18. Your difficulty in digesting any food, and symptoms thereof
19. Your (or your spouse's) fertility treatment
20. Your (or your spouse's) miscarriage
21. Your messy divorce
22. Your expertise in filching office supplies
23. The size of your private parts
24. The state of your undergarments
25. Your fear that you're going to lose your job
26. How much you hate your job
27. How much you hate customers
28. How much you hate the boss
29. Your cute kids
30. Your adorable pets
31. Your last or next vacation
32. Your new house, boat, car, computer, etc.
33. Your home remodel
34. Your wedding plans
35. Your diet
OK, the last seven aren't so bad; but people tend to go on and on about them, and that is why they're here. Use your best judgment.
Are you wondering what is OK to talk about? Well, you can discuss the work at hand as much as you want.
You are also free to chat about hobbies and interests, the movie you went to see last weekend, the great book you're reading, the class you just signed up for, current events (be careful with this one), the weather, sports, art, history, music and, on a limited basis, numbers 29 through 35 above. That's a lot!
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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