Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / OCT. 10, 2015
version 12, draft 12

10 Things You Should Never Talk About At Work

After working somewhere for long enough, you start getting comfortable. Having a certain amount of comfort in the workplace is good. After all, who would want to go to work if the first month jitters never went away.

See Also: 5 Reasons Coworkers Are Not Listening To You

Settling in is one thing, but getting too comfortable is bad news. You know that one guy who everyone at your job hates because he talks about stupid things at awkward times? He’s extra chummy with people he barely knows and you’ve probably taken the long way around to avoid him more than once.

"That guy" is what happens when you get too comfortable. And if you don’t know "that guy", you just might be "that guy". Scary isn’t it?

If you’re worried that you might be the annoying person of the office, then maybe this means that you probably aren’t that annoying. Still, here’s a list of ten things that you should never talk about at work. If you talk about any of these things with your colleagues, well, I’ve got bad news for you; you’re probably the person everyone is trying to avoid.

1. Bodily Functions

Yes, I know you think your bloating and your acid reflux are both really interesting, but you need to remember that it’s only interesting to you. Nobody cares how "cool" that fungus on your foot looks or how gnarly that new pimple on your back is.

Keep it to yourself, or you’ll probably be the first one to get a severance package if your company decides to downsize.

2. Medical Issues

Talking for half an hour about your health status can be cathartic. But how would you feel if someone talked non-stop about a problem that was none of your business?

It can be tempting to go on at length about your chronic insomnia to the first person who listens. But truth is, most people don’t care that much about how you really are when they ask " How are you"- unless you’re friends.
If you respond to them with anything less than "fine" you’re just holding them up and being obnoxious.

The best rule to go by is to keep it to yourself. unless it starts to take a heavy toll on your work performance. Oh, and if you exaggerate a trivial medical issue to get out of doing a part of your job, you just might be the most annoying employee in your office.

3. Your Relationship Drama

ugly crying
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You might think that everyone is all grown up in your fancy adult job, but most people stop maturing after senior year of highschool.

So, if everything is going well in your love life, single, bitter coworkers may go out of their way to make you miserable. If everything in your lovelife is going downhill, it only takes one person to overhear your conversation before it becomes everyone’s business.

And relationship gossip is very vulnerable to the "telephone" effect where it gets worse with every telling. You start out telling your buddies that you got into a minor spat with your wife and you end up in the HR office with a counselor grilling you for domestic abuse.

Unless you’re getting married or engaged, your relationship status is no one’s business but your own.

4. Religion

Religion is a topic that’s near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts. Because of that, it’s also very divisive and can quickly spiral into full blown arguments very easily.

I know that the temptation to convert coworkers to your ideology is strong, (most religions even explicitly encourage it) however, you need to resist the urge. Being an outspoken prophet is only going to make people miserable. Unless you and a coworker share identical religious beliefs, keep the religious talk at home.Don’t ever hand out religious pamphlets either.

5. Your Sex Life

This one should be common sense, but it’s worth repeating.

Do NOT talk about sex at work. Ever. No, not even with your clique.

Nothing makes people that aren’t getting any, run to HR faster than the knowledge that someone else might be. And this is the sort of thing that’s very difficult to explain to HR. No matter how you split it you’re always going to look like a huge pervert. 

6. Personal Finances

We’re in a recession. Everyone’s broke. So just deal with it. Quietly.

Alternatively, if you’re one of the lucky few who has a healthy amount of disposable income to throw around, don’t brag. It just makes us peasants at the bottom, hate you. You may think you’re impressing us, but we’re secretly wishing the worst upon you. 

7. Your Salary

This is one of those subjects that shouldn’t be taboo anymore. In theory all that would happen is that you and your coworkers would get the knowledge you need to fix unfair pay inequalities.

In reality, people get really sensitive about this sort of stuff.  A simple discussion about yearly salary can quickly spiral into an office war that snakes its way up the chain of command very quickly.

It’s up to you whether you want to risk your work reputation and start the salary transparency revolution; but I’d advise against it.

8. Weird Hobbies

Discussing your love of Star Trek or Disney movies isn’t all that bad. But if you have an offbeat hobby like fursuits or taxidermy (don’t deny it, just accept it), you may want to keep it to yourself.

This goes double if you’re new. One off-color comment and you go from being the new hire to that "weird girl that skins animals for fun".

9. Work Conflicts and Work Gossip

Anyone who says they don’t like a bit of gossip, is a boldfaced liar. Good gossip is the lifeblood of office politics.

But participating in this (really fun) pastime is a fantastic way to make a horde of enemies and start a ton of drama.

If you have any dreams of being popular and well liked at your company, keep your nose clean and leave the gossip to the Perez Hiltons of the world.

10. Your Plans To Quit

Do you want to make your boss mad? Then you should be as open and loud as possible about your plans to quit! 

I hope you weren’t counting on getting any bonus pay or extra time off. And the next time you call in sick? You’ll be written up for sure. If you have a boss who’s really vindictive, you might find yourself with all the crappy tasks that no one wants.

In short, give your boss your two weeks’ notice only when its time. Before that, pretend like you’re staying with them for the rest of your life.

See Also:  14 Signs Your Boss Secretly Hates You

Hopefully you aren’t "that guy", but if you are, don’t give up hope! A reputation is hard to build and even harder to fix, but it can be fixed. Start by personally apologizing to anyone you may have offended with your loud mouth, and whatever you do, don’t do it again. Then you can slowly start to rebuild your image into the person that you want to be, instead of the person you became. If you think it’s too far gone and everyone hates you, I’d hate to say it, but you should jump ship and try your luck somewhere else. Hopefully you’ll learn from your mistakes.

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