“When in Rome…” is a common phrase people toss
off to excuse a behavior. But “When in the office,” your behavior could
easily get you ostracized or fired (or both). While most companies have plenty
of rules to follow it’s the unwritten rules that can often cause the
One such unwritten rule is that there are certain things you
shouldn’t share/spread/do at work. Here are 10 of them. Some are quite obvious;
some are not. Some could get you into serious trouble; some only get the finger
of shame pointed your way. See how many of these rules you have broken.
Drama is something that should have ceased in high
school. But the truth of the matter is, we all fall victim of drama now and
then. Whether it’s dragged in from the home front or involves co-workers and
bosses, drama can easily send you into a downward spiral. The end result of too
much drama in the office is becoming that employee no one wants to
associate with… or getting fired. There is enough stress in an office
environment. No need to add to it.
Rumors damage both the source and the target. Most often,
interoffice rumors have to do with people sleeping together, getting promoted,
or getting fired. When you get involved in the rumor mill you are guilty of
damaging the reputation of the person the rumor is about – as well as your own.
If you disseminate enough rumors, no one will trust you. And in the end, no one
wants to work with someone they can’t trust.
Jealousy is an ugly beast, no matter how you look at it. And
it’s easy to get jealous at the office. Some people get promoted, rewarded,
praised — and some do not. There are instances when that promotion/reward/praise
is unwarranted, so it’s natural to become jealous of the person who received it.
The thing is, jealousy leads to even worse patterns of behavior — such as
spreading damaging rumors.
Libido can really cause serious issues in the office. It’s
not worth it. No matter how perfect you think you and the new woman in
accounting would be, it will end badly. Relationships end — but when they end
in the office, you still have to work together. Besides, your company might have
rules against interoffice relationships. People get hurt, jobs get lost. Avoid
it at all cost.
5: Personal life
You can’t always prevent your personal life from seeping
into work. You have issues at home and you want someone to talk to about it.
You need to vent about your spouse, your kids, your opportunistic uncle who’s
been sleeping on your couch for a month… and you feel like the office is a
safe haven. It’s not. Although your co-workers might want to know what’s going
on at the homestead, your bosses and their bosses do not. Leave your personal
life out of your work life. By doing that you’re sure to not blur any lines
that could come back to haunt you at home.
6: Confidential information
Confidential information is given to you in, you guessed it,
confidence. If your manager or the
owner of the company has given you confidential information or if you have
confidential information about a fellow employee (that you gained from outside
sources), keep it to yourself. This actually has multiple layers to it, one of
which has legal ramifications. Do not fall into this trap.
7: Plans to quit
Thoughts or plans of quitting are easily spread between
employees. If you’ve made the decision to leave your job, you may be tempted to
let everyone on your level know. You may even feel a sense of righteous freedom
by spreading the news. But if you do that, your departure from the company
could come much sooner than anticipated. And quitting a job and getting fired
from a job say very different things about you. Do not tell anyone about your
plans to leave until it’s time to actually leave.
8: Politics and religion
Politics and religion are dangerous subjects to discuss in
the office. Such discussions draw definite and hard boundaries between
co-workers and can cause bitterness, resentfulness, arguments, and anger. There’s
a reason why so many people refuse to discuss either of these topics. They are
both personal and should be kept private. I’ve spent a good number of years
working with people of completely different political and religious mindsets from
myself. The only way to do so is to keep my own opinions/feelings/thoughts to
Salary should never been discussed. Ever. Unless it is with
the person who writes your check. No fellow employees have the right to know
your salary and you have no right to know theirs. In the knowing, you might develop
feelings of jealousy — and we all know what that leads to. This information
should be confidential. You see where this is going.
10: Social media remarks
Social accounts can cause problems. Against better judgment,
you might post something hateful about a coworker (or the company itself) to
one of your social networking accounts. If you do that, and your co-workers or
bosses have access to that account, you have set off a time bomb. Keep your
social networking clearly separated from work. Don’t share your Twitter,
Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr accounts with anyone at work. LinkedIn is a
different story. Just make sure your Twitter feed doesn’t populate in LinkedIn,
or you’ve stripped away that demarcation.
The high road
Yes, some rules are meant to be broken. But if you break
them at work, be prepared to take on the consequences. Of course, every company
and office is different. You may work in an environment where some of these rules
don’t apply. Even so, always use common sense before you share anything with
your co-workers. You’ll have a much happier, productive, and drama-free work
Do you have any rules to add to this list? Have you seen
firsthand how some of these issues can create discord in an office environment?
Share your thoughts and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.