Please Advise, Be Wise
There is a trend among young professionals of trying to be “totally upfront,” “honest,” or “transparent.” In theory, these are all wonderful things that we should strive to embrace and live by; in practice, this approach can actually do a lot of harm to your credibility and how other professionals perceive you. In his article “8 Things Smart People Never Reveal About Themselves at Work” Dr. Travis Bradberry discusses eight scenarios in which personal information, once divulged in the workplace, actually works against the person who shared it.
Here are a few of these scenarios:
- Sharing how much money you make. Because we live in a consumer-driven society, much of lives are already dictated by money– how much you have in the bank, how long until your next paycheck, whether you can afford to go out to dinner or purchase that really cool looking Galaxy 8. Our vocabulary is grounded in monetary terms as well; when speaking about how we use our time, we often say “spend my time” just as one would spend money. Many of us equate time with money, and if you don’t want your co-workers to constantly measure your work and performance in terms of dollar signs, don’t share your salary information with them.
- Using “bedroom talk.” While you may get a few chuckles, the fact of the matter is that talk of your or another co-worker’s escapades (or assumed escapades) will make many feel uncomfortable and possibly even offended. Bradberry suggests that “There’s no more surefire way to creep someone out than to let them know that thoughts of their love life have entered your brain. Anything from speculating on a colleague’s sexual orientation to making a relatively indirect comment like, “Oh, to be a newlywed again,” plants a permanent seed in the brains of all who hear it that casts you in a negative light.”
- Sharing that you’re job-hunting or that you hate your job. The minute you inform your co-workers or boss that you’re leaving, you suddenly become the person who no longer has a vested interest in the company, in the tasks at hand, or in how your performance affects those around you. Rather than coming to you for a quick project, or to look something over, they will think “well, s/he’s leaving soon, I should go to someone who I know will be here.” If you don’t want to be known as the person who doesn’t want to be there, don’t tell your fellow workers that you’re thinking or planning to leave.