5 things to not talk about at work


Most of us don’t understand where to draw the line with our co-workers. While many of them do become ‘friends like family’, there are certain touchy subjects that could alienate your colleagues and even cost you a promotion at work.

If you’re not sure about the kind of topics that are off limits in an office environment, here is a list of five conversations that must not take place at work as compiled from Huffington Post.

1. How much you hated your last job

Even if someone had a truly horrifying experience in their previous industry or job, they should still be able to talk about their past employers in a positive way.

“If they rant about how much they hated their last job, this could make it seem like the employee doesn’t take responsibility for his or her own actions. It shows a sign of immaturity when they can’t at least share what was learned from the experience instead of placing blame on others,” says Human Resources director for Worksmart Systems, Jason Carney.

2. Your political views

“I recommend avoiding talking about politics, though you’d be surprised by how many people bring up their political beliefs. I remember being in a meeting with someone senior to me who asked me my stance on a really hot topic. I knew that we had opposing viewpoints, but I was not in the appropriate place to have an engaging conversation with this person. He put me in an awkward situation because I did not want to lie about my strong convictions. But at the same time, it wasn’t the time or place to talk about them,” says entrepreneur Sarah Johnston.

3. Intimate details about your personal relationships

If dealing with personal challenges with loved ones, be sure to discuss it with a trusted friend outside of the workplace.

The risk with some ‘friendships’ in the workplace is the possibility of personal details being shared without permission to parties that shouldn’t be privy to that private information. This creates additional conflict and disruption to the business and also puts additional stress on all parties involved.

4. Complaints about your co-workers or boss

You might feel the need to vent your frustration to a work friend about something your boss or co-worker did that really pissed you off, but it’s never really worth it.

Office gossip spreads like wildfire, and what you say to one person can easily get around to all the other employees in your department. You don’t want to end up costing yourself a promotion or a raise because you bad mouthed your boss that one time ages ago.

5. Criticism of the company’s strategy

Refrain from bad-mouthing the company’s strategy or business decisions because you might one day find yourself promoted to a position where it is your job to advocate for the company’s direction.

“I’ve coached employees who would complain about their company’s leadership without considering that they should speak to the company’s leaders constructively about their concerns. It’s best to be true to your concerns and express them in ways that drive the business forward from whichever position you are in,” explains Johnston.

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