Politics, Religion and Two Other Topics You Should Never Discuss at Work
When at work, your main objective is to be professional in everything you do, and that means steering clear of controversial, time-wasting conversations.
If you make it a personal policy to avoid controversial discussions at work, it will save you the difficulty of getting into unnecessary debates and creating adversaries based on non-work issues. Furthermore, office gossip can be horrible, and you don’t want your own personal life being passed from cubicle to cubicle. The following are topics you should avoid talking about at work.
Being a passionate believer in a religion or being staunchly against religion is perfectly fine. However, you should avoid advocating your views at work. Religion is a deeply private subject that should be discussed away from work, ideally with people you feel comfortable disagreeing with. Even if you are surrounded by like-minded folks with respect to religion, a discussion about religion usually isn’t related to work and it can keep people from doing their jobs. Furthermore, because religion is a ‘protected class,’ talking about it could open the company and its workers up to lawsuits and charges of discrimination.
While chit-chatting about the latest news developments can be pretty harmless, you should avoid preaching your personal political beliefs to your colleagues. First, everyone has their own opinions, many aren’t easily persuaded to change them and trying to do so usually ends up offending someone. Second, politics is personal and nuanced. As this presidential election has shown, even people who identify with the same political party can have very different opinions. Third, like religion, discussions about politics often drag on and can sap productivity.
Discussing a family vacation or family traditions is typically harmless and that is about where you want to end it when it comes to your personal life. Avoid venting about your family, spouse, in-laws or other family members. They wouldn’t like it and you’d be invading their privacy. Also, your colleagues will probably have issues with their own families and don’t want to hear about yours.
Never talk about your salary or others’ salaries at work. You don’t want to violate someone else’s privacy or inspire jealousy and anger. Furthermore, you shouldn’t discuss benefits, which are often even more personal than someone’s paycheck. If you’re considering leaving your employer for a better job, wait until you’ve handed in your resignation to bring it up, and don’t go off on the compensation you’ll be making at the new place. Doing so, even when you are leaving, is a great way to burn bridges.
No one wants to hear about your health difficulties, particularly those of a very personal nature. The only exception is if you have to inform your boss why you need time off for health reasons.
At LTI, we work with both our client companies and our contingent workforce to maintain healthy, happy working environments. If you are currently looking to work in such an environment, contact us today to see what opportunities we have in store.