Creating a friendly work environment is more critical than ever. Thanks to workplace loneliness, which is growing rapidly. In most countries, both partners of a family go to work these days. We all go to work to make our daily bread and butter. Saying a wrong thing at work or the cafeteria may seem to be a small matter.
But having said inappropriate things at the workplace can get you in serious trouble. You may even lose your job if the situation gets worse. Therefore, it’s vital to know what you should/shouldn’t talk to at the workplace. Have a look at some workplace taboo topics that you must avoid.
There are a time and place for everything. Likewise, there is also a time and place where certain things are not acceptable, especially in terms of what we speak.
When it comes to work, certain things are entirely inappropriate to talk about with our coworkers. I am sure some of us may recognize that there are always employees who talk about certain subjects you may not want to hear about.
Sometimes we are guilty ourselves of inappropriate office talk that may make others uncomfortable. The truth is when you spend so much time with your coworkers; it is pretty normal to want to converse about things outside of work.
These people become your friends. Sometimes they even become so close they seem like family. However, when you’re at the workplace, you cannot necessarily have any conversation you’d like or that you would have outside of work even if you are close.
With 53 percent of Americans being unhappy at work, you can easily fall prey to unnecessary topics with colleagues at the workplace.
But, it is essential to know what are your boundaries and what you should or should not talk about at the workplace. Some things when discussed at work can have more consequences than just a few seconds of awkwardness.
Saying the wrong thing at work could cost you your job and a bad reputation among your colleagues. You never know who is listening or how the person may react to the things you share at work.
So, what are the things that you should not discuss at work? How do we know where to draw the line?
Taboo Things You Must Not Talk About at Workplace
1. Your Clients or Confidential Data
The most inappropriate thing to discuss at work information about your clients. Even the most talented employees get fired for sharing sensitive information.
I know it can be very tempting to talk about your clients and customers. Most of us vent about them for at least an hour when we get home to our friends and family. It can be something you want to do especially when your client is unreasonable or does something wrong, and you have to suck it up because ‘the customer is always right.’
I have been present when coworkers complained about their clients. Do you know why I never talk about clients when I am at work?
Well, one day a coworker was venting about their client and how unreasonable they were, and our boss was standing by the door eavesdropping the whole time. Nobody saw him, of course, but he heard him complaining as if he hated his job. In reality, that wasn’t true. He loved his career. He just wanted to vent about a hard client.
It didn’t stop him from getting fired. It also didn’t prevent other people from having their clients hear them vent and even ended up losing their jobs. It’s not worth it.
If you want to vent about clients, talk about it outside of the workplace.
2. No Bitching About Your Boss
If you have a bad boss, then it must be tough for you to maintain a good work-life balance. This can be hurtful and make you bitch complain about your boss.
On the other side, however nice the boss is, some employees do tend to bitch about the boss. This is just as tempting if not more so than talking about your clients. At times, employees can be some of the most unfair and frustrating. Saying the wrong thing about your boss at work can cost you your job.
If your employee’s forte is even worse gossip. There is so much about it that is intriguing. Yet, it is one of the most dangerous points for conversation.
One ear that shouldn’t have heard you and you’re just fired. It is very unprofessional to complain or gossip about your boss especially while at the workplace.
A study found that nearly two-thirds of employees say that people in their workplace gossip.
Office gossip may build friendships at your workplace but can be dangerous or even poisonous for your career. So stay away from gossip. Instead, talk to your boss if you have any problems with him/her directly.
3. Don’t Talk About Your Sex Life At Work
Saying the wrong thing at work can surely get you in trouble, but sex crosses the line. Your sex life may be bad, or even worse.
But it’s incredibly inappropriate and awkward to share details about your sex life. Or even listen to your coworkers’ sex life in the same place where you crunch numbers and do work for your clients.
People still fall in love at work. 52% of both men and women reported finding love at work, which may also lead to inappropriate sexual conversations at work.
Talking about your sex life with your colleagues can get you hit with a sexual harassment suit or just an indecent conduct charge from HR. Some topics may be tempting to talk about but your sex life is not appropriate for the office, and there isn’t an instance when it can be a relevant point for conversation in the office.
4. New Job Opportunities You May Have or Looking For
The next inappropriate thing to talk at work is about your new job offer. It doesn’t matter where you work; talking about the new job opportunities you’re seeking or already have is not a good idea. You may be a multipotent career switcher, who has several areas of interest.
But when your boss finds out that you’re job shopping, he/she can cut your hours if you work hourly. Or push you out of big commissions, or just let you go before you were ready to turn in your notice.
You may also have all the skills you need for your dream job. But when your coworkers find out you’re leaving they will be trying hard to take your spot. Loyalties will be tested, and you will be considered disloyal by the people who write your paycheck.
So if you are thinking about other job offers, be classy and keep it to yourself. It’s not only a bad idea, but it is in bad taste.
5. Race, Ethnicity, and Religion Are Things Not To Say At Work
Most companies have policies against racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. This is very serious and illegal in many countries including the US. Saying the wrong thing at work about race, ethnicity, and religion can stir up a big issue.
Even though religion plays an important role in your life, a person’s religious belief is hugely personal. When you bring racial or religious topics in the office things are destined to heat if two people are on opposite sides of the spectrum. It can cause hostilities. It can cause a lot of inner work clique creating.
A study found that religious discrimination claims have doubled in recent years and are increasing.
It is important to respect other people’s privacy and the right to believe whatever they want to. While whatever you think is nothing to be ashamed of, the workplace is no place to start preaching or pushing your religious beliefs onto others. I am sure you wouldn’t want anyone forcing their beliefs onto you either.
6. Discussing Marital/Family Problems and Relationships Is a Strict No
There are two sides to this one and why this topic is not to be discussed at work. First of all, it is your marriage or relationship. What happens between you and your spouse and other family member is no one’s business.
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In addition to that, talking about issues that you are having at home can spread like wildfire in your workplace.
The last thing you want is it getting around that you are having problems at home that you can’t keep to yourself at work.
That makes it seem as if your home problems are impacting your ability to do your job. That will not look good to your employers or your customers/clients.
Your home life deserves privacy and is not meant to spill over into your work life. Hence maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for every one of us.
- Saying the wrong thing at work could cost you your job and a bad reputation among HR and your colleagues.
- You never know who is listening to the inappropriate things you’re saying or how your coworkers may react to the things you share.
- The first and foremost taboo thing to talk about or discuss is your client’s sensitive information.
- Bitching about your boss is a strict no at the workplace.
- Talking inappropriate things about race, religion, or ethnicity may have you lose your job as you’re violating the policies of your organization.
- Talking about the new job opportunities you’re seeking or already have is also not a good idea.
- One of the inappropriate things to discuss at work is personal life matters including marriages, relationships or family issues with your coworkers.
The workplace is precisely that: your place of work. Some boundaries and lines aren’t meant to be crossed. Having a good work-life balance is important.
It is important to conduct yourself as a professional in front of your clients as well as your employers so that you can move up in your career and withstand your reputation.
As I said earlier, there is a time and place for everything. It can be tempting to talk about certain things and get distracted at the workplace. That’s understandable, but one of the things that can set a person apart at their work is the ability to be social and have water fountain discussions, but not discuss inappropriate topics.
It speaks to your self-control and professionalism which is, of course, very important and what you want, right? Therefore remember, saying the wrong thing at work can get you in trouble. Hence, be careful and think before you speak.
What are some things you don’t think should be discussed in the workplace? Have you heard other inappropriate things that people say at work? Leave some thoughts and opinions down below!
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