While it’s easy to name what we should bring to the office—strong work ethic, politeness, ingenuity—it can be more difficult to assess what we should leave at the door. Pulling late nights and taking on additional projects are certainly important practices to engage in when you’re trying to accomplish a goal, but knowing how to gauge what to share or hold back can be a make-or-break factor when it comes to rising through the ranks. Successful people know that attaining success depends on more than hard work, it also depends on what they share (or don't share). These are 9 things successful people choose not to discuss at work:
When the rumor mill starts turning, successful people step out of the way. Whether your work in a small office or are a part of a large operation, things have a way of getting back to the people they're about. A hasty he said/she said comment could escalate into a full-blown rumor, and if you’re involved your reputation could sustain damage. If you find out something juicy, don’t add fuel to the fire. It makes you look sneaky, and even the coworkers who listen to your tales willl be less-likely to trust you.
It’s like incessently posting gym selfies: if you’re really working hard, people will see the results—no photos necessary. If you constantly gab about how much work you do instead of just producing results, it comes off as whiney. When you’re truly walking the walk, you don’t need to talk the talk: other people will sing your praises for you.
Speaking ill of those around you could always get back to them, and you never know who will end up rising through the ranks or who has important connections. Putting others down only makes you look weak, and if you’re constantly pointing out the flaws you find in others, it makes others less forgiving when you slip up.
Bad days happen! While a lighthearted TGIF comment can be totally acceptable, dwelling on negativity doesn’t improve anything. Instead of harping on things you can’t change, offer up a solution to what’s ailing you. If it’s something beyond your control that can’t be solved, save your complaints for happy hour with your non-work friends...preferably someplace far, far away from your office.
Asking someone about their religious beliefs can lead to a very uncomfortable conversation. How a person views religion can be a core part of their identity, and nothing good can come of disparaging that. The way you interact with religion could negatively impact the way others to view your performance, and that could obstruct your success.
In addition to hindering your career advancement, telling colleagues stories that are too salacious could get you sent to the HR office. Discussing sexual matters at work could have permanent consequences if you cause a coworker to feel uncomfortable, especially if it leads to a formal complaint.
Discussing problems about your relationship invites a negative air into the office that people don’t want to be a part of. Plus, people typically have enough issues to worry about without adding your personal drama into the mix. If you end up advancing in your career, do you really want your employees to talk about the night their boss spent screaming at their husband in the middle of a Denny’s parking lot? Probably not.
You should never offer up details of your paycheck without being prompted. Openly offering up details could make coworkers resent you and hamper your rise to the top.
When you’re considering moving on to greener pastures, don’t broadcast your search to colleagues. If it gets to your boss before you lock in another job and are able to properly resign, you may end up burning a bridge and losing a valuable reference.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.