Professional Development

9 Things You Should Never Reveal About Yourself at Work

Written by Peter Jones

You spend an astounding amount of time with your coworkers—even more than your family. You even develop incredibly close relationships with the people you work with day after day week after week. But even so, there are lines you should make sure not to cross.

Here’s how to open up to your colleagues enough to build a genuine network but not so much that you drift into TMI. Just follow this list of what never to say.

1. How Much You Hate Your Job

If you say this—even if you mean it—you’ll be branded as a negative person. Or a complainer. Or just someone who can’t engage constructively with the task at hand. No one wants to hang out with a coworker who drags down morale.

2. Your Hot Take on World Events

Controversial topics like politics, the economy, religion, etc. come up all the time. It’s fine to engage in the topical conversation about current events, but nothing good can come from stirring the pot. If you find you have an even more controversial viewpoint, hold onto it. Best case scenario, you might offend someone deeply. Worst case, you could end up with a lawsuit.

3. Your Health Problems

It’s fine to let certain coworkers know when you’re going through something. But do spare them the details. Revealing too much personal health information can open you up to discrimination. And droning on about physical details could bore your colleagues to tears.

4. Your Personal Problems

Again, if something big is going on with your partner or your family, it’s okay to give people a subtle heads up. But keep the details to yourself. Don’t be that person constantly babbling about how much your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend or family is driving you bananas. You just end up seeming negative and sour.

5. Anything About Money

No one needs to know how much money you make. And you don’t get to ask how much money they make. Definitely don’t try to get information out of others by blabbing about your salary.

6. Your Opinion About That One Coworker

If you have a negative opinion, however valid, about a coworker—i.e. you think they’re incompetent, or lazy, or dishonest, whatever—you should really not be talking about it with other coworkers. Even if you’re right, you’ll come across as insecure and people will probably side with your incompetent colleague.

7. Your Facebook Profile

Try as best as you can to keep LinkedIn as your professional social media platform. Your outside-of-work friends get to see who you’re with and when you did tequila shots in Cabo. Keep your Internet boundaries clear.

8. Bedroom Talk

Keep the details of your sex life to yourself. And, more importantly, don’t speculate about what other people do in their own bedrooms. It’s just tacky and totally inappropriate.

9. That You’re After a Different Job

Whether you’re job hunting or you’re secretly angling for another coworker’s job, keep that intel to yourself.

About the author

Peter Jones