Do You Share Too Much at Work?

by Joe Lavelle on October 22, 2009

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An office environment produces the same sense of both camaraderie and tension that can develop when any group of unique individuals is placed together in one location.  We often spend more hours with our co-workers than we do with our own families.  During that time, it is likely that discussions will extend beyond the report that is due at the end of the week.  That leads me to the question of today’s post — what is considered too much information (or TMI, for the text messengers in the reading audience) between one another in the workplace?  There is a fine line between building a sense of trust and teamwork and making other uncomfortable by revealing too  much personal information.

The MSNBC website has a great piece entitled, “How TMI can affect your standing at work.”  The author of the article points out that you need to be careful not only of the subjects you are choosing to discuss, but also how much time you spend discussing them.  If your boss is looking at the possibility of layoffs, do you think he is going to keep the guy who is always focused and contributing to the good of the company or the guy who spends two hours bragging about the home run he hit in the company softball game?

Definite topics to be avoided include politics and religion, as well as romantic encounters and late nights out on the town drinking.  If these issues are not affecting your work performance, it is best to leave them at the doorstep of your office.  On the other hand, you should share major life changes with your co-workers.  Not only do marriages, deaths, divorces, and births bring a temporary change to your abilities at work, but they also reveal an important part of who you are.  Let people get to know you.  Share in your successes and struggles.  Just know where the line of appropriate conversation lies.

So, what are some things that you believe should never be said at work?  I’ll list a few to get you started:

1. “Have you seen that new Catholic Church being built downtown?  Can you believe people still believe in that silly nonsense?”

2.”I woke up next to a woman last night, and I have no idea how she got there!”

3. “Wanna see my pictures on Facebook?”

4. “I wrote eight new poems last night about the farce that is my supposed happy existence.  Want to hear them?”

Your turn!  What are some statements that you never want to hear while you are at work?  Please share in the Comments and perhaps our completed list can be of service to others!

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