For many people, the workplace is more than where they earn a living. Spending eight hours or more a day, five days a week with the same people can make your work colleagues some of your closes social contacts.
There’s nothing wrong with developing closer relationships with work colleagues. In fact, a more collegial relationship can help productivity. But the workplace is still a professional environment. Understanding the boundaries between personal and professional matters is a key piece of career advice that will help workers at any stage of their profession.
Here are some tips that veteran human resources executive Liz Ryan explained in Forbes:
- Relationship difficulties. If you and your significant other are having struggles at home, work is not the place to discuss these problems.
- Money. Personal financial matters, both struggles and successes, should be discussed outside of work
- Legal problems. Legal matters should be discussed with legal professionals.
- Health. Everyone experiences health problems, but outside of a discussion about work-sponsored health insurance, you should keep these matters to yourself.
- Family drama. It’s best to maintain the division between work and family.
- Feelings about the company or superiors. Discussing personal feelings about the employer or the boss can quickly devolve into unprofessional workplace conversation. It’s best to avoid.
- Plans to leave. The rule of thumb in searching for a job is to leave your current job only when you have a new one in place. An employer who finds out you’re searching, could take the pre-emptive step of dismissing you.
- Political aspirations. Office politics is a sensitive subject under most circumstances and if you have aspirations of climbing the ladder, it could be perceived that you’re focused on advancing yourself at the expense of the current job at hand.
- Personal doubts. Hesitating or expressing personal doubts serves only to distract yourself, and possibly others, from the business tasks at hand.
- Personal struggles. If you have problems with substance abuse or gambling, keep them to yourself.
There is an appropriate forum at work to discuss personal matters. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs. Trained counselors can give advice or counsel to employees who need help. This is a benefit to employees and comes at no additional charge.
For more tips on this and related topics, visit the Career Advice section of our blog.
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