“There are three things you must never discuss with people: Religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.” – Linus, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
There’s a lot of wisdom in this famous quote from the Halloween classic. There are several topics that should be kept to yourself, especially when you’re in the office, as they may offend your coworkers and irritate your bosses.
Yes, it’s election year, and we have a few weeks to go before we cast our vote. It’s all you’re hearing about on the news these days, so it may seem like a hard topic to avoid at the water cooler, but you need to try your best. Political beliefs are very personal and unique to the individual, so you run the risk of offending your coworkers if you make an impassioned statement on why the other guy will ruin the country.
This should be a given; never discuss religion at work. It’s extremely personal, and chances of offending someone are great. Many are extremely passionate about religion and spirituality. It has been the cause of countless wars throughout history, so why bring it up during lunch with coworkers.
Nobody likes an office gossip. Engaging in office gossip can be damaging, as it can make you look two-faced and untrustworthy. You never know who is listening and who is going to repeat what you say. Always remember, there is no such thing as “off the record.”
Nobody wants to know if you’re having a hot flash or if that rash has gotten out of control. Yes, it may be at the forefront of your mind, but save that for your family and doctor. Of course, if your ailment is going to take time from work, you need to inform your boss, but save the gory details for your doctor.
You want to be open with your coworkers, as it’s essential if you’re trying to build a bond, but it’s more important to use discretion. The last thing you want to do is to offend anyone, so tread lightly and dance around these taboo topics.