Lessons from the Tenors: 10 things you shouldn’t share on the job
Canadian vocal group The Tenors made a mess of the Canadian National Anthem at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game this year. In case you missed it, one of their members, Remigio Pereira, changed the lyrics of of “O Canada” to include the phrase “all lives matter,” which is sometimes used as a criticism of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
This might seem innocuous enough, but as you can imagine, the group have been taking a beating on social media platforms ever since. The three other members of The Tenors, in fact, were quick to put out a statement claiming that Pereira acted as a “lone wolf” and that they would no longer be performing with him.
All of this serves as an important lesson for the workplace: there is a time and place for everything, and the things you might share with your friends or personal network are not always appropriate when you’re on the job. In the workplace, discretion wins the day. After all, you never know how people might react to something you share (or overshare) at work, and those reactions can affect your day-to-day relationships and your career as a whole.
Here are 10 things you shouldn’t share on the job:
Your political views. OK, maybe your politics are a big part of who you are, in which case you go about knowing that trumpeting your opinions might affect your personal and professional relationships and are OK with that because being pro life/pro choice/anti-gun/libertarian is more important. But if this isn’t you, avoid political discussions with your colleagues and superiors. You don’t know the political opinions of the people who can affect your career and discussion can lead to all kinds of problems.
What you think of them (if it isn’t positive). If you don’t like someone, there is no need for them to know that. Keep it to yourself. This means being nice and polite to that person and giving no indication of your dislike.
That you hate your job/boss/office/coworker. Similarly, there’s no reason for anyone to know that you can’t stand your boss or the guy who sits next to you. If you really have an issue, such as harassment, go to HR or find a new job. Don’t talk about it. Even people who seem sympathetic to your position can turn around and stab you in the back.
The reason you can’t get the thing done that needs to be done. Everyone hates excuses. If you want to get ahead professionally you will take care of your responsibilities, deliver what you promise and do what you are asked. Nobody needs to know that you didn’t sleep well or have the sniffles or had a fight with your partner. Only in very rare circumstances – a serious illness, death, or accident, should you be excused from your duties. Not because your printer wasn’t working.
The condition of your digestive tract/rash/foot fungus. If you are going through a serious illness that will affect your attendance, job performance, and/or morale, by all means let your colleagues know what is going on. But don’t give a daily play by play of your aches and pains or digestive processes. You never know who you might make uncomfortable.
How much you make. While some companies have transparent salary policies, be aware that knowing what other people make can sometimes lead to bad feelings and jealousies. If you think it will bother you to compare yourself with others (and vice verse), resist the urge to ask and to tell.
Why you need a raise. If you’re asking for a raise, keep the request about why you deserve it and not about why you need it. Nobody cares that you took out a second mortgage. You’re not a charity case. Prove that you deserve it by listing your accomplishments and showing your value.
That you have a sexual attraction to inflatable animals, or cars or whatever. You know what I mean. Even if your sex life is fairly vanilla, keep the details to yourself. While you might be a sharer, not everyone wants to be shared with, and a lot of people can be sensitive, squeamish, or guarded about that sort of thing.
That you’re mad. I know a few people on social media who are always outraged about stuff – from big hot button issues, like large game hunting, to small things like random sexist comments from anonymous strangers on small blogs nobody reads. It is super off-putting to be up in arms and angry all the time. It also makes people afraid to talk to you.
That you’re job hunting. If you’ve decided it’s time to shove off, don’t let your colleagues or boss know. Your boss will figure it’s time to start looking for your replacement – which might mean it’s also time to hurry you out the door – and your colleagues might tell the boss. Keep your job search on the down low or you could wind up jobless before you’re ready.