You’ve heard about being careful what you share on Facebook and on other social media platforms. We all know that it doesn’t just go away, and some have experienced the unfortunate side effects of that. But what about what we say in person to our coworkers, bosses, and friends?
I’ve heard the story from friends before, and I’ve had it happen to me. You made a comment in passing, you complained about your job or someone you worked with. All of a sudden, you find the comment being used against you — in an argument, in a meeting with the boss, or in your performance review.
Here’s a personal example:
Early on in my career, a manager called me in and asked how things had been going, since I was a new employee. I told her that I had gotten into an argument with another coworker, but that the coworker and I had had a long chat and worked out our differences. I told her we were doing better than ever before, which was true, and remained true after that talk.
A few weeks later, other people on our shift had begun arguing frequently with each other and with our manager. Management decided to move people around as a result. My manager took the information about my one argument with a coworker to her boss and used it against me during my review. Eventually they put my coworker, who I was now getting along with quite well, on a new shift.
When you tend to go out with coworkers a lot or spend time with them outside of work, the issue of over-sharing can become an even bigger problem. Be careful of what you say about your company, your boss, your other coworkers, or your personal life and issues. Even if you’re just kidding about something or you don’t mean it “that way,” others may see it differently. If you have a lot of frustration surrounding your job, or are struggling personally, write it out in your journal, talk to a doctor, talk to a family member, or talk to a close friend with whom you don’t work.
It can be tempting to rant and complain as a way to “bond” at the office, but ask yourself — have those rants and complaints ever fixed the problem? Do you walk away from them feeling better, or do you just feel more worked up? Watch what you say — online and off.