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  • 8 things to avoid saying at work

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    Published December 11, 2012
    8 things to avoid saying at work
    Here are some hard-and-fast rules on office etiquette and topics to avoid discussing.

    It can be easy to talk yourself into trouble at work. A couple of bouts of unprofessional banter can wreak havoc on your reputation in the workplace. Here are some hard-and-fast rules on office etiquette and topics to avoid discussing.

    1. Money
    Avoid asking about your colleague’s salary. While it may be an innocent question, discussing financial matters is still a bit of a taboo topic, especially in the workplace.

    2. Religion, sex, politics
    If your mother told you to avoid discussing religion, sex and politics in polite company, she was on the right track. Just like steering clear of controversial topics or hot-button issues at a dinner party, try to skip discussing them in a professional setting as well.

    3. “It’s not my job”
    While a duty may not be specifically listed in your job description, when a manager asks you to complete a task, don’t point to another colleague to pass the buck. When you say something isn’t your job, you’re communicating that you’d rather offload the work than get things done. Instead, respond in a more positive way: “While I don’t normally handle that task, I’d be happy to pitch-in.”

    4. Foul language
    Avoid crude language at the office. Using obscenities may certainly get your point across, but it can also make you seem like you are angry and aggressive. That could keep your boss from putting you on important accounts or from working with cream-of-the-crop clients because you can come across like a loose cannon.

    5. Pregnancy
    Pregnancy is certainly a joyous matter, but it’s easy to tread all over a co-worker’s personal space while congratulating them. First, don’t mention pregnancy if you don’t know for certain that your co-worker is pregnant. And avoid the awkwardness of asking to touch their pregnant belly. Some people don’t appreciate being touched by those they aren’t closely associated.

    6. TMI: Too much information
    Because we spend so much time with our co-workers on a weekly basis, it’s easy to become close friends or confidantes with them. But remember to be professional and avoid sharing intimate information. Steer clear of talking about the specifics of illnesses, bodily functions, or particularly personal details of a situation at home that could make your colleagues feel uncomfortable.

    7. Tasteless jokes
    Everyone appreciates a good sense of humour, but no one likes being offended. In a professional setting, avoid making jokes that could offend or denigrate a group of people based on their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, creed or sexual orientation. Making an offensive remark, though unintentional, can breed resentment in the workplace.

    8. Gossip
    While sharing relevant information with your co-workers is recommended, don’t be the office gossip. Talking about others makes you seem like you can’t be trusted with confidential or other sensitive information.

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