We spend a lot of time at work. Forty hours a week for forty odd years adds up to a whopping 70 percent of your life spent in an office, says millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. And as such, â€œitâ€™s only natural to become friends with your coworkers,â€� she points out. But Heather Huhman, a career coach and founder of Come Recommended, says, â€œin any relationship, itâ€™s important to have boundaries,â€� and Jacinto agrees.
In other words, as Jacinto puts it, â€œat the end of the day, they are your coworker first and friend second.â€� And there are just some things you should never, ever tell them.
Here, according to our career experts, are six things you need to keep to yourself.
1. â€œThat presentation totally sucked,â€� or any other unconstructive criticism
Itâ€™s not always easy, but according to Huhman, you should never give a coworker unconstructive criticism. â€œWhen youâ€™re friends with a coworker, it can be tempting to just tell them like it is. But this isnâ€™t always helpful.â€� Instead, Huhman says, â€œItâ€™s better to discuss what mistakes were made and offer solutions to the problem.â€� A friend will appreciate your help â€” and your office will be better off for it, she says.
2. â€œI hate our boss,â€� or anything else derogatory about your employer.
You may loathe the person for whom you work and need to vent â€” but Jacinto warns you should not share your boss-related frustration with your coworker. â€œYou never know what they might say you said about that boss to another team member, HR or worse, the boss you have been complaining about,â€� Jacinto points out. â€œA vent session could then be misconstrued that you were badmouthing your employer.â€�
3. â€œYouâ€™re the best salesperson in the office,â€� or whatever they want to hear.
Giving a coworker a compliment may seem harmless, but telling a white lie because itâ€™s what your coworker wants to hear is never a good idea, warns Huhman. â€œWhen someone in the office is also a friend, it can be tempting to tell them they did a great job when their performance was actually subpar,â€� she admits. â€œBut that does neither you nor them any favors, because theyâ€™ll continue to do below average work because you told them it was excellent.â€� The truth, however, will help everyone.
4. â€œYouâ€™ll never guess this about my client,â€� or any sensitive client details.
â€œItâ€™s a given you should never badmouth a client to a coworker,â€� Jacinto says, â€œbut you also need to make sure you are not releasing any of their private information across departments.â€� Jacinto recalls a client who was â€œburned badly in this situation when her work friend asked to see a client event list â€” which was highly classified,â€� she says. â€œExcept, itâ€™s against the rules to share that type of information and both of the people ended up getting fired for that incident. Do not let a simple file upload or email share put you in this situation.â€� Keep confidential information exactly that.
5. â€œDid you hear about what Amy did last night?â€� or any other office gossip.
Spreading office matesâ€™ business â€” even with your work BFF â€” is never a good idea. â€œChances are, you have more than one friend at work,â€� points out Huhman. â€œBut that doesnâ€™t give you the right to talk to one about anotherâ€™s personal life. Even if the info seems harmless, it can negatively affect how your friend is perceived in the office.â€� So try to stick to facts and figures, and save the gossip for your out-of-office friends.
6. â€œI totally screwed up,â€� or any other admission of a big mistake.
Of course, mistakes happen. But, Jacinto warns, â€œdo not publicize your mistakes to your work friends. Whether itâ€™s an email that didnâ€™t go out, a presentation that had the wrong data or negative client feedback, try not to spill the beans to your work friend.â€� Why? Because even though you grab coffee and catch up on your weekend plans, â€œyou are still coworkers and competitors,â€� Jacinto says. â€œYou never truly know how someone could use this information against you. They might not even realize it themselves until itâ€™s just you and then up for the coveted promotion, raise or client.â€�
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