Sometimes, when you’re just getting started in the workforce, it can be hard to know what you should and shouldn’t say in a professional setting. While we’re all guaranteed to slip up a few times here and there, this list should help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls.
1. Trash Talk
One of the biggest mistakes people make in any workplace is complaining or gossiping to and about coworkers. It seems completely rational at the time; you see these people every day, of course they would never share what you tell them in confidence.
It's important to realize that most people you work with, no matter how friendly, are actually not your friend. And chances are that if they trash talk along with you, they're not respecting you any more than you're respecting whoever you're talking about. The fastest way to lose the respect of your coworkers (and quite possibly your job) is for any of your bitter asides to make their way back to the person they were about. Save your complaints for your real friends outside of work, because when it comes down to it, your coworkers will always put themselves and their jobs ahead of you.
2. Rated R Activities
Now, this one should seem pretty obvious, but if there's one thing that'll get you sent to Human Resources faster than anything, it's talking about anything that wouldn't be acceptable in a children's movie - that means drugs, alcohol, and sex. Just don't do it. Your friends might love hearing about last weekend’s party, and it might seem like a fun topic off the top of your head, but it's not worth running the risk that a very conservative member of the management team might overhear a story you'll regret telling.
This goes along with the last one, but could have even more severe consequences. Never ever ever say anything even remotely promiscuous to a coworker. It doesn't matter if you think you're best friends. All it takes is one comment that strikes them as a little too inappropriate, and not only are you fired, but you run the risk of having a sexual harassment charge following you around.
Flirting is fun, but in the office, keep it family-friendly. If you wouldn’t want your mom hearing it, don’t say it.
4. Hating on the Job
First I'd like to clear up any confusion on this one: I don't mean "being a hater" while at work. I mean talking trash on the job itself. Don't ever let anyone hear you even joke about quitting. Don't let anyone hear you say that your job sucks or that management sucks or that you could totally make more money doing something else, because you will find yourself suddenly making a grand total of $0 per hour. Which I'd say is a step in the wrong direction.
This applies to any job, whether you’re interning in college or if you're working at a fast food place. Either that manager in their office can hear every word you're saying, or it’ll reach them through the grapevine, and they'll remember it.
Keep your complaints to yourself. You're being paid to work, and if that paycheck (or your reputation) means anything, you'll want to at least make it seem like you appreciate the opportunity and the source of your income.
This is one pitfall that can be hard to avoid, and, honestly, it's not always an awful thing. Just bear in mind that opinions and tempers can run high on topics where literally everyone has an opinion, and they're all different.
If you really want to share it all to your coworkers about controversial topics, make sure you really know who you're taking to, and should things start to get a little heated, just walk away. Your personal opinion is not more important than your job.
In the end, it all boils down to common sense. Any topic that could offend someone is something you should avoid in your workplace. Keep that in mind, and you'll be set to enjoy a long career at whatever company your heart (or paycheck) leads you to!