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Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)



Everyone speaks without thinking on occasion, and we’ve probably all hit “Send” when we wish we hadn’t. However, there are times when what you say (or type) at work can have big repercussions. Unlike our personal relationships, where it can be easier to apologize and move on, office blunders like this could land you out of a job! Here are a few “nevers” to remember:

“I really shouldn’t say this but…” followed by anything at all. You already had second thoughts. When in doubt, shut your mouth, in this case.

“Don’t tell anyone I told you.” If I can’t tell anyone you told me, I don’t want to know. Information is sometimes kept to only a few for quite valid reasons. If someone else says this to you after a juicy tidbit, get the brain bleach because it had better not go any further or it’s your fault.

“How much do you make?” Never discuss salary with your co-workers. Unless you are directly responsible for hiring someone or involved in your own salary negotiations/reviews with your manager or HR, this information should not be shared.

“My boss is the worst.” Or variations on that theme. The only person who should hear complaints about the boss is the boss – and in an appropriate venue. Your human resources department is also a suitable audience. This goes double for social media. Facebook and Twitter are terrible places for complaints about your boss or your job. You can’t control where that information goes after you post it and every Tweet ends up in the Library of Congress if not in your boss’s Inbox.

Anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. I know, that’s a tough one, but a good rule of thumb, especially for employees looking for jobs. No social media platform is perfectly private and even snail mail can get passed around. Keep those steamy stories for in-person encounters with trusted friends.

There’s a meme going around with an acronym we like: T.H.I.N.K. Before you say something, ask yourself:

Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?

Not everything we say will be all of these, but applying this test is a good way to make a conscious decision about what we say and send.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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