The switch from college life to the professional world can be tricky. It may feel like you have to dig deep for the information on how to adjust to “adult life” after college.
One of the first challenges of being a college graduate entering the professional world is: How much is too much when it comes to sharing your personal life at work?
You certainly want to present yourself as a professional and leave (most of) your personal life at home. Managing boundaries at work is a necessary skill to have so that you’re less likely to be distracted and more likely to be productive.
Here’s how to avoid inappropriate conversations at the workplace to stay focused. You’ll impress the boss in no time!
1. Think about who you’re talking to.
Whether it’s a superior or someone in the same department, remember they’re your co-workers; they’re not required to be your best friends. If you’re the newest hire, keep in mind that anyone at work can affect your future there regardless of his/her job title. Saying something that’s too personal to the wrong person can have a way of backfiring. Be friendly and approachable, but let everyone know that you’re also there to work.
2. What is it that you’re discussing?
Keep in mind the nature of your conversations. Problems with your significant other or indecent jokes about religion or politics should not be discussed at the office. Kate Meaney, marketing manager at Mary Kraft Staffing and HR Solutions, says that talking about financial situations such as your salary or how many bills you have to pay are also unsuitable for the workplace. Show everyone that you are mature and respectful by being discreet about those issues.
3. Are there locations that tend to be more about chatting and less working?
The break room is probably the most common place to talk about everything. Try to spend a minimum amount of your day in those areas and more at your desk or work station. If you’re getting a cup of coffee in the break room, it’s a great opportunity to connect with your co-workers, but don’t get caught up in too much conversation that may distract you from finishing up the report that’s due tomorrow morning.
4. Your work day should be dedicated to, well, your work.
“Beware of tweeting, sharing, or posting anything inappropriate,” says Marta Moakley, XpertHR legal editor. This means staying away from posting anything work-related on your personal sites and waiting until you’re home to check them. Confidential information about your job that shows up on Facebook or Twitter could be grounds for having you fired.
5. Steer clear of unhealthy conversations.
If you feel as though a conversation is heading down the wrong path, ask yourself, “how is this is relevant to me?” It’s a good idea to keep away from office gossip, and “avoid conversations that revolve around what others are or aren’t doing,” says Karen Schmidt, director of training and development for Kaye/Bassman International. Find a way to steer the conversation back to relevant matters and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
Schawbel, D. (2013, May 10). Dr. Henry Cloud: How To Manage Boundaries In The Workplace. Forbes. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from Forbes