I always encourage positive networking and fostering a strong bonding in the workplace with your co-workers.

However, there are some sensitive issues that can inadvertently set off people’s emotions and we should avoid bringing those topics up unless it is related to work issue.

Here are the topics that we should avoid discussing at your workplace:

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#5 Politics

This is one heated debate you wouldn’t want to get yourself into. Whether it is politics in your home country or politics in other countries, you should avoid making a stance for or against in your workplace.

Unless, of course, it is a discussion on whether the company should invest in opening up a branch in a politically unstable environment and requires your input. If it is just a common conversation along the office corridors, best to steer clear of it.

Neither is it good to put a label on someone on whether he is right-winged or liberal, whether she is pro-abortion or pro-life when these have nothing to do with their work ethics or their productivity at work.

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#4 Religion

Another minefield to avoid stepping over is religion.

While it is okay to find out how your colleagues celebrate their Thanksgiving, it is not okay to voice your opinions on whether their newborn should get circumcised due to their religion. Keep your thoughts to yourself especially when it is their religion.

Again, whether a co-worker is a Jew or a Buddhist, it has nothing to do on how well they perform at their roles.

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#3 Sexual Habits

This will definitely include sexist jokes and comments.

We don’t want to know that you manage to score a one night stand last Friday and neither do we want to know how good Sarah from accounting is in bed.

Talking openly about anything sexual will make others uncomfortable and it is a big no-no in the workplace. It may just open you up for harassment even you don’t mean it.

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#2 Salaries

Majority of the companies out there prohibit any kind of discussions on salaries. It is always a lose-lose situation.

If you make more than him, you’ll feel bad that he is not making enough although he puts in the same effort as you.

If you make less than him, you’ll feel injustice or worse, start questioning your capabilities in the eyes of your company.

If your boss or HR finds out that you have been discussing your salary, you’ll get a warning letter or worst, a straight up dismissal.

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#1 Financial Matters

This isn’t as bad as the others that I have listed. But openly discussing your financial status will bring in trouble more than you know it.

You are inviting people to judge your effort “if you are rich enough to not have to work for money” or your credibility “if you gamble away your net worth”. I have met colleagues who are crazy rich that their rental is way more than what they earn every month but it doesn’t mean they slack off in their work, in fact, sometimes they work even harder because they had something to prove to themselves or they are really passionate at what they do.

Conclusion

There are some who said that personal matters like spousal relationships or family matters at home should keep away during conversations in the workplace. I think those are fine as long as it is kept at arm’s length.

We love to welcome your newborn and we want to support you when you are going through a death in the family. But don’t whip out your grandchildren photos every time we pass by your cubicle and don’t pour out your divorce details to anyone in the pantry.

What other topics will make you uncomfortable in the workplace? That you think it is taboo to discuss? Share with us in the comments below!

For positive networking articles and why you should do it, here are some tips:

12 Things You Need To Do Once In Your Career Life

4 Ways to Prevent Yourself from Getting Complacent at Work

Being Productive @ Work: What Are The 5 Time Wasting Things You Do At Your Desk


 

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15 replies on “5 Sensitive Topics that You Shouldn’t Discuss in Office

  1. Minus topic #3 from this list, every other topic is discussed heavily at my workplace. I surely keeps myself away from such discussions as I mind my own business but many others love to “help out” their colleagues by giving their “expert” opinions into the personal matters of others.
    And almost everyone seem to be very much interested in listening to them!
    Which is so freaking absurd!!!!

    Like

  2. WOW! Awesome POST and great advice Kally. Thanks!

    “Its better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” seems to fit this GREAT advice.

    And I would add; DON”T be suckered into a discussion even IF you didn’t start it; you’re still responsible for your actions.

    God Bless (we’re NOT at work here)
    ‘Patrick

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  3. In retirement homes religion and politics are generally forbidden subjects. No one talks about sex anymore. No one is earning a living, so salaries are out. But financial matters, generally, are a key point of conversation, especially tax laws and income producing investments. Too bad I’m not retired, yet.

    Like

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