10. Your Health
Unless you have had to chat to HR about a health issue that is affecting your work, your health is entirely your business. It’s much better to keep your health issues private than chat about them with your work colleagues.
Yes, you have a bladder infection and need to hop to the ladies room every five minutes, but really that is only your business and nobody else’s. Similarly, that Helen from PR is going to see the gynae about a suspected infection is probably something you would prefer not to know. Keep your health issues private and avoid sharing your health issues unless it is absolutely necessary.
Are you asthmatic, or diabetic? Do you have allergies that may be triggered? In these type of cases, you can tell your colleagues, but avoid sharing your daily health issues, unless they are going to affect your work. Similarly, if you have a medical appointment, it is entirely acceptable to share only that. It is your private business about who you are going to see. Your boss doesn’t need to know that you are going to see your psychologist, dentist, or have a smear.
Less is more. Keep it less. If you have a serious medical illness, then, and only then, may it be necessary to inform your HR department. Your health is confidential and sharing your health status may affect your work. It is your decision about how you approach the matter. Generally, your health is your private business and should remain so unless it is going to affect your work. Then, and only then, should it be something that you should share.
11. Your Life Story
You may have had rocky relationships in the past, survived bankruptcy, started an online business, and still do all this while being a single mother of three. You are a hero to your family, to your friends, and community. At work, you’re just Jane, from admin.
It’s not that other people don’t recognize your personal achievements, it’s just that your work colleagues have their own stories and are the main character in theirs. Be judicious and selective about what personal information you choose to share in the work environment. What you may be proud of and can’t wait to share with other people, they may simply find without sounding terrible harsh and irrelevant.
Yes, your work colleagues will become a part of your broader social network and you may make good friends but your personal life story will not enthrall them in the same way as your close circle. Rather keep your personal history to yourself. You may choose to share some of your life history with your colleagues outside of work but be selective about who you share to and what you choose to share.
It’s far too easy for people to exaggerate or embellish further on what you share. Before you know it, HR may be calling you in to have a discussion with you about your work ethic, and the time you spend outside of work on another business. Rather keep your life story to yourself, friends, and family.
12. Are You Getting Divorced, or, Having Marriage Counseling?
Like your health status, the status of your marriage is private. It is nobody else’s business but yours, and of course, your spouse’s. Yes, you may have been arriving at work with bags under your eyes and been off with ‘food poisoning’, three times over the past month, but that does not matter. Sharing your marital woes invites disaster.
Your personal life and the status of your relationships is just that. Personal. Sharing your problems with colleagues may be something that you are sorely tempted to do, especially if you need emotional support. However, this is never a good idea. Yes, your colleagues care about you and wish you all the best for both of you, but there is a boundary that needs to be observed between your personal life, and your work life. As difficult as it may be to get through the day and to work, that is exactly what you need to do. Do not talk about your problems at work. Your work colleagues are not the right support for you, either. Rather talk to your friends, your family, priest, or professionals.
It’s not that your work colleagues don’t care or won’t listen, it’s just that their priorities are not the same as yours. Rather take time off if you need to and than come to work if you are not coping. Your colleagues may offer you the wrong advice or worse still, tell you to divorce or leave your husband, or, wife. Well-meaning advice from colleagues may also lead to future awkwardness.
Sandra, from marketing, confesses that she thinks that you should definitely divorce your spouse and then lists the reasons why she found him, or her, annoying, at the last work Christmas party. Her candor, though well intended, could compromise your working relationship and that is the main difference to remain aware of. Work relationships are just that, and you may compromise them by sharing your personal life with your colleagues. You may mean well, but the end result may be disastrous. Rather keep your private life strictly private.