When you land that new job of your dreams, one of the first things you want to do is to get acquainted with your supervisor and your co-workers. They are also anxious to find out all they can about you. However, as much as you may be willing to answer all those questions, it isn’t wise to tell them all the personal details of your life. You have to keep your private life private, and your professional life professional.
When you created your e-portfolio, you wrote an introduction about yourself. What should your employer know, though? Does that person need to know how many children you have or how many siblings you have? Do they need to know that you have asthma or that you are diabetic? Do they need to know how many different jobs you’ve tried? They may want that information, but it isn’t wise to give it to them, unless it is directly related to the job.
There are certain topics of conversation that you should avoid in the lunchroom or at any time with other employees. Generally, anything about sex, politics, or religion is best kept to yourself (McKay, 2012). Nobody needs to know that you live with your elderly parents and provide care for them, or even that you are living with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Even if they are furnishing you with opportunities to gossip, you don’t want to be topic of their latest water cooler gossip when you’re not around. Money and finances are another area that is best kept private and personal, and never, ever bad-mouth your employer (Satterfield, 2008). Be careful what you share in social media, as well; your boss may be looking on Facebook and Twitter.
So what can you talk about? Talk about what you’ve learned from past employment. Talk about ideas for company growth. Talk about what you are doing to develop yourself professionally—share your experience with college courses. Keep it positive and keep it business-like. Your boss, and your co-workers, will take notice and will appreciate your professionalism.
Dr. Beverly Fierro is a Senior Instructor for the Online department of Stevens-Henager College, teaching Psychology, Healthcare, and Sociology courses. She has a PhD in Counseling and a Master in Education, as well as a Master in Behavioral Health Sciences. She enjoys cooking, reading mystery novels, watching football, and entertaining friends and family.
McCay, D. R. (2012). “Top 6 topics to avoid discussing at work.” The New York Times Company. Retrieved from http://careerplanning.about.com
Satterfield, B. (2008). “8 things you should never tell your co-workers.” HR World [online]. Retrieved from http://www.hrworld.com/features/never-tell-coworkers-092508/