I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a single conversation at work, but there are some subjects you really should avoid bringing up.
I recently found myself arguing with someone at work about religion. I’m agnostic-borderline-atheist (if that makes any sense), and when people start throwing their religious beliefs in my face, it really gets on my nerves. I respect people’s opinions and their right to believe in whatever they want to believe, but I don’t like being told that my belief system is wrong or that I’ll be going to hell for having sex before marriage.
What’s worse is that I didn’t even willingly enter the fray. People were discussing things, and next thing I know, I was being used as an example. As always – and this isn’t to play the bigger or better person – I feel like I need to make some things clear…
Religion should not be discussed at work – and no, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a hijab at the office or have a cross around your neck. It just means that your religious beliefs are your own and you should never share your opinions about your or other people’s beliefs within a work environment. Who the hell gives a damn what you think about my beliefs, anyway? I believe them, and your opinion won’t change my mind about it.
Politics are a hot topic of conversation across the board in this country, but do leave them out of the workplace. The number of times I’ve heard a supporter of a particular party pass an unnecessary jibe at someone who voted for the other party is ridiculous. So what? They voted for a political ideology that they endorse. And they may again. Be grateful that there’s some form of democracy in this country, and take a chill pill – politics-wise – while at work.
Spouse problems should also be left at the door. Yes, it’s hard to go through the day when you’re having problems at home, and I understand that sometimes all you want to do is crawl up into a ball and die. Trust me, when my girlfriend of 10 years left me one morning without so much as an explanation, I popped to the loo about 17 times and bawled my eyes out. But other people have their problems too, not to mention deadlines and a boss breathing down their neck. Take time off if it’s that unbearable – it’s what it’s there for.
Career aspirations are wonderful to discuss with close friends and family. But seriously, why would you tell your co-workers about how you plan on leaving the company that’s currently paying your bills? You’re asking for trouble, and you may be undermining your own possibilities of a raise, a promotion or even peace of mind.
Your sex life – This may be a hard one to stomach, so make sure you’re sitting down. I’m indifferent to the fact that you’ve finally had sex with that boy you’ve been dating. And the more you keep mentioning it, the more I wonder if you’re trying to make me uncomfortable on purpose or that, maybe, this is turning into a case of sexual harassment. So, let’s make a deal… I won’t tell you about the naughty thing I did while having a beer – so as not to make you uncomfortable – and you keep your sexcapades to yourself. Deal? Great!
Certain things should not be discussed at work. The list above also doesn’t include things like money or your opinion about multiculturalism, and this is completely for your own good. People’s opinions of you will shift. Some people may love you more, others may grow to despise you. Stay professional and keep things to yourself, especially if they’re controversial.
What do you think of James’s argument? Should any of the topics above be discussed at work?
Let us know in the comments section below.