I believe in having an open door. I believe in making it easy for employees to talk to me. And yet, there are some things I just don’t need to know.
Salary.com posted an advice piece on the 10 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss. They start with “keep personal things personal” and of course “discrimination in the workplace is illegal” so as long as you don’t get too personal – and you work for a good company that does not discriminate – anything should be OK right?
Well, you’d be amazed at the things people tell me that I really don’t need to know. I’m hard to offend, and I only judge people on their performance not their personal habits, but some people over share. Believe it or not, each of these examples is based on a real conversations.
Here are 10 things I don’t need to know about you:
1. The gory details of your shoulder surgery. I’m sorry you had surgery. I hope you’re better. No I don’t need to know at a level of detail that makes my skin crawl.
2. Your politics. My mother told me there are three subjects never to discuss in polite company: politics, religion and sex. I don’t mind knowing your political leanings, but I really don’t need to debate it with you endlessly, please.
3. Your skill dealing drugs. Even if you were very successful selling coke out of the back of your car in college… or in the 90s… or in South America it’s TMI for me. We’re selling solutions to problems. Cocaine is never the solution.
4. How often you have a hangover. Come on – you really think that is something your CEO should know? Which days you felt bad at work because you’d over done it the night before?
5. The amount of time you spend on your second job. I do actually understand that sometimes people have outside responsibilities (provided you’ve cleared it with us) but it’s not a good idea to spend too much time telling me about it. Remember my company comes first!
6. That you don’t believe in my company. This is an intelligence test. I’m open to you not agreeing with me on strategy and tactics but don’t tell me you don’t believe in what we’re doing. If you don’t believe please leave. Now.
7. The blow by blow of your divorce. This is a hard one. I’ve had employees get divorced and tell me nothing (and then it’s hard for me to be supportive), but then I’ve also had employees tell me the blow by blow he-said-she-said which, I confess, is boring. So, here’s a guideline: if we’re out at dinner and telling life stories yes, I’ll listen, otherwise, keep the details of how “she’s crazy” to yourself.
8. Your porn habits. See point #2. Nuff said.
9. How your boyfriend cheated on you. How you came home and found him in your bed with another woman and so you can’t concentrate today and you’re not sure you can handle the customer meeting you’re taking me to. The drama of your love life doesn’t belong in the workplace. If you need a personal day, take the day.
10. (Ladies) How nervous you are, or how scared you are. A man would never tell me that. Why do you need to tell me?
We spend a lot of time at work and form deep friendships so sharing your life is natural. And in a social setting like out to dinner after an intense day with customers yes you are going to share, as am I. But think first and don’t drink if it makes you over share!