We spend a lot of time at work. Forty hours a week for forty odd years adds up to a whopping 70 percent of your life spent in an office, says millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. And as such, €œit €™s only natural to become friends with your coworkers, € she points out. But Heather Huhman, a career coach and founder of Come Recommended, says, €œin any relationship, it €™s important to have boundaries, € and Jacinto agrees.
In other words, as Jacinto puts it, €œat the end of the day, they are your coworker first and friend second. € And there are just some things you should never, ever tell them.
Here, according to our career experts, are six things you need to keep to yourself.
1. €œThat presentation totally sucked, € or any other unconstructive criticism
It €™s not always easy, but according to Huhman, you should never give a coworker unconstructive criticism. €œWhen you €™re friends with a coworker, it can be tempting to just tell them like it is. But this isn €™t always helpful. € Instead, Huhman says, €œIt €™s better to discuss what mistakes were made and offer solutions to the problem. € A friend will appreciate your help €” and your office will be better off for it, she says.
2. €œI hate our boss, € or anything else derogatory about your employer.
You may loathe the person for whom you work and need to vent €” but Jacinto warns you should not share your boss-related frustration with your coworker. €œYou never know what they might say you said about that boss to another team member, HR or worse, the boss you have been complaining about, € Jacinto points out. €œA vent session could then be misconstrued that you were badmouthing your employer. €
3. €œYou €™re the best salesperson in the office, € or whatever they want to hear.
Giving a coworker a compliment may seem harmless, but telling a white lie because it €™s what your coworker wants to hear is never a good idea, warns Huhman. €œWhen someone in the office is also a friend, it can be tempting to tell them they did a great job when their performance was actually subpar, € she admits. €œBut that does neither you nor them any favors, because they €™ll continue to do below average work because you told them it was excellent. € The truth, however, will help everyone.
4. €œYou €™ll never guess this about my client, € or any sensitive client details.
€œIt €™s a given you should never badmouth a client to a coworker, € Jacinto says, €œbut you also need to make sure you are not releasing any of their private information across departments. € Jacinto recalls a client who was €œburned badly in this situation when her work friend asked to see a client event list €” which was highly classified, € she says. €œExcept, it €™s against the rules to share that type of information and both of the people ended up getting fired for that incident. Do not let a simple file upload or email share put you in this situation. € Keep confidential information exactly that.
5. €œDid you hear about what Amy did last night? € or any other office gossip.
Spreading office mates €™ business €” even with your work BFF €” is never a good idea. €œChances are, you have more than one friend at work, € points out Huhman. €œBut that doesn €™t give you the right to talk to one about another €™s personal life. Even if the info seems harmless, it can negatively affect how your friend is perceived in the office. € So try to stick to facts and figures, and save the gossip for your out-of-office friends.
6. €œI totally screwed up, € or any other admission of a big mistake.
Of course, mistakes happen. But, Jacinto warns, €œdo not publicize your mistakes to your work friends. Whether it €™s an email that didn €™t go out, a presentation that had the wrong data or negative client feedback, try not to spill the beans to your work friend. € Why? Because even though you grab coffee and catch up on your weekend plans, €œyou are still coworkers and competitors, € Jacinto says. €œYou never truly know how someone could use this information against you. They might not even realize it themselves until it €™s just you and then up for the coveted promotion, raise or client. €