It is quite hard to keep a strong professional network if you do not open up to your colleagues. But then again, if you do not cleverly do it and end up revealing the wrong things, it can end up having a devastating effect on your career. Sharing the right aspects of your life in the right way ways is an art form. Learning to keep your private life private can help you present a professional image while still enabling you to develop and maintain good working relationships with your colleagues. If you allow your private life to have too big an impact on your job conduct, then it can harm perceptions of you at work.
Confucius, China’s greatest sage established a system of morals, ethics, behavior and hierarchy, setting the rules for people dealing with other people and establishing each person’s proper place in the society. China has several cultural elements that should be maintained at the workplace to enhance the effectiveness of the group. They range from observing “Guanxi”, reciprocity, Mianzi(saving face), being polite and also courteous. All these elements ought to be observed in a Chinese workplace but just like any other place in the world, there are things that ought to be kept private and not be brought up at the workplace. Some of them include:
1. Medical history
For one reason or another, we love to talk about our ailments and illness. This can be analogous to kids who can’t wait to show others their bruises and scratches. Even though we all love to hear about medical details, the workplace is not the most appropriate place to talk about them. Ideally, hospitals and also human resource departments are by law prohibited from giving out your medical information for whatever reason. It’s in human behavior that they tend to adjust when they find out that you had or have a particular medical condition. They might end up treating you like an outcast or a sick child.
2. Confidential work information
Information is valuable and can also indicate a level of informality and comfortability. If you happen to know anything about your boss or anything about the job, it would be safe to keep it private because you wouldn’t want to end up getting fired if you breach the clause of confidentiality.
3. Plans to quit
You might be feeling unhappy in your job and actively hunting for another, all you have to do is not to tell anyone. You will be surprised how your secret will come out thanks to the devious motives and loose lips around you, leaving you in an awkward situation. If this happens, the two possible outcomes are, your boss will let you go regardless whether you are ready or not or you will be quietly pushed out- acting as if you already left.
4. Online venting sites
It’s great that you make friends at work but another thing when you add them to your social media accounts such as Facebook. You wouldn’t want your boss to see pictures of you taking tequila shots like crazy in a club, would you? This might leave you looking quite inappropriate and leave a bad impression. Most people do use their social media platforms to vent out about both personal and work frustrations and if your co-workers get a hold of all that you might need to do a lot of digital clean-up and maintain things a little bit on the down low. Maybe you should let Linked-in be used for your professional life and facebook and Instagram for everybody else.
5. Matters of the heart
Now this is tricky since you might have the most amazing love life that you want to scream on top of the world or a miserable love life that you want to vent out, whatever the case, spare the workplace all the soap opera drama. It will really hurt your reputation if you make it apparent at the workplace. Like seriously, people have zero interest in your love life at work, and if you can’t protect yourself, they might find it hard to separate your romantic life from your professional one
6. Political views
Trust me, you don’t even want to go there. Politics is the quickest way to alienate people in a mixed crowd. Keep your political affiliation as private as it can get and this is for a myriad of reasons. From the fact that you are offending your boss and coworkers by making the work environment quite uncomfortable for them to the fact that once the boss gets to know about your affiliation, you’ll be vulnerable hence easily judged for being closed or open-minded for a certain job. Always remember that political prejudices do exist and you would want to be the one on the other side.
7. Religious views
Unless you are working for a religious organization, then I do not understand why you should be talking about religion at the workplace. Well, we are all entitled to whatever religious beliefs we choose to subscribe to but remember that the workplace is not a church hence they s no reason for you to shove down other people’s throats what your beliefs are. Just a reminder, most of the wars in the world are perpetrated by religious differences and intolerance towards other people’s religion.
8. Salary Information
Money topics are quite sensitive in the society. Salary is associated with worth and if you choose to divulge whatever much you are making, then it might end up working against you. People might talk about how you are being over or under-compensated or end up complaining each time you are given a bonus. Talking about money can trigger all things negative from resentment to jealousy.
9. Your Privileged life
Refrain from bragging about how privileged you are or how many powerful government figures, business leaders and high-profile individuals are in your circle. Keep all that private since your co-workers will start doubting your qualification and whether you got the job on merit.
Whether you spend the night at the local bar drinking yourself to stupor or reading bedtime stories to your kids, your boss doesn’t have to know all that unless it’s about doing extra work at home or taking evening classes in your field. Keep all the drama away from the ogling eyes and stay as professional as you can.
11. Sexual Orientation
It is good to be yourself, but it is another thing to disclose your sexual orientation to your boss or co-workers. Trust me, as much as discrimination is illegal; it is still very real, and some stereotypes can work against individuals based on their sexual orientation. Let that remain private, you wouldn’t want your intolerant boss to use that against you when considering a promotion or raise.
12. Gossip and negative comments about co-workers
It’s in human behavior that when you get a hold of some information, you feel the need to tell it to the next person. This is a dangerous game especially if you doing it at the workplace. You wouldn’t want to harbor bad blood with your colleague or even worse your boss. Some things are better kept under wraps.
Trust me; you are not Chris Rock, who gets paid for his cuss words and racially charged jokes regardless of how offensive the jokes are. You are paid to work and be efficient for that matter and not to go around offending others with your jokes. Let’s face it; you will be fired.
Whether in China or not, the safest bet is to keep your personal affiliations, views and life private and completely outside the workplace. China is particularly strict on its workplace etiquette, and they will have zero tolerance for anybody not willing to abide by them. You wouldn’t want to leave your country and go to China only for them to prove to you how narrow- minded, intolerant and inefficient you are. Separate your professional life from your personal life lest you want to take a gamble on losing the job you love so much.