1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email

Too Much Information

Part 1: How Much Should You Share With Your Co-Workers?

By

Do you share personal information at work? It's kind of hard not to tell your co-workers things about your private life. After all, these are the people with whom you spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week. You're practically living with them—you spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your own family. If you don't talk to them you may lose your mind.

I spent almost ten years at my last place of employment. I shared many lunches and, because we worked some evenings, dinners with my colleagues. We were like a family. They were among the first people to know when I got engaged and offered advice as I planned my wedding. Many of my co-workers even attended my wedding and several came to visit me shortly after my daughter was born.

When I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter, though, I didn't want to reveal that information too soon. I especially didn't want my boss to know about it since I didn't want her to pressure me into making a decision about when I would return to work after giving birth. Therefore, I told only two people at work. One was a very close friend, and the other was someone I knew could keep a secret and was someone I could count on in an emergency. It wasn't that I didn't trust everyone else. Okay, there were some people I really didn't trust. As for the others, I didn't think it was fair to burden them with having to keep a secret. It was tough for me to keep my pregnancy a secret and I had a reason to do that. To expect other people to remember to keep my secret when they had no vested interest in doing so, was, I thought, somewhat unfair.

There are several reasons for not sharing personal information with your co-workers. As I discussed above, you may not want to burden your co-workers. As I alluded to, also, was not trusting your co-workers to keep your secret. There are people around, and we all know someone like this, who will think nothing of talking about you. Some people are very matter-of-fact about it and just assume there's nothing wrong with telling others whatever you told them. Others are malicious and intend to cause harm by spreading information. By the time you find out you've shared your story with the wrong person it's usually too late. There are other reasons for keeping personal information out of the workplace. Let's explore those reasons now.

More:
Maybe Sharing Isn't Such a Good Idea
Keep It Close to the Vest

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.