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Too Much Information

Part 3: Keep It To Yourself

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Keep It Close to the Vest

As mentioned earlier, revealing too much about yourself may give people the wrong impression or rather the impression you don't want them to have. In general, you do want to preserve some level of privacy. Susan Heathfield says, “When you have worked in a particular work place for a long time, people will tend to know more about your personal world, simply from longevity. As an example, they know when you took a week off work when your mother died. They know you left for the day when your son got sick at school. This level of knowledge about each other is fine, and, depending on the work place, almost unavoidable... I also think people need to leave their personal and family issues and problems at home. If a co-worker is going through a divorce, you can extend some sympathy (or joy!), without having to hear all the details. It's a two-way street, however, as co-workers need to leave each others' privacy intact by not prying as well.”

Susan goes on to say, “Too much sharing has a negative impact on productivity, an emotional impact on the work environment, can be unhealthy for participants who really should seek nurture and friendship elsewhere. It's like office romance, however, we spend so much time at work these days, there has to be room for some interaction.”

Brian Mairs, a career expert, gets straight to the point: “If you don't want to hear it in the neighborhood pub, don't mention it around the water cooler. If it is a thing of pride (new car, new house, new baby, etc), go ahead and share the joy. If it is a thing of privacy (family problems, etc.) keep it to yourself at work. Find a professional therapist, or somebody you trust to keep a confidence (such as a Priest or Rabbi), to discuss such things.”

As with anything else, you are the only one who can decide what, and how much, information you want to share with your co-workers. The words of wisdom provided by my colleagues certainly give you something to think about. In the end, though, the decision is yours. And the consequences are yours to deal with. If opening up your personal life is what you feel comfortable doing, realize that there will be no line between the “work you” and the “real you.” That may be fine for some people, and as a matter of fact preferable for many. A lot of people would feel uncomfortable and unhappy exhibiting a different persona at work than they do at home. Do what you need to do, as long is it doesn't interfere with doing your job.

More:
How Much Do You Share With Co-Workers?
How Much Should You Share With Your Co-Workers?

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