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Applying for the Job...Not Applying my Personal Life

Ugh. I cannot stand it when someone shares too much of their personal life at work. No one in the office is your friend, everyone is there for a common reason to get paid. Sharing and getting into people’s personal lives is a way to kill time and a distraction from your work. Who doesn’t like the tea and gossip of someone’s life? Especially if they are going to spill and want the whole office to know, right? Wrong! This creates a culture in the workplace and on your team, that it is fair game that everyone spills the tea of what they have going on outside work. 


Us, bold, beautiful, perky people are not down for that, we have tea, but we are not going to spill the tea of our lives at the job! Once you leave those doors of the office or sign off your computer from home, it is no one’s business what you are up to, as long as you're not breaking any laws or company policies. Establishing those boundaries when you first join a team is easier than when your the Wendy Williams of your team giving all the tea or the main topic of conversation. Yes it is a daunting task if the latter applies to you, but let’s make this perfectly clear, no one should ever make your feel pressured to share your personal business. You report to work to get a check, that’s all. In the instance that someone may make you feel uncomfortable to share details of non-work related matters, set up some time to discuss with your manager and tell them straight up you want to keep your work life and your personal life separate. Don’t share specific names of who it is that is being nosey just yet, ask for general guidance first and try it out. That shows professionalism on your part, and builds your relationship with you and manager. 


At this point if you haven’t already document all the events when the specific person is being too nosy, write down what they said, your response, and their reaction. The more information you record and track, the better. If you see no resolve escalate to your manager, with your receipts. When you escalate to your manager, be professional, clear, and direct. No rambling or going on tangents. Explain that there is an employee that is making you uncomfortable, as discussed in your previous conversation you applied their suggestions, but the person is still making you feel uneasy wanting to know about your private life. Share a copy of your records, and then ask your manager what some next steps, typically a manager will then do an investigation talking to the other person. To be prudent, follow up with your manager after a couple of weeks and let them know how is everything going. 


This sucks and makes you feel uncomfortable, no one wants to snitch, but this is what it takes to change a team and workplace culture. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and whether or not your teammates aspire to move up or not, they will need to learn that it is not professional to spill the tea in the workplace or bully others to spill their own. Like we said, you are just there to get a check, that’s it. If you feel the inkling to get in other people’s business redirect your attention, putting on your headphones to listen to music, put on a movie, or listen to the perky podcast! (streaming on Soundcloud and iTunes)


Common phrases to use to signal to others to stay out of your business:


  1. “I rather not say...”
  2. “It’s private…”
  3. “It’s personal…”
  4. “I have some matters to attend to…”
  5. “I rather keep to myself….”

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