Hey guys! Happy Tuesday (aren’t you glad you made it through Monday?!) so, today’s post is the first in a NEW series called “Workplace Lessons” which will have (what I think are) valuable lessons I have learned in the workplace and will hopefully stop you from making mistakes that could cost you your job or worse, your reputation. And since we work in PR, we all KNOW how important reputation is, right? Right.
Today’s topic is one I, myself, sometimes have trouble with: what to say and when to say it in the workplace. Here’s the scenario: you and some co-workers are talking about a client you all have problems with and they are all RIPPING into this client and you join in and you’re all laughing. The next week, however, everyone is avoiding eye contact with you or acting distant and you get an e-mail from your supervisor saying you and him/her need to “talk”. Let me say, it doesn’t end well…but what did you do wrong? Let me break it down for you:
- You spoke ill of a client, and while I understand others may be doing it; but that’s their prerogative and they are probably more senior to you anyway. You cannot afford to start your career out with a reputation of a being blabbermouth or a gossip or someone that speaks ill of clients. They DO pay the bills after all.
- You forgot where you were and who you were with! It is so easy to want to “fit in” and make friends with your coworkers and while I know coworkers can become friends (I have some friendships that started out in the workplace), it’s important to remember that they are primarily your coworkers and you need to maintain a level of professionalism.
If you haven’t made this mistake yet: congratulations. If you have made this mistake and want to know how to fix it, it’s pretty simple. Apologize to your supervisor and let him/her know that it will NEVER happen again. You can also let each co-worker involved know that you did not mean those comments and they were out of line. I know this sounds embarrassing…BUT being seen as the company blabbermouth & possibly being fired for it is even more embarrassing, right? I thought so.
Your career is based on your talent and drive and passion, but office politics have a lot to do with it and if you don’t put on your best Obama or Romney game face, you could fall flatter than Ralph Nader on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November (which is historically election day, know your history people!).