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  • So if you're okay with it, I think I'm going to start this one off with a little story.


  • When I graduated from college and I joined the workforce, my very first job was as an HR professional, HR generalist, in a manufacturing and global engineering company.


  • And I was sent around the country in to different locations and was fairly nomadic for about two years or so.


  • During one of my rotations, I ended up working in a pretty small town.


  • Since I wasn't from there, I didn't know anybody.


  • And there was a manufacturing facility and then there was a sister facility that was about a mile down the road that was even smaller.


  • And the focus of my job as an HR professional was to go between these two facilities to ensure that we had the proper staffing.


  • I did a lot of recruiting and I was also in charge of employee relations for this small plant.


  • So I would go down there frequently and I would walk the floor and I would kind of chat with people and see how things were going.


  • And there was a guy in particular who worked in this plant was about my age; he was a line worker.


  • I ended up finding myself talking to him more and more because we had a lot in common.


  • And so one day, he asked me, "How are you liking the town?"


  • And I told him, "You know, it's fine. I don't really know anybody here. So it's kind of boring, but I'm making the best of it."


  • And he said, "I tell you what, if you want to come out with my friends and we're gonna be going out to a bar this weekend and you, you're welcome to tag along."


  • And since we had been getting along pretty well and developing a pretty good rapport, I actually started to consider him somewhat of a friend.


  • And I said, "Yeah, sure, that sounds great."


  • So that Friday came along, I went out and met him at a local bar; we had a few beers, everything was great.


  • We were just chit-chatting, and inevitably, the conversation turned to work at some point during the night, as it might with a coworker, since that's what we have in common.


  • And he asked me what seemed to be a pretty innocent question.


  • He said, "So what do you think of the new boss?"


  • In the context, there was a new supervisor at that location who was very inexperienced and had just gotten promoted into his first leadership job.


  • So part of my job was helping him develop as a leader and in particular with the recruiting and dealing with employee relations issues.


  • So I made a comment that I thought was relatively innocent.


  • I said, "Yeah, Joe's doing well. He's relatively new to his role. So he's still growing and I'm helping him with some things."


  • And he just thought an agreement and that was the extent of that conversation, and then we just finished off the rest of our night.


  • Sure enough, next week, I get a call into my boss's office, and she says to me, "Hey, have you been having conversations with the employees about the leadership team down there?"


  • And I said, "What do you mean?


  • She said, "I got a phone call from a very upset Joe who said that you were out spreading rumors about him to the employees that he wasn't a good leader."


  • I immediately knew what she was talking about when she said that.


  • And I said, "Oh, it's because of this guy, isn't it?"


  • She said, "Yeah, that's the person who first thing Monday morning went right into his office and said, 'Brian doesn't have any faith in you as a leader.'"


  • And I'm sitting there just like dumbfounded going, "How dare this guy break my trust like this over a very innocent comment."


  • So of course, I told my boss what happened and that I didn't think it was that big of a deal.


  • And she said, "Well, you're gonna have to clean up this mess and you're gonna have to go and make amends with Joe because if you don't, you're not gonna have a very effective relationship with him as an HR person."


  • So I had to go down and have a sit down with Joe and explain to him exactly what happened, profusely apologized and explained that it would never happen again.


  • And on my weekly rounds at that plant, I made sure that I never engaged with him in that regard again.


  • So the moral of this story is I learned the hard way that you have to be very careful with people that you choose to be friendly with at work.


  • And to be perfectly honest with you, that's not the only story that I have in my career where I've had something like that happen.


  • And that's where I learned very quickly that you've got to be very careful who you buddy-buddy up with.


  • So let's put this into a little bit of context as to why you should be very careful.


  • And obviously, in this case, I potentially overshared, even though I didn't realize I was doing it at the time; it seemed to me to be a very innocent comment.


  • And for whatever reason, this person had an ulterior motive and decided to go stir the pot a little bit.


  • So when you overshare, even if it seems innocent, it always seems to find a way of getting back to you through your boss.


  • And the problem with that is, if your boss starts to hear things through the grapevine that you're not to be trusted, then it becomes a major credibility issue with you.


  • And your long-term career potential could be stunted as a result of that because, trust me, you don't want to have a reputation of being untrustworthy.


  • Same thing goes for gossiping.


  • And I don't think that there's an office on this planet that doesn't have an office gossip and everybody knows who they are.


  • And I'm sure if you're thinking about this, it only takes you a second to come up with a list of who the gossips are in your organization.


  • And you can generally find them congregating together in either the lunch room or the proverbial water cooler.


  • And the water cooler talk tends to be with people who like to stir up drama and gossip about other people.


  • The problem with it is that there's a very easy tendency to cross the line into oversharing or potentially saying something that you're going to regret later.


  • But the even bigger concern is is that you're going to be branded as an office gossip if you hang out with those people.


  • Because here's the thing: you are who you hang out with.


  • And so if you're looking to move upward in your career, don't hang out with the gossips and the people who aren't going places.


  • Because like it or not, people and by people, I mean, bosses in the leadership teams, know who hangs out in which clicks and just try moving up in the organization when you're branded that way.


  • So if you need to go into the water cooler, get your water, say your hellos and then leave.


  • But don't get sucked into the drama because that's where the drama usually starts in office settings.


  • And in my years as an HR professional, I can't tell you how many times I had to defuse an employee relations situation, and there was always usually one of three usual suspects that was the office gossip.


  • Not only that, but the office gossips tend to be the people who are negative.


  • And if you're working with somebody in your department who has a negative mindset, they're going to inevitably bring you down if you spend too much time with them.


  • And you know, these types, they've always got something to complain about.


  • The boss is always wrong.


  • The company is always doing something shady.


  • There's never anything good going on in the organization.


  • You're getting underpaid, we're getting screwed.


  • We're working too many hours, all of these things.


  • And usually the genesis of it is one or two negative people and one or two negative people tends to be a cancer in a group,


  • especially if you're somebody that is really focused on upward mobility that can be very distracting.


  • So you want to be careful to avoid the negative people in your workspace because they could tend to drag you down with them.


  • And even though you may be very friendly with somebody, wait until there's an opportunity in an organization for a promotion


  • and you get it over them to see how long that lasts, because it can be uber-competitive and quite awkward if one day you're the coworker and the next day you're their supervisor.


  • And if you're lucky enough to get that promotion, now you've got a coworker who has spent all that time at the water cooler with you and knows all your dirty secrets.


  • So now it's going to compromise you a little bit, especially if you're put into an awkward situation where you might know something that they don't,


  • because an unscrupulous coworker could dangle that in front of you and you might be held hostage a little bit.


  • Not to mention if you're trying to go places and you've got somebody that's jealous of your progression, it could hold you back as well.


  • Another dynamic to be really careful about in addition to the one that I found out the hard way of oversharing is when you start putting back some drinks and you start getting a little loose and a little inebriated,


  • you start to have loose lips, you start to get a little too touchy-feely.


  • There's a very fine line between being chummy and harassment.


  • And it doesn't always have to be the kind that you're thinking, it could be something like an off-color joke that's told and you don't know who you're offending.


  • And an old adage that we used to say in HR is anything that you say or do at work can come back to haunt you at a later date.


  • So just be really careful if you partake in things like happy hours or other events that might be outside of work hours but with coworkers.


  • This isn't to say that you can't be friends with your coworkers because I too have friends that I've known for years and met them at work.


  • But what I am saying is pick and choose your friends very carefully and just be really cautious about how you behave and what you say and what you share with them.


  • So hopefully you gained a little bit of wisdom out of this video.


  • You don't make the same career mistakes that I did.


  • But if you're somebody that's looking to get ahead in your career, it's actually something that I specialize.


  • I've got a website called


  • It's loaded with tips and tricks all from an insider's perspective and it gives a ton of free resources on careers and how to navigate the employment situation.


  • And if you need a little bit of help getting ahead in your career and you're feeling stuck, I do offer some private one-on-one coaching sessions and you can reach me through my website for that.


  • So happy careering.


  • Thanks for watching and we'll see you on the next one.


So if you're okay with it, I think I'm going to start this one off with a little story.


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