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  • Don’t Talk About The PRC at Work

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    silhouettes-77496_640There are (at least) three things you don’t talk about at work.

    Or shouldn’t talk about at work.

    Sure, there are exceptions. I will discuss a few examples below.

    But generally these are three of things you should not be talking about at work.

    Why not?

    Talking about The PRC cannot lead anywhere good. Talking about any of them generally leads to resentment, confusion, and consternation. None of which are good or productive uses of your time.

    I bring this up because we are in the silly season of elections and there are things going on globally that impact people everywhere.

    Generally, talking about The PRC will not lead to anything productive and it might be career limiting.

    What are The PRC?

    I used the term PRC because it’s easy to remember. Some may not think of the C as being a taboo topic at work and replace it with an S.

    Replace the C with an S. Where S = Sex. It’s not usually a great idea to talk about sex at work either.

    In some cultures talking about compensation is quite common. In others it can stop a conversation mid-sentence and quiet the whole room while everyone looks at their feet.

    The PRC are:

    • Politics
    • Religion
    • Compensation

    Talking about them at work may be 100% within your rights, but talking about them at work may also be off-putting to your colleagues. Your employer has policies about office conduct. Typically, they will not cross a line and prohibit free speech or the way you express yourself. However, they are within their rights to have a safe and productive work environment.

    Pro Tip – How to Shut it Down
    If a colleague insists on talking about The PRC you may just want to say “We have different thoughts about this” or “I’d rather not discuss X at work”

    If a colleague consistently crosses a line you aren’t comfortable with you may need to get your manager involved. But, try to defuse the situation personally and directly first.

    Exceptions Happen

    Of course, as with all things, there are exceptions. As part of your work commitments you will talk with your manager and human resources about compensation. But, as a rule of thumb … no one else.

    Millennials may tilt the tables here. Companies like Gravity Payments where the leadership efforts of Dan Price made the bold move to be very public about the lowest level any employee would be paid. This got a lot of attention – both positive and negative. I’m guessing it also led to a flood of job applications too.

    Compensation is one of the few areas where there may be some wiggle room to have a more open conversation. Talking about Politics or Religion isn’t likely to end up anywhere productive. A lot of companies have policies about talking about these, but freedom of speech being prevalent means that eventually someone will bring up a hot topic.

    When that happens be ready to take a breath and think hard before you jump in. Because a lot of time and effort will likely go into a black hole.

    Talking about The PRC can be Career Limiting

    While companies cannot ban free speech or otherwise prevent you from talking about The PRC you should be aware that talking, tweeting or overtly communication about any of The PRC can impact your career.

    Your employer will take a soft line on free speech. But, they will take a hard line of productivity and having a safe work environment.

    You may have seen movies where they talk about money almost non-stop. And, this is still quite true in many offices. But, the conversations are often about deals, projects, budgets and other more broadly related topics about The Business and generally not about The Person.

    Just be aware that talking about The PRC at the office can be misinterpreted by some and may not bode well on your future or your career today.

    What do you think?

    • Do you talk about The PRC at work?
    • What have been the results?
    • Did you go away happy and satisfied?

    Or, did something else happen? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances. Follow him on Twitter @jshuey or on LinkedIn: in/JeffShuey

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