Secrets to Winning at Office Politics
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Eight Topics to Avoid at the Office

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Career success involves managing the image that you present at work. To be viewed in a professional light, you must give some thought to the way you are perceived. Here are eight topics that you would be smart to avoid.

1. Using coworkers as therapists.
Even friendly colleagues get tired of listening to romantic troubles or the details of a nasty divorce. If your personal problems are broadcast over the office grapevine, it could have a negative effect on your future.

2. Dangerous flirting.
Some people do find love at the office, but a flirtation with your boss or married colleague is a surefire recipe for trouble. Ditto for quickie romantic encounters at the office party or on a business trip, because those partners will still be in a nearby cubicle on Monday. And if you're a manager, flirty comments can get you charged with sexual harassment.

3. Complaints about your boss.
If you make negative feelings about your boss widely known, the news will get back to him or her eventually, making your boss situation even worse. And you may get labeled by management as "difficult to work with".

4. Job search activities.
Smart people never mention their job search plans to anyone at work, because employees who publicly announce their desire to leave may find themselves with no job at all. Word spreads quickly, so your boss may very well hear the news.

5. Spreading harmful rumors.
Although gossip is addictive and hard to avoid, spreading negative information about colleagues can create trouble and resentment. Any information that might damage another person should never be repeated.

6. Open political plotting.
Almost everyone gives some thought to political strategy at work. But open political plotting is counterproductive. If you're going to play politics, at least do it well! Keep plans and strategies to yourself.

7. "Hot button" topics.
Unless you know that the other person shares your views, avoid subjects like religion and politics. Although spirited debates can be fun, these differences often lead to heated arguments that damage relationships.

8. "Too much information".
No one needs to hear details of your abdominal surgery, your bout with nausea, your sexual positions, or your Spandex briefs. Never share information that would conjure up an unprofessional image of yourself.

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