What NOT/Never to talk about at work...

  1. Okay, the closed "Religion and Nursing" thread made 1 thing very clear to me. There are things at work/school you should NOT, NOT, NOT talk about unless you are absolutely sure that everyone else is in the same boat as you and therefore no possibilty that anyone feels threatened.

    From the thread, we all know religion (#1 thing NOT to talk about!) is one of these things.

    Someone on the thread said something to the likes, "MY mommy told me never to talk about money, politics, religion, or sex" in polite company. "Polite company" meaning, i guess, any group of people who are not close friends. I think this truism is basically true.

    My examples:

    So, I made a mistake at a first job by taking my co-workers for close buddies and expressing freely my ideas about sex and how it should be. BIG MISTAKE! Led to major misunderstandings and embarrassment... (#2 thing NOT to talk about!)

    Then, even though I wanted them to stop and didn't want to hear it, I let co-workers complain, jabber, and gossip to me about the poltics of the company and who was making more $$$ than whom. BIG MISTAKE! I felt uncomfortable and distrusting of my supervisors and personally under a microscope by everyone and felt like I was being dishonest by hearing bad things about people and then going to work with them the whole time while I was there. I felt like spurting out everything that was being said to relieve the tension and distrust. I should have just told them to keep their ramblings to themselves. (#3 and #4 things NOT to talk about!)

    CONCLUSION: The best conflict resolution technnique is conflict avoidance. Anyone want to add their own experiences to these examples or better yet, add other things that u think one should NOT to talk about to my list of "THINGS NOT, NOT, NOT to Talk about at Work" ?
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  2. 51 Comments

  3. by   moia
    I guess it was me that said politics,religion and sex shouldn't be discussed in polite company.
    The problem is the majority of any group can maturely and seriously discuss any topic but there is almost always a few that have views that are either really extreme or completely inflexible and they just can't maturely enter into a discussion without demanding that others agree with their viewpoint or suffer the consequences.


    I think it is reasonable to discuss patients at work...interestingly sex,religion and politics will be a part of that discussion but because they are in a professional context most can behave appropriately.


    It is important to assess your coworkers before you talk about anything...keep it light until you get a sense of who they are...people will tell you what they will tolerate way before you ever bring up a contentious subject...pay attention and you will know who is happy to talk about real issues and those who want to keep it impersonal.

    Remember that your environment is already stressful..there is really no need to add to it.
    Don't involve yourself in continual gripe sessions...everyone has a bad day and go ahead and vent a little to one person who you have a friendly relationship with but stay away from the three nurses that are ALWAYS complaining.....they just bring you down and make your job harder...it's no secret some parts of nursing just suck you don't need to spend a lot of time with those that just keep chewing the same issues over and over.


    Don't EVER talk about anything you don't want the whole hospital to know...when you want to vent stop and consider DO I want everyone to know about this? If the answer is no then the subject is inappropriate for the workplace.

    Hospitals are the largest gossip centers in the free world...always remember that before saying anything.
  4. by   Stitchie
    I learned in Nursing school not to talk about my problems with trying to have children. I learned that there was v. little tolerance to such a situation.

    It seems so common among HCW and nurses in particular, but the instructors at school either didn't understand it or just didn't want to deal with what I was going thru emotionally (I was pretty much a wreck until my DH and I decided to pursue international adoption).

    I'm very open about my experiences, because so many people don't realize how common and painful of an experience it is. so it's hard for me to keep my mouth closed about these things; the question about 'how many kids do you have' inevitably comes up, and then I say "two furry cat-kids" and I get some strange looks. :chuckle

    In general, at work, I stay away from the personal stuff. I just yammer at people about what they're doing, since they'd rather talk about themselves anyway.
  5. by   Tweety
    A coworker the other told us all the reasons she doesn't like sex and has sex as little as possible with her husband. But yet walks around nude all the time because she hates wearing close. TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

    I'm not interested in my coworkers sex life or lack of sex life. Period.
  6. by   Dixiecup
    Why is Religion off limits? I never really got the hang of tact!
  7. by   bbear
    IMHO, it depends on how things are being talked about. Most things, anyway. For example, if sex or religion are being talked about in the context of "this is what I like and this is what I don't like" then both should be taboo. But if the conversation is geared toward learning--meaning "I want to understand what is or isn't"--then I think such conversations might be appropriate. Is it not important for nurses to understand and appreciate the religious differences of the patients they treat, or perhaps the different attitudes/problems people might have with sex? Now politics--that's another story. I've not yet been able to come up with any examples of how politics might be an appropriate subject.

    Is that perhaps confirmation that politics is the true evil in the world? LOL
  8. by   jyoung1950
    I try to avoid politics because, at this point in time, people are fervently one side or the other and since I'm on my break, I don't want to expend a lot of energy arguing about this, that, and the other.

    Usually break time chatter involves our residents, problems we are having on the shift, or, when the break room is filled with the younger girls, getting drunk, partying and their serial boyfriends.
  9. by   Nurse Ratched
    Quote from Dixiecup
    Why is Religion off limits? I never really got the hang of tact!
    I had a patient (who, granted was *very* intoxicated) asking me this weekend about my religious beliefs after I asked him the question on the admission form about his.

    I told him that wasn't a topic I felt appropriate for workplace discussion. He says, "That's ok, I can tell you feel the way I do about it." He was Pentecostal, I'm atheist lol.

    People make all kinds of incorrect assumptions about you based on religion. Why would anyone want to label themselves (possibly for the worse) in the eyes of people they have to deal with every day?

    That said, if a co-worker asks me, I don't lie, but I assume anyone who asks about religion at work will probably also make assumptions about me if I don't answer at all, so I'd rather they be operating from the correct one.
  10. by   psychomachia
    Quote from Nurse Ratched
    People make all kinds of incorrect assumptions about you based on religion. Why would anyone want to label themselves (possibly for the worse) in the eyes of people they have to deal with every day?

    That said, if a co-worker asks me, I don't lie, but I assume anyone who asks about religion at work will probably also make assumptions about me if I don't answer at all, so I'd rather they be operating from the correct one.
    I once had a doc say, "Someone who doesn't believe in taking Vitamin C probably doesn't believe in God either" --- to which I said, "Does one have to pray for Vitamin C to work??" - he didn't get it...
  11. by   Energizer Bunny
    Quote from moia
    .
    The problem is the majority of any group can maturely and seriously discuss any topic but there is almost always a few that have views that are either really extreme or completely inflexible and they just can't maturely enter into a discussion without demanding that others agree with their viewpoint or suffer the consequences.
    Agreed! Agreed! Agreed! And this is almost always what tends to happen. Mature discussions are very possible if everyone is being mature about it and willing to see other's viewpoints. That being said, I would never discuss personal issues between my husband and I at work. I wouldn't take the chance of it getting back to him or coming back to bite me in the hiney. My co-workers also do not need to know my life history. I made the mistake in the past of telling co-workers in a non-hospital setting some personal things that I thought I could trust them with. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
  12. by   watersnake
    Hi,

    Some people are looking for validation of their spiritual belief in a stressful time. I see no problem here. I will pray with a Jew (is that the politically correct designation? No sarcasm intended.), a Taoist, a Catholic or anyone else excluding satanism, which I've not had dealings with. Should this happen, I will leave and allow the satanist to do what they have to do short of sacrificing a young virgin (if a young virgin is to be found in my area). I just usually claim to be a mongrel crossed with Methodist and let it go at that.

    If people want to talk about all their money, and all the stuff they own, that's fine. Sometimes you can really draw some interesting experiences out of such people. I don't recognize the "VIP" status. We's all just folks when we take off our "uniforms" be they clothing or surroundings , or social strata. Let the VPs give them a fruit basket or something if they feel the need. We also have several deluxe suites bordering on penthouse where none but caucasians shall enter...except cleaning people, and a nurse to wait on them hand and foot.

    Politics?, I vote for the man, not the party. Consequently I usually vote for the Liberatarian party, or against the incumbent if I haven't that choice. Stirring the stew makes the scum come to the top, and God knows our 2 party system of career politicians could use a wake up call by introducing some diversity. It would probably even benefit Health Care.

    Just another 2 Cents----Snake
    Last edit by watersnake on May 19, '04
  13. by   Havin' A Party!
    Just use your excellent and professional judgment.
  14. by   PBAJS
    "Don't involve yourself in continual gripe sessions...everyone has a bad day and go ahead and vent a little to one person who you have a friendly relationship with but stay away from the three nurses that are ALWAYS complaining.....they just bring you down and make your job harder...it's no secret some parts of nursing just suck you don't need to spend a lot of time with those that just keep chewing the same issues over and over."


    I have a coworker who has a bad day 'every day'. I find working on the same floor very stressful. When I first started, I listened to her complaints about other coworkers, the charge nurse and DON (they have no backbone), the way the facility is run (housekeeping, food served). I finally got tired of hearing the same complaints over and over and over, again. :angryfire Finally, I calmly said, with a smile, something to the effect that when she wins the lottery and owns this place and sign the paychecks, she can make lots of changes and improvements. It only helped a little - When she starts complaining and then realizes that I am nearby, she has said, "Oops, you don't want to hear this ." ... and then gripes and complains anyway. A few months ago, when we were just starting the shift she saw something where it should not have been and said loudly "What the hell is this crap doing here?" Yeah! Right! Really professional! Each person has a separate assignment, however, when I do need help, I often hope that someone else is available.


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