3 taboo topics to avoid in the workplace

Your messy divorce, your hot co-worker, your sweet new car: all awkward lunch conversation.

Most of us know never to discuss politics and religion at work, but there are other topics that are equally as taboo. These subjects are off-limits around the boss, and even around the watercooler.

Relationship status

A recent survey conducted by Adecco polled more than 800 Americans and revealed that 23 percent find relationship status to be the most taboo topic in the office. According to the survey, relationship status is even more uncomfortable to talk about than politics (chosen as most taboo by 16 percent surveyed) and religion (which was No. 1 for 10 percent of those polled). The takeaway: Save talk about breakups and makeups for your friends and family.

Physical appearance

“Unless you work in a Hollister, your physical appearance probably doesn’t have a huge role in your performance at work,” says Anthony Morrison, vice president of career networking service Cachinko. “Talking about things like weight, clothing and looks can be hurtful to company morale.”
Of course it’s also wise to avoid talking about how attractive you find a co-worker.

Socioeconomic status

Ben Dattner is the author of “The Blame Game,” a book that explores the psychology of pointing the finger at work. Dattner finds that discussing your lavish lifestyle in the office can cause a rift between employees. “If you let coworkers know that you are spending the holidays at your family’s 55,000-square-foot ski chalet in Aspen, or even that you own your home while they rent theirs, they will likely have a hard time relating to you and may even resent you,” says Dattner.

What’s the scariest part of your job?

While some jobs are risky, scary undertakings, we all deal with workplace anxieties. In a Halloween-inspired survey, career resource site CareerBuilder.com asked workers what scared them most about their jobs. Here are the results:

Layoffs: 36 percent
Pay cuts: 13 percent
Workload: 9 percent
Doing presentations: 9 percent
Forced relocation: 4 percent
Their boss: 3 percent

Who has the scariest jobs?

As evidenced by a new survey from CareerBuilder.com, there’s a lot to be afraid of out there. The career resource site’s latest Halloween-inspired study polled more than 4,300 workers, asking them to vote for the scariest job.
Coming in at No. 1 was bomb squad technician, a gig that makes us tense while seated safely in the theater next to a warm tub of popcorn. We’re also not going to argue with Alaskan crab fishing (No. 6) — even before “The Deadliest Catch” opened our eyes, we knew that was a frighteningly cold job teeming with gigantic sea bugs.
But why is high school teacher in the top 10? Either something is seriously wrong with our high school students, or that one needs to get bumped below stunt person.

The top 15 scariest jobs were:

1. Bomb Squad Technician
2. High Rise Window Washer
3. Armed Forces
4. Miner
5. Police Officer
6. Alaskan Crab Fishing
7. Mortician
8. Firefighter
9. High School Teacher
10. Cemetery Worker
11. Exterminator
12. Stand-Up Comedian
13. Animal Control
14. Stunt Person
15. Politician


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