How much of your personal life should you disclose at work?
Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist and now famous blogger, likes to be controversial. That’s a good thing when you’re a blogger. Recently she posted about a very personal topic: having a miscarriage at work. She also wrote about her desire to get an abortion, which was thwarted by a three-week wait in Wisconsin. And she says we need to be more open about these topics because 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and many of those miscarriages happen at work. Whew! She’s hit about six hot buttons in just one short article. Read her full post here.
As you read this post, how do you feel? Disgusted? Annoyed? Admiring? Do you feel it’s an appropriate topic for a blog that’s supposed to be about careers? And how much should you reveal in the workplace about your personal life, health, family and so on? It’s a complicated topic because the answers will differ depending on your company and also on your situation. When someone asks, “How was your weekend?” you can disclose a lot if your married with two kids on soccer teams. If you’re single and dating someone new… well, that’s different.
These days when so many people are informal and open, it’s even more important to set boundaries. The damages from self-disclosure aren’t always obvious or swift. Even when you have your own business, you have to consider what to share with clients and potential allies. Some people believe in “let it all hang out” and others believe in tight compartments. I’d like to hear from you: what are your challenges, recommendations and solutions?