O.S.D., or obsessive sharing disorder – that’s what author and coach Peggy Klaus calls people’s growing tendency to offer up too much personal information at work. In this past Sunday’s issue of The New York Times, she extrapolated that this over-sharing is likely an extension of online behavior or, alternatively, the need to connect in a disconnected world. Klaus points out: Since we spend so much time at work these days (likely as much if not more time than at home), it’s no wonder we look to forge close connections with co-workers — and that ultimately blurs the line between professional and personal boundaries.
So, is there a cure for this common ailment (particularly among the Gen Y set)? Yes!
In “Be Your Own Best Publicist,” we address the challenges of managing your personal brand both on- and off-line. So, here are some things to remember when considering whether to share or remain silent about your personal life:
- Who do you think you’re talking to? Just like our recent post about griping about past employers online — think about what the right forum is to share personal information, whatever it entails. Probably not a good move to share your personal issues with a boss or client, lest they think those distractions will hinder your ability to do the job. Even offering up those private thoughts or questionable choices to co-workers could significantly affect your trajectory at work, so consider your audience before plowing ahead. We recommend holding your tongue –and comments– until you’re outside the workplace (and with trusted friends or family), just to be safe.
- Will it help or hinder? Remember that nowadays, in particular, everything you say or post can and will be used “against” you. Whenever we are communicating with a client or a media person, we consider the impact of our words because once a statement or sentiment is out there, it’s impossible to take back (ahem, Congressman Akin!). Ever try to hit the recall button on a email? Exactly. Consider your words carefully in advance. Ask yourself: Will what I say move the situation forward? How will it color the way my conversation partner perceives me?
- When in doubt, leave it out. Wondering whether you should share the story about your crazy weekend in the Hamptons or perhaps some details about a love affair gone wrong? Less is more — particularly in the workplace. Editing yourself can be the hardest, yet most valuable skill you can learn whatever your career. We all need to hit the pause button once and a while. Consider your goals and key messages before blurting any old thing out. General rule of thumb: When in doubt — you got it — LEAVE IT OUT.