It’s tempting to think that because everyone else is thinking it, it’s okay to say it out loud. This is never a good idea, because you actually have no clue what people are thinking at any given moment. For example, the other night someone asked me if I was judging how much food was on their plate, when really I was just thinking how cool it would be if pepperoni could fly.
It’s particularly important to keep your opinions to yourself at work because, contrary to your own opinion, yours isn’t always welcome. It may not even be the same one as “everyone else’s.” It could even get you fired. (Although why would you want to work anywhere where people don’t think your words are sacrosanct? Seriously.)
I am really guilty of this. I’ve stood in a manager’s office before and told them what I assumed they already knew: one of their salespeople had no idea what he was selling, but nonetheless was really good at it. The manager stared at me blankly. They either hadn’t known prior to my opening my mouth that their best salesperson knew nothing about the products he pitched, or the manager didn’t share my obviously spot-on summation of her salesperson’s talents. Either way, this salesperson could sell wallpaper to anyone if he tried. Wallpaper. He deserved a medal. We could both agree on that. Foot removed from mouth. Phew.
I’ve also sat in a supervisor’s office and given them constructive feedback, per their request. Never believe people when they say they want constructive criticism. Unless they’re artists, this is 100% not true – unless the artist is a poet, because you know nothing about poetry, they are the only ones who know anything about poetry, they’ve been published in lots of literary journals you’ve never heard of, don’t tell them that their metaphors are stolen from Shel Silverstein. Fact: most people don’t want to be told anything other than what they want to hear, which is why it’s so important to never say what you’re thinking.
Then there’s this thing that happens when other people say stuff out loud that they think everyone else agrees with, and since you also agree with it, you repeat it. BAD IDEA. It’s like being a politician – if you never have opinions about anything, everyone will like you and lobbyists will shower you with money. Since most people want to be liked by everyone and have free money thrown at them, it’s obviously best to never voice a genuine opinion – unless you think it’s what someone wants to hear, but you should really re-read the first paragraph because how the hell do you know what someone really wants to hear? Like giving your best friend marriage advice. That could really come back to bite you.
Of course, this is just one person’s opinion at 7 AM on a Tuesday and what do I know. Too bad pepperoni can’t fly, right?