How does work… well, work? Here are the 5 things every employee making a career change in 2021 should know

7 people sit around a table with their laptops and notebooks working
Employees and job seekers will have to look at the workforce from a new perspective to navigate recent changes.

  • Growing rates of burnout have transformed company culture and resulted in a “Great Resignation.”
  • Preferences between in-person and remote work continue to dictate employment decisions.
  • This page will help you decide if it’s time to get a new job and how to apply.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Work from home was supposed to be temporary.

But in the past 15 months, we’ve lived through a pandemic and a global recession, which led to mass burnout and a spike in voluntary resignations. This new normal means hybrid offices and awkward first encounters with coworkers.

One of the many changes 2021 has brought to the US job market – 9.2 million job openings. Job seekers have the advantage while on the hunt, but they need to know how to use it.

Navigating all the changes in our “work life” over the last year would make anyone’s head spin.

Here are five things any worker who feels they are struggling with should know when trying to excel in their career.

Remote work eliminated work-life balance, but some companies are looking to compensate

Mental Health
The pandemic did not just eliminate in-person socialization but also divisions between the home and office.

The pandemic transformed our living rooms into our office spaces – not the healthiest change for those who already struggled with taking their work home with them.

Burnout has left 61% of Americans feeling at least somewhat burnout and more than 80% have reported that COVID-19 has been a source of change in their lives. With the pandemic causing undue stress on everyone, an unhealthy office culture only adds to the pressure.

Employers need to lead the way in implementing wellness techniques that teach their employees how to care for themselves, take their PTO, and take advantage of flexible work environments.

Read more:

Americans don’t take nearly enough vacation days – and experts say it’s because companies think about PTO all wrong

A day off work and ‘Zoom-free Fridays’ aren’t going to cut it. Here’s how to really tackle burnout.

The Great American Burnout is just beginning. Here are 5 ways managers can prevent the wave from hitting their teams.

A few small changes can make you happier at a job you don’t like, experts say

Burnout rates are rising. Zoom-free Fridays and $250,000 bonuses are the tip of the iceberg. Cisco is solving the problem by going deeper into its culture.

LinkedIn’s new VP of flex work shares 3 steps any company can use to create a hybrid work plan for all employees

If the last year has taught you anything, it’s that you have the freedom to leave

A orange sign with pink balloons reads "now hiring."
Workers are leaving their jobs in search of better pay and benefits.

For workers whose companies have failed to help prevent employee burnout, the pandemic has helped them realize one thing – it’s time to quit.

As millions willingly choose to walk away from their jobs, in what economists have coined the “Great Resignation,” some industries have been hit harder than others. In May, 5.3 million people voluntarily left their jobs.

Low pay and unreasonable working conditions across the retail, hospitality, and fast food businesses have created a crisis of, “rage quitting.” While it may feel good to walk out without notice, sometimes it is better to salvage professional connections.

Telling an employer you’re leaving is never easy, but it’s important to be candid.

Read More:

Americans say the pandemic is changing their personalities – and managers need to take notice or risk losing people

Employees are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Here’s how to tell if you’re losing people for the right reasons.

Now may be the best time to switch jobs – and make more money

A workplace expert shares the exact steps you should take to quit your job without burning bridges

Expert advice to guide you in the job hunt

Whether it be because of recession or resignation, a lot of candidates are on the job hunt.

Searching for a new role can be intimidating, but job seekers should always start by identifying which industries are hiring and what connections they have within them. After finding the job posting of your dreams it’s all about perfecting your résumé, cover letter, and interview techniques.

Never underestimate the need to customize your application for every job posting – learn from the experts about how to stand out as the pool of job seekers grows.

Read More:

Use this email template from a LinkedIn career expert to network and find a new job

No college degree? No problem. How to land a stable, high-paying job on certificates and trainings alone.

Job seekers have all the power right now. Here are 7 questions you should definitely ask in your next job interview.

Headed to a job interview? These are the red flags to look for that indicate a company’s culture won’t be right for you

5 questions companies are asking in interviews right now and how to answer, according to a career expert

What Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, and 52 other top executives ask job candidates during interviews

Tips and tricks to help you land a coveted remote job

Work from home
“Work from home” has become “work from anywhere” and many employees want the change to stick.

As lockdown dragged on, people were eager to return to in-person socialization, but the same can’t be said for in-person work.

Freelancers and remote workers were quick to open their inboxes to provide their years of expertise to “conventional workers” who had to quickly set up home offices and adjust to Zoom meetings. And some vacation hotspots welcomed remote workers to bring their laptops and soak up the sun and WiFi.

For those who have been sold on remote work, staying at a company that is committed to providing flexibility is a priority. While many companies – such as Apple, Indeed, and Airbnb – have extended their work from home policies through much of 2021, finding a company that is committed to the practice permanently can be difficult. And the demand is high.

To set yourself up for success, learn what companies are hiring remote workers, how to talk to your boss about working from home, and what can make you stand out when applying for a remote job.

Read More:

This chart shows the type of jobs that are still working from home

The city with the most high-paying jobs isn’t a city – it’s remote work. Here are 6 steps to landing a WFH role you love.

Use this template from a career coach to revamp your résumé and land a remote job anywhere in the world

How can I tell a hiring manager that I want to be fully remote?

For those who plan to return to the office, new challenges are arising

A male-presenting and female-presenting coworkers bump elbows while walking past each other in an office.
As offices reopen across the country, in-person office culture slowly returns.

Some employees are eager and nervous to see their coworkers face to face.

But spending over a year using your bed as a midday nap spot makes the transition to a populated office space even more difficult – especially if you’ve never even met your team.

While the change to working in an office again can be intimidating, for some workers it may be exactly what they need to get a break from hectic households and reconnect with their passions.

Read More:

Should you work from home or the office? An HR chief outlines her 3-step framework

7 couples confess how WFH changed their romantic relationships, how they handled unexpected tensions, and what happens now

Feeling burned out? It might be time to return to the office.

Meeting your colleagues IRL for the first time? Here are 6 ways to squash the anxiety and make a good impression.

Read the original article on Business Insider

38 thoughtful, work-appropriate gifts under $50 that your boss will love

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

the sill hoya heart plants

  • If you have a great boss, show them your appreciation with a thoughtful (but office-friendly) gift.
  • Below, we rounded up some of our favorite work-appropriate gifts, from tech to coloring books.
  • Looking for more gifts from Insider Reviews? Shop gift ideas for everyone in your life here.

Whether virtually or in person, you spend the majority of your day with your coworkers. If you like them enough, you might even plan on getting them a gift as a thank you for all the good times in and out of the office.

Giving a gift to a great boss – someone who makes a big difference in how you approach daily work activities and grow professionally – can feel a little tricky. Since they’re your manager, it’s important that your gift maintains professionalism but still gets the message across that you appreciate their hard work.

Below, we’ve rounded up 38 great gifts for your boss, from useful desk accessories to gorgeous notebooks.

See all 38 affordable gifts for your boss:

This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Crowd Cow. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*

A fun desk toy

Gifts for boss Speks

Speks Unblocks, $14.95, available at Speks

The makers of our favorite magnetic desk toy have a new way to reduce stress and keep your boss entertained. With these colorful magnetic blocks, they can take a mental break or use the opportunity to refocus their mind as they build creative sculptures. 

Trendy olive oil that elevates any meal

Best gifts for boss - The Brightland Alive Olive Oil on a marble countertop with kitchen supplies

Alive Olive Oil, $37, available at Brightland

If they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish. Plus, the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen.

A relaxing adult coloring book

Best gifts for boss - Cover of The Art of Mandala Adult Coloring Book

The Art of Mandala, $4.99, available at Amazon

Studies focused on the benefits of adult coloring books often reveal mandalas are the most effective designs for relaxation and induction of a meditative state. Their complex geometric patterns can be traced back to both ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

This affordable book contains 50 mandalas that vary in complexity and detail, so you can work your way up to the most challenging patterns slowly or you can work on a simple design when time is limited. 

A virtual helper

Best gifts for boss - A Google Nest Mini on a coffee table

Google Nest Mini, from $49.99, available at Walmart

The Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. They’ll love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice. Read our full review of the Google nest Mini here.

This option is best for people who prefer Google’s tech ecosystem. You may also want to consider the Amazon Echo Dot for Amazon users.

A personalized video message from their favorite celebrity

CAmeo

Cameo video, from $1, available on Cameo

If your workplace is less formal, you could get them a personalized message from their favorite celebrity. Whether they love a certain musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor in a show you’ve both bonded over, there’s a good chance you can find them on Cameo. The price will depend on the star, but there are plenty of options.

A desk-friendly succulent garden

the sill hoya heart plants

Hoya Heart Plant, $20, available at The Sill

This heart-shaped succulent provides the perfect touch of greenery to any space. The miniature plant is pet-friendly and thrives in bright direct light. 

A debut cookbook from a Michelin-starred chef

Best gifts for boss - Cover of My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes

“My Korea” by Hooni Kim, $22.94, at Amazon

Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim’s debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book’s tagline of “traditional flavors, modern recipes” is exactly what you should expect — from its take on Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan’s Spicy Rice Cakes. 

A face mask they can work out in

Best gifts for boss - A man wearing the black UA SPORTSMASK from Under Armour

UA Sportmask, $30, available at Under Armour

Under Armour’s Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won’t have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort.

Comfortable house slippers

Best gifts for boss - Everlane The ReNew Slipper

The ReNew Slipper, $50, available at Everlane

Most of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. And it’s more enjoyable to do that when you’re wearing some of the most comfortable slippers on the planet. We are big fans of the ReNew Slippers from Everlane — and they’re relatively inexpensive.

The best pens for their office

Best gifts for boss - Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pen

Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pens, $5.53, available at Amazon

Muji’s fine 0.38mm tip pen is a cult favorite — including among our teammates. According to the company, the water-based ink enables smooth writing, minimal bleeding, and a mechanism that helps keep the ink from drying out. If they write handwritten notes for work, they may have an outsized appreciation for this small but impactful upgrade. They’re sold out on Muji, but you can still find them on Amazon.

A set of notebooks with a bullet journaling system

gifts for boss 10

Word. 3 Pack Lined Pocket Notebooks, $10.99, available at Amazon

These small books are the perfect size for jotting down quick notes and to-do lists. Each page is printed with circles to help them set up an efficient, organized bullet journal. 

A custom book embosser

Best gifts for boss - A custom book embosser

Custom Stamp, from $15, available at Etsy

This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with “from the library of [their name]” by pressing down on it like a hole-puncher — it’s the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but will genuinely cherish if they receive it as a gift. They can use it on books as well as envelopes. 

Three months of great hardcover books delivered to their door

Book of the Month subscription

A Book of the Month subscription, from $49.99, available at Book of the Month

Book of the Month has been around for more than 90 years — and it’s credited with hand-selecting and helping popularize books that range from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” to J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” With your gift, your boss will get to choose between five new hardcover options the book club suggests every month.

Their favorite food from across the US

goldbelly

A meal from Goldbelly, prices vary

No matter where they’ve spent the year, you can send them their favorite foods from across the US by using Goldbelly — the company will deliver everything from Junior’s cheesecake to Lou Malnati pizza to their doorstep. Or, give them a gift card so they can pick out a treat for themselves.

A kit built for the work-from-home lifestyle

Gifts for boss WFH Survival

Pinch Provisions Work From Home Survival Kit, $20, available at Bloomingdale’s

If they’re getting tired of their office being in their living room, they’ll appreciate this kit that takes a bit of the strain out of working from home. A conference call bingo card, desk yoga guide, and fidget cube are just a few of the quirky (yet useful) items they’ll find in this set.

A desk sign with a hint of humor

Gifts for boss office sign

Desk Name Plates, from $14.99, available at Etsy

If you and your boss have a humorous rapport going, they could get a kick out of this witty take on the everyday office signage. Plus, the sleek wooden and gold design let the sign speak for itself without appearing as overly kitschy. 

A healthy snack subscription

love with food $26.97

Gift a Love With Food subscription, from $8.99/month

Love with Food delivers organic, all-natural, or gluten-free snacks that serial snackers won’t feel guilty about eating. The better-for-you chips, candy, and bars come from new and trending food brands, so they’ll always be excited to fuel their work day. 

A comfortable travel-sized pillow

casper $35

Nap Pillow, $32, available at Casper

Not that we’re encouraging sleeping on the job, but this mini pillow does make spontaneous naps very tempting. It’s the smaller but equally comfortable and supportive version of one of our favorite pillows and even has its own pillowcase and travel bag. 

A leather business card holder

leatherology $35

Business Card Case, $45, available at Leatherology

First impressions matter, which is why they should be pulling out business cards from a handsome leather case. It has a no-fuss, invisible magnetic closure and can hold up to 20 cards. Choose from pebbled or smooth leathers in a variety of colors, or upgrade to premium leather. You can also add a monogram for an additional $10. 

A soft throw to fight freezing office temperatures

gifts for boss 1

Eddie Bauer Sherpa Throw, $39.99, available at Kohl’s

Owners of this large, cozy throw only have good things to say about it. It’s plush and warm, with one side made of micro-fleece and the other made of sherpa fleece.

A gift card to a popular women’s workwear shop

mmlafleur $50

Gift Card, from $50, available at MM.LaFleur

Popular women’s workwear brand MM.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but totally worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning. 

A phone dock that also holds flowers

uncommon goods $32

Bedside Smartphone Vase, $32, available at Uncommon Goods

It’s a pretty vase that pulls double-duty, holding both the fresh bouquet that brightens their day and the electronics that keeps them productive. There’s a groove at the bottom of the stand to keep unsightly charging cords out of the way, too. 

A lightweight portable keyboard

Gifts for boss Logitech

Logitech K480 Bluetooth Multidevice Keyboard, $34.99, available at Best Buy

With a slim Bluetooth keyboard, your boss can leave the laptop at home and still get work done while traveling. We like this one because it’s quiet and comfortable to type on. 

Their new favorite way to make delicious cold brew

Blue Bottle, $35

Hario Cold Brew Bottle, $35, available at Blue Bottle

If there’s anything that can power them through a long workday, it’s cold brew. Just combine water and ground coffee (not included), and stick the bottle in the fridge for a refreshing caffeinated treat. 

A box of Korean sheet masks

facetory $19.90

Seven Lux 1 Month Gift Subscription, $19.90, available at FaceTory

The Korean sheet masks in this box are sure to bring some much-needed relief to any stressed-out boss. The brands, which often use out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, are usually difficult to find outside of Korea, but FaceTory makes them both accessible and affordable

A delicious and unique food gift

gifts for boss 11

Make-Your-Own Four Preserve and Butter Sampler, $27.99, available at Harry & David

Mix and match jars of fig preserves, triple berry preserves, apple butter, pumpkin butter, and more to create a sweet breakfast starter kit. The size is also perfect for their desk if they ever want a small and sweet afternoon pick-me-up. 

*Note: This is currently out of stock.

A key cable they can bring anywhere

native union $29.99

Native Union Key Cable, from $29.99, available at Amazon

This portable cable charges up Apple devices quickly and claims to be six times stronger than the standard lightning cable, boasting a 10,000-bend lifespan. The knotted cable also looks great and makes it easy to fish out the charger from their bag. 

A versatile toiletry bag to bring on their travels

dagne dover $35

Small Hunter Toiletry Bag, $35, available at Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover’s durable and quick-drying neoprene is most notably featured in the brand’s popular backpacks and gym bags, but it’s also well-suited for this small bag that organizes your boss’s life on the go. It includes a removable air mesh pouch and is available in a range of dusky colors and camo patterns. 

A durable suitcase

gifts for boss 8

The Mini, from $65, available at Away

Away’s highly popular mini versions of its internet-famous suitcase are back. The light and stylish polycarbonate accessory can store and protect your boss’ essentials like jewelry and accessories — and it’s nowhere near as expensive as a real suitcase. 

Enjoyable, sustainable seafood and meat

Corproate gifts Crowd Cow

Check out Crowd Cow’s gift bundles

Crowd Cow specializes in environmentally conscious seafood and meat that doesn’t sacrifice quality, all the way down to its 100% carbon-neutral packaging. If you’re not sure which gift bundle is best based on your boss’ dietary preferences, stocking stuffers like jerky and rubs also make great choices.

*Sponsored by Crowd Cow

Desk cable clips that keep cords neat and organized

Shintop Cable Clips, Desk Cable Drop

Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set, $5.69, available on Amazon

This small but practical gift will sort out their jumble of cords for good. If you’re worried that the set doesn’t look significant enough, you can pair a few of these cable clips with a nice card and some candy. 

An insulated tumbler

gifts for boss 2

Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Travel Tumbler Cup, $26.21, available at Hydro Flask

The ergonomic comfort of a classic tall cup plus Hydro Flask’s signature double-wall vacuum insulation makes this a coffee or tea vessel they’ll always keep on hand. It keeps their beverage hot for up to six hours and includes a press-in lid to prevent spills. 

A luxurious candle

otherland $36

Otherland Candles, $36, available at Otherland

With its beautiful packaging, unique scents, and special matchbox messages, Otherland turns the otherwise ordinary candle into a cherished gift. Take advantage of its limited-edition scents while they last, or find a suitable match in its diverse Core Collection. 

A way to celebrate the end of Q1

Gifts for boss Moose Munch

Moose Munch Premium Popcorn Classic Tin, $49.99, available at Harry & David

Send them this assortment of sweet and savory popcorn to get the new quarter started. This particular edition contains four decadent flavors of Moose Munch: classic caramel, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate s’mores. 

A decorative trinket tray

Gifts for boss Jonathan Adler dish

Jonathan Adler Hollywood Tray, $49.30, available at Bloomingdale’s

A sturdy and stylish stoneware tray from Jonathan Adler comes in handy for holding jewelry, accessories, and stray trinkets. 

A protective cover for their AirPods case

podskinz $7.95

PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover, $4.95, available at Amazon

Apple AirPods: incredibly convenient, but also incredibly easy to lose and scratch up. A silicone cover is a cheap and attractive way to protect the case protecting their beloved earbuds. 

The newest smart home device

Amazon Echo Dot 2020

Echo Dot (4th Gen), $49.99, available at Target

Amazon’s newest version of its bestselling smart speaker has an improved sound and look. Whether they want to coordinate a smooth-sailing smart home experience or enjoy music out loud, the Echo Dot can keep up. 

A reusable utensil kit that helps them cut down on waste

gifts for boss 7

Utensil Kit, $24, available at United by Blue

When they leave the office to grab lunch (or if they’re into camping and hiking), they can use these stainless steel utensils instead of plastic or paper options. It folds up conveniently so it can go with them anywhere. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Why you need to be aware of your implicit biases to support your colleagues during stressful times

stress migraine
To support our colleagues through stressful times, we have to leave bias at the door.

  • Gender bias – the tendency to associate certain traits more so with one gender – can creep into work.
  • Everyone should be aware of their own biases to create a climate of trust for colleagues experiencing stress.
  • Be mindful of others, and don’t assume a colleague’s stress is due to being in a marginalized group.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Let’s say your colleague shows up for your Zoom meeting crying. When you ask what’s wrong, they share that they’re having a tough time balancing the demands of work with three young children at home, caregiving for aging parents, and dealing with a spouse who travels constantly for work.

So, what does this colleague look like? Did you picture a woman?

If so, you’re not alone. Like so many of us, you may have some implicit gender bias about things like who’s more likely to cry at work, who takes care of young children, or who is a caregiver for aging parents.

Gender bias is the tendency to associate certain traits with one gender over another. Sometimes, this means favoring one gender over the other. And gender bias is just one of many biases that we need to be aware of – and work on – to support our colleagues during stressful times.

But let me start with some good news if you’re struggling with the assumptions you made: If you have a brain, you have bias. We tend to think of bias as a bad thing, but it isn’t always.

Read more: I went through a divorce and months of unhappiness in my role before I hit my breaking point. Here’s how I put my life back together.

Bias is a natural byproduct of the way our brains work. Biases help us categorize objects so that we can quickly determine what’s safe and what isn’t. Biases help us make decisions more easily so that we don’t have to tap into our cognitive bandwidth every time we decide something. A bias toward eating more vegetables and less dessert is a healthy bias, for example.

For most of us, starting at a young age, we start to discriminate between those who are like us – the “in group” – and those who are not like us – the “out group.” Recognizing our in group can help us develop our sense of identity, belonging, security, and safety – but it can also lead to harmful prejudices.

As researcher Jennifer Eberhardt explains in her book, “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do,” “at its root, bias is not an affliction that can be cured or banished. It’s a human condition that we have to understand and deal with.”

So, let’s look at some biases we should all be aware of, especially when creating a climate of openness and trust for our colleagues who are experiencing stress.

Be aware of discrimination and its effects

Chances are, you’re working with colleagues who are part of marginalized populations, which are groups that may experience discrimination because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions. Here are just a few:

  • LGBTQIA+ professionals
  • Senior citizens
  • Racial/cultural minorities
  • Military combat veterans
  • People with physical disabilities
  • People with mental illness, including substance abuse and other addiction disorders
  • People on the autism spectrum

Of course, your colleague doesn’t have to identify with one of these categories to be subject to discrimination. Perceived discrimination consistently has been shown to be associated with diminished mental health, and even the anticipation of discrimination can lead to higher stress levels. Constantly feeling on edge or unsure about how you’ll be treated can trigger a long-standing stress response.

Whether it’s related to ethnicity, sexual orientation, or beliefs, feeling undervalued and uncertain about the future directly impacts mental health now and in the future.

Learn about stereotypes and microaggressions

So what can we do about discrimination issues? We need to be mindful of our own stereotypes and microaggressions. Stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about a particular type of person or a group of people.

So, if you’re speaking with a woman about her stress, make sure you don’t assume that she’s the primary caregiver at home. If you’re speaking with a colleague with a disability about his stress, don’t assume that his stress is related to his disability.

And what about microaggressions? According to Columbia University’s Derald Wing Sue, “microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

So, if you’re speaking with a non-native English speaker about stress, don’t “compliment them” for being able to speak so clearly or fluently. If you’re speaking with a non-binary colleague about their stress, don’t say, “I can’t keep up with your latest pronouns.”

Finally, we shouldn’t assume that the stress a colleague of ours is experiencing right now is about their marginalized group experience. And we also shouldn’t assume that it isn’t. There’s more about other people’s experiences, cultures, and backgrounds than we can ever truly understand. So be thoughtful, careful, compassionate, and open to feedback about how you’re speaking and showing up for everyone – equitably.

Read the original article on Business Insider

19 things you should never say to your coworkers

pregnant colleague
Never ask a coworker if she’s pregnant.

  • Having friends at work can make you more productive.
  • A 2019 article found positive work gossip can lead to friendships and warn others of bad managers.
  • But gossiping and being too comfortable at work can backfire.

Getting along with your coworkers is a beautiful thing. It can make your workday less dreary, help you focus better, and make you more productive.

While making work friends can be awkward, one way to break the ice is to start complaining.

Complaining about work tasks means you trust the other person not to spill your secrets, and can lead to closer friendships down the line, according to The Cut. One researcher calls productive work gossip “pro-social,” or gossip that can lead to warning your peers about difficult managers or other information that results in more productive work.

Some experts, however, warn against getting too chummy with your coworker. While some lighthearted gossiping can be positive, there are certain phrases or conversations that can make you sound unprofessional (and even harassing).

“In conversation, use a little common sense and discretion, especially when there are others present,” says Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.” “The general guideline is that if you wouldn’t say it in front of your boss, don’t say it.”

Aside from the obvious – like profanity and insults – here are some words and phrases you should never utter to your coworkers.

Don’t ask to borrow money

Most of us have forgotten to bring cash or our wallet to work once or twice. Randall says that in this rare occasion, it might be OK to ask your understanding coworker to borrow some money for lunch.

“But if your wallet is always in your ‘other purse,’ don’t be surprised if you’re excluded from future lunches,” she says.

Stop using the phrase ‘honestly’

Barbara Pachter, an etiquette expert and author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” says that drawing attention to your honesty at that moment can lead people to wonder, “Aren’t you always honest with me?”

Don’t spread rumors

“Spread gossip, and you become labeled as a gossip,” says Vicky Oliver, author of “Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots” and “Power Sales Words.”

“Negative comments about a coworker to another coworker will make you look worse than the person you’re talking about, and guess who will be the one who looks bad when it gets back to the person you’re talking about?” Randall says.

Don’t tell your coworker you like the way her pants fit on her

Be selective about what you compliment.

Commenting about a coworker’s physical appearance is considered unprofessional, Randall says – and worse, could be sexual harassment.

Don’t tell a coworker, ‘You people are always causing problems’

Topics like religion, politics, and child-rearing sometimes come up in the workplace, Randall says. But to negatively comment about any group is unwise and unprofessional, and it could get you in trouble for harassment.

Never ask a coworker if she’s pregnant

This question rarely results in a positive outcome.

“If your coworker is not pregnant, you have insulted her,” Oliver says. “If she is pregnant, she probably isn’t ready to discuss it yet. Keep observations like this to yourself.”

Don’t say, ‘I’m sorry to be a bother’

“Why are you saying you’re a bother?” Pachter asks.

And if you are truly sorry about something you haven’t done yet, why would you go ahead and do it anyway?

“Excuse me. Do you have a moment?” works much better, she says.

Don’t tell your coworkers you are looking for another job, or ask if they know who’s hiring

“Sharing this with your coworkers may cause them to instinctively distance themselves, knowing you will no longer be a part of the team,” Randall says.

“They also might unintentionally leak the information to your supervisor, which could explain your lack of productivity and absences, resulting in a poor reference or an invitation to pick up your paycheck earlier than you expected,” she says.

Don’t say: ‘See this rash? I’m expecting the lab results tomorrow.’

“Except for maybe your mom or spouse, no one really wants to see or hear about peculiar rashes or any nausea-inducing medical conditions,” Randall says. “Limit your sharing to a cold or headache.”

Try not to start all of your sentences with ‘I think’

Saying “I think” is sometimes acceptable, but only if you truly are unsure.

“Using ‘I think’ can make you appear wishy-washy,” Pachter says. When you know something, state it directly: “The meeting will be at 3 pm.”

Don’t tell a coworker you were surprised when she was asked to present

You might as well say, “It should have been me.”

“The professional response would be, ‘Congratulations,'” Randall says.

Don’t say: ‘Do you mind covering for me while I’m in Bora Bora?’

Flaunting your luxurious lifestyle with your colleagues may set off a jealousy epidemic, Oliver says. In general, it’s best to avoid bragging about how great your life is.

Don’t ask your coworker if you’re invited to a party you overheard him talk about

“This is the grown-up world – not everyone will be invited to everything,” Randall says. “Besides, are you prepared for the answer?”

Don’t tell your coworkers you’re stealing office supplies

You just admitted to stealing, a cause for termination and, at the very least, loss of trust, Randall says.

Don’t bring up personal relationship issues

“Intimate details about your personal relationships can divulge unfavorable information about you,” Randall says.

Sharing intimate details about your love life falls into the “too much information” category, she says, and “if it doesn’t enhance your professional image, or enrich workplace relationships, you should keep it to yourself.”

Don’t call your coworker a “credit snatcher”

Maybe your colleague or boss took credit for your work, but carping about the problem to your coworkers rarely helps, Oliver says. Instead, it’s best to address the issue with the person who took credit for your idea.

Don’t ask your coworkers how old they are

HR experts suggest colleagues avoid this topic. Someone might think you’re questioning their authority or abilities, or worse, could accuse you of age discrimination.

Don’t comment on your coworkers hair or ask to touch it

Commenting on a coworker’s hair or asking to touch it isn’t just inappropriate, it could be considered harassment or a racist microaggression.

Don’t tell your coworkers you’re suing the company

“Whether the charge is legitimate or not, spreading it around will not serve you well – just ask your attorney,” Randall says.

If you’re really suing your employer, it’s best to conduct yourself with discretion and dignity and continue to perform your duties to the best of your ability. If this becomes impossible, you should consider resigning, Randall says.

“But if this is your go-to threat when you’re unhappy about something, stop it,” she says.

Rachel Gillett contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Read the original article on Business Insider