Discretion when talking about work.
Love it or hate it, it is a means to an end, and those of us who have been in the workforce for some time would have noticed a big difference in how people engage on public transport. Most of us of a certain age remember the fear of forgetting your Walkman, or the batteries dying on you mid commute! Today is all about the phone, and I am one of those who plug in, head down and go in to my own little world for the duration of my commute, and never notice what is going on around me.
So you can imagine the fear! I left my phone at home. What will I do? I use park by text, I might miss an email, what if someone wants to call me? But the biggest issue? No radio to listen to, no form of entertainment/ distraction. I just had to sit there! And while sitting there, I discovered the lost art of eavesdropping…… Well when I say eavesdropping I couldn’t help but not hear them!
A guy and a girl; obviously knew each other from school or college, are having the usual catch up conversation. But as a result of that conversation, and in the space of 20 minutes, I knew far too much information about him, his job, and his employer.
By the time I was getting off, I knew where he worked, what team he worked on, what his day had in store for him including which client he was meeting with and why and what his opinion on all of this was…. Apart from the usual high level stuff, there was information that was confidential, and what seems like a harmless chat can have very serious consequences.
Yes this probably happens all the time but, and here is the point of all of this, what is coincidental is that I was having lunch with a friend later that day, who is very senior with that company. I could have very easily told her their name, what team they worked in and based on the information I knew, he could have lost his job by the end of that day, had I shared. I could have been the Client, or Senior Management that he didn’t see sitting while they were standing or worse again a competitor.
The point of all this is, you never know who is listening, so when discussing anything about work, your employer or your clients, you need to be discreet! Loose lips really do sink ships