The conversations you have may lead to consequences you did not foresee.
A couple of years ago I found out I could lose the conversation even when agreeing on the main point. At work, I said in agreement with a coworker that we need greater inclusion to avoid over specialization and group think. In tech there is especially a problem of not including females.
“Females. Stop saying females. How would you like it you were called a male?” I was caught off guard. I explained I used the term female in a medical sense, my brother is a doctor, and personally I don’t mind if I was called a male, or even dude.
How can we have a full conversation on diversity if I’m not allowed to say the word female without being accused of pushing some “conservative” agenda? As a result, when I need to indicate agreement I now usually just smile and nod.
Real talk, I had a coworker just bring up this “FEMALE” point 2 days ago. I didn’t know it was that big of a deal until he mentioned it in relations to some news/Twitter story. Something to the effect that the term “female” refers to NON-humans (i.e. female panther) whereas the term woman/women refer to females of the human variety. That the term female is more scientific in nature for this purpose.
So I can say I learned that tidbit that never crossed my mind.
This isn’t the first time I heard the “Shhh” advice. I realized I used to subconsciously do it years ago. My problem is that I never spoke up much about anything (cause I mainly didn’t care) so of course, THAT puts me in a certain light and I am judged on THAT as well.
To piggyback off of your comments about shutting up. maybe it will help others understand it the way someone explained to me: at the end of the day, your coworkers are trying to get the same thing you are (money and prestige) so consider them “competition” more than any type of real friend or acquaintance. So SHH and be mindful of what might cost you opportunities.
You’re not at work to make friends. On the other hand, the only way you can really make a connection with another person is by sharing something about yourself. Like Eli often talks about, you have to weight the cost/opportunity of the type of comments you make. Relatively neutral politics “we have a state election coming up” or interests “I’ve been killing it in HOTS lately” are important tools you can use to build your professional network. On the other hand, if you’re too partisan or too into it then you’re killing your network rather than building it