Somewhere in Job Whisperer History, there is detailed mention of the Dreadful D-words, from which it may be that poor Debbie Downer’s name derived. The D-words are the things you don’t talk about in casual, polite, or business conversation. Let’s review them.
1. Death. There are no exceptions to this, strange though it may seem. If you have a role in the writing of the obituary, or you are speaking at a funeral service, or you have been invited to attend a wake, you know that celebration of a life is the point of those. A conversation about death is a serious matter and is conducted among people who have agreed to be in the conversation in advance, are not at a network event or party, and is focused, sensitive, and important. You don’t have to be the one to mention that so and so passed away, unless it is your job to notify others. Under those circumstances, your form is prescribed in etiquette reference books.
2. Divorce, yours or anyone else’s. Impending, final, amicable, ugly, or simply inconvenient, the subject should not be uttered. Don’t learn this the hard way–any mention of anyone’s divorce, including your own, will cast you, and casting should be controlled and intentional. Let’s say the divorce is yours and you intend to reinvigorate your career, now that you have resolved issues you felt were constraining it. Bringing up the divorce distracts from career as the more relevant subject–why talk about anything that isn’t forward-looking and active? Use your energy to stay on subjects that attract interest in you but not gossip about you.