Its often said that what you don't know does not hurt you. That's a common catch phrase for those who believe that ignorance is bliss. But in corporates its clear that what you don't know really does hurt and can hurt real bad.
My friend narrated to me a story how he had sneaked out of office during the busy hours of mid morning to attend an interview at a leading firm in industrial area. He was running late by the time he got to the notorious Haile Selasie round about. There was this bully in a menacing Toyota landcruiser who kept on pushing him out of the road and sometimes cutting him in the chaotic traffic jam. He felt belittled and slighted. But he knew that his small toyota corolla would not stand a chance with the bullbars on the landcruiser. However he insolently dodged the guy and managed to get in front of him but that was not enough , he stuck his head out and threw some f** words at the rouge driver and even asked him who he thought he was to bully people like that on the road. Not getting enough of his rage out. he showed the guy his middle finger before dashing off. By the time he got to the Nyayo round about, he was clear of the bully and the rest of the drive was without any drama. Got at the venue 10 minutes late, hurried and harassed. Organized his papers and thoughts and got to the reception. the sweet receptionist confirmed his name knowingly and to his relief told him he had to wait a few minutes as the main interviewer who would be his CFO hadn't arrived. After what seemed like 20 minutes he was ushered into the large plush boardroom for his panel interview and who was sitting right at the head of the long table??? The bully! and he was wearing a queer smile!
The poor guy experienced what we used to call in college a brain lock and simply failed the high profile interview. The big career leap evaporated before him like rain water in the Sahara.
But this is not the only time such things happen. In the corporate world sometimes, employees bad mouth their bosses mentioning some unutterables not knowing that the listeners may themselves be going to bed with the said boss. such careless talk can not only be career limiters but also career assassins.
A colleague of mine never utters anything controversial until he is sure of the associations of all the people around him. Else he will just throw in a generally accepted remark here or there.
However on the other hand this kind of thing may also be counterproductive since people then become prisoners in a free world. mostly all that is required is have your facts and be confident about what you are saying without making hurtful comments.