Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shh... We're in Middle School. I mean 'at work.'

Office gossip is everywhere. I should know. I've worked everywhere. I've worked in government, corrections, the court system, retail, restaurants, coffee shops, big box, small time, boutique, high end, low end, and everything in between. Absolutely every single work establishment has the office gossip.

You know, that person that everyone knows you can't say anything around or else it will get twisted into something that was never said in the first place and spread around the office like a child's game of telephone?

I really like my job. I do. And, I've not been there long enough to find too much wrong with it. However, it's become obvious to everyone that there's a bit of a gossip issue with another new associate who was hired by her good friend, our assistant manager. Not to get too personal or too job-related, but it creates a unique dichotomy when you have to tiptoe through your day. You can be open and honest with some, but you have to become guarded around others.

Furthermore, gossip is so very dangerous in an office environment. Especially in 2010. It's an employer's market, and given the economy these days gossip can effectively end your employment. Once it's over, that gossip can have you out in that job market for weeks, months, even years. What is it about gossip that is so appealing?

I get that it makes us feel powerful, knowing something about others they'd rather everyone not know. We can use that information however we'd like. There's also the factor that gossip allows us to feel better about ourselves for a time. We can focus on the issues of others instead of our own. Except, none of this should matter at work. You really shouldn't be bringing your personal crap to work in the first place. I get that's not truly possible, but you see my point. Hopefully...

How do YOU deal with office gossip? Are you now - or have you ever been - the office gossip? Comment, tweet, or email your response to IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

5 comments:

  1. I have been the subject of office gossip, yes. I was so young and stupid. One should never never never think that coworkers are friends, especially when going through a divorce!

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  2. Gossip has its place in society. It's like bacteria and microbes. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but usually it gets a bad rap no matter what.
    Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or idle social chatter, gossip moves information and moves it fast. So fast in fact that there's little time or inclination to verify it as true or false. Still, when you want to know something now, you look for a gossip or someone to gossip with, I suspect.

    "Where's Ann? She doesn't usually miss work..."
    "Oh, I heard her nephew got into a car accident last night. Sue was telling it to me this morning."
    "Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear that. Do you have her number or email?"
    "No, but Sue does. Let's all get her a card or something..."

    Good gossip? A colleague was impacted negatively but now a good number of people are in the known are ready to mobilize with support. If it's not true, everyone is relieved that the outcome was positive.

    "Where's Ann? She doesn't usually miss work..."
    "I but she has a hangover and decided not to come in. She smells like booze sometimes."
    "Come say whaaat? I never noticed!"
    "You should see that woman drink. Ask Sue about the time they went to Mardi Gras..."

    Bad gossip? Missing work for a hangover is bad no matter how you slice it and could end her job. If it's true, Ann should think about her life choices. If it's false, it's increased tension needlessly and potentially caused a bad situation.

    I don't mind gossip when it's good, like penicillin good. I hate it when it's bad, like...ebola virus bad.

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  3. Pagan Flavored AthiestAugust 9, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    I don't know why I chose anonymous...(long day) That longwinded post was me.

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  4. Luckily I've never worked anywhere that had this.

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  5. The way I avoid gossip is working for myself and being the only employee. If I start gossiping about myself to myself with negative intentions... I think then it's time to start worrying about more important matters.

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