Does any of this sound familiar? You’re walking through your office and you overhear some of your co workers discussing another employee. Maybe they’re taking about how someone is dressed, their looks, their work ethic or something more personal. They’re gossiping. That’s right gossip. Remember that thing the catty, mean girls did in high school? Well consider your office mates the mean ones now.
Ok not all gossip is mean but the word gossip in and of itself has a pretty bad rap because it usually is pretty mean. There are all sort of things to gossip about in an office too. Especially if you have a larger office with say, over 100 people in it. And it’s not always women. Men are guilty of office gossip too. I don’t mean Donald Trump “locker room talk” either although I’m sure some of that goes on. (somewhere I guess but man do you guys really talk about grabbing women by the p*ssy? If so, you HAVE to Comment below – dying to here how this was used)
How about some examples of office gossip because it’s possible you’ve either never been a victim or a perpetrator of gossip. Hard to believe but entirely possible. So for the purposes of demonstration only I’m going to lay out a few hypothetical scenarios of gossip:
Harry (hencefoth H): Dude did you see the new secretary?
Roger (to be know as R): I think they’re called receptionists now
H: Who cares she’s hot
R: Yeah she has a nice ass (I’m so ashamed to be writing this but oh well..I’m trying to act like a man. Bear with me)
H: I hope she wears a short tight skirt this week
R: I think that’s a dress code violation
H: Shut the f*ck up dude
H: I think Eric made a huge sale last week. Like five figure commission.
R: Pretty sure he negotiated for an extra week of vacation too
H: What’s his base
R: Higher than yours
H: Shut the f*ck up dude
H: Did you see my team kick serious ass this week
R: George won the office pool
H: Damn I play every week and that guy keeps winning
R: He’s been playing fantasy for years
H: So have I. I usually take the pool in my other leagues
R: Must be your other leagues suck
H: Shut the f*ck up
Janet (J from now on): Can you believe that new secretary
Andrea (A…you get it): I think they’re called receptionists now
J: Who cares she dresses like a ho
A: She totally does
J: I bet she wears a ridiculously short skirt tomorrow
A: I think that’s a dress code violation
J: I think Eric made a huge sale last week. Well…huge for him
A: I heard he tried to get an extra week of vacation and got shut down
J: What do you think his base is
A: Not as high as ours
J: *high five’s*
J: I was forced to watch that boring game this week
A: So was I.
J: I think that guy George won the office pool
A: He’s been playing fantasy for years. I know because it’s all he talks about
J: Why hasn’t he paid for lunch in years
A: Because no one wants to go with him and listen to him talk about how he wins the office pool every year
J: *nods in agreement*
I think these are fine examples of gossip that I have presented here. But how do you deal with it? I suppose that depends on what you hear. If you overhear a co worker talking about a friend it’s going to be different than if you just hear some folks talking about someone you don’t know or perhaps aren’t close enough to that it would bother you.
At any rate, if you want this nonsense, childish behavior to stop be the catalyst for change. If you’re the one initiating it, stop. Just stop. It’s not productive and it could really hurt someone’s feelings. If you’re in the midst of the gossip circle, speak up. There are enough anti-bullying campaigns out there that make it ok and even normalized now to stand up for someone so either you stand up for the individual being gossiped about or just take a stand with your office mates and tell them to knock it off. What have you got to lose? Except that you may become the subject of their next round of gossip. In this instance I say…screw them. Be bigger!