Work Traps-How to Avoid Them & Keep Your Job (Part 2 of 7)

         Hi everyone!  I hope you enjoyed part one of this series.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  Today I’m off to part 2…Gossips!

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Yeah, gossip isn’t just for teenage girls anymore.  It’s gotten rampant, ridiculous & gone viral!  Between tabloids, social media & reality tv, I think the world has completely thrown out its moral compass.  Ok, there’s a remnant of folks who are trying to hang in there.  But we’re not talking about them.  We’re (ironically) talking about gossipers.  These people are dangerous! They are the ones that can make or break an office in a matter of minutes. Not only do they spread rumors, but the worst of the worst don’t even care if what they say is even true! You can destroy a person’s reputation, credibility and career and it’s almost impossible to restore it once it’s gone.

And let’s be honest, when it’s gossip about you, you wanna do this…

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But if it’s a hilarious piece of gossip about someone else, you feel like this…

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Yeah, a little two-faced, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  So how do you keep yourself out of trouble with this kind of thing at work?  Let’s try the 5 W’s & an H perspective.

Who’s Gossiping?

j0438673The person at work who has nothing better to do.  Well, they have something better to do, but choose to come poison your atmosphere with useless information.  You usually already know who they are, because they’ve already come to your office with “Let me tell you what happened…” or “Did you hear about…” when they should be getting some work done!  And contrary to popular belief, women are not the frontrunners when it comes to gossip.  Nope!  Men are just as bad.  The difference is the delivery.  Women will gossip to either sex, while men are prone to share mainly with other men or their spouse.  But men line up to hear the juice just as much as women do.

What are they gossiping about?

Any bit of information that doesn’t need to hit daylight.  Who did what, when & with whom.  Information that can break up a home, cause an uproar in the community or even create a hostile work environment.  It’s amazing how technology has made us so insensitive to others’ privacy.  It used to be that it took days, weeks or months to hear what others were doing.  Now it’s EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME!  I find myself not watching what this country calls news because most of it just isn’t my business!  Not to mention…WHO CARES?  Some stories are not mine to tell & if I don’t need to repeat it, why hear it in the first place??

I remember in high school people would come to me with garbage all the time.  Who did what, who got pregnant, who stole whose boyfriend, who skipped class, who broke up.  I really didn’t care.  But it did help keep me from putting my foot in my mouth.  Oh, by the way, did you know I hold the running title for that?  Yes.  I’m in Guinness.  Look it up.  I guess that is the only bad thing about not keeping up with the latest gossip.  You look like a jerk when you say something you wouldn’t have if you knew what was going on.  Anyway, I quickly realized that when someone came to me gushing another person’s business, they always wanted to know what I thought.  I’d tell them, it’d get back to them 50 million levels worse that what I’d said & it was a big misunderstanding.  Finally, I got smart.  I said I didn’t know & it wasn’t my business.  For the more aggressive gossips, I let them know I had nothing to say.  When they asked why, I told them that what I thought wouldn’t change the course of their day.  Talk about ticking folks off!  But it got them away from me & they didn’t come back with that mess.

When are they gossiping?

When your guard is down.  When’s that?  When you’re actually trying to get some work done!  Once I was setting up a booth to sell some products.  I was already running late due argagto some minor earthquake, erupting volcano or Armageddon type situation at home.  I needed every second.  That’s when this lady decided to come over & talk about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!  Well, nothing I needed to know about (her sex life, her weight battles & her in-laws’ money).  It’s like she looked for the busiest person in the room & gravitated towards them.  There were no less than 15 other people in the room, but for some reason she felt compelled to come talk to me.  I was so irritated that in my mind I thought, can’t she see how irritating she’s being?!  I know she sees me working.  For Pete’s sake, my face is actually sweating!!  But no, I’m sad to say that she kept on.  After a while I just mentally shut down & went into my practiced responses:  “Oh!”, “Wow”, “That’s awesome”, “Yeah, I know”, “Really?!”, “Well good for you!!”  Eventually she left.  THANK GOD.  Unfortunately, taking the long route of actually interacting with her was my mistake.  I was completely exhausted.  Have you noticed that?  When you have to fight off someone to get your work done, you are worn out!  I guess that’s how the prophet Nehemiah felt when he was building that wall.  A brick in one hand & a sword in the other.  Moving on…

Where are they gossiping?

Anywhere!  Everywhere!  At work, after work, before work.  In the break room, the bathroom, the lobby.  It doesn’t matter.  Just be aware & steer clear so you can keep your nose clean!

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Why are they gossiping?

Because they’re insecure.  They want attention.  They don’t know their own importance or worth.  They want to get ahead in some way.  Or they don’t think about (or remember) how it felt when someone gossiped about them.crying

How are they getting everyone’s business out in the street?

You know the drill.  Someone told them or they read it somewhere.  Then they spread it like fertilizer.  Bill told Sally.  Sally sent Jane an email.  Jane went to Tracy’s work area.  Then your boss gets an email about it & everyone ends up in a workplace training on how to behave like functional adults.

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And that’s the best case scenario!  You could end up sitting before a board explaining your actions or out on the street searching for a new job! 

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Who knows, you new job may not be as good as your old one…

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of PaperAll while those who kept out of it had this kind of day…

  Smiling Businesswoman

And left work feeling like this

Young Businesswoman Jumping

The best defense in this scenario is not perpetuating gossip.  Even if you hear it in passing, your boss knowing that you didn’t actively participate in passing it on will mean volumes. So be careful, and as the saying goes, keep your eyes open & your mouth shut.  Because you just never know who’ll dish the piece of gossip that’ll sink the ship!

Be among them, but not one of them!

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Next time, we’ll talk about your favorite people at work:  SLACKERS

Until then, take care!

Tonya

 

Featured image was found on Yahoo! using keywords “funny pictures”. 

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