How To Spot The Workplace Gossip, And How To Avoid Being A Gossip

I scored myself a chance for a trial at a great maintenance job.  So far im 6 months in, I get a service van and I help maintain the electrical components in hundred of buildings for the federal government.  Its a legit job and I get taken seriously and I love it. But I’m not a permanent employee, which means I could be let go if for some reason they dont want me.  What I have learned is a few tricks for staying on while others are let go.

There was a jobsight gossip reaping havok at my great new maintenance job.  They spread rumours about people, threw coworkers under the bus when it made themself look good, and they didn’t do the basic good employee things like actually do your work, show up ready to work, and be professional.  It was no surprise to many that they were let go when the time came, and others who had performed in the basic good employee areas were kept on. I was one of the lucky people who were kept on.

I’m gonna change the subject for a while, but don’t worry it’s a related tale.  I can remember my first workplace gossip encounter. I was working one-on-one with a coworker, and we were working away and chatting about our personal lives to get to know each other.  They were asking more and more personal questions, and I made the mistake of trusting them with my answers, assuming they were just interested in getting to know me. A few days later, I heard rumours about me, that could only have come from the information I fed this person.  I was mortified.

My personal information given in confidence to another person I thought I trusted turned into workplace gossip being strewn about lunch tables like dirty napkins folded as paper swans meant to entertain. I managed to calm my livid betrayal into a promise I made to myself.  Don’t trust people with personal stories about yourself that you wouldn’t mind hearing other people say about you. I finally understood why guys on jobsites brag about themselves even though we know their full of shit. Its because they know a portion of the bullshit will just be taken as fact and turned into workplace entertainment.

I decided I had to filter the stuff I said about myself to make myself appear completely professional so no one would doubt my integrity.   I would use my best tact and manners so that there was never any question that I belonged there and appreciated the position. I would be true to my word, and honest in such a way that no one was thrown under the bus.   I had to create a barrier between my life experience and personal life, and my profession. It would give me a sense of control where being workplace gossip made me feel helplessly embarrassed.  

This takes us back to: How To Spot The Gossip.

  • A gossip might ask you questions about yourself that are unrelated to the work you are doing.  I have been asked really weird questions about what I wear outside of work, what my room looks like, what my parents are like. Etc.  
  • Gossips usually will not offer too much in return except to make it sound like you have a lot in common to keep you at ease and chatting.
  • they might prompt you with questions about your prefered employment future in front of bosses and coworkers who would make the honest answer awkward, with the intention of putting you on the spot.
  • they will generally be fishing for information to pull you down in order to bring themselves up, potentially cataloging to use against you at a later time.
  • Gossips are not only coworkers, but also roommates, so-called friends, sometimes family.  They are usually not malicious particularly but have low self esteem and havn’t figured out yet that you don’t have to go the sociopathic route to get ahead and feel better about yourself.

Wiseup:

  • don’t fall for the lures.
  • beware being friends with gossips, they will eventually gossip about you.
  • if you like your job and want to keep it, keep your head down, eyes forward on the prize, and filter your oversharing to work or whatever gossip you want spread about you on purpose, like how good you are at your job.

Good luck.

 

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