Rants and Raves – Gossip in the Workplace

We’re the first to admit we love us some good dish, whether it’s the latest celeb news on Lainey or Perez, or the rumblings of an amazing new restaurant coming to town. But for the most part, gossip isn’t cool, especially in the workplace.

First off, gossip can’t be trusted. It’s like that game Broken Telephone; facts get twisted or left out altogether. If you don’t hear the juicy details directly from the person it’s concerning, consider it a rumour, take it with a grain of salt and don’t spread it around. 

Mean Girls. Hilarious on screen, not at work.
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We think another good rule of thumb is to never put anything in writing you wouldn’t shout from the rooftop. This goes for email, text, social media like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, and even the good old written word (remember pen and paper?). You could send your message to the wrong person, or you might write something that could come back to haunt you down the road. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

When a co-worker or higher up does something that gets under your skin, toughen up. Chances are it wasn’t personal. Don’t spread it around the office. It wastes time, contributes to a negative energy in the office, and won’t improve the situation. If you really need to vent, take five minutes for some privacy and call a friend or family member to let off steam. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so if you are legitimately being mistreated at work or feel you need assistance to resolve an issue, hit up your boss or HR department.) 

Gossip can damage your relationships.
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We’re not fans of “you didn’t hear this from me, but…” either. If you need to preface yours news that way, you probably shouldn’t be saying it at all. Besides, there might be more to the situation than you are aware of, and leaking private info could do more damage than you anticipate, especially if it includes sensitive information regarding your company, your clients or your boss. 

Spreading gossip works two ways. We’ve all heard someone claim “I don’t gossip, I can’t stand it,” and then watch them happily soak up whatever piece of dirt someone is sharing. Just because you’re not the one spreading word, doesn’t make you guiltless. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely say “I’m not really comfortable discussing this,” and change the subject. 

We know gossip can be a fun distraction, but most of the time it’s not worth it and can have some negative consequences like damaged reputations, a dip in morale and increased anxiety. And really, it’s just plain unprofessional. So next time you’re feeling that urge to spread word about something that probably isn’t your business, bite your tongue and remember that karma is a bitch. 

A version of this post first appeared in http://www.huffingtonpost.ca.