You know those little whispers that you hear when you walk by someone’s cubicle? It’s probably someone gossiping about the latest “interesting” happenings around the office. My office is particularly bad with this and most times people don’t even try to hide what (or who) they’re talking about. Word always gets out about who did what, who doesn’t like who, and why they all think that (and it’s usually for no valid reason). It’s not very professional and it can make you feel like you’re back in high school. Who the heck would want to be back in high school?
The majority of workplaces will have some sort of culture related to gossiping. It can be difficult to navigate, and it can be even worse if the talk ends up being about you! I’ve unfortunately ended up on the negative end of this type of chatter, putting me in an uncomfortable position where I’m aware that not everyone appreciates the work I do (albeit, for no real reason). However, with a few good tips from those who have been through it before, I’ve weathered the storm just fine. Here’s the expert advice I learned to help you (or someone you know) get through those tough times when office gossip gets the best of others.
Know who is credible, and who’s not. Learn who is spouting credible words of wisdom vs. who’s just trying to stir up trouble. When I first started working there were a lot of people who didn’t “approve” of someone coming in from the outside and they made that clear. But I learned that their opinions aren’t the ones that matter. If they want to spread something around the rumor mill, that’s fine. All that matters is that the Directors and executive staff, the people I consider credible bosses that I have to work for, know the truth about my experience and hard work. Remind yourself that when you’re having a particularly rough day.
Ignore the haters. Gossip is not something you can ever really stop. People like to talk, myself included. You can’t say you’ve never partook in some sort of negative chatting with friends or colleagues even when you’re not sure of the validity of the statements so it’s just one of those things that comes along with everyday life. The main thing to do, though, is just ignore what everyone is saying about you. Chances are they’re jealous. I’m going to be really honest right here. People like to talk about how I earned my job, stating that it’s not fair I didn’t have to work in the field and do casework. They complain that I got one or two high profile projects even though I’ve been here for the shortest amount of time. But, if people actually read my job description and looked at what I have to do for these projects, they wouldn’t want to do it. No one likes data or writing 600+ pages of information for a federal report. They just want the glory that goes along with it. So, ignore those who try to bring you down because they’re just upset that you’re succeeding.
Find a group of friends you feel you can trust. The best way to combat gossip is to have good friends who will tell you like it is and support you while you complain. I’ve spent many a lunch venting about the not so quiet whispers around the office. They sit, they listen, and they support me. And I do the same for them! Sometimes all you need is a friendly ear to help you get past all of the negativity.
Now it’s your turn! Have you ever dealt with gossip in the office? What did you do?