Gossip Girl here! Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. No, only joking. Nothing is more scandalous than the adventurous insight into the Gossip Girl monarchy. But what if some of the emotions felt during the back-stabbing are actually relatable? And instead of a gang of rich teenagers having lots of debauchery-filled parties, it’s your office and the toying of negativity?
When you work the nine-to-five in an office environment, the gossip culture has long been developed before your arrival. As much as a business may try to eradicate this culture with ‘open and transparent trust’, there are always the few hens and cocks who like to ruffle feathers.
This is especially true when the majority of the office is female. Not to stereotype at all, however upon observation it is the females who like to start the chatter. Male co-workers enjoy the banter, but honestly, they don’t really give a fuck. However, it’s the females who will make very quick assumptions, twist words like a game of Chinese Whispers, or simply start making shit up. Not cool. Or there’s the opposite scenario, when something has happened that's none of their business, yet focus on making it their business.
As a quick example, I have experienced this situation recently; I have just had a one-to-one with my manager, who gave me some feedback which I thought had been negative and not reflective of my work. Afterwards, I seeked the advice of a fellow colleague who is the same level as me and working on similar projects. However instead of giving me advice, it turned into a scaremongering session, with her telling me horror stories about how everyone is competing for work because there could be cuts to our team, so everyone is clawing to get noticed by our head of team. Then during the same week - once managers were noticeably absent from the office - a bitching session kicked off about said scaremongering, only there was no referee to control the conversation. So not only am I now confused about the work that I'm doing with no sound advice on how to improve (which affects productivity and performance), I'm now anxious about my job. Not so great for the mental health and stress levels.
This is the exact reason why office gossip culture is so toxic. It drags you down a path covered in good intentions but with a bad destination. What could’ve happened if someone else had overheard our conversation? Say someone higher up on the ladder or a manager from another team who could repeat said gossip to our own managers? Trouble would ensue. And then there’s the affects of bringing home the gossip as baggage into your personal life. I’m not willing to sacrifice or endanger my hard work and a career I enjoy because other people have issues and prefer to whisper behind backs. I dread to think what could’ve happened if the gossip was about someone's personal life!
The moral of the story is honesty. In my next one-to-one I promptly told my manager my fears and they got put straight. Simple as that. Why spend hours spreading negativity when positivity can be found in one quick conversation? It’s so easy to get pulled into the conversation when it surrounds you, but I've learnt to break free from it and focus on something else instead. If it’s really bad, I just walk out of the room and go to the toilet, or sit on Facebook for a bit until I know it may have calmed down. Either way, it's safer for both your job and your mental health to get out of the situation. They're problems that are not yours to solve. And if you are made to speak, either try and change the subject or comment that you don’t really know much about said situation/person/rumour etc. Then, carry on being a badass bitch at your job.
You know you love me. xoxo, Gossip Girl