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Don't Be a Part of Workplace Gossip

Unfortunately no matter how nice the job is, you may still encounter workplace gossip. What exactly is gossip? Although by definition gossip can refer to chatty talk, it most often refers to habitually revealing personal or sensational facts about someone or rumor or report of an intimate nature.  For those of you that have been unemployed for some time, you may have forgotten how harmful workplace gossip can be.  Yes, I said "harmful."  Why is workplace gossip harmful?  How can you avoid being a part of it?

Why is workplace gossip harmful?  Here are a few reasons why you should avoid gossip:
  • Factual or not, revealing and spreading personal information about someone can result in distorted or outright untruths about an individual.  A person's character and name could be orally slandered which could lead to defamation of character.
  • Even if the gossip is true, is it something you want to spread?  Would you want someone spreading information around about your personal life?  Put the shoe on the other foot.
  • Defamation of character, by reason of slander, can lead to a lawsuit you don't want!
  • Gossip could actually cause a person to lose their job--your job and the person you are slandering.
  • Gossip can create tension and uneasiness in the workplace between co-workers.
  • You could be known as a gossiper. Nobody wants to be known as a gossiper. Once you are labeled, it may take a long time for people to trust in you again.
  • Gossiping can lead into bullying.  Bullying of any kind is hurtful to those being abused, and is also illegal in certain states with legal penalties.
  • You are paid to work for your employer; not get involved in gossip.
How can you avoid workplace gossip?

  • Go to work to WORK! The busier you are the least likely you are to get involved in workplace gossip.
  • If others try to pull you into a conversation that may be heading toward gossiping, try and change the subject or walk away.  
  • If current employees try to persuade you to think badly of a co-worker, as a new employee, give everyone a fair shake.  Just because someone else had a bad experience with someone doesn't mean you will.  In other words, give everyone you work with the "benefit of the doubt."
  • Do not be part of a click. 
  • If you are privy to personal information, keep it to yourself.
  • Practice the "golden rule." If you wouldn't say it or reveal it about yourself, then don't reveal it about others.
  • If it isn't positive or kind, then don't repeat it.  That's pretty easy!
These are some common-sense suggestions that should be reminders to all of us in the workplace to avoid gossip.  For those re-entering the job market, you may have forgotten how easy it is to get sucked into the gossiping trap.  However, with a little wisdom and self-control, you don't have to fall into the twisting vortex called gossip.