Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Gossip Girls at work

We know by now that badmouthing your company or fellow workers is not a good idea. At least, we should know that by now. It discredits you, makes you appear unloyal, maybe even pessimistic. The act itself has so many negative connotations it's admonished by professors and professionals alike. But what if you start talking after you leave a company?

Just discovered that a former coworker was criticizing current colleagues at her new job. It upset me because one, she hurt the target of her criticism and two, I thought better of her. The way I learned of the incident is this fellow coworker confided in another former coworker, who in turn notified a fellow colleague who is also a friend. Terrible. One expects some internal office pettiness, but to leave a company and have nothing to discuss but your reservations about a former colleague is career suicide. And a social one at that as well. 

I make it a deliberate effort to separate my personal and professional lives. Past experience has taught me its the safe path to go. Not that I was ever one to discuss personal affairs in the professional environment. But I have brought coworkers home to meet my family before, and while it went well for me, other friends have not been so lucky. Like the time one contractor at a former position moved in on another contractor's husband and a huge confrontation erupted at the office. Ouch. I did not personally witness the altercation but the other 50 contractors did. And it was embarrassing. Nineteen years later, these two women and their former and subsequent lives are still up for scrutiny.  So I learned from that incident to be the utmost professional at work. 

What I'm getting at is that we should practice gossip prudence at the office. You really never know when you need someone. The former colleague who exposed her new coworker's rather dark sentiments? She's unhappy at her new job and has been thinking of returning to her former job. Mmh, I don't think so. She lost her credibility when she blabbed about the first former coworker's gossip. If you're still wondering why, re-read my narrative. The whole situation is childish, unprofessional and hurtful. And it's not something anyone wants to deal with in a professional environment.  

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