You and your coworkers are chitchatting, discussing, the game or what happened on This Is Us last night, and the next thing you know…someone starts complaining about their boss, a new hire, a companywide decision that was made, etc. The first urge is to participate. These are your work friends, after all. However, what this really is…is office politics. Office politics can run the gamut of gossip such as above through favoritism. In this article, we will be focusing on gossip.
Participating in this level of gossip is never a good idea. You never know whom it will get back to and if your name will be used. It is better to stick to the topics of anything not to do with work. Listed below are some things to avoid and how to manage them.
This can be anything from “Did you see what they were wearing?” to “He is useless”. Now, anyone who has worked has found themselves in this conversation where it can feel like you’re bonding with your coworkers, it actually begins a cycle of negativity and is putting yourself ultimately at risk. When you find yourself in this situation, feel free to listen, possibly giggle, and kindly excuse yourself to go back to work. You can show this person that you’re still their friend, but not put in your two cents. I have used the following line, “OMG, you’re so bad”. Laugh, and then say, “I gotta get back to work.”
If a coworker comes to you complaining about one of the other coworkers, listen and empathize. Do not, however, help them solve their problem. This might seem mean. But, protecting yourself and your job needs to be more important than being associated with the complaints of that person. You can say, “I’m so sorry”, “That sucks”, “I can’t believe that”, but it should not go further than that.
Remember why you are there. You are there to do a job, and you can not do that job if one of your coworkers decides to throw you under the bus. Or someone else overhears you complaining as well.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Please share below.