Office Gossip

paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
I was wondering if it's common for people partake in office gossip and water-cooler idle talk about co-workers.

Twice this week, I was a bit caught off-guard by casual comments which were directed at me. Since I have a somewhat ubiquitous role, I am sure that people talk about me and I'm sure it's not always flattering. But I had always assumed that such conversations was work-related.

Earlier this week, someone in the office that I rarely interact with had commented about some shirt that I was wearing and she casually joked if my wife had bought it for me. She mentioned my wife by name which I know I had never mentioned to her so I can only presume it was a topic of idle conversation.

Today - during a conference call which included participants from multiple locations around the country, during the pre-meeting pleasantries, one of my colleagues from across the country who I had not seen in over a year congratulated me on my recent fitness regime. I had lost a bit of weight and while I haven't discussed it at work, it's not really hard to notice.

While I'm not offended, I have to admit that I was curious and amused.

I noticed that these comments are usually from younger folks - usually in their 20's. Is this more of a generational thing? Do people really gossip about their co-workers weight, appearance, etc.?


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    PolynomialPolynomial Member Posts: 365
    I actually make it a point not to talk about people negatively behind their backs.

    I do consider myself smarter than the average 23 year old though =P
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    FloOzFloOz Member Posts: 1,614 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I am 23 years old as well and I refuse to discuss my own or others personal matters in the work place.
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    IvanjamIvanjam Member Posts: 978 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I can never figure out all this political correctness in the workplace, then again I am from a different generation and culture. I see nothing wrong in discussing coworkers behind their backs or in front of their faces, for that matter - once the comments are not meant to demean, belittle or harm that person. I find stuff like "Hey, John's birthday is next week - let's plan a little surprise get-together for him" or "Hey Mike - you are looking great - are you working out?" perfectly harmless. Personally, I find all this uptight, secretive, political correctness culture to be just plain anti-social. You are all welcome to disagree with me. icon_lol.gif
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    The_ExpertThe_Expert Member Posts: 136
    Don't gossip about others... Be professional at all times and do your job.

    If you manage to stay on task and ignore these folks - you'll be better off! Unfortunately, there will always be someone in the work place who is jealous, disgruntled, likes to talk about others etc. Just do your job and move on...

    Eventually, these people will realize you're not giving them any attention and then will move on to another target.
    Masters, Public Administration (MPA), Bachelor of Science, 20+ years of technical experience.

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    Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I wasn't aware of any topic that wasn't available for discussion, it's just who you can trust to say something and if it'll come back to bite you in the ass. If you know the right person you'll hear everything, true or not! But in saying that I don't care much for office gossip - ignore it as best you can.
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    010101010101 Member Posts: 68 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I've got the same thing at my work.
    There's office bullies that under the guise of being funny, put people down, harras people, etc.
    Best thing to do IMO is give it back to them. Cut on them harder(but within HR rules).
    One of my old coworkers would be more covert and delete appointments off bullies calendars.
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    The shirt comment was gossip, the weight thing not so much. To that situation, I think most of the time when people do lose weight they are happy for people to notice.

    Office gossip is part of the game and I tend to find that in IT we usually know more then our fair share of what's what. Previous careers have taught me that people love to talk and it's just a matter of when they are ready. At my last job people couldn't wait to tell me things, but that was because whether you like me or not you know anything said to me stays with me. I'll listen, offer advice if asked, but other then that what people do is their business. It's funny because at my last job one of the senior managers would come to me to get my thoughts on where we were heading.

    If you want to stay above it, it's not a hard thing to do and sometimes it's better not to know. When I left my last job they made sure I didn't get an exit interview haha.
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    010101 wrote: »
    I've got the same thing at my work.
    There's office bullies that under the guise of being funny, put people down, harras people, etc.
    Best thing to do IMO is give it back to them. Cut on them harder(but within HR rules).
    One of my old coworkers would be more covert and delete appointments off bullies calendars.

    Sounds like 12yo girls in middle school. Time to find a new job.

    I stay as far away as possible from office gossip.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    Snow.brosSnow.bros Member Posts: 832 ■■■■□□□□□□
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    sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    I agree with Ivan. I'm also from a different culture and background then :)

    I don't really care if someone else talks about me. I have more exciting things going on in my life than worrying about someone talking behing my back. If they got nothing else to do, well, it's their problem.
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    alexander77alexander77 Member Posts: 54 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Gossip is crazy where I am at, it doesn't take long for word to get around here. I try not to talk much unless I want everybody to know my business.
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    IristheangelIristheangel Mod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    It depends on the job. I'm sure I've been the topic of watercooler conversations at some of my jobs. I've had random people ask me what my "boyfriend" thought of (insert something random) just to see if I would confirm I have a boyfriend or not or make other references to my personal life hoping I would confirm some suspicions they have about me. Honestly though, as long as management isn't engaging in it, I feel bad for them if their life is that boring that they have to wonder about mine and I shrug it off.
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    ITdude84ITdude84 Member Posts: 58 ■■□□□□□□□□
    To be honest (and unfortunately) this will happen no matter where you go. People with a lot of time on there hands or have social issues to where they NEED to feel wanted and HAVE to be engaged in everybody else s life. Really its a psychological thing if you think about the common traits. 9 times out of 10 its generally something negative about somebody or something. Understandable we all have bad days and sometimes vent to others, but you have to do it with respect.

    Personally I would stay away from all the negativity because all its going to do is bring you down and take you down a path you don't want to go. I am a firm believer in treat others the way you want to be treated, and never say something about somebody that you wouldn't say in front of them. Negative people to tend to flock together, its not a group you want to be in or be around. You are there to work and to produce results... if you are goal/career oriented stay that path! only be around those who uplift you and encourage success.
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    neo9006neo9006 Member Posts: 195
    I learned not to trust all the gossip that is being talked about. Every time I expected something good to happen, it never did. I have learned not to say some things to a co worker cause he runs his mouth as soon as you turn around. I personally keep to myself at work and answer what needs to be answered. I do not give away too much due to why should I and is it your business? I thankfully have a boss now that keeps you in the loop about what is coming up at work, unlike my previous boss who would sometimes but rarely did.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Interesting thoughts from everyone. I didn't mean to imply that gossip was mean-spirited or spiteful. It's really just idle talk and gossip. I was just curious about how prevalent it is in the workplace. I suppose that I expect that there is some level of gossip everywhere. I was actually thinking that it's probably healthy to some extent. I imagine it shows some interest among co-workers. I admit that in some ways I am flattered that anyone would actually be interested in talking about me. It somewhat appeals to my vanity.
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