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Dealing with office gossip and immaturity?

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  • Dealing with office gossip and immaturity?

    In short, I'm an internal graphic designer at a cubical-like office environment and have been at this company for 11 months. For the most part, I am friendly, but tend to keep to myself. A hard worker and I cover print, animation and web. Whereas my colleagues only handle print. My team has 6 people. 1 manager, 1 production manager, and 4 designers including me.

    My team has weekly meetings to discuss jobs currently in the pipeline. However, they tend to use this time to trash talk about other employees, and the best part about it is that I believe it comes from the top. My manager even gets in on the action. I feel like the odd ball because I don't take part in these conversations. I refuse to. I don't have a speaking role because they're all just trash talking, and I'm in the corner just smiling or grinning whenever someone makes eye contact.

    At times, I'm the subject of the gossip as well, which does bother me because I have to work closely with these people. For the most part, my stress reliever is listening to music or talking to myself. To my face, it's just a friendly haze, whereas they really start getting personal when the 5 of them start whispering at one of their cubicles.

    My question is, how can I not let this take over my emotions day to day? I would like to take the easy way out and find a new job, but I find this happens at every job which causes me to resign. I keep telling myself that I need to toughen up, but I have no one to relate to. Especially being the youngest on the team. I just want some maturity!!

    Any tips?

  • #2
    Oh man, I've been in a work place like this and it was cancerous and caused me to leave also. But I've also seen people who handle it well and I think the best thing to do is rise above it.

    That takes several things:

    - Compartmentalize. Don't let their negative gossip affect your work, don't dwell on it outside the office, and especially don't let it affect how you feel about yourself. Their complaints are THEIR problem, not yours. Their the ones who have to live in that world-view. Live in your own.

    - Ignore it. Don't smile when they're gossiping. If they look at you while their gossiping, talk about what you should be talking about instead, "So, where are we on project x?". If they say something directly to you, act like you're honestly embarrassed by it. Someone is sleeping with a coworker? You say "oh my goodness!" then change the subject. Don't engage beyond that and don't act like it's something you care about.

    - Respect yourself and everyone else. This is the biggest one. Whatever you do, behave in a way that you have respect for yourself and other people. They might still gossip, but at least they won't do it in front of you. They may even start to change their behavior if you make them feel good about themselves and others through positive means. Because really, they're gossiping to make themselves feel good. If you can help them make themselves feel good about themselves in other ways, then gossiping will start to lose it's allure.

    Good luck. You may not change their behavior, but you can at least control the way you react to it.

    Comment


    • #3
      People suck. That's all there is to it.
      And what you describe is the same pretty much everywhere.

      I hate meetings that don't stay on topic. I have work to do, can we move on now?

      As for whispers in cubicles, ignore it. Assume if you can't hear it that it isn't about you.
      If you do here something, you might speak up. Something like, "I hear my name being taken in vain over there, is it something we need to discuss?"
      Or if it's performance related, maybe just asking for raise would work.

      Right now you are on here trash talking the other employees. Do they care?



      Comment


      • #4
        It's strange that I sometimes envy those who get to work in those types of cubicle environments. I'm not sure if I'd actually like it, but I think about it all the time.

        I work at a small company, I have a 40ftx40ft office, the production guys have a warehouse, the other designers (when we have them) share a 30ftx30ft office and my boss has his own office. We're all separated by hallways and other rooms. We usually communicate through emails and stacks of papers and I'll sometimes go weeks without seeing or talking to any of them. Except my boss, we have the occasional meetings. I would love some gossip.
        "I used to wonder what friendship could be, Until you all shared its magic with me." - Jesus Christ

        Comment


        • Buda
          Buda commented
          Editing a comment
          You have a 40ft x 40ft office to yourself?! I spent over 10 years in a 10ft x 10ft office and I didn't event get it all to myself.

          I worked in a tiny room with one other who I didn't get along with but I made it work. Sort of. The rest of the place is pretty open plan so when people gossip, it is there for everyone to hear. If you did bad, you'll be talked about. I think it's pretty normal.

          If you take it to HR or higher up, it might help for a week but people will revert. They always do.

          I'd love to know what others gossip about me on. I heard rumour that some people thought I was scary.

        • Obsidian86
          Obsidian86 commented
          Editing a comment
          It's a small company with less than 10 people during our most busiest time of year. My boss bought an office building a few years ago and we had some construction done to it and some walls knocked down to make smaller offices into bigger ones.

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