Thursday, April 10, 2008

Giving in to Misanthropy

You'd think eventually I would stop being surprised by the dishonesty in my workplace. That I'd learn to expect gossip, sneakiness, politics, and lies. And to a certain extent, I do. But various individuals continue to amaze me by plunging to new lows.

You'd think that after developing a good working relationship with someone, which involved a great deal of time spent together; after sharing frustrations and laughs; after demontrating that I have that person's best interests in mind and treating them with humanity and respect; you'd think that they would behave with relative decency in return. You might even think that if they accidentally uncovered some confidential information that they might behave like a professional (and a good human being), and keep it to themselves.

Or is that laughably naive?

There are too many people in this office who love to gossip. They're positively gleeful as they scurry from ear to ear, basking in the attention they receive, and glorying in juicy scandals. Clearly this takes precedence over every other consideration.

I've learned to keep my lips zipped. I rarely confide in anyone at work. I lock my computer monitor when I get up from my desk, and I make liberal use of my paper shredder. I keep confidential discussions of any type behind closed doors. But apparently a certain someone was standing by my door on a certain afternoon, and when they overheard some interesting snippets coming through, they didn't move away, but strained to hear more. They then ran the information all around the office.

Am I now reduced to whispering in my own office? This person has reason to be near my door quite a lot each day, and now that they've had a taste of what's possible, I'm sure they'll be hanging around with ears wide open. The walls here are paper thin, so closing the door is more of a cosmetic gesture than a reliable barrier.

I doubt that I'll ever shake my desire to see the best in people. I'll probably always give the people in my life the benefit of the doubt - innocent until proven guilty. It'd be a lot easier to be paranoid and suspicious of everyone until they proved themelves to be trustworthy. I can't bring myself to give up on humanity.

But today... Today I'm bitter and broiling mad!

14 comments:

Karen said...

I am guilty of being a gossip. I cannot help it. I am nosy by nature and I love to talk to other people so gossip just happens.

In the work place there is certainly an area of discretion that cannot be crossed. But in general, I'd be straining to hear just like your co-worker.

And that is my daily confession. :)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hmmm... I know gossip happens and you can't go all crazy for every little thing, but If I was having a meeting with the door shut and someone listened and spread it around, lets just say if I was in a position of power I would have a long talk with them about being discrete or other potential job opportunities.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'm glad you have faith in people, but it looks like you're in a bad (work) place.

Keeping each other informed is good. I actually wish I was better about asking how's so-and-so because it helps to keep track of who has a sick relative or something. People do bring their emotions to work and knowing why makes it easier to be considerate/patient. Always talking about negatives and/or keeping information from those who should have it, is very, very bad and destroys the best of work places.

You might want to ask if all the gossip is of the destructive kind or if any of it actually helps smooth over the bumps of being human. If it's all destructive, then I expect your next post to be, "This is my CV". ;-)

Leighann said...

I'm very much the opposite of you. I don't trust anyone and rarely talk to people about anything even remotely controversial.

I haven't always been this way though, I used to be a HUGE gossip and would share anything with anyone.

Nilsa S. said...

Oooh, you're not lying. This is quite the rant. It's really sad that people don't have better things to do than spread your business around the office. If you're nervous it may happen again, I'd follow Ron's advice about talking to the gossiper. They have to know their words can be hurtful.

1218Blog said...

Didn't you have a similar problem with a co-worker recently. What is going on in your office! I say keep your head low and your lips zipped. They don't seem very trustworthy around there. And I hate being that way because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but your co-workers have proven not all deserve the benefit.

Sparkling Red said...

Karen: I'd love to have the freedom to be a gossip. My position makes it impossible. But I do see how seductive and yummy it can be. :-)

Ron: There is a catch-22: the only way I hear about gossip is from one of the gossipers. I trust some of my sources more than others, but at the bottom line it's all hearsay, and therefore inadmissable as evidence. I occasionally confront people with what I've heard, but they just deny it and I can't prove otherwise, so the results are very limited.

Keera: I'd guesstimate that at least 80% of the gossip is negative. I probably won't be leaving this job because it's very convenient to me in many ways, and the best one I've ever had, so I just suck it up and occasionally vent on you poor innocent people. ;-)

Leighann: I don't really trust anyone at work anymore. In my personal life, however, I still try to make genuine connections.
I'm curious about what changed you from being a huge gossip into who you are today.

Nilsa: It is sad, isn't it? Maybe we're not giving people enough work to do, if they have this much time to chat. :-p I refer you to my reply to Ron's comment, for starters. Additionally, I've found the sad truth is that there are plenty of people who simply don't care if their actions have been hurtful. They pretend to care as much as they need to for social acceptability, but really they only care about themselves. It's rotten. I have to make an effort not to give the bad apples too much real estate in my mind. There are some good-as-gold hearts out there too. :-)

Hillary said...

people suck

unsigned said...

Tie them to a chair and then do a little dance to "Stuck In The Middle With You" waving your straight razor around. Then cut off their ear like in Reservoir Dogs and talk into it. "Hello? Can you hear me now?"

Jenski said...

I hate feeling like people are in general untrustworthy. I sometimes wonder if people have always been so nosy and gossipy. I can be nosy and gossipy. I would be completely embarrassed if I accidently overheard something I knew I shouldn't though!

R.E.H. said...

You should keep an eye open for when this person is eavesdropping and start talking about their lack of work effort, and how he/she is on the verge of being fired...

That should prove interesting ;)

Sparkling Red said...

Hillary: Very frequently, yes!

Jenski: People can seem so well-intentioned at times, and then when push comes to shove, they can turn around and disappoint you. You just never know until you've been through something intense with them which way they'll go when the pressure gets turned up.

R.E.H.: Yes, indeed, I've been scripting fake phone calls for her to overhear. *pretending to have my boss on the line* "Yes, it's very serious." *pause* "You're thinking of letting her go? Really!" *pause* "I didn't realize you had evidence. That changes everything." Etc...
MWAH HA HAAAAA!

Nicole said...

Can you track it back to him / her and make him / her responsible for anything?

And I lost my faith in most people a long time ago.
:S

Sparkling Red said...

Nicole: Unfortunately there's no proof. :-p
I'm curious if you feel better or worse since you lost your faith in people...