We’ve all been there. Sharing a shift or one cubical away from the Chatty Cathy of the office, but she’s not just chatting. She’s a one woman rumor mill and somehow today is always the worst day ever. I was recently talking to a good friend who works at a corporate headquarters for a very large company and she was frustrated with the caliber of the people in her department. She gets along fine with everyone and her boss and bosses boss (a) know she exists and (b) think she is good at her job. Two very important things when you are just starting your career.
Her problem lies in that she is working in a department with several Chatty Cathy’s. Recently there was a “huge” uproar in the office over the way a colleague was confronted over skipping out on a very important assignment. My friend chose not to jump on the band wagon of “Oh poor Cathy, aren’t our bosses just awful? They should understand you need a 30 minute breakfast break and can’t possibly do anything before that is complete.”
(Side note, if you’re bringing breakfast to work you better be able to hold it in one hand while doing something productive in the other. Wake up 20 minutes earlier, it’s not that bad.)
Because my friend didn’t join in on the boss bashing in the office she is now thought to be a suck up or that she is on the bosses side and “can’t be trusted.”
First off, I have a major problem with this situation. The fact that management is allowing a workplace environment like this to exist. I’ve never worked a corporate job so maybe I’m naive but every larger office I have worked in the management has taken it upon themselves to make the workplace a comfortable, welcoming and motivating place.
Secondly, my friend is totally in the right. She has done everything she can to keep the drama away from herself. She’s not playing into Cathy’s drama and she’s not running to the bosses saying “OH my gosh this is what they’re saying today.” even though she admittedly does have chats with them on a daily basis, they are not regarding office politics.
She wanted me to post on how you can keep workplace drama out of your life. Saying it feels like high school and she is minding her business but drama seems to follow women around.
I think that’s completely right. Women do tend to breed drama if we’re not careful. The reason why, because we care too much about what everyone thinks of us. We want to have management, our co-workers heck even the mail guy to think we are great. That’s fine but while your tripping over yourself trying to do this you probably aren’t focusing on why you’re there for, to work. Here are my little tips on staying out of drama in the workplace.
- Think Bambi’s friend Thumper; “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
- The Golden Rule (seriously) treat everyone around you the way you want to be treated, sympathize if you want but don’t sit there and bash the boss.
- Realize this is not high school, you’re not just bashing the teacher, your bashing your employer who could one day give you a stellar reference. OR they could let you go on your way without so much as goodbye.
- Don’t be an owl “who who who?” it’s not polite. Site your childhood when your Mom was on the phone and you did the same thing. You were told it was rude, it still is.
- Know that you have no idea what the person your confiding in is going to repeat. A nasty game of telephone could ensue.
- Mind your beeswax, seriously. It’s not your job to know everything that is going on.
This isn’t to say you can’t make friends at the office. They are a great way to pass a lunch hour and bring more joy to your work day. Just know what’s off limits to talk about; no talk of politics, money, management or coworkers. Unless you’re discussing the sweet surprise party you’re throwing for Jane down the hall. Talk shop, talk conferences, talk about the big game the deal you got at Macy’s last weekend. You do this and you will successfully avoid office drama. At times work is just like the playground at school. You negotiated that well and now you’re older and wiser, go be productive.