This summer I've had a few brushes with the role of gossip in career, particularly from women. The first was when I heard from Superstar Intern that her executive producer at a global satellite network had poo poo'ed her guest pitch. Executive Producer was the most senior person at the editorial meeting and badmouthed a female colleague, as it turns out incorrectly. Not only was she violating basic human resources protocols and employment law to not discuss previous employees. But the information was incorrect. So much for a journalist's accuracy. It is clear to me that this senior professional woman wanted to throw her weight around, asserting her power over a humiliated intern. Real leader. The second situation concerns Woman #1 who has been relentlessly asking Woman #2 for work/leads at her new company. However, I remember Woman #1 gossiping about Woman #2's interview, alleging that a friend of hers works at the company and upon meeting Woman #2 declared her "a mess" (Woman #2 must not have been that much of "a mess" because she landed the position). In this case, I am astounded by the level of hypocrisy of Woman #1. This incident reminds me of Papi's pearls of wisdom on being careful of those who are:
Abrazándote con una mano y apuñalándote con la otra
(translation: patting you on the back with one hand while stabbing you with the other).
3 Reasons Why Women Gossiping at Work Is Criminal
- Hurts your professional brand and credibility: I guarantee you, I will never trust, recommend, or work with Woman #1 because of her unprofessional behavior. If she's talking smack about Women #2 behind her back, what's she saying about me when I walk away?
- It's a chi-altering time suck that saps your work productivity: Think all your friends' Facebook posts about their great and happy lives fouls your mood and then presto, it's 5pm and you still have a lot of work left to complete? 10x this if you want to get an idea of how destructive gossip will be to your workday and emotional wellbeing.
- It's hypocritical: Men (who can be equally gossipy) are just straight up, cut throat a**holes at work. Women have this whole Steel Magnolias, Sex in the City, sisterly love mythology. Lies.
Instead of talking about others, refocus your energy and time on talking, thinking, enterprising, and testing new ideas. Even better, choose a cause or a community group and get involved, for example, as a volunteer.
Thinking about ideas can lead to actions that solve problems. I promise you, that sense of accomplishment will make you feel competent with the ensuing praise giving us the credit we often yearn for but is elusive at work. Thinking and acting on ideas will also consume time, forcing us to prioritize, get organized, and be task-oriented to get it all done.
The next time gossip rears its ugly head at work, think about these wise words of Marie Curie. Find inspiration in the ideas between your ears and resist the temptation of the nasty words that come out of your mouth.
xo ~ Viviana