The Grapevine Effect: Keeping Your Personal Business Personal

Contrary to what many people believe, being the center of office gossip is really only your fault. The gossip is fueled by the 411 you give to your colleagues.

It’s incredibly easy to be the victim of office gossip, or be sucked into the circle. But if you don’t provide the listening ear or the gift of gab, then it’s very easy to slide under the radar when it comes to the black hole that is office gossip.

While it’s only natural to want to be a part of a crew or have someone to vent to when you’re having a bad day, it is essential to keep in mind who you vent to. If you confide in the wrong person, your whole life story might be blasted on the 5 o’clock news.

While you may be able to find a friend amongst your coworkers, remember — your coworkers are still your co-workers and your personal business is not for them to know.

There are several things that should always remain personal and be kept out of the business of others:

  1. Income.
  2. Next move.
  3. Love life.

In that order

Never ever discuss your income or that of others with your coworkers. Not only can this get you into a world of trouble, but it can also cause issues for your company. Lawsuits are filed against companies all the time because an employee found out they were getting paid less than their coworker in the cubicle next to them, for doing the exact same work.

I remember having a conversation a while back with a coworker and she mentioned her salary to me. “DAMN! I’m making almost $7,000 more than her.” I had learned a long time ago that the salary discussion was not for the office. I immediately changed the subject then hustled back to my cube.   

Discussing salaries with anyone other than your manager or human resources is also a breach of confidentiality. Once an organization learns that you have breached this policy, the consequences can be great. It could be as simple as a write-up/or suspension or much worse, being terminated.

Do yourself a favor and avoid the drama that is guaranteed to accompany any discussion of income.

Next move.
Being a millennial means you likely have a side hustle.

Most of us dream of doing something different than our day job, being somewhere else and being our own boss.

If you’re someone who is interested in making moves to pursue your dreams outside of your cubicle, then more power to you…make your move. But be sure to leave the rest of the world out of it — at least until you’re ready to launch.

Wanting to start your own business or developing a new project is always exciting. But people can and will use it against you if they are jealous and feel as though you are trying to get ahead. Most people who feel this way are ones that wish they could be in your shoes or wish they had the motivation to take charge and develop their own path.

In order to stick to your plan and not have anyone derail your dreams, keep your damn mouth shut and hustle quietly.

Love life.
For us ladies, this can be a very difficult one.

Conversations about your love life are inappropriate to have at the workplace because of the various topics that come with discussing your significant other.

While you look at your coworkers as your “office girlfriends” or “the guys,” and they typically give you great advice, remember you are giving them intimate details about your personal life that can be used against you should one of them ever want to share.

Not to mention, if certain information gets back to your manager, this could be a ding on your reputation and possible disciplinary actions.

Keep the conversations about bae to a minimum, or just don’t talk about him/her at all. Your coworkers don’t need to know all that unless you’re inviting them to the wedding.    

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