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Office Talk: When the Boss Talks About You

It may feel like you're back in seventh grade. Two people in another room are talking about you. Instead of the popular girl and your best friend discussing your new haircut, your boss and your co-worker are discussing your job performance. And it's legal.

It may feel like you’re back in seventh grade. Two people in another room are talking about you. Instead of the popular girl and your best friend discussing your new haircut, your boss and your co-worker are discussing your job performance. And it’s legal.

(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Just Because It’s Legal, Does Not Make It a Good Idea.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

As Evil HR Lady points out, chatting about other people is a common, everyday activity. With few exceptions, it is perfectly legal.

The biggest problem with this type of office talk is that it puts coworkers in difficult and sometimes very uncomfortable positions. Again, we go back to the schoolyard and the teacher on duty encouraging children to tattle on each other. It doesn’t feel right.

A wise manager would prefer to not be seen as an office gossip.

Some Talk Is Non-Toxic.

Some talk between managers and employees can be useful. For example, a manager may be conducting a full review of different employees. This could be for a positive reason. Perhaps she is considering promoting you.

A manager who is talking about one employee to another probably already knows the answers to her questions. She may simply be looking for verification before acting on information that she already has.

Best Practice Is to Do Well.

Whether you suspect people are talking about you or not, the best thing you can do is simply to do your job well. Your job performance speaks for itself.

Seems simple, but don’t forget to ask for a promotion, if you’re hoping to get one. When you do, tell the boss what is in it for the company. For example, “My goals include increasing productivity by 10 percent. If promoted to floor manager, I believe my ideas will help everyone increase production, which benefits the company.”

Tell Us What You Think.

How do you handle office gossip? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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