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Why Your Coworkers Talk Behind Your Back

Gossip. Gossip. Gossip. Isn’t it all we really talk about today anyway? For the large part, the only news that gets reported daily is negative news. It gets ratings and it is also what fuels most people at work when they talk about their co-workers. People don’t talk about a job well done from a meeting that was well prepared. People don’t get excited and giddy about the promotion one of their friends got recently. People don’t high five each other at the end of a difficult project. Instead, people at work form cliques and groups and tend to spend more of their time whispering about who takes the most PTO days than they do focusing on their own self-improvement. Here are five reasons your coworkers will talk behind your back.

1. You Spend More Time In The Kitchen Than At Your Desk- Just like our homes, the office kitchen is the daily congregation place where office mates hang out and talk. While some people eat lunch at their desk every day, others, have managed to make themselves five or six meals and kill at least an hour or two a day grazing in the office kitchen. Coffee breaks, snack break, and of course a nice long chat during lunch. This is a target coworkers are sure to talk about behind your back.

2. Your Office Looks Like A Hurricane Zone- Trust me, the days you take off work, your coworkers will be snooping around your cubicle trying to figure out why it looks like a CSI Miami scene. In fact, unbeknownst to you, your desk has made Instagram and Vine with more fun being poked at it than a pinata. You don’t have to be a complete neat freak because that could have them talking about you as well, but certainly being the office Pigpen won’t make you a fan favorite.

3. You are known as the ‘office’ lampshade- When summer picnics and holiday parties roll around, you are famous for being the person who starts drinking shots and you end up winning the proverbial lampshade award every year. While you’ve thought it was cool and people shake your and hand smile at your face, the truth is that your office is making a ton of fun about you and this can really hurt your career. Drink too much at any functions and you can be 100% certain they’ll be talking about you in the lunchroom when you saunter back to your desk.

4. Your nickname is Johnny Drama- Being the office drama queen or king is a surefire way to get your coworkers to start talking about your back. Yelling at your spouse or kids on the phone at work, running in and out of the office taking private calls on your mobile phone, and having constant emergencies at home are an easy target for your to become the center of conversation. It’s great to share a little bit about your weekend and what goes on with your family, but make sure not to create a scene at work.

5. Too Much PTO and Sick Days- The truth is, everybody watches everybody at work and often challenge who is following policies and who is not. If you are the one who is taking the most PTO and Sick Days, your coworkers will notice because they’ll likely have to pick up the slack for the work that you miss. Being the office leader in these two categories will only lead to people talking more about you behind your back.

Consider this if you don’t think co-workers will gossip behind your back. Perez Hilton (the blogger not the socialite) is ranked 582nd in the United States in terms of traffic according to Alexa. As you grow your career and elevate yourself for the next promotion, make sure to not put yourself in the position of being the office punching bag.


Ted Jenkin CFP®