A sordid scheme for deflecting hurtful office gossip
Dear Ely: My co-workers have robbed my dignity! I work in a customer call center for an insurance company. Recently I had an obnoxious caller, so I pressed the mute button on the phone and cursed him out. (This is a common practice for customer service representatives.) But I accidentally pressed the speaker button, so the customer heard my foul-mouthed assessment of his intelligence and attitude. All my neighbors heard the customer’s irate response, and his demand to speak to my boss. A few minutes later, the boss called me into his office. I felt like I was walking to the executioner. Everyone was staring at me with mouths agape, knowing I was doomed to be fired. The boss discreetly closed the door and window blinds, and I immediately dropped to my knees and cried, begging for my job. He mercifully let me off the hook with a stern warning. My co-workers saw me leave his office with puffy eyes and rug-burned knees, and they assumed that I had performed oral sex to save my job. The rumors and gossip spread throughout the office, and now I’m seen as the office slut. The women look at me contemptuously, and the men look at me perversely. People just won’t stop talking about it. How can I stop the office gossip and restore my dignity?
Ruined by Rumors
Dear Ruined by Rumors,
People love to talk about other people, especially where scandal is involved. It’s just human nature. True or not, your story is likely the juiciest your office has ever seen. It’s no surprise that people are still gossiping about it. And they’ll continue to talk about it until something even more sensational and scandalous takes its place as the hottest office gossip.
You need to engineer another scandal in the office. What could possibly trump your slutty story? Two subjects really get people’s tongues moving: people in positions of power acting inappropriately; and sex. So your counterfeit scandal should involve your boss engaging in sexual impropriety, and it should be even more shocking than the office gossip currently circulating about you. It has to be HUGE!
Here’s your story. Your boss has a secret second job: drug-dealing pimp. How can you effectively start this rumor? Whispering it to a co-worker in the restroom won’t work. There needs to be some kind of evidence present in order for the rumor to take wing and spread. So have a couple of your friends dress like whores and cause a scene in your office, busting in to beg their “Big Daddy” for a fix. He’ll obviously “pretend” that he doesn’t know who they are and have Security escort them out. Your scandal will immediately take a back seat to this astounding revelation about your boss.
There is a negative side to this strategy. Your boss was very nice in letting you keep your job after your transgression, and now you’re throwing him under the bus. You may feel bad about this, but you shouldn’t. If he’s worth anything as a boss, he’ll be above the petty office gossip of his subordinates. In fact, any human being with an appropriate level of self-confidence will not be bothered by the whisperings of others. If you would only realize that other people’s thoughts and words change nothing about who you are, you wouldn’t have to resort to such sordid schemes to restore your dignity.
Peace, Love, and Rising Above the Office Gossip,
PS. Do you have any advice for Ruined by Rumors? Leave a comment below!