How office gossip can hurt your job

Gossip can negatively affect everyone at the office.

A new Georgia Tech study by Eric Gilbert examined 600,000 e-mails from an Enron database and found that 15 percent were gossip e-mails. Gossip affects all employees, from the entry-level worker to the CEO. The average employee sends 112 e-mails each day. The number of e-mails and the amount of gossip will only grow, due to how connected we are as a society. Office gossip can hurt your career if you aren’t smart about it, because your co-workers could see you as dishonest and untrustworthy. When you’re building your career, you want to have a positive effect on the people around you so that they want to work with you, not against you. Here are three ways to handle office gossip:

Know the facts:
Figure out if the gossip has fact to it or not. Without mentioning names, ask the people around you if there is any truth to the e-mail or not. This way, you can assess whether it affects you or if it was just written to get attention.

Know your limits: Many of us use gossip to build trust and forge relationships with our colleagues. If you find yourself spreading gossip, try and remove yourself from those types of conversations the best you can. For instance, don’t go to the next happy hour with your colleagues.

Ignore it completely: Understand that any e-mail you send can be easily forwarded to one or more people within seconds. It’s much better to not get involved in office gossip altogether, because the talk can come back to you. You don’t want people saying bad things about you when you’re trying to build a career.

Encourage more positive conversations: In order to create a positive work environment, spread company victories and public news instead of secrets. Try taking the lead and sharing positive information with your colleagues, and they might follow.

– Dan Schawbel is the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and consulting company. Subscribe to his updates at
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…


British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…


VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.


City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…


TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.


A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.


Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.


Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.


Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.


What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.


Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.


Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."