I should preface this story by saying that I’m no fan of anyone that I presently work with in my small department. In the 7 years I have worked here, each has done things specifically to harm me, by virtue of their own questionable morals, which I do not forgive, but accept. I cannot stand up to them to outside sources like supervisors or Human Resources because unfortunately the organization does not want to be involved unless the offense is so egregious that the law is violated. Their behaviors are unfortunately so calculated that they skate this line often, but never cross it. I should also say that although I am looking for other work opportunities, there are none that I can find to fit my needs so I stay.
Over the last week, I attended a conference with my boss, and a colleague (PJ) who is, for the purposes of this story, on the same level laterally as me. She frequently stirs up trouble, and has mentioned on a few occasions that she believes that the boss and his assistant (ST) are having an affair. In her mind, I’m sure she has conjured this story to explain why ST is given information and slack that the other employees are not. I have disregarded this as mean-spirited gossip, but one night at an event which had open bar, she had a few drinks and said she witnessed ST tucking the boss’ shirt in for him. The image was beyond gross to me, but she seemed to insist that something was going on.
Frankly, I don’t care if they are carrying on, because they are adults, and as long as I don’t see it, hear it, or otherwise become aware of it, it doesn’t affect me. However, after this last insistence by PJ, I’m concerned that she’s going to spread this rumor elsewhere. Considering that information like this would be particularly damaging, I have considered letting my boss know what’s been said. I don’t want to say anything to ST, because her reaction would not be a good one. My thought about telling my boss would be to nail down the source, if PJ does start telling other people outside our group, which could be hugely damaging. She has told me of her suspicions at least three times and we are not close, so I can only imagine what damage may already be done.
I should also say that while I had an axe to grind with these people in the past, I’ve really worked hard at letting go of my own resentments toward them. It’s not been easy, but although I do not like or trust them, I accept that they are bound to their own flawed humanity, and I must simply work around the crazy they throw down until I can find another suitable position. I also don’t want to burn bridges, since our industry is small, and everybody knows everybody.
I’m happy to let it go, but I’d hate for this type of gossip to be attributed to me, which is possible if it gets around. Your thoughts and feedback are very welcome. I’ll post in comments if this gets posted about what I decide to do and any fall out. Thanks in advance! 1111-13
Rule 1: Never, ever believe defamatory gossip, particularly from people who are not your family or dearest most trustworthy friends, unless you are willing to do the investigative research to discover the truth.
Rule 2: You are not responsible for the behavior of consenting adults during their non-working hours and that includes trying to police the gossip (and the consequences of her gossip on herself or others). You are neither part of the problem (either the alleged adultery or the gossiping) nor the solution so keep your own nose clean by not getting involved in any manner.
Rule 3: When PJ starts in on her gossip mongering, either change the subject quickly or tell her, “I’d really rather not hear this”, and leave the room.