Author Topic: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here  (Read 5032 times)

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GreenEyedHawk

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I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« on: February 08, 2014, 01:53:30 AM »
I mentioned in my cranky-coworker thread that my cranky co-worker's mother passed away over the holidays.  Now, I wasn't directly told this; I actually unintentionally overheard it. I wasn't sure if thins was common knowledge or not at all, so after thinking it over I decided not to say anything to anyone.  I figured since I didn't know if this news was meant for general consumption or not, I should just keep it to myself until I found out otherwise.

A few days after I found out, Bossman told my assistant, M, about it.  Afterward, I confessed to M that I'd overheard the news a few days previously.  (I think this may have been my mistake.)  M was annoyed that I hadn't told her; we knew CCW's mother was unwell, but M had been unaware she'd passed away during the holidays and so her annoyance with me was based on "But what if I'd asked about her mom's health while we were outside taking a smoke break?  I would have felt awful for not knowing and saying the wrong thing!"

I totally get her reasoning and I don't think she's wrong.  But, I also feel that my reasoning, which was "I don't know if everyone knows this or not and I don't want to gossip, especially about something this big.  It's none of my business." is also legitimate.  I'm not sure there is a "right" thing I could have done, is there?  Or is this just one of those times where nobody's really "right", but nobody is really "wrong", either?

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MariaE

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 03:09:55 AM »
I think you were wrong to let her know that you had already heard the news ahead of time. Apart from that you were right in not telling her, and although I understand her reasoning, I don't think it would have been right for you to share the news - that was for CC to share, not you.

But you should have refrained from telling her you knew already.
 
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Ceallach

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 03:58:36 AM »
I don't understand why you would "confess" to knowing, it seems strange.   And yes you are right you had no reason to tell anybody about something personal and private that you overheard.   But once you realise that you have information which is inappropriate to share, it doesn't make sense to then share that knowledge later.   
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lollylegs

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 04:29:30 AM »
I think you were wrong to let her know that you had already heard the news ahead of time. Apart from that you were right in not telling her, and although I understand her reasoning, I don't think it would have been right for you to share the news - that was for CC to share, not you.

But you should have refrained from telling her you knew already.

This. You definitely shouldn't have told her if you weren't told personally but you also shouldn't have told her you already knew.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 09:34:24 AM »
I think you were correct not to say anything to anyone.  But I do think you messed up when you told M you already knew.

I've had this experience.  And got confirmation of my instincts not to say anything from this board.  (A friend found out at age 40 that she was adopted.  I'd known because of something someone else, who went to their church, told me.  I kept my big trap shut.)
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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TootsNYC

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 10:31:59 AM »
The one thing about death, though, is that it's a matter of public record. It's painful, but it's not as personal as finding out you're adopted.

So I'm a  little torn on the concept of keeping it quiet.
I guess if someone doesn't bring that news into the office, I'd assume they have a very good reason not to--just because it's so easy to let it leak out, so they must be going to some lengths.
And I'dhonor that.

But yeah, if you're going to keep a secret, you have the burden of also keeping the secret of the secret.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 01:13:09 PM »
Yeah, I'm not too sure why I told M I already knew; obviously I wasn't thinking.

Like I said, I definitely don't think M's reasoning was faulty at all, I certainly see her point.
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TootsNYC

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 01:55:44 PM »
But if M had said, on a smoke break, "How's your mom?" and Cranky Coworker had been forced to say, "Oh, she passed away," that's a completely natural awkwardness that C.C. created. If you work with people who are vaguely caring, you run the risk that they'll ask. If you don't want them to ask, you need to discreetly tell them.

Polly

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 02:01:19 PM »
I think it would be very hard not to admit to already knowing though as then you'd have to pretend to be hearing the news for the first time, and being appropriately shocked and sad for your co-worker. You can't give quite the same reaction when you already know, so it could either seem really fake (or at least you would feel like it was) or you might risk coming off as a bit cold if your reaction wasn't strong enough for first time hearing of the news. I can totally understand why you admitted to already knowing. I have been in a similar position and I've simply said something like,  'Yes, I did hear, but it wasn't told to me directly and it wasn't my news to tell.' Mostly people understand that I would think.

bloo

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 04:10:34 PM »
I think it would be very hard not to admit to already knowing though as then you'd have to pretend to be hearing the news for the first time, and being appropriately shocked and sad for your co-worker. You can't give quite the same reaction when you already know, so it could either seem really fake (or at least you would feel like it was) or you might risk coming off as a bit cold if your reaction wasn't strong enough for first time hearing of the news. I can totally understand why you admitted to already knowing. I have been in a similar position and I've simply said something like,  'Yes, I did hear, but it wasn't told to me directly and it wasn't my news to tell.' Mostly people understand that I would think.

This. I couldn't pretend that I had not heard with any degree of reliability. I'm a good actress but a horrible liar.

Hmmmmm

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2014, 06:22:09 PM »
I know in our office the grapevine is used to pass on info like this. No one wants to go to each co-worker and pass on the news. I find it odd that Bossman would pass on the info to your assistant but not you. As a boss, that's part of my role unless someone has said they don't want the news shared.

TootsNYC

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2014, 06:24:57 PM »
I think it would be very hard not to admit to already knowing though as then you'd have to pretend to be hearing the news for the first time, and being appropriately shocked and sad for your co-worker. You can't give quite the same reaction when you already know, so it could either seem really fake (or at least you would feel like it was) or you might risk coming off as a bit cold if your reaction wasn't strong enough for first time hearing of the news. I can totally understand why you admitted to already knowing. I have been in a similar position and I've simply said something like,  'Yes, I did hear, but it wasn't told to me directly and it wasn't my news to tell.' Mostly people understand that I would think.

True--and this brings up the idea that M was wrong to chastize Green-Eyed Hawk.

And I agree w/ Hmmmmm; the first person that Cranky Coworker told (boss, I guess) really has an obligation to say, "May I let the rest of the staff know?" I agree; as a boss, I'd consider it my job to make sure this info gets around in a dignified manner.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2014, 12:40:08 PM »
I know in our office the grapevine is used to pass on info like this. No one wants to go to each co-worker and pass on the news. I find it odd that Bossman would pass on the info to your assistant but not you. As a boss, that's part of my role unless someone has said they don't want the news shared.

What happened was I overheard CCW telling someone (I'm not sure who but I assume Bossman).  I left the office because I was done the thing I'd gone up there to do and had no reason to linger unless I was meaning to eavesdrop.  A few days later, Bossman came to tell both M and I.  I don't know the reason for the couple days of delay between Bossman being told, and Bossman telling us.  Perhaps CCW asked he wait a few days, I don't know.  I did find it hard to give what felt like a genuine reaction, being that I already knew, but in this case it was common knowledge that CCW's mother was very unwell, so really it wasn't terribly shocking.  It would have been much harder if it had been sudden and unexpected.
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Promise

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2014, 03:22:35 PM »
It wasn't your news to tell, which you didn't, and probably not a good idea to share that you already knew once your assistant shared to you. A better response would have been, "That is a difficult thing to face. I'll keep  XXXX in my prayers/thoughts."

edgypeanuts

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Re: I Don't Think There is a "Right" Thing Here
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2014, 04:05:21 PM »
based on "But what if I'd asked about her mom's health while we were outside taking a smoke break?  I would have felt awful for not knowing and saying the wrong thing!"


I know this was the co-workers quote, but why would asking about her mom be saying the wrong thing?  There is no reason to feel awful for asking about someone.  Whether the co-worker knew the death had occurred or not does not really change anything- she was inquiring about her mom and then could give condolances.  I doubt the co-worker who's mother died would be offended by this.