Gossip in the workplace

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while, because I think this is something worth addressing.

We all have gossip in the workplace at some extent. Maybe it’s positive in that it can create natural bonds between people who don’t have much in common. Ever heard of the saying “My enemy’s enemy is my friend?” I think Sun Tzu said that, but I may be wrong. It is common for people to bond over shared hatred of something…or someone.

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Then there’s the toxic gossip. The gossip that creates a negative environment and fuels anxiety and paranoia. When I worked at the insurance company, I felt like I was swimming in a gossip cesspool–the most toxic bullshit. This kind of gossip kills employee morale. People begin dreading to come to work–erm…more than usual.

Enter the Gossip. A Gossip could be a man or a woman. Men gossip as much as women do, they just don’t have the stereotype haunting them while they do it. I’m going to refer to the Gossip in the feminine, because I’ve worked with one who was (and still is, I guess) a woman. 

She’s a mother hen of sorts. She tries to befriend everyone, in the hope of being trusted with valuable information. She wants to be the Go-To for everything. I’m sure you’ve met her. 

Working at a cubicle farm where nobody knows your name–or cares–is soul-sucking. Realizing at 23, that you’re not where you thought you’d be is soul-sucking too. Thrown in an overgrown “mean girl” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I thought high school was over, but I was wrong.

She judged everyone for everything. And she was very vocal about it. If she had an online dating profile, I imagine she would have “poking holes in everyone’s character over nothing”, “making mountains out of molehills”, and “terrorizing junior staff” under Hobbies and interests. She had something terrible to say about everyone. Then, she would turn around and pretend to be their best friend.

I didn’t trust her with anything, but she still made me paranoid. I was so worried about what she might be saying about me behind my back. Anything from my lunch to my shoes, to the way I worded an e-mail was free game. I became so anxious that my heart sank into the pit of my stomach whenever I heard her voice. It took me a while to realize that she would judge me no matter what I said or did. Having no control over something like this is discouraging. It was also kind of relieving, because it wasn’t my fault. There was nothing wrong with me–it was her problem and not mine.

It was still really demoralizing. I didn’t like my coworkers much, but I didn’t care to hear about them and everything (according to her) wrong with them. I thought she did it because she was a narcissistic horse’s ass who thought she was better than everyone. 

She actually did it because she was insecure and needed validation for her own behaviour. Yes, I started psychoanalyzing her. By openly criticizing everyone else, she felt better about herself. By putting somebody down behind their back, when they couldn’t defend themselves, she made herself look better in someone else’s eyes (whoever she was complaining to). 

She would rag on her husband and teenage daughter so much. She aired all of their dirty laundry to everyone who cared (and I guess, didn’t in my case) to listen. I was so mortified for both of them. Thankfully, I’ll probably never meet them. My mom used to tell everyone everything (small town mentality) which made growing up difficult. It’s hard to go through the motions with everyone’s eyes on you. That’s why I’m so secretive about my life in the city.

Yeah so back to the Gossip. I never fuelled her gossip. I kept my mouth shut. This made her think that I was a good listener, so she filled my ears with more garbage. Then one day I realized that I wasn’t discouraging her. I was actually doing the opposite because she needed to fill in that silence–the void caused by my unresponsiveness. So I stopped listening and started ignoring her. I stared at my computer screen in complete silence until she left my doorway. 

Do you know how awkward that was? Humans have a tendency to waffle and blabber on about meaningless things just to avoid silence with strangers. Silence is uncomfortable! So is unresponsiveness. I gave her both of these things to get rid of her. And it worked.

Gossip stops when no one is listening.

Ta.

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Going door to door

Your comments brought me back to my blog, guys. Thank you all for that, I read them all and I love you beautiful people.

I haven’t written anything in a while and for that I am sorry.

Do I sound drunk? Probably. But I’m not. I had a really bizarre evening and I’m kind of feeling grateful for stuff. Kind of,

I went canvassing door to door for a local charity. We were just getting intel on the neighbourhood and whether people would be open to being contacted later for support/volunteering. We weren’t asking for money or anything.

Before you judge me, hear me out. I HATE people who knock on my door, interrupt my dinner, and try to shake some dollars out of me. Even worse are those who pretend they’re from the government/your water heating company and force their way into your home. Yes, it’s very big here in Ontario. Google “Ontario water heater scam.” The scam is that they tell you you’re eligible for a free upgrade, just sign these forms! You sign the forms, they bring in a new water heater, and now you’re locked into a new (and pricey) contract with some other water heater company. I am terrible to these people.

Luckily, I live in a complex and we don’t get a lot of door to door activity. I’m decent to the folks that aren’t trying to upgrade my water heater.

I was part of a mass e-mail sent out by college friends involved with the charity. They were inviting a group of us canvassing with them. Canvassing is when you go door to door and talk to people. I didn’t want to do it. I thought it would be brutal, having to deal with rejection all evening. I’m not in sales for a reason.

Let me tell you, I was just fine ignoring that email and going about my life as per usual. No. Some son of a bitch hit “reply all” and cheerfully told us he’s interested. Then another one. And another. Fuck you guys, you’re making me look bad. So I obliged.

I bought a sandwich after work and took the subway to meet everyone. I ate half of the sandwich on my way there. I tried to eat the other half discreetly while we were all walking to the charity’s office. I lingered behind everyone while they caught up on their lives. Someone made it their morality duty to embarrass me. He patted my back and practically shouted, “having a late lunch, Kat?” No, fuckhead. This is my dinner, considering you wanted to meet right after work.

The evening was actually decent. Only one person slammed a door in my face and told me to fuck off. It was OK. I got over it instantly. Fear of rejection begone!

There was a pantsless–I repeat, PANTSLESS man answering the door at another house. His balls were hanging out and everything. I tried to focus on his eyes and keep a straight face. Then I realized he was probably a troll and this was his way of getting us to fuck off.

There was a house with a sign just above the door, which read “If I don’t know your first name, fuck off and don’t knock”. It was something like that. We still knocked and I gave him my first name.

Eventually I realized we were in a really low income housing area. The people looked like regular people. It wasn’t the people that gave it away. It was the apartment itself. It looked dingy. It was a co-op. I realized the people I spent all evening talking to were possibly struggling with poverty, domestic abuse, mental health, and addiction. They were so nice to us, even though we were interrupting their dinners. It was lovely.

I have more to say about the last three weeks but I’ll save it.

Ta

Commitment in your 20’s

Okay, so I spent some time creeping old friends and classmates on Facebook last night.

I feel like I need to address what everyone is thinking. Why the fuck is everyone having babies?

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Sorry, I need to be more specific. Why are my former classmates who barely graduated highschool, didn’t go to college, work minimum-wage jobs, and make-up/break-up with their boyfriends every other weeks having babies?! And how do they still find the time to hit up all of the clubs on the weekends?

I know this sounds super judgmental but hear me out. From where I’m sitting, you don’t have your shit together. In fact, I don’t think any of us do. Your twenties are a big hot mess. Everyone’s still figuring it out and having sex with all of their friends from college. It’s pretty incestuous. Then, one person gets their shit together which pressures everyone around them to get it together, too. Then we all walk around with briefcases, acting like adults until it feels natural.

So I creeped some old classmates and saw that four girls my age are mothers. Two of them already have two kids each. I don’t understand why people are having kids so young. I can’t even commit to a houseplant and these people are already committing to children and a life with their boyfriends. 

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One of them is pretty entertaining. She posts every little detail about her private life on Facebook. She’s all “Oh I hate drama! Don’t bring your drama to me!” meanwhile, she will air her dirty laundry on Facebook for all to see. She constantly harps on her on again, off again boyfriend/father of her children–“Where can I get a real man?” Cringeworthy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not ready for motherhood. 

Working in your 20’s

I started my new job on Monday and the week just flew by.

I’ll have you know I already know most of my coworkers’ names. This is a huge accomplishment, since I rarely remember people’s names–especially if I only met them a few times. Yes, I will remember every little detail you tell me, like a stalker, but I will not for the life of me remember your name.

Looking forward to waking up in the mornings, getting out of bed, getting dressed, and going to work is a huge game changer. I just feel like I have more energy to do things at work and after work. I’m also pretty excited by how new everything is–my office, the work, the commute, the people–everything. I feel like this is my chance to plant roots and show my value. 

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I keep track of my monthly income in an Excel file on my computer. I’ve been doing this since I graduated a few years ago. I started the log as motivation to work harder and of course, to track my spending. I dipped into my savings a few times to make rent, but I wanted to make sure I’d be able to get on my feet soon. So, I kept track.

I couldn’t find a good job for the first 11 months out of school. Seriously. I should probably admit that I didn’t put together the best resume, and (shocker) didn’t tailor the resume to the jobs I was applying to. I spammed so many companies with my generic resume looking for a job–ANY JOB. Obviously, I didn’t find anything substantial.

In the meantime, I decided to take advantage of my skill set and earn some money. All I really knew at that point was how to do well in university. So I made an ad on Kijiji and scoured the internet for clients. I did readings, put together notes, combed through research, and wrote essays. I worked with highschool, college, undergrad, and post-grad students. Some were here–in Toronto–and others were across the country. I stopped looking for full-time work and devoted myself to my students and their classes. They got A’s. I learned new things and improved my writing skills. 

Then I got a full-time job and tutored on the side. A handful of my regulars just wouldn’t let me get away. I was looking through my income log and realized I made over $20,000 in those 11 months after graduation. I couldn’t find work so I created my own work, and earned a modest income as a result. Awesome.

If you’re down on your luck or a recent grad entering an unwelcoming market, I urge you to sit down and make a list of your skills. What are you good at? Then, think of ways to market those skills to potential clients. I was good at researching and writing essays, so I marketed those skills to students. Take advantage of local ads and word-of-mouth to attract clients. It’s free.

Don’t shy away from a challenge–I once helped a Master’s student put together a thesis in a topic I had ZERO experience in. Those two weeks were fucking terrible. “Crunch time” is an understatement. I wanted to hide from him. I wanted to die. I ended up learning a lot from that experience and I made a tidy sum, too.

And don’t give up. I made $337 one month. It was my lowest point and I felt really shitty about it.

Undateable Lawyers

eHarmony came out with a list called 15 Reasons to Date a Lawyer.

People are up in arms about it. Non-lawyers are probably offended and disgusted by their golddigging peers who go gaga for jurisprudence. Lawyers are probably thrilled that they have (kinda) become dateable again. Thrilled, I say.

A lot of lawyers are pigeon-holed into the lawyer stereotype. Argumentative, cynical, and very rich. That, coupled with their crazy working hours makes it incredibly difficult for them to meet quality people. Female lawyers are at even more a disadvantage, because other men tend to find them intimidating. I feel you, girls. It’s tough being smart, successful, and confident. I certainly would know a lot about that.

Cue modesty.

Anyways, the list is pretty silly–I mean, are free notepads really a perk of dating a lawyer? Are we having a world shortage of notepads? Other reasons are on point. Going to boring-ass lawyerly events for the free food and open bar is a perk.

hardrockinhomemaker wrote a hilarious article responding to eHarmony’s list.  Here are my favourite bits:

eHarmony says: “Lawyers know how to present themselves well – and up the charm. Your date will likely make a great impression with your friends and colleagues.”

HRH retorts: Lawyers know how to present themselves well to other lawyers.  Everyone else is wondering how to escape the conversation as quickly as possible.  Fixed it!

eHarmony says: “Lawyers are often invited to interesting social events. Most of them include an open bar.”

HRH retorts: No one can tolerate lawyers except for other lawyers (and even for them, it’s just barely), so they all try to drink away their misery together.  Fixed it!

eHarmony says: “Like to debate? Your date is always up for that type of challenge.”

HRH retorts: Your date is going to nitpick and ride your ass – and the waiter’s ass, and your friends’ collective asses, and grandma’s ass – about trivial matters about which he is convinced he is correct, i.e., everything. Fixed it!

I found all of this utterly hilarious because  I’m kinda, sorta seeing a lawyer and I’m passive-aggressive like that. I will admire him in person, and then go home and Google “lawyers suck” and “why is dating a lawyer so difficult?” See HRH’s point about your date riding your ass, the waiter’s ass, your friend’s collective asses, and your grandma’s ass about anything and everything.

If you’re a lawyer reading this, please cut that shit out. Lighten up. This is a date, not a deposition. Or, date another lawyer. I dunno. Take ’em out of the dating pool.

Ta.

Questions a twentysomething hates being asked

Here they are, in no particular order. Feel free to add some more in the comments section below.

  • What do you do? Nothing, shithead. I lay on the couch at home all day, agonizing about how the world just doesn’t know how wonderful I am…yet.
  • Why don’t you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Yes. Wait, do they have to know about it? Because then no. Or maybe yes.
  • Why did you study that? That’s such a useless major. Because my plan was to be perpetually unemployed upon graduating thousands of dollars in the hole.
  •  So when are you going to get a boyfriend/girlfriend? Fuck you, I am perfectly content with cats.
  • What are you going to do after graduation? Cry myself to sleep, because I’ll be forced to enter the real world with like responsibilities and shit.
  • When are you two getting married? If you’re under the age of 25, look at them as if they’re insane. In, fucking, sane.
  • Why don’t you want kids? Because kids are a walking, noisy little calendar! That’s why! The expiry date on my passport (ahem, every five years) is enough to remind me that time is slipping through my hands. 
  • How are you? Goddammit, this is not even a real question! They don’t mean it! It’s a goddamn greeting!

And last but not least…what are your plans for the future? This question alone, is enough to send even the most confident twentysomething into a panic.