Office gossip and politics are not contusive for our karma, health and happiness. And yet, most of us can’t help but are involved in them. It instilled negative feeling and drains our energies.
Say your colleague who is very close to you totally dislikes someone because of some ‘good and justified reasons’. After a while, you find that the behaviour of the subject in question seems to correlate with the ‘facts’ provided by your colleague. And one day, you happened to be ‘victimized’ or ‘taken for a ride’ by this particular person and now, the both of you spent literally your available time talking bad things about this person.
Do you notice that when you are indulging in gossiping or involved in office politics:
- It creative negative energy and drains you. Have you ever noticed that when you complains about his or her boss, after a while, you may be upset with your boss as well?
- Together with that, you may find yourself developing more bad habits- ie overeating, spending longer at lunch, feeling no energy to start work after lunch, etc.
- The world seemed to you like a ‘mean’ place or a horrible rat race – you feel that you are trapped in the system and become disillusioned with the corporate world.
Sometimes we cannot help it because we are based in the office. With the comfortable air-con, nice pantry, and with sometimes stressful conditions/expectations, we feel the need to vent out the frustration or unhappiness- and soon the sharing leads to ‘bonding’, then office gossip…taking about so-and-so from another office, etc.
There’s a possibility that that’s where at least 50% of the workplace stress comes from- what starts of as chatting leads to us poking our noses at something that is not our own business, judging others without really knowing them and if it involves our bosses, then working ourselves to a crescendo. In our own self-righteous courtroom, those who are the subject of gossip is already guilty without a trial.
Gossip and office politics cloud our judgment and consideration. This is also one of the things that stop us from achieving our true potential because a lot of mental energy is wasted at someone’s else business and injustice.
It’s really tempting to chat or talk instead of doing work. I remember when I first started off, our jobs were so busy that we never had time to even talk about anyone else. It is common that we need to work through our lunch, grabbing just a quick bite or skipping lunch altogether. But somehow, everyone was just doing their job- yes, it’s stressful, but we have no time to dwell on it. After work, we finished our follow ups and everyone just wanted to get out of the office- and usually, we do not go out with one another because about 9 to 11 hours of seeing our friends’ faces…well, it’s enough. Life was tough, but manageable. We just work and the moment we walked out of the building, work is left behind and we have our homes, relationships, personal life to look forward for a few hours until the next day.
When I was transferred to another unit dealing with emails whereby it is still busy but I need not be speaking to customers via my headphone all the time, work was much more manageable. But it also meant that I had more time to talk and started to open my eyes to the ‘injustices’ around within the unit. That 18 months, boy I put on lots of weight. I started to get very angry, frustrated and jaded with the job and company- because that time I was also a subject of office politics. I was instigated left, right and center by parties who have their own agendas- and in my naivety, my emotions got pushed around like a puppet.
Do I blame them? For years, I blame those who wronged me, carried and harbor the resentment towards them….for talking untrue things about me, for trying to bring me down or putting dirt on my ricebowl.
Until I suddenly realize, ‘hey, it’s me who is suffering, not them for harboring bad feelings. It’s me who jeopardize my health, lose sleep over things that are totally not beyond our control. There will be the good people…and then there’s the bad. Thinking negatively about them gives them more power over you- and I am sure you don’t want to do that…to give your ‘enemy’ power over you.
The best place to look is within
Examine your feelings and reactions closely- and ask yourself the question- have you been negatively influenced? Are you angry or upset over things that you have no control- like certain company practices? If we are not happy, we can always leave.
If we live our lives hungry for gossip or the ‘latest updates’, hanging on the telly to watch the latest mind numbing adventures/movies/ reality TV shows of some celebrities living the high life, then we probably lack goals and a sense of purpose.
If life is interesting, we will not be hooked on the TV or have the interest to poke our noses on other people’s business. Our life itself will be more fulfilling and exciting than the movies or books that we see.
One of the ways that we can make life exciting for us is to identify a personal goal- something that makes us happy- and work towards it. It may not be as dramatic and exciting as action packed movies or as miraculous as some famous people but it is uniquely us. When you are immersed in something that you are truly passionate about, you will find that life’s much more interesting than knowing the latest news about the ‘common enemy’.
All of us yearn to have fulfillment in our hearts and souls. That fulfillment often comes with finding our life’s vocation or leading a life the way our heart (not the media, not the Hollywood reality shows) truly wants. It comes from looking within, not outside. Conquering bit by bit our own shortcomings and building character, self assurance and confidence….not by justifying and feeling self righteous and judging others.