You’re going to hear me ramble on quite a bit about work, and the crap that goes on in my office. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the work itself. I just hate the crap that goes on there and feel that most members of management could do with a lesson or two in dealing with people. And possibly a swift kick in the butt as well.
It’s difficult to find a starting place for this category, so I’ve decided to vent about the most recent thing that really got under my skin. It’s also one of the more disturbing things I’ve experienced since I’ve worked there (just three months so far, by the way).
We had a meeting yesterday, and one of the things addressed by the boss was office gossip. He started by telling us to keep our personal business to ourselves. I’ll take a quick detour here just to point out that this rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I am forty-one years old and I will tell my personal business to anyone I damn well choose. That said, I’m a relatively private person, for the most part, and tend to keep my personal business to myself. But being instructed by my boss to do so did not sit well with me at all. In case you’re wondering, he wasn’t talking about discussing personal business on company time — he was telling us not to even talk about it on our breaks and at lunch.
OK. Getting back on track now:
The next thing he said was, “You can’t trust anyone here.” He went on to explain how people love to talk, and that even the people you think are your friends will rat you out for the sheer joy of running their mouths. He said that everything we talk about gets back to the them, the boss people, so we should never think that we can get away with saying anything about them: they will find out. He also correctly stated that gossip is unreliable, because after something passes through several people, it rarely even resembles the truth.
This is where I thought I had him. I asked if they keep this in mind when they are listening to gossip about us. His response made my stomach turn. He said that they have people who verify things for them! In other words, they have spies.
This is wrong on so many levels, it’s difficult to find a starting point.
Why on earth would a manager want to create an atmosphere of paranoia and distrust among employees? It seems almost… well… cruel. And these are the same people who referred to us as their extended family at our company xmas party (rant about that coming soon). So, in one breath they say we’re all one big, happy family, and in the next breath tell us not to trust each other. That is not my idea of a family.
I also can’t help wondering why they – or anyone for that matter – would be willing to trust the word of someone who has agreed to spy on their co-workers. Whoever these alleged informants are, they are people who have agreed to be sneaky and deceitful and to stab their co-workers in the backs. And don’t forget – it could be the person I think is my best friend. Anyone willing to do this simply cannot be trusted, even by the people they are reporting to. Anything they say is suspect, at best, and defeats the purpose of what our wonderful management team is trying to accomplish.
I mentioned some of these things to a couple of co-workers. One of them said that she thinks Mr. Boss is exaggerating and that there are no informants. I considered that as well, and it begs the same question: why would he want to create the kind of atmosphere where the employees don’t trust each other? Maybe if we don’t trust each other, we won’t tell anyone what we think is wrong with the place? And if we don’t talk about that, we may never find out that there are enough of us in agreement to institute change if we tried?
Perhaps there’s no real reasoning behind it at all. It could be that Mr. Boss is just an idiot with no people skills. One thing I know for sure, though, is that I have lost what little respect I still had for the man. And I don’t trust him as far as I could drop kick him.