How to cope when gossip about your divorce is spreading through the office like wildfire

Office gossip can be brutal especially when it is about you and your personal life. I was just reading this article and it jerked my consciousness about this issue of office gossip when you are divorcing. The busy-bodies often start to speculate about the reason for it – and the theories can get really sordid really quickly.

For women, the problem can be severe because a wife having an affair, for example, that leads to a divorce from her husband, just reads better in the office gossip mills than a husband having an affair. Don’t ask me why that is because I don’t know. Women get the short end of the stick with issues like this. But what are you supposed to do about this when it is about you and when it isn’t even true? This is the question. Because this stuff can get very damaging to your reputation very quickly or at best, can be extremely distracting. And when you have to go home and deal with a broken family to boot, it can get pretty overwhelming in a jiffy.

So what do you do when you are it? One suggestion from the experts seems to be to confront the ring leader in the gossip mill but to do it without it actually looking like a confrontation. So according to the article I cited above, I could infer that you might opt not to even use the word “gossip” when you take this interloper to task. Instead, you might use a euphemism like “mistaken information” or “erroneous representation.” So you say something like, “I have been told that some erroneous représentations have been floating around about my divorce. Obviously, I know you would never be a part of the flow of this type of mistaken information, however, I do need for this to stop because it is interfering with my ability to do my job. What or how can you help me nip this in the bud before it gets out of control?”

Or something such. The idea is to turn the enemy into an ally. If you can. If you cannot and this is an enemy out to destroy your name, you may need to lodge a formal complaint with human resources or your boss or whatever because as far as I am concerned, this could be a form of harassment that needs to be brought to the attention of management with the veiled threat that if it does not stop, you will bring legal action for defamation or emotional distress – or something like that. Of course, if all else fails, you can take a medical sick leave or quit your job as well. But these are extreme measures. First,  it is advisable to take counter-measures as mentioned above.

 

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Author: Jennifer Adams Jones

I am a researcher interested in Black Studies and African American history.

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