My job has surprisingly been rumor central. Surprising, perhaps, because since bus drivers are rarely really working together, it is unusual to me how quickly rumors can spread. I guess its mildly irritating, since in spite of the boredom I like the job in regards to pay/benefits which are good for what I am doing. So hearing stupid rumors is mildly upsetting because I have not worked here long enough to sort the truth from the lies.
The rumors are typical job rumors- when our contract was up for re-negotiation there were rumors we were going to go on strike (didn’t happen, hasn’t happened in 30+ years here apparently). Now, with worries about the economy, the rumor is layoffs.
Its likely those rumors were started by mean-spirited drivers upset about the recent changes made this year (they added a new, lower-paying job classification, and redistributed the bus routes, essentially “taking away” the ‘easy/good paying/nice hours’ runs from veteran drivers and giving them to people who just started i.e. me) but even still that little seed of worry can be contagious.
Maybe we just had a better class of rumors, but rumors at my jobs have almost always been true. The rumor mill has missed a lot of unanticipated changes, but the changes it did anticipate almost always came to pass.
Rumors of layoffs and management turnover have the advantage of often seeming true, since eventually there probably will be some layoffs and changes in management. I guess that’s a variety of confirmation bias.
I don’t recommend spending much time concentrating on the rumor mill. People who devote a lot of time to it tend to be seen negatively. It is a good idea to always be able to answer the question “What would I do if I lost my job today?”
Where Management fails to communicate, Rumors follow, as a means of communicating information that isn’t being communicated in a proper and reasonable manner by the people responsible for doing so.
True enough, where Management is mean, spiteful and evil; or where certain employees are; there will be false and misleading rumors. On the other hand, where there are NO channels of communication, false rumors (read: open speculation) will occur in abundance.
Because people need information, people need communication.
I get exasperated with the rumors where I work, because a lot of the stuff that gets whispered about isn’t actually secret to begin with. I think there is a lot of communication from management, but people don’t want to read a quarterly report. They want to talk to someone by the water cooler. I have heard people speculating about things that are in press releases.
My employer is months behind schedule releasing it’s latest offering, just lost a multi billion military contract and has labor negotiations in the next 6 months with it’s two largest labor unions. The rumor mill is working overtime.
See a problem? When a workforce doesn’t work together, it’s easy to feel that somebody else has an unjustified easy life, or that some machinations are in place.
Thankfully, the two main rumours I’ve encountered over the past few weeks are ‘Ryan fancies Lucy’ and ‘Ellie fancies someone but won’t say who’. I’m a terrible gossip, however, and always make sure I find out the details
Our biggest rumors are always more personal in nature. There’s been one about me that I know of; involving me and a good work friend of mine sleeping together. And here I thought everyone knew I was gay…
Then there was another about our manager sleeping with someone else. A co-worker who we all hoped would be leaving apparently is… that sort of stuff.
We have incredibly poor communication from corporate, but anything operational or related to the business we can generally figure out. Someone calls in sick, though, and the rumors start flying. It’s mildly irritating.
I don’t think that the level of rumours at my place is any better or worse than in others places I’ve worked. Or the accuracy. As usual most of the rumours have only a tenuous connection with the truth. If there is a plus it’s that the rumours tend to be business-related rather than staff-related. People’s private lives rarely feature.
One of the good things about working for the Federal govt (tax agency) is that everything is pretty open in terms of what the department is doing. There’s no rumors, because everything has to be on the up and up.
The downside is that it leads to pretty much all of the rumors and gossip being about people’s personal lives.
Sierra Indigo, I work for the feds too (DoD) and rumors have been rampant, no matter where I was assigned. But since I’m an old grouch at work and don’t chit-chat much, I don’t hear the latest dish. Sometimes I don’t even find out what was going around till way after the fact.
My cube neighbor, on the other hand, seems to know everything about everything, and he also seems to spend a lot of time chatting folks up, finding stuff out. But he also engages in wild speculation, especially now that we’ve transitioned to NSPS. He, and a bunch of other people, are convinced that it’s a plot to enrich management and screw cubicle denizens… :rolleyes:
I dunno. I just sit at my desk and do my job. After 33 years, I’ve learned that rumor mills are notoriously unreliable, so I mostly tune them out except for entertainment value.
Here as well. Large retail store from a large retail chain. Probably 75% of the rumors are of an interpersonal nature, and most are shift-specific; third-shifters don’t care about a couple of folks on first shift dating unless it’s particularly juicy (two cashiers dating, meh, a manager dating a cashier, we’re all ears), but the slightest whiff of news about another third-shifter will spread like wildfire. Similarly with other shifts and with specific divisions (pharmacy cares about pharmacy news, deli about deli… that kinda thing). A good number of the interpersonal rumors involve people who no longer even work here, but who maintain contact with coworkers.
The other 25% of rumors involve more corporate kinds of things, and they’re frustratingly all over the place, and often based on missed guesses and bad research. I’m in a store that’s been open for nearly 20 years, and we’ve been ringed with a half-dozen newly-built, modern locations in a small radius in the last few years; therefore, there’s a lot of jealousy and talk about pay rates at other store, rumors that the store is closing because we’re behind the times, rumors of remodels to bring us up to the new standards… in addition, the corporate culture has changed a lot over the decades, bringing on constant talk of how we’re betraying our founder’s principles, and how he’d roll in his grave if he knew.
For a long time our management appeared to have abdicated its communication function to the rumor mill. When I was younger and cared more, I was on top of everything. It was quite impressive how efficient the rumor mill became. And it was amusing to the extent every official announcement was prefaced by "as you are already aware…"
Never understood that approach. My impression is that it stemmed from management’s desire to horde all information, whether sensitive or not.
At my last job where I tested printers there were plenty of rumors. There were rumors about everything from product developments to promotions to changes in staff, pending news of forthcoming layoffs, almost anything you could read about in a Dilbert comic strip. The rule was, unless and until you heard it from a supervisor or manager, take it with a grain of salt.
There were also rumors about two key employees having a tryst on their lunch hour. The manager threatened to fire anyone who propagated any rumors of a sexual nature as it was deemed as a form of sexual harrassment.
My present job (call center) doesn’t have as active of a rumor mill, but every now and then there will be rumors about changes to our incentive plan, the metrics to which we are held accountable, the contracts will be getting or losing, changes to the benefits, changes to company policy, etc. Again, until I see it in an email, take it with a grain of salt (in some cases an entire cowlick).
It takes time to sort bad informants from good informants. I was fortunate to have a job at my company where I had access to remarkably good dirt. When individuals would report to me the latest rumors, I usually already knew about it and could judge the quality of sources that way. You probably won’t have that mich opportunity so let it go and don’t worry. If you are really concerned then prepare yourself in the event the worst happens.
I’ve quit a couple of jobs because of The Rumor Mill.
Case in point: I bartend. I started dating a regular who used to be casual–for lack of a more polite phrase–f__k friends with another regular.
He ended their arrangement a couple of months before I started dating him. We’d been friends for over a year.
But once it “broke” that I was seeing him, The Rumor Mill went overtime. Now all of a sudden I had been screwing him behind her back. I stole him. They were “way serious.” (Nevermind that before I even had any interest in the guy, their casual relationship was common knowledge.)
The bar manager happened to be BFF with the girl in question.
I quit over the fallout.
I didn’t do anything wrong. It didn’t matter. The Rumor Mill made my job intolerable. I had to either quit or go postal.
Hatred and paranoia are easy, quick and contagious. It doesn’t take much.