The Best of the Workplace Rumour Mill

For a period of about two to three weeks there was no hot water at work because the boiler broke. There was a memo posted all around the building to advise everyone: on the building doors, in the lobby, in the elevators, at reception desk of every tenant, and every lunchroom and restroom (including the public ones). Building management supplied every bathroom and kitchen facility with huge, industrial bottles of disinfectant hand gel. The outtage was only supposed to last three days, but it was closer to three weeks before they got the new water heater installed.

We tend to have problems with one department’s staff not following instructions well. The problem can usually be tracked down to the fact that they don’t actually read instructions, emails, memos, posted signs etc. They evidently didn’t pay any attention to the reams of paper making up all the signs about no hot water either.

Some of them had prepared their resumes thinking they’d be out of work soon, because the rumour they’d circulated amongst themselves is that our company couldn’t afford to pay rent so the landlord shut the hot water off to punish us.

The company has been around for over 20 years and has always been in the black.

When I worked as a retail manager with a staff of 125 I often started harmless rumors about myself to see how long it made it around the store and to my boss just for the fun of it and what details were added.
I once had a party at my house where I had two lamps on my stereo speakers. One was red and one was blue. The red one’s bulb was burnt out and I never got around to replacing it. An employee asked why the red was was turned off so I told him I only kept the blue one on because blue light attracts good spirits and red light attracts evil spirits (with a straight face). It wasn’t a week later when my boss was telling me how a group of employees were saying I was oddly supersticious and believed there were ghosts in my house. We both had a good laugh about it.
I also convinced some other employees I was a Jehovah’s Witness, was very sensetive to the holiday music the store played, but please be discreet and not tell anyone. Again, a week hadn’t gone by before everyone in the store had heard and were talking about it.
I also helped in a rumor about another manager who moved from Ohio to Florida that the reason he moved is because there was a warrant out for his arrest in Ohio, he killed a guy in a bar fight, and he was extremely remorseful and didn’t want to talk about it. He said over a dozen employees asked him about it.

Needless to say we had a lot of fun at that job.