ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

The Water Cooler Jungle

Updated on June 26, 2013
Source

Water Cooler Gossip

Have You Ever Fallen Prey to Water Cooler Gossip?

See results

The office "water cooler" can be the place employees gather to vent about how stupid their boss is, criticize some new company policy or talk about the employee that gets on everyone’s nerves. When this happens it becomes the fertile breeding ground for gossip and it's whispers can be vicious.

We’ve all seen co-workers or maybe we are guilty ourselves of congregating in a cubicle, or in the office lunch room or hallway chatting quietly. The office “water cooler” can be any of these places.

There are some who argue that the water cooler is needed. It provides employees with an opportunity to take a break and bond with co-workers. This makes the workplace a more productive environment. In theory this makes sense. However, we all know the downside can be the scenarios listed above.

The water cooler is also a gathering place where you have to be on guard. Like zebras at a watering hole on the Serengeti you have to be on the lookout for predators like the lion or hyena. I’ve spoken with two friends whose water cooler conversations have gotten them into trouble.

One friend said some very harsh things about her boss. Someone told her boss about her comments. The other friend had negative things she said about a co-worker relayed to that person. They both are trying to figure out who their Judas is.

My friends are now in very awkward positions at work. One is very concerned about how this will affect a promotion she wants. They have fallen prey to “predators at the water cooler.” These people penetrate the heard, gather all the dirt and wage a silent attack. Before you know it you’ve been grabbed by the wind pipe and are gasping for air.

Here are a few steps you can take to prevent falling "prey at the water cooler:”

Don’t Participate I know it’s difficult not to join your fellow co-workers when everyone is gathered and discussing some hot button issue affecting the office. If you find yourself caught in the middle of the group, listen, but don’t participate.

Stay Neutral – If you aren’t able to walk away once the water cooler talks begin and you feel forced to give your opinion remain neutral. Don’t take a side or feed into the negativity.

Confidants – Have someone outside of work you can vent with about work issues like a friend or spouse. This way you are able to vent with people you can trust and who can give you more unbiased feedback.

If you do, like my friends above, find yourself betrayed by someone at the water cooler, you never want to confront the person you suspect of having spilled the beans. You are a professional and you don’t want to make a bad situation worse by adding a confrontation into the mix. This could cause a workplace argument, bad blood and God forbid it get physical. Things can have a way of escalating. You should learn from this and move on.

Just as water cooler breaks can be seen as needed to increase productivity, some bosses may see them as employees being unproductive. If you are part of a water cooler group be mindful of how many times during the day you gather. You don’t want to be labeled a slacker or be seen as part of a radical trouble making gossiping group.

So next time you decide to take a break and talk to your co-workers, be mindful of the conversation. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want repeated. The office water cooler can be beneficial, but you have to try to keep the conversation positive and constructive. Avoid the gossip.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I love your analogy to zebras at the watering hole. It's a dangerous game all right. Thanks for the reminder.

    • rfox21 profile image
      Author

      rfox21 6 years ago from Bethesda, Maryland

      Thanks...Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Saleeln18 profile image

      Saleeln18 6 years ago from Illinois

      This is a great hub, very entertaining.

      The water cooler concept reminds of me back when I was in high school, but instead the watering hole was the lunch room. What some people might have viewed as innocent and harmless gossip a select few used it a weapon of mass destruction throughout all the halls and classrooms of the school.

      Of course back then the information was only on an adolescent level, and so was the damage that was done lol.

      Anyways, good job I enjoyed it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)