To the People

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Suzie is a Slut, Pass It On

Margaret Steen at Yahoo! HotJobs makes the case for engaging in office gossip. While she doesn't specifically address when it's a good idea to mention a co-worker is a whore, there are four general reasons to do so.
* Help a new hire fit in. New employees need more than an orientation about their benefits and an introduction to the computer system. They also need to understand the culture of their new workplace, key events in their workgroup's past and the personalities of their new colleagues.

* Alert management to problems. "You often hear about the grapevine being useful for finding out things that are going on that you need to address," said Carole C. Edman, a human resources consultant and coach in San Jose.

* Prevent awkward situations. Sometimes sharing more personal information about a colleague can keep new coworkers from embarrassing themselves. If a coworker's mother is ill and the worker seems distracted, for example, it can be helpful for a colleague who knows about the illness to tell others who are complaining about the worker's performance, Martinez said.

* Humanize the boss. Telling new hires about the time the intimidating boss burned the hamburgers at the barbecue could be a good use of informal storytelling, said Eric Marcus, a consulting social psychologist, based in New York, who works with organizations on dealing with conflict. "It can be useful when it exposes people's humanity," he said. "I think the intent is the critical
thing."
So the next time you want to, uh, expose a co-worker's humanity, do it with the comfort of knowing that it's for the good of the company. Suzie is a slut. Pass it on.

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