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Paranoid at work? You should be...

Published: Thursday, 26 July 2007   Category: Life after graduation

Ears will be justifiably burning across UK offices today as results from a new study from diet Coke reveals that gossiping about office politics, other colleagues and the boss is now a staple skill being deployed by career minded Brits to get ahead. And it’s girls who are leading the way.

Over half (53%) admit to gossiping about their colleagues and office politics over and above typical chat about family (24%), private life (22%) and their feelings (18%). And its bosses who should be especially worried – more than one in ten (12%) admitted to gossiping about their boss more frequently than day’s newspaper headlines (7%), world events (5%) and celebrities (5%).

The diet Coke commissioned report found that this work time gossip is not just idle small talk – rather it’s a crucial skill with a specific code of rules that forms the backbone of modern office communication.

No such thing as ‘downtime’
· Half of 18-25 year old women (49%) say that bonding is crucial in order to secure success in the modern cut-throat workplace

· Six out of ten (57%) say they use their break time as strategic moments to gossip and share secrets to form these bonds

· Women are 20% more likely to use a break in their working day as a strategic networking opportunity than men

Masters of chat
· Girls spend a whopping 69 minutes a day, equivalent to 2 years of their working lives, gossiping with their colleagues

· Girls have a broader gossip repertoire than the boys, with the average woman’s gossip session covers 5.1 topics compared to men’s 4.6

· It’s not just office politics - women are three times more likely to discuss their family, 10% more likely to discuss their private life and 6% more likely to discuss how they are feeling than men

The etiquette of gossip
1. Never be seen to be a gossip, but be good at it
2. For ‘no one likes a gossip’ read ‘no one likes a bad gossip’ (especially at work)
3. Know the difference between a secret that can be used as office social currency and a secret that should be kept
4. Know your gossip friends (and enemies) and who to trust
5. Choose your spot wisely – out of the office is best!

Leading social anthropologist, Kate Fox says: “People have always gossiped at work but in today’s cut throat workplace it’s taken on a more complex form - women in particular have developed advanced skills turning even their break time into a strategic moment to form bonds through gossiping and chatting together. What might appear to be idle chit chat is actually a finely honed communication skill integral to career advancement where being a ‘good gossip’ and using crucial downtime as a subtle networking device can set you apart from your colleagues.”

Source: onrec.com

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