Moises: Treating ‘Chismosavirus’

·4 min read

T: Hi, Singlestalk. I work in a topnotch contact center. Recently, I was promoted as a trainer and was moved to another line of business. Probably because they are rooting for another colleague to take the role, I’ve been the subject of malicious allusions that I got to where I am because I kiss ass. It hurts me because I worked so hard to get me to where I am today. How can I deal with Marites and friends, the other eyes, ears and tongue of the new world?

DJ: Who hasn’t heard of Marites? That one person who can’t just quit stirring the spot and spilling the tea. So how to deal with gossip mongers with headsets who spread tittle-tattles in straight English? Your story has at least these main characters: You, Marites, the enablers with popcorn in one hand and the people who do not care. Thank goodness, there are those who mind their own business. If you look closely, the neutrals are about 70 percent of the group. They’re the ones who deserve your attention. Build a sound working relationship with them. Those at the forefront of the rumor mill just comprise the remaining 30 percent. They create a lot of noise. But they’re not the majority. Keep that in mind.The distribution is pretty much like a bell curve. Now what?

Studies show men and women gossip at a similar rate. People will want to believe what they want to believe. It is a self-fulfilling truth. What people think and say about others is a reflection of them. Not you. They probably think kissing ass is the way for them to be promoted. Sad. I understand if you feel hurt. Who wouldn’t? Give yourself time to cool off so you can have a far more constructive reaction. People generally relish something that proves their assumptions right. We can attribute this desperation to this: nobody likes to be wrong. So, if the enablers are thriving, that’s where the sense of belonging kicks in. What do they say about birds of the same feather? It’s not you. It’s them. In time, ignoring them will cut the gossip dead.

What about Marites? The person doesn’t like you. Whatever you do. Why waste your time or emotion? It will just redirect your energy from your job and from the people who love you. Sure, it’s easier said than done. But experience tells me it takes a lot more effort to address a whispering campaign than it is to ignore it. It’s like being on a quicksand. The more you make a fuss about the issue, the more you end up sinking deeper and deeper. That’s why I also don’t recommend that you bring this up with your boss. Besides, the person most likely wants to see you hurt. Why give that to him or her?

Rumor-mongering is a national pastime pervading reunions, gatherings, lunch breaks and even action groups. The good and bad news is it’s largely true even with the rest of the world! Why do stories go viral? Because they’re controversial. I was a victim of venomous rumors back when I was starting in my career. I thought my close encounter with these snakes will get fewer and fewer as I rise higher and higher from the pit. But lo and behold, they are everywhere. They just change names, position titles and faces but they are lurking, even flourishing, at work, in organizations, even church communities. Few months ago, a friend messaged me saying that she’s bothered by what some people say behind my back. I told her if she thinks it’s untrue and will not make me a better person, don’t bother. I don’t need to know. Learning to manage the “chismosavirus” early on strengthens and wises you up moving forward.

Besides, what does success mean to you? You got your well-deserved promotion. Do you want to regain that feeling of power and confidence with yourself? People snipe at you because they want to tear you down to make themselves look better in comparison. Don’t give that to them. You’ve built a large body of work. One inconsistent sabotage may harm you short-term but the long term is likely to bear out a different picture if you manage this situation wisely. Their life is most likely just so-so. Even dull. And you’ve accomplished enough to be the center of their world. Well done. Don’t distract them. Don’t reply. Don’t be drawn in. Disengage.