Gossip girls: Who said gossip is supposed to end in high school?

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Dude, where’s my workplace?

Recently, I’ve had trouble understanding my working environment. Yes, I am well aware that the light bulbs are near the batteries, which are near the lamps, which are near the public washrooms. None of that fogs my understanding. Instead, it’s the people around me who constantly cause me to forget where I am.

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"There’s one man in the warehouse who, after working there for 15 years, still calls people by their gender and race: 'You know, that Sri Lankan guy' (the man he refers to is actually Pakistani)."

I thought Gossip Girl was only a show on television, but I now realize it’s a reality that airs every weeknight from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. (the hours I work). On television, young girls are made out to be the goddesses of gossip. But at work, it’s mostly grown men. Odd, isn’t it?

At first, I thought so, but then I realized that it’s human nature. The employees are divided just as the store is. One person works in one section, another in the next, and another in the next, and it rarely changes. What happens on one side of the warehouse usually never reaches the other end of the warehouse. This is why people gossip.

It’s easy to talk about somebody when they aren’t in hearing distance because they won’t be able to respond.

So, I’m going to pause my rant for a second and tell you what a typical day (actually a night) is like for me. It starts with a small employee meeting where the overnight crew discusses the sales for the day and how many trucks we have to merchandise. Our manager usually shares this information with us. He is the teacher and the sales are the curriculum. So, I guess that makes us the gossiping students. See why I get confused sometimes?

After the meeting, we break into our departments. Since I don’t have a delegated department, I usually help whomever has the most work. This means that I get to hear every complaint from every co-worker every night. What makes it worst is that the complaints are usually about each other.

There’s one man in the warehouse, A, who, after working there for 15 years, still calls people by their gender and race: “You know, that Sri Lankan guy” (the man he refers to is actually Pakistani, but you see the point).

There’s another man, B, who until last week, I swore was best friends with one of the other men, C, that I worked with only to hear B “dish the dirt” about C’s wife to me and another man, D. The manager who hired me, E, left because he “couldn’t take it” (yes, those were his exact words).

Frankly, the confusion gossip causes is on television because it raises ratings. In the workplace, there are no ratings and confusion only hinders progress. That’s why I plug my iPhone headphones into my ears and listen to music rather than gossip. I can’t play the good angel role though because I recently caught myself telling D that A always took my work materials when he thought I wasn’t looking.

If there are workplace issues, the best way to deal with them is out in the open. The group meeting idea is great, but we hardly ever utilize it to its full potential, so try not to make the same mistake as us. Instead, if there’s an issue with an individual, speak to that individual and not about them.

But I must confess, if Gossip Girl were a reality series, my name would show up in the ending credits. I despise gossip and yet, I gossiped about gossip and gossipers by writing about the people whom I work with and how they gossip. Written gossip is no better than verbal gossip and psst, Andrew in aisle seven is the same as psst, readers on paper.

But, until my co-workers and I figure that out, I’ll keep my iPhone fully charged for the long haul.

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