We’ve all been involved in workplace drama, whether or not you want to really admit to it. In fact, you may have been involved in workplace drama without even knowing.

Before I got to where I am today, I’ve had a slew of different jobs: Chinese food restaurants, call centers, and a brief stint of blogging that I chalked up to “self employment.” Each one of these jobs had some kind of camaraderie I wouldn’t exactly call “drama,” but was very centric to the environment of the positions I held.

When I was a senior in highschool, I worked as a server at a pan-Asian restaurant in order to make some extra money to support my lethal Ben and Jerry’s habit. This job wasn’t heart surgery: people demanded food from me, and I brought it to them for minimum wage and free egg rolls.

While my job seemed simple, effectively communicating with people around me was difficult. My manager had a problem that entailed spending long hours at a casino and not really managing us at all, which was hard to explain to a surprise health inspector who received word that we had an “unusual amount of rodents for an ethnic restaurant.”

Workplace drama often starts off with the sentence, “Hey, did you hear…” I’m guilty of speaking on the sly, and you are probably, as well. What often used to take place around an aging watercooler is now being sent via Google Chat or Skype. But we’re not immune to it. At all costs, avoid any conversation with the instigator. Chances are they’re probably not telling you anything that is going to be detrimental to your performance as an employee.

Workplace drama can be centered on a variety of subjects: potential layoffs, inappropriate behavior, Suzanne from Payroll’s sloppy breakroom habits. But the best thing you can do is to stay out of it. Reducing any potential repercussions for your position is of the most dire importance. Any and all actions you can do to prevent your link in the grapevine from growing into a full-blown hedge can protect you. Let people talk, even if it’s about you and your sloppy breakroom habits (and maybe start picking up after yourself).

Naturally, everyone knew about the rat fiasco within a matter of hours due to being a potential health-related hazard. A customer saw a rat run out of the kitchen, and due to the First Amendment, it didn’t remain a secret. In a time before Yelp and Google Reviews (thankfully), we were shut down for two weeks so that a government-employed Pied Piper came in to free the establishment of all tiny mammals.

What are the metaphorical rats of your office? Is the new intern slacking off? Does the area near Peggy’s desk emanate a particular smell after 2pm? Why does Ralph take a three hour lunch, only to return with people who aren’t actual employees of your company? If your answers to the above questions are “yes” and “why does Ralph still work here?,” keep them to yourself. Unless, of course, the potential hazard of losing business due to animals that helped spawn history’s worst plague is an unwelcoming possibility, then you’ll want to approach the appropriate authorities.

Liz Donehue
Prospectr Marketing