Monday, October 06, 2008

Women for Hire

I am going to the Women for Hire career fair next week. I also intend on participating in the early morning seminar. Every time I receive their magazine, I read it cover to cover, appreciating almost every article or book recommendation on some level. I have never before not appreciated the content. Until now. On page four of the Fall 2008 issue, I was appalled by a "humorous" door hanger that says: It's a Very Slow Day Please Bring Good Gossip. Unfortunately, I cannot find a simple way to contact the editor. So I am posting my thoughts here. I should return to this topic of gossip, share some of my experiences with how I have seen it affect the lives of coworkers, and especially how I feel about celebrity gossip which I think is heinous. For now, this letter will have to suffice.
To Whom It May Concern; I was not amused by the “dose of humor” doorknob hanger advertised in the Fall 2008 issue of Women for Hire magazine on page 4. While some may think gossip is a way to pass time while in an office, many careers have been destroyed by false statements and accusations. Aside from the implication that this feeds into the stereotype of women being prone to gossip, there is nothing amusing about the impact idle gossip has on the person about whom the gossip is being spread. Idle gossip is anything but idle. It is dangerous and should not be considered amusing nor encouraged and, from where I’m sitting, there is no such thing as "good gossip." I am surprised and for the first time disappointed by your publication and I hope that more discretion will be used in the future. Encouraging unprofessionalism is something I never thought I would see in your publication. Sincerely, Satia


  1. Thanks for reading our magazine and for sharing your thoughts. We agree that gossip can be bad, but "gossip" as a term has taken on a negative meaning when it doesn't always have to. Participating in watercooler chit chat so you know what's happening in your company and your industry is essential today. That means engaging in informal communication, which is often shorthanded as gossip. We don't condone the flipside of it--the backstabbing and negative attacks--but not all gossip falls into that category!

  2. Michelle, What you describe is not gossip but the sharing of information, networking, etc. I suggest looking up the word gossip where you will see the first definiton is: idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others.

    There is and should be no room for rumors or the discussion of anyone's personal or private affairs in an office. If I should choose to discuss my personal life with a coworker, that is one thing. Should that coworker then turn around and share my personal life with yet another coworker that's another.

    So I respectfully disagree with the choice of the editors to label this humorous and further disagree with your comment in that gossip, by definition, does not fall into any category other than dangerous.

    If you wish to short hand "informal communication," I suggest using the word "talking."

    (Also in other dictionaries I found the following definitions for gossip:

    Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.

    Only once did I find a less insidious definition first but if you look at the second, it displaces the former:

    1. light informal conversation for social occasions
    2. a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people

    Let us remember, the work place is not a "social occasion.")

    I do appreciate your responding, however, and plan on continuing to read your publication. Having never seen something so unprofessional treated in a light manner before, I can't imagine I would ever have issue with something again.