Office politics can be extremely hard to navigate. Most coworkers aren’t choosing each other, so you have to learn to get along with people you’d never volunteer to spend time with. Needless to say, there’s gonna be a lot of gossiping.
These people are sharing the cruelest things they’ve overheard someone saying about them at work, and damn, they are hard to read. If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you know just how bad it makes you feel at your core.
Whether you’ve overheard work conversations or read something online about yourself, read these and remember that feeling the next time you want to talk a little sh*t at work.
“I was the only woman in sales at multiple car dealerships, and I was very good at it. But if I had a dollar for every time I overheard the guys saying that the only reason I was getting better numbers than them was that I was either fucking the customers on test drives, fucking the boss, or both, I’d be enjoying an early retirement.” — source
“I overheard two of my coworkers, one of whom I was friends with, talking about how they opened my paycheck to see how much I got paid and how it ‘wasn’t fair.’
I told the manager, who did nothing. Safe to say, I quit my job shortly after.” — anonymous
“When I was working my first job at a skating rink, I overheard a conversation between my male (college-aged) coworker and my male (late 20s) supervisors where my coworker told my supervisors that I gave off ‘Fuck-me vibes.’
My supervisors laughed in agreement. I was 17. This comment affected how I interacted with men, especially in the workplace, until well after college, for fear that I was the one being inappropriate. Spoiler: I wasn’t the inappropriate one.” — anonymous
“I came out as nonbinary a few years ago, and I use they/them pronouns. Last year, I overheard one of the ‘mean girls’ (for reference, most of us at this job were in our 30s 🙄) talking about me, saying, ‘She uses those fake pronouns because she’s too ugly to be considered a girl,’ both misgendering me and insulting me in one fell swoop.
I couldn’t even go to management because this particular coworker was not-so-secretly sleeping with one of the managers. This experience was one of the final nails in the coffin at that job, honestly.” — source
“A dude I worked with accidentally messaged me instead of a coworker, calling me a ‘c*nt.’ Before I even saw it, he pulled me into the hallway and apologized. It was early startup days, so there was no HR, and it was early in my career, so I just brushed it off.
I was also the only woman in leadership in the whole company. In moments of weakness, I sometimes wonder what else he said behind my back.
But looking at where I am in life and my success, I’m so thankful for the learning experience so I can support other women when similar issues arise. I do not put up with anything close to that.” — source
“I’m a school counselor, and the walls of everyone’s offices are not soundproof at all. I overheard one of my co-counselors complain to my boss about how depressed I was. I had just had a miscarriage, and it wasn’t a secret to them.
Earlier that day, I had asked my co-counselor to call a parent after a suicide screening we conducted together because I legitimately didn’t think I could handle it at that moment. It made her SO ANGRY. My boss basically told her to calm down and have some patience with me, which made her even more irate. She stormed back to her office and SLAMMED the door.
The next morning, she came into my office and questioned me about whether I was seeing a therapist and taking antidepressants. She literally told me I ‘needed to do something’ because she was ‘going through a lot too.’ Like, girl, this is not how we help each other. It was absolutely awful.” — source
“When I was working as a critical care nurse, I prided myself in being an advocate for my patients, who were often unconscious and couldn’t speak for themselves. One of the doctors I worked with didn’t like that because sometimes my actions prevented him from moving out a medically unstable patient when he wanted to move in a new patient. I overheard him talking about me to one of his residents, saying, ‘She’s a bitch, but a cunning one.'” — anonymous
“I didn’t hear it myself, but my now-husband did. When we started dating and were still keeping it hush-hush at work, he was having lunch with some coworkers, and some of the men started talking about the women in the office.
When my name came up, one of them said, ‘Oh yeah, she’s really good in bed.’ And then he boasted about bogus sexual encounters with me, unaware that the guy sitting right next to him was dating me. My husband didn’t say anything, knowing full well that on the days that the guy claimed I was with him doing the nasty, I was actually with my husband.
My husband told me about it on our way home, and I was livid. That guy’s face when HR announced our wedding was a sight to behold. He never talked to us ever again.” — source
“I was working in an office for home health aides. I was visiting another location and asked to use their computers. I found a roster with all the names of the employees on it.
Next to my name, it said ‘RUDE.’ The name under mine said ‘WORTHLESS.’ I knew then that I wouldn’t be there much longer.” — source
“A coworker, let’s call her Nancy, was showing me something she had written in her journal about a separate coworker, Janice, complaining to her about me (basically, Janice hated me and said I did petty things to make her job harder). But in that SAME PARAGRAPH, I saw Nancy was making fun of my clothes. I don’t know if she was being careless or heartless, but either way, it shattered my confidence.” — anonymous
“I was a volunteer at an after-school program at a church, and the pastor came in to give someone a tour. I was there with two friends who also spent the year volunteering, and we overheard her say that we were supposed to be running the program but didn’t do anything. We were literally working on homework with students at the time. Honestly, that whole place was a shitshow.” — source
“I’m a new college professor, and I was specifically asked in my interview to do a curriculum overhaul if I came on board. While discussing some of the changes with a colleague in another discipline, I mentioned there was one class on the books I’d ‘never teach’ (because I’m not qualified).
He immediately left my office, pulled out his cellphone to call another one of our colleagues, and proceeded to shit-talk me for ‘destroying the program,’ ‘not respecting [my] discipline,’ not being a ‘team player,’ and, most shocking of all, ‘actively trying to undermine the liberal arts.’ All because I said I wouldn’t teach one class because I don’t have the right expertise! And he said all of this right outside my office door. SMH.” — anonymous
“I received an email that was forwarded to me asking for help with a project. There were several emails on the chain beforehand. The initial email was actually from one of my partners saying that he wasn’t sure I was proactive enough to handle the work. The person who forwarded the email to me hadn’t even read far enough down to see the note about me, and they were mortified when I pointed it out.” — anonymous
“One time, I overheard these other girls at the hospital where I worked say that I didn’t deserve to earn a higher level of our role — despite working for it for years — because they thought I was lazy. I would do anything for my patients, and yet they would sit and gossip all day. It felt awful knowing they thought so little of me.” — anonymous
“I worked at a fast-food place in a part of town that had a lot of Indian immigrants. We had just received a résumé (we were desperately hiring), and as I walked past the manager’s office, I heard the assistant manager say, ‘I’m not hiring anyone if I can’t say their name,’ and then she threw out the résumé. I literally walked backward and said, ‘Excuse me?’ She hadn’t realized that I, the child of an Indian immigrant, had heard. She tried to brush it off. I quit soon after that.” — source
And finally, “I’m a manager, and one time I accidentally saw someone talking about me on Skype messenger. They said that I, a woman, drunk-dialed an employee, a man, to talk about my personal life. This ABSOLUTELY never happened. They work at a different location now, but I’m still so bothered by this lie and how low it makes me look.” — source