The Walls Can Talk…And Hear

Confidential to you, prattling on about how you hate your job to your pal in the next stall of the ladies' lav: people are listening.

In a meeting recently at my extremely glamourous freelance copywriting job, the executive in charge regaled a conference-tableful of colleagues with an overheard conversation between two new twentysomething hires in the bathroom. They had no idea she was in there (and probably wouldn't have recognized her if they had). They proceeded to complain and gossip about how horrific their jobs were, how they were bored of the department, their responsibilities etc. etc.--all very jaded as if they'd been working at this place for thirty years and were just hanging in there for the pension and gold watch.

The executive, who has in fact been at the place for eons and takes her job quite seriously, found the girls somewhat droll, but it was clear she also found their audacity a bit galling. Witness the other young women in the room, who were clearly not amused that their new peers were denigrating the jobs where they've been toiling since college. The Girls in the Bathroom managed to insult their boss (the woman who'll have final say on promotions, raises, recommendations, references, etc.) as well as the other, more tenured girls with whom they'll work most closely and who, for better or worse, are the queen bees of the breakroom lunchtable.

Can we please agree it is never okay to gossip in the bathroom? Or within a mile of the workplace? Can we also agree that humility is your most valuable charm, especially when you're in a new situation? I will keep you posted on which one of these misguided lasses starts an indiscreet workplace blog and gets herself in some serious hot water--it can't be far off.