Real Career Talk: Watch Out for the Office Snakes

The office snake. The slithery kind of person, wrapping themselves around you, taking your unassuming thoughts and feelings about life in the office. Then sneaking away to hiss gossip into the grapevine, which soon spreads through departments like wildfire. You may have come across such people like these in your place of work.

I am a simple-hearted person with no unkind intentions towards my colleagues. Yet unwittingly, I have found myself amongst a swarm of crocodiles looking for their next thrilling catch. Beware of such people, who appear sweet in front of you, yet inside they have a burning desire to watch you fall. They’ll take your kindness, seemingly return it; but when you’re not around they will release the innermost thoughts you entrusted them with into the pack.

I have involuntarily had first-hand experience of the above-mentioned tactics. One fine example is a colleague with whom I developed a friendly relationship with. She was delightful to talk with, yet there was this habit which played on my mind. From time to time, she would look around for a clear zone, lean forwards, lock her eyes on me and in hushed tones release out an office tale. I’d respond in astonishment, but how did she even know this idle gossip. Then one day through a chance meeting, one of my best friends met her. Grabbing my arm, my confidant advised me not to trust her. This colleague of mine was a bad egg, I had to be careful. Laughing at this advice, I was adamant no no, she’s not like that, she’s really nice.

Yet soon after, the relationship with my colleague turned frosty.. SHE CHANGED! Her true colours came out. Nowadays she is icy cold around me, ignoring me when she wants to, but also trying to put herself in a position of command over me. Catching me alone in the corridor, she’ll ask intrusive questions with a smile on her face and a heartless look in her eyes. I’ve come to find she views me as competition and as flattering as that may seem, it is not a rivalry I wish to engage in.

So, through all the work sagas I have unwittingly stepped into, what have I learnt? Well, sadly, not to trust everyone at first sight. Take the time required to understand their intentions and personality. Most importantly, if they’re speaking ill of others in front of you, they will more than likely speak ill of you when you’re not around. Also, I fell into a trap of talking openly about what I was going through with my bad manager and with time the news did full circle, coming back to me. Clearly there were loose links in the chain and the people I confided in spoke openly about my troubles with others. Be careful who you entrust with your heart.

Alas, such are the politics of work. A poker face and a knife in one hand will place some people in a league of their own. But I will keep my innocent heart in this world of fakes colleague friends. I’ll stand in a league of my own of the naïve people looking for the good in everyone who crosses their path.

Have you experienced the office snake?

Miss Britistani

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6 thoughts on “Real Career Talk: Watch Out for the Office Snakes

    1. I completely agree, I’ve learnt that lesson too! Although I’m better at not sharing, I still find it hard not to confide in some colleagues I think are trustworthy. Great tip of who to share with instead!

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  1. I’ve come to embrace the, ‘I’m not paid to tell or listen to non-work related stories…’ motto. Coworkers do need a place to vent their fruatrations but not to gossip. When the snake slithers my way, I’ve found it best to respond quickly with a solution or provide some kind of positive feedback. Most of the time these kind of responses keep the snakes away and let’s them know you don’t want to be part of the drama but are part of making the work environment a progressive and positive environment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow I love this advice!! That’s brilliant, respond with positivity. A lot of people don’t like that approach as they expect you to engage in it too. But then that’s a reflection on them. That’s for the tip, I will try it out next time!

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