*NEWS*PRINTERS COPIERS AND LOTS OF GOSSIP

  • ink-direct-banner-902-x-177-v-1-2-big-banner-03-23-2017
  • 4toner4
  • clover-depot-intl-us-ca-email-signature-05-10-2017-902x1772
  • mse-big-banner-new-03-17-2016-416716a-tonernews-web-banner-mse-212
  • futor_902x177v7-tonernew
  • Print
  • 05 02 2016 429716a-cig-clearchoice-banner-902x177
  • banner-01-26-17b
  • 161213_banner_futorag_902x177px
  • cartridgewebsite-com-big-banner-02-09-07-2016
  • 2toner1-2
Share

*NEWS*PRINTERS COPIERS AND LOTS OF GOSSIP

 user 2006-07-17 at 10:59:00 am Views: 110
  • #16023

    Printers, copiers are wellsprings of office gossip
    You might think Deb Allen’s life-altering discovery at work last year would have led to a flood of gossip.
    Swamped
    with work at an asset-management firm, she went into the office over
    the weekend and found a document abandoned on the glass of the copy
    machine. The document contained the base compensation, raises,
    performance ratings and bonus information for 80 of her colleagues.The
    gossip well in most offices rarely runs dry thanks in part to some of
    the biggest tattlers: the copy machine, fax and group printer. And
    Allen had uncovered the kind of information that might trigger a
    white-collar riot at many companies.She was certainly outraged that a
    noted screwup was making $65,000 a year more than more competent
    colleagues, while some new hires were earning almost $200,000 more than
    their counterparts with more experience. The discovery led her to
    question why she was working weekends for less pay. “I just couldn’t
    stand the inequity of it,” she says. Three months later she quit.But
    Allen couldn’t bring herself to share the information with colleagues.
    “I would have been better off not knowing any of that,” she explains.
    “I couldn’t give it to people who were still working there because it
    would make them depressed, like it made me depressed.”Gossip has its
    appeal, and researchers say it can serve a positive social function,
    bonding communities, for example. But barring some good news about an
    ally or negative scuttlebutt about an enemy, there seems to come a time
    when many people would prefer to remain out of the loop.It isn’t that
    we grow out of gossip. But at the office, it’s as if we’re guarding
    whatever respect we have left for our colleagues and our employer.
    Getting any data of a personal nature – any facedown document on any
    office machine – might be intriguing, but it could be very creepy, or
    even the last straw.Tabitha Brown, a purchasing administrator, didn’t
    mind learning through a document left on the fax machine that one of
    her colleagues was preparing for gastric bypass surgery. “I was nosy
    and read most of the letter,” she says. But there are limits to her
    curiosity. “If it were something scandalous, like an affair, that would
    bother me,” she says.It doesn’t mean you are a prude if you are turned
    off by the thought of accidental disclosures about your colleagues’
    sexual appetites. Every so often, the computer folks at Michael Fox’s
    architectural firm rotate computers, giving the more powerful ones to
    the people who need them most.Fox recounts how he got a hand-me-down
    that contained an “astonishingly large” collection of adult
    pornography. He says he found it unnerving. “God knows what these
    people do in their free time!” he says. “You think you know them.”It
    wasn’t so much that the content offended him. “If I were 30 years
    younger, it would have been voyeuristically amusing,” he says. But he
    was dismayed that a trusted colleague would be so foolish as to hoard
    pornography at work. In the end, he deleted all the files and told no
    one – well, almost no one – about them.Jack Levin, a professor of
    criminology and sociology at Northeastern University who has studied
    gossip, suggests that a taste for it may fade in part because work is
    part of our identity and colleagues are part of work. “When we learn
    something negative about someone at the office, in a sense it reflects
    badly on us,” he says.There are also limits to how much distressing
    information we can stand in the tight confines of an office
    community.”We tend to think people go out of their way to find out
    negative things,” Levin says. “But most people don’t want to belittle
    or disparage their friends and neighbors.” In his studies, he has found
    that only a third of gossip is negative, while the rest is neutral or
    positive in equal parts.When Emily Pellegrini was younger, hearsay
    about her superiors conferred a level of status that she wouldn’t have
    otherwise had. “Now that I’m older, I don’t want to know what they’re
    doing, and I hope to God they don’t want to know what I’m doing,” says
    the programming software trainer.Last month she saw a misfired fax from
    an insurance company that approved a colleague’s policy, although it
    said the person was a “high risk” because of driving-while-intoxicated
    incidents.”That’s information that I could definitely share with anyone
    in the office,” she says. But she hasn’t. “I realized my life is
    happier not knowing all the dirty little secrets that go on with my
    co-workers,” she says.