Sometimes it seems that work, family, hobbies, and maintaining your health are just not enough to keep a person busy. We look around at our spotless home, our finished work, our already fully assembled scale model of the Death Star and think to ourselves, "Wow, if only I had something else to occupy my time and energy, because this certainly isn't enough to keep me busy."
The solution is a simple one:
Let me tell you a story.
We got two new employees on my shift recently, and as the overpaid Front Desk Lead, it's my job to oversee their training, lest they check people into the wrong rooms, give out the room numbers of entertainers, and generally set the place on fire. It's a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it, and my paycheck says that somebody is me.
Here's what the first 4 days of training these new clerks looked like to me.
Tuesday: New clerk #1 starts. We spend most of the day going over P&P's, filling out paperwork, performing room tours. This is what I like to introduce to new employees as, "the most fun you can have while getting paper cuts."
Wednesday: Much of the day is spent working with new clerk #1 at the front desk. The main goal here is to prevent them from slowing down the work so much that we piss off too many guests. If nobody screams at them, then this day is a win.
Thursday: New clerk #2 starts today. Because this is day 3 for new clerk #1, #1 gets turfed to another clerk for continued training. I take new clerk #2 and we spend most of the day going over P&P's, filling out paperwork, performing room tours.
Friday: New clerk #1 is now on day 4, and continues with other clerks at the front desk. I take new clerk #2, and much of the day is spent working with new clerk #2 at the front desk. The main goal here is to prevent them from slowing down the work so much that we piss off too many guests.
Sounds pretty sane, right? Everybody gets pretty much the same treatment, but one clerk is 2 days ahead of the other. That would have been the case if Queen Drama Pants™ hadn't returned from her weekend on Thursday. Let's review those 4 days from her perspective, shall we?
Tuesday: Today is my day off. Let's get drunk.
Wednesday: Today is my day off. Let's get drunk.
Thursday: Today is my Monday. There are two new clerks today. One of them is at the front desk training. She is older than me, and not as skinny as me. The other one is spending the whole day with Stephen. She is barely old enough to work here and I have no idea what Stephen finds attractive, since he doesn't talk about things like that at work, but I know that some men like tall, athletic blondes which she is...
Friday: It's the second time I've worked with these new clerks. The older and nonthreatening one is still out front. The young athletic blonde one is out front too, but Stephen is training her himself instead of asking me to do it, and I'm clearly the most awesome person here. There can be only one explanation....
Stephen is a philanderer and has a huge crush on a new employee. He's neglecting the one that I don't find to have a threatening appearance, and spending all his time with the one that's half my age.
I know what I must do! I must tell as many people as possible that I think there is something going on with Stephen and the new girl who's name I haven't bothered to learn! I must tell other clerks! I must tell our supervisor! I must tell our Assistant Manager!
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where this sort of gossip can cost a person their job. At a lot of larger companies (like mine) any allegation of impropriety, especially between a male superior and female subordinate, is investigated with a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude.
Fortunately for me, I was following explicit instructions from my Supervisor and Assistant Manager as to how the new people were to be trained. Not only were the instructions for training new clerks explicit, but they were in writing, so Queen Drama Pants was told I was doing my job the way I was told to do it, and that she needed to find a better hobby.
Granted, I still got talked to about it by my Assistant Manager, but the conversation went a little different that you'd usually expect. You see, not only did she know that the complaint was absurd, but she also knows what I think of my wife; i.e. - I think the sun shines out of her butt. I keep a picture of my wife from our wedding day in the back of my watch. The watch she bought me for our first married Christmas.
So, instead of being asked if the complaint was legitimate or being asked to defend myself, my Assistant Manager and Supervisor called me into the office to tell me the funniest thing they'd heard all week, and try not to pee themselves laughing at my embarrassment. The best part was their theory about Queen Drama Pants' motivation:
They decided that the only explanation is that she must be jealous of my attention.
Here's the deal folks; if you find yourself regularly engaging in salacious gossip, I have a suggestion for you.....
Find a freaking hobby!!!
Do some push-ups.
Clean your kitchen.
Take your kids to the park.
Do your flipping job.
Sell a network exec on your own talk show.
Growing Up™, whether you're doing it after 30 like me (or around 50 like Queen Drama Pants) means a lot of things. Sure, it's about your work, your health, and your personal relationships; but it's also about learning not to be a jerk. Gossip can actually destroy careers and lives. People have lost their jobs, their marriages, and lot of other things simply because somebody jumped to conclusions and spread it around.
If what you really want is for people to despise you, share every rumor you hear and start a few of your own. If what you really want is to be an adult, it's time to learn when to shut your mouth, or as the worst Spanish teacher I ever had once phrased it, cantan la boca.