A recent NY Times column by Rob Walker — The Workologist — titled, How to Separate Harmless Work Chatter From Gossip, asked readers to offer their personal rules for avoiding trouble at the water cooler and how not to get caught up in inappropriate talk with co-workers.

Susan Peppercorn of Positive Workplace Partners, a career coaching firm in Boston, offered her observations:

Don’t get too personal. A good rule of thumb in any business relationship is not to reveal anything you don’t want to be repeated.


Employees who have friends at work report higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction than those who don’t. But we don’t need to spill our guts to office friends.


Know your fellow gossiper. Don’t share information with someone unless you can trust their discretion.

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Ditch Your Inner Critic at Work Now Available by Susan Peppercorn