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Thoughts - Work Situation
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Author:  fatcat [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Thoughts - Work Situation

What are people's opinions on someone eavesdropping at work? Content of the conversation is irrelevant and there is a limited expectation of privacy, but I still think it is incredibly rude. It also wasn't a situation where someone was obviously standing there while the conversation was occurring.

Author:  Quarantined [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

was it about work stuff or personal stuff? I'm pretty sure I've gotten in trouble in the past in my current job for bisqueing about work to a coworker, though I can't be entirely sure. My supervisor at the time, who sucked, "spoke" to me about something vague which seemed to hint at that. My work culture is shitty, though, and I'm a loudmouth and can't keep my mouth shut.

Author:  fatcat [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

Work stuff, but the issue was talking in hushed tones. Apparently it sends the wrong message regardless of content. I don't believe I will be in any trouble, but I'm trying to decide how to handle the eavesdropper, who is not in a position of power over me.

Author:  Quarantined [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

well, in my situation i didn't know who the eavesdropper was, just knew there had to have been one. If you know who it is, it's probably better, but not sure how best to handle it. I would probably just make sure not to talk to that person at all in future, except for necessary work stuff.

Author:  kfad [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

I would talk to the eavesdropper. Just saying something like "I know that this was not a closed door conversation, but it was a conversation that you were not a part of and therefore it was out of line for your to discuss it."

I have had to do this at work. We don't have any sort of delineated space and so everyone feels that any conversation is theirs for the joining. Including phone conversations. Boundaries are not something that my co-workers understand.

Author:  GraciaKai [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

General rule of thumb is that if you want to bisque, complain, vent, discuss, or anything about your job, boss, or co-workers do it off of company time or out of the office. Otherwise you will find yourself having issues or getting in trouble.

If your office is anything like mine nothing is private! Not that the people in my office gossip a lot, cause that can be a problem too. But the walls and doors are thin and everyone can hear everyone doing everything.

Author:  nickvicious [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

Are you sure they were eavesdropping and not just trying to speak with one of you? I know at my work sometimes I'll be running around trying to find someone and when I do they'll be in conversation I'll walk up, listen for a bit, and then realize it wasn't just a quick remark in passing but a serious conversation that probably isn't going to end anytime soon so I'll just come back later. You can usually tell the difference between a personal conversation and work stuff right away and I don't see any reason why anybody would want to talk about anything work-related in hushed tones in our company unless they were talking smack about another employee or department. What were you afraid of?

Author:  Chicki [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

If they really don't want people to hear what they are saying, they should say it somewhere private.

I have an 'open office' environment. People forget this, and stand next to my cube and say stuff that I should not be hearing. Well...I can't really help it. Now I know juicy secrets. Like how my co-workers son told his teacher to fork off this morning in class. And how some dude is getting canned because his sales are terrible. And how some other guy is quitting to go work for the competition. (ok, not really juicy, but my job is REALLY boring)

I don't intentionally eavesdrop, but hey, don't talk about it 5 feet from me. Hushed tones or not, I CAN HEAR YOU. I am not going to stop what I am doing and walk away so you can have a conversation. Just step away from the office for a minute.

Oh, and when people talk like that? In hushed tones? I have to say...it just makes people listen in more.

Author:  dropscone [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

I have to bring headphones to work so I can pop them in when people's supposedly private conversations get so loud you can hear them at the other end of the room, and even if people think they're speaking quietly it will travel in an open-plan office. I say anything you don't want everyone you work with to hear should be taken into a room with the door closed.

Author:  mrsbadmouth [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

Chicki wrote:
I don't intentionally eavesdrop, but hey, don't talk about it 5 feet from me. Hushed tones or not, I CAN HEAR YOU.

Oh, and when people talk like that? In hushed tones? I have to say...it just makes people listen in more.


Yeah, this. You can't have a conversation in my office that can't be heard at least a little bit, you have to step outside. Even when my boss closes his door I can kind of hear the conversation, but if I really wanted to listen in i'd have to turn off my radio and make an effort. Sometimes the dudes in the back try to whisper and I occasionally joke that it makes it hard to hear what they're saying if they whisper. Look, if it's a secret, text. Email. Go out back. Discuss it at lunch.

But that's my office, I don't know how the OP's office was set up and if the person listening was creeping around to purposely eavesdrop.

Author:  fatcat [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

They were creeping around to eavesdrop. I don't expect privacy at work, but when someone takes the extra step to hide so they can listen, then I take issue. The conversation was not gossiping or anything personal, so I was not afraid of being heard and I had nothing to hide. To me it's more about the fact that someone made that much effort to be nosy.

Author:  Erinnerung [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

I guess it's pretty rude in any situation. But that being said, I totally listen in on people's conversations at work all the time and just pretend that I'm not. Work is boring, and the office is quiet except for you guys talking, what else am I supposed to do? I have an open plan office too, and the general consensus seems to be that any conversation is fair game if you're having it in front of people. So for that reason I'm never really fussed if someone butts in or just seems to be listening.

TLDR; it's not super polite, but it's also not something I would be upset about.

Author:  kimba [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

I will totally listen to anything people are talking about at work. There is no expectation of privacy, we work in very close quarters. I have had to remind people how small the office is before when they were complaining about me. Totally inappropriate. They should do it out of the workplace. I guess I am not sure about your situation. It seems like the topic would be relevant, at least in my situation. If I realized they were talking about something personal, I would try not to listen. If they were talking about something work related, I would listen. I don't have conversations that aren't okay for them to hear, unless it is on the phone with a supervisor, then I close the door and turn on the A/C.

Author:  ashley [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

The people in my office don't even eavesdrop - they just assume they're invited into the conversation and come and stand right there next to you. Granted, it's a small office and we all know each other pretty well, but still. You can't tell anyone anything without the entire office hearing about it within 5 minutes.

Author:  pandacookie [ Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

fatcat wrote:
They were creeping around to eavesdrop. I don't expect privacy at work, but when someone takes the extra step to hide so they can listen, then I take issue. The conversation was not gossiping or anything personal, so I was not afraid of being heard and I had nothing to hide. To me it's more about the fact that someone made that much effort to be nosy.

That seems sketchy. Were they hoping for some shiitake to start? Did they go and tell someone that you were talking quietly? That seems odd. It's one thing to overhear a conversation, it is another to feel the need to report things you hear that you are seeking to hear.

Author:  seitanicverses [ Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

fatcat wrote:
To me it's more about the fact that someone made that much effort to be nosy.

We have a girl at work who characteristically eavesdrops and is SUPER GOSSIPY. Actually, one of my coworkers called me recently, concerned because this person is going to be stationed near her and now she really has to watch her end of every conversation on the phone because they may as well be broadcast over the loudspeaker with this particular person around and what a pain in the asparagus that is. That said, there is no stopping this girl in her eavesdroppishness, everyone just has to to watch themselves, kind of thing. If she's ever confronted (she has been confronted about various similar matters over the years) she makes no effort to change her behavior and makes a personal vendetta to smear whoever and I mean, she has endless energy and capacity for vitriol, strife and petty shit-stirring that makes pretty much everyone sorry they ever opened their mouth in the first place. Actually, she's been relegated to our office because she can't get along with anyone and that's where she has managed to stir up the least shiitake although she still manages to do just that, even when surrounded by people who have earphones on all day and don't even have to interact with her. She could stir up shiitake if her coworker was a brick, I TELL YOU.

Author:  Tofulish [ Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

pandacookie wrote:
fatcat wrote:
They were creeping around to eavesdrop. I don't expect privacy at work, but when someone takes the extra step to hide so they can listen, then I take issue. The conversation was not gossiping or anything personal, so I was not afraid of being heard and I had nothing to hide. To me it's more about the fact that someone made that much effort to be nosy.

That seems sketchy. Were they hoping for some shiitake to start? Did they go and tell someone that you were talking quietly? That seems odd. It's one thing to overhear a conversation, it is another to feel the need to report things you hear that you are seeking to hear.


Yes, it definitely sounds like there is some information missing.

What happened fatcat?

Author:  Fee [ Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

I think it's super rude to go out of your way and make an effort to listen to conversations you know are private. Really unprofessional. Because of where I work we all have noise machines, though, so trying to overhear a private conversation is really difficult. Overhearing regular conversation happens all the time, though, and if someone just launches into a private conversation in an Unprivate place like right by my office with no noise machine on, I guess I consider it fair game to listen to.

Author:  fatcat [ Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts - Work Situation

There is information missing and I can't really be more specific. Let's just say it was made clear to me yesterday that there are different rules for different people who work in the same place. I am not surprised at all.

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