Unexpectedly Intriguing!
July 26, 2007

The office grapevine is the ultimate informal communication system. Managers often pay attention to it to keep their fingers on the pulse of their company. Employees use it to communicate gripes or to pass along information about anyone and anything work-related.

Or not. Sometimes, the office grapevine degenerates into a giant rumor mill that thrives on serving up episodes of that tragedy called life for the sake of advancing a co-worker's deepest Machiavellian interests.

But what about your own deepest Machiavellian interests? Should you pass along gossip in your office? What if doing so might further your career? And what if it could derail someone else's career track? How should you factor the possible repercussions into your choice of whether or not to join in the office gossip mill?

This blog isn't called Political Calculations(TM) for nothing! Geek Logik's Garth Sundem developed the math behind our latest tool, which can help you decide if, and also how, you should join in the guilty pleasure that is office gossip at your company:

Meta-Gossip Data
Input Data Values
How juicy is the gossip?
(1-10 with 10 being "Tropicana")
Do you actually believe it?
(1-10 with 10 being "incriminating photocopies in briefcase")
Advantage you gain by passing on this gossip
(1-10 with 10 being "Stan will get my promotion unless the secretaries happen to hear about his special relationship with Johnny Walker")
Chance of this gossip being traced back to you
(1-10 with 10 being "you sent it under your letterhead via interoffice mail")
Rungs of difference on the corporate ladder between you and the target of the gossip
(If target is below you, this will be a negative number.)
Your level of feistiness
(1-10 with 10 being "vindictive and proud of it")
How spiteful is the gossip?
(1-10 with 10 being "target of gossip will need to emigrate")

Should You Spread the Office Gossip?
Calculated Results Values
Gossip Spreadability Factor
What You Should Do

Garth Sundem explains the mechanics behind the math used in the tool:

In this equation, your chance of transmitting office gossip depends not only on its validity and entertainment value but on its usefulness as a business tool. Will this information increase or decrease your chances of ascending the corporate ladder? How likely is it that transmitting gossip will come back to haunt you?

Then again, some things are just too juicy to keep bottled up, even if they might result in damaging your own career in the process. Garth continues:

Of course, if it's just too spicy to keep to yourself and you have a tendency toward feistiness, you might have to throw logic and caution to the wind and spill to anyone and everyone who will listen.

All we have to add is that if that's you, the gossip had *really* better be worth it, or else, as Tony Soprano might say, "there have to be consequences." And with certain people in the office, we would guarantee there will be.

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Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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