I've been with my company for over two years and feel my performance has been good. We don't have performance reviews, so I don't know how my colleagues feel.

Recently, I have heard overheard rumours about my performance around the office, as I can hear quite clearly all around. Whether my colleagues were talking about me I have not confirmed, but from key things that have been said I'm convinced that is the case.

Some things that I've overheard:

  • "We don't get much out of him."
  • "He couldn't get a better salary anywhere else."
  • "He's demotivated and not doing his job."

From my perspective, none of these are true. I've brought a lot to the company, achieved some great feats and it seems they've all been forgotten about.

These things are making me more anxious each day and I believe this is a common problem for a lot of people in the workplace.

What can I do to alleviate the issue of rumours and not knowing whether my performance is adequate?

  • 4
    This sounds like paranoia – Sam Orozco Dec 7 '16 at 19:06
  • If you don't think any are true then it would be odd for those types of rumors to be surfacing directed at you after 2 years. – paparazzo Dec 7 '16 at 19:10

By and large, the only opinion about your performance that truly matters for your employment prospects at this or future employer is that of your boss.

Colleagues can think many things. In the end what matters is (a) your ability to support a good performance record with evidence, and (b) your boss's inferences regarding your performance based on that evidence.

Sounds like you may be taking work-related issues personally, and that's a common pitfall -- especially if deep down you believe your performance is good or adequate, and your conscience is clear (which seems to be the case).

A common mistake in such situation is to fall victim to your own insecurity tied to what others think of you, and to engage in proactive 'repair' behavior attempting to solve problems that appear to you to exist. However, if you take a step back, you will often see that these issues are mostly in your head, there is little to no evidence to support the rumors, and that you trying to problem-solve these issues is the only thing that makes them real and serious. Avoid giving colleagues 'ammunition' for their gossip by confronting them about the rumors, because this is what validating the rumors in the first place.

If you do not react, they will simply run out of actionable information on which to base their gossip, and sooner or later it will run out of steam and die down. Time and patience are on your side.

If at any point you will hear specific remarks addressed to you personally which seem inappropriate, insulting, rude, and unsubstantiated, you have the right to bring this to your boss's attention and seek resolution.

Until that happpens, I would recommend to stay focused on your immediate work tasks, and to maintain a cordial professional (but not overly friendly or personal) relationship with your colleagues and boss. Do that, and it is more likely than not that after some time your colleagues will find other things to gossip about. More than anything, do not go down to their level and do not engage them in any arguments. Good luck!

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  • Avoid giving colleagues 'ammunition' for their gossip by confronting them about the rumors, because this is what validating the rumors in the first place Exactly, that would be framing the conversation (i.e. empowering it) about your performance. – user8036 Dec 8 '16 at 12:20
  • @JanDoggen, My point is that confronting those who spread rumors shows you care what they think, which puts you in a weaker negotiating position by implying that they have a way of influencing (controlling) you. An exception would be if you have leverage in the relationship, such that you can guarantee that the confrontation, and the pressure you put on the offender by calling them out on it, will be sufficient to guarantee that the behavior will cease. If you do not have such leverage, complaints might only add fuel to the fire, and be reframed as 'whining'. Framing works both ways. – A.S Dec 8 '16 at 14:43
  • Control your thoughts: keep your achievements in mind and continue doing your job as best as you can. Don't let yourself be influenced by these rumors.
  • Ask your boss for a moment of feedback. Say you'd like to keep improving yourself and you find his feedback valuable. That way you'll know how your boss thinks of you, and this is the most important.
  • Try not to be awkward with your colleagues and keep socializing. To be on good terms with your co-workers is extremely important and will have advantages. I know it might be hard to keep socializing happily when you feel bad about the rumors, but try the best you can.
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Pitch the idea of performance reviews to your boss. These alleviate this sort of "I don't know how I'm viewed" concern along with providing a forum for feedback on areas of improvement. If management does have concerns about your performance it's only fair to hear it from them.

Performance reviews are a high value activity that benefits the business greatly.

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  • Good addition, no idea why someone down voted it. +1. It might be not the answer for the question here, but definitely valuable! – Luchadora Dec 8 '16 at 8:50

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