Overhearing bad news in the office

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Lord Camomile, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    A colleague's father has been in hospital pretty much permanently recently, and this morning I've walked past a couple of hushed conversations, one with someone whose father died recently, and we've been told not to expect this colleague in next week. So, doesn't sound good :(

    The thing is, I haven't been officially told anything, I've just put two and two together.

    Do I just continue as normal until something is directly said, or do I ask my colleague how he's doing?

    Aside from the issue of whether I should know or not, I'm also wary of asking him to rehash the same thing he's already told other people. I get frustrated having to have the same conversation multiple times in our large team when it's just about something trivial like a holiday, so can't imagine what it's like when it's something serious like this.

    In case it isn't clear: social conventions and customs are something I find difficult to navigate :facepalm: :oops:
  2. Chilli.s

    Chilli.s changed the little words

    Same scenario at my work this week. I reckon it's a sign of poor management when these things are left hanging. It is a social welfare thing that a good, caring employer takes in their stride and a poor one lets go.
  3. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    might as well ask your colleague how they're doing, they are unlikely to turn violent.
    space-tout likes this.
  4. Epona

    Epona Down with battered parsnips

    I think it is better to just ask outright rather than skirt around the issue and pretend it isn't happening.

    If you don't want to ask him directly, then ask one of the managers if they seem to know what is going on.

    It's a dreadful state of affairs though when it's all whispering and hush hush and no-one knows what is going on.

    It might be better if folks know and can say sorry for your loss, and carry on, maybe offer some support or help if the guy needs anything - doesn't do folks much good to tiptoe round everything or be kept in the dark. IMO

    He also probably can see that folks are avoiding him or there are hushed whispers - I think someone should go up to him and say something like sorry for your loss

    Just try to act like humans rather than bitter robots, if that makes sense. (says the autistic person in the room).
    Chilli.s likes this.
  5. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Bringing YOU round.....

    Ask him if he is OK, cus he doesn't seem so and you are concerned. This gives him the option to talk about it or brush it off for now.
  6. Reno

    Reno The In Kraut

    I`m with you on asking if they are ok, but I wouldn't say anything about being concerned. That just puts pressure on them to talk and they may not want to with someone who isn't really that close.
    space-tout likes this.
  7. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Bringing YOU round.....

    Have to agree to disagree. It's what I do and what feels right to me if I'm working with an obviously distressed colleague.
    when its obvious that a Co worker is not ok it's fine to notice it and say so - it up to the person if they want to talk or not and I take my cue from that and would never pressure anyone into anything but jut let them know they can talk by asking if they are ok. (I work in recovery from surgery and it's,always busy and stressful but it's of paramount importance to know if ones colleague is coping so that if they are not they can have some help and so it does not impact on patient care) also as nurses and care assistants we are notorious for carrying on, not looking after ourselves and then burning out. :)
  8. Reno

    Reno The In Kraut

    When someone tells me that they are concerned about me, I always feel alarmed. Maybe that's just me. I also don't like discussing personal stuff with co-workers unless I regard them as friends, but again, maybe that's just me. :)
  9. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    I took a few days off the week before my Dad so I could be with him as much as possible. While I was off, some cunt in the office stole one of my clients by offering a lower price. That's not good office protocol, I'll tell you that for starters.
  10. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    I don't think there's been a loss yet, but reading between the lines it might be imminent.

    People aren't really avoiding him, this is all just based on me noticing he was talking to this one colleague who has experienced it recently, then had a convo with his line manager and people covering his customer-facing duties earlier today.
    He's not really acting odd, at all. Currently working at his PC like normal. It's just clear that there's been a development because of all the activity earlier.

    My general inclination is to not ask questions for fear of being nosy and/or pressuring someone into talking about something they don't want to, but I'm aware this has a tendency to make me come across as a bit cold or uncaring.

    Good tip, duly noted.
    Reno likes this.
  11. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Bringing YOU round.....

    In that case then I wouldn't say anything.
  12. Sea Star

    Sea Star have you ever explored your dark side?

    For me it's enough to be told that a colleague is off work because of problems, or personal issues; I really don't need to know the details - just how it affects the work I need to do - or how I do it. That might make me sound heartless, but I value privacy and therefore respect the privacy of others. If they want me to know they could tell me, or ask the boss to tell me.

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