Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I work for a company with offices in two cities. I am not an owner but
have been here for decades and am both respected and valued. For
complicated reasons I agreed to let a relatively new mid-line exec stay
at my home the evening before an important meeting. In the name
of bonding we had drinks over a company-paid dinner and then a
nightcap here. I was uncharacteristically indiscreet about some very
deep, dark, old company gossip concerning one of the owners. In my
defense I didn’t actually blurt out anything specific but this woman is
very perceptive and put two and two together to get four. My blushing
response to a direct question just reinforced her suspicions about an
affair that is long over and should remain buried. Do I just act like it
didn’t happen and keep my mouth shut, warn the person whose secret
is no longer buried, deny what happened, or start updating my
résumé? I need this job. I’m worried poopless.
Me and My Big Mouth
Dear Big Mouth:
Humble pie would be a delicacy compared to what you’re going to
have to swallow, which is a combination of pride and truth. My advice
is to say less not more, but saying nothing is a dangerous option. So is
warning the boss about an old story come back to haunt him. Being
the keeper of corporate history is a double-edged sword.
Take the possible gossip aside and say, sotto voce, I may have given
you the wrong impression about some people when we drank. I’ve
been here so long that stories get mangled and conflate. I think I
confused former rumors with later-disproven truths. For your own
sake, don’t go poking under old rocks or you may find yourself hurt by
a falling one. If she’s smart, she’ll pay attention and back off. Id not,
it’s her funeral and hopefully not yours.
PS don’t spend much more one-on- one time with this woman again.
She’s got your number and will keep you dancing on a very sharp edge.