I have moved, as I mentioned, to a new group at work. That means I left my former group behind. I am, however, still friends with the people in my former group. Let's call them Isabel, Monica, and Bob.
The woman who was my boss' administrative assistant is no longer there. She quit at about the same time I did. I volunteered to be a reference for her. I understood how crazy making our boss was - we all speculated that perhaps he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's or had had some mini strokes or that he was having a reaction to medication he might be taking. His behavior was irrational and unpredictable and it confused us and made for a very uncomfortable workplace.
The admin - Brenda - was a basically nice person, but sometimes a little prickly. She seemed efficient and capable to me and seemed focused on getting her job done. She didn't gossip about our other teammates to me, although she and I together would gossip about our boss, mostly because we were trying to figure out what the heck was going on with him.
She stumbled across the fact that I was interviewing with a different division of the company but promised she would keep it a secret. As far as I know, she did.
She had already confided in me long before my job search that she was looking for a new job. I listened to her stories about interviews and encouraged her and wished her well.
When I traveled outside the US for work, I brought back little presents for everyone in the office, including her.
I didn't think we were friends, but I thought we were friendly.
I didn't try to undermine her. I tried to support her and tried to help her with her job search.
She got a new job. I did serve as a reference.
And then, last week, when I was telling Isabel and Monica about the crazy in my new job, they told me that Brenda used to complain about my two-hour lunches and how I left early a lot.
"She would come to me and say, 'Did you know that Goldie left early today? Are you going to do something about it?'" Monica said. By the way, Monica was officially my boss, but our big boss wouldn't let her manage. He still wanted to run everything.
I gasped. "But why would she care?"
Monica shrugged. "I told you not to trust her. She said that to me several times until I finally told her that I did not care and I did not want her telling me."
I told the story to Isabel. "Oh yes!" Isabel said. "She would tell me that, too, and she would complain that you took two-hour lunches!"
I shook my head. "But I didn't take two-hour lunches."
"I know," Isabel said. "But she didn't like that you blocked your calendar from 11:30 to 1:30 so she would deliberately schedule meetings to start at 1:00."
I gasped again. "I always wondered why she seemed to ignore my calendar, but it was always for meetings with the Big Boss and I just assumed that was the only time he had to meet, so I wouldn't ask her to reschedule."
It's not a good idea to tell the Big Boss that you want to reschedule his meeting so you can attend body pump or spin.
"She did it on purpose," Isabel said. "She would say that you shouldn't be taking such a long lunch."
"But I didn't!" I said. "I blocked my calendar so I could get to the noon class and stay for the entire class, but I wasn't taking two hours."
"I know," Isabel said. "And even if you were, it wasn't her business."
I got indignant. "Did she know that I had actually cleared a longer lunch with my boss? Did she know I work on weekends? That I would have conference calls with the Middle East at 6:30 a.m.?"
Isabel said, "Does it even matter? It was none of her business! That's the main issue! She was not your boss and your boss did not care. Why was she tattling? What was it to her?"
I guess I am lucky to have made it this far in my life before encountering someone that spiteful and mean, but I still don't understand why someone would care so much about what someone else does when it has nothing to do with her. Have you guys encountered people like that?