Every office has its gossip (and a group of workers who've gained a reputation for spreading it around). Knowing the perils, you tried to steer clear of that crew. But despite your initial best efforts to avoid it, you somehow got wind of an unflattering secret about a colleague.
Word got out about the rumor and who spread it, and now the entire company (not to mention your boss) thinks you are the source of all the gossip. Forget that opportunity for a promotion next month, now you're just worried about holding onto the job have.
How to turn it around
The most difficult part about bouncing back after being outed as an office gossiper is regaining the trust of your peers and supervisors. Many managers view this kind of talk as poisoning the company culture, and might now see you as a potential liability.
Whether this was your first time or you're a routine offender, once you've been caught you'll probably only going to get one chance to change before your boss starts looking for your replacement (and if the rumor was really malicious, you may not even get that).
More than just holding onto a job here, it's important to be an actual good person and offer a sincere apology to the subject of the gossip (especially if it's embarrassing). You also definitely want to have a conversation with your supervisor to explain that you understand the severity of this type of behavior and make it clear that it won't happen again.
The best way to keep to keep yourself off the unemployment list is to avoid falling behind in the first place (or getting caught up in an unfortunate interpersonal issue). Be proactive about your work before your get that poor performance review. But once you've gotten some candid feedback on where you stand, you can still turn things around by taking it to heart and communicating with your manager about where to go from here.
After all, if they really wanted you out then you'd already be gone. If they're still bringing you in on company meetings, assigning you new responsibilities, and giving you coaching — then they see your value and want you to step up to the plate and succeed.
How to salvage your job when you think you might get fired originally appeared on The Muse