Wrangling the Roughneck Rumor Mill


Workplace rumors can be incredibly destructive. It doesn’t really matter what the rumors are about — management, company operations, other employees, layoffs — they generally spread quickly. And let’s face it, oilfield men can be just as bad as oilfield wives when it comes to spreading juicy tidbits that may or may not be true. Before long, everyone at work believes the rumor, and it has spread to the wives and families. Depending on the rumor, sometimes it even leaks into the general public or (worse) media as “fact.”

Some rumors are fairly harmless, I suppose, but all need to be dealt with maturely.

Don’t Feed the Beast

This seems to be the most obvious piece of advice I can give about handling rumors, but it’s also the most difficult to put into practice. Don’t spread rumors. Period.


With your oilfield man, and with other members of the oilfield community. Especially when circumstances are changing, or seem uncertain, it’s okay to be afraid, to wonder if your family’s livelihood will make it out of trying times. What’s not okay is to turn your fear into false information. Confide your concern in your husband, or in a close friend, and leave it at that. So often, rumors start when someone overhears or misunderstands something that was said (read: or just. doesn’t. know.) and ends up relaying untruths.

Zero Tolerance

Let your friends and fellow spouses know that that you will not tolerate gossip. It can be as simple as saying,” This conversation is making me a little uncomfortable. Sooo … How ’bout them Yankees?” Except, if it were me, I wouldn’t be bringing the Yankees into any conversation on purpose. 😉

Don’t Get Angry

If you hear that someone is saying something about you, or your oilfield man, that isn’t true, it’s human nature to get ticked off. Understand that, at its source, this rumor may just be a misunderstanding. It may not be, too, but it’s so important to cool down and think before responding with hot words.

Damage Control

If you’re able (emphasis on IF), clarify the facts of the situation, and nip it in the bud.

Have you dealt with what I like to call the Roughneck Rumor Mill? What tips do you have for dealing with oilfield gossip? Send me a tweet, at mrskittymitch, or tell your story on my Facebook page!

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About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.


  1. Chelsea Niehaus says:

    I don’t have any tips for dealing with it, but I will commiserate. I’ve never seen so many gossip-y men in all my life. And living on the camper lot makes it even worse because they’re all in one place together all the time with little else to occupy their time. The rumor mill out here will about drive you mad if you let it get to you!

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