Post # 1
My closest co-worker is ESL. And I’ll just be honest, it’s really really frustrating. She is in a position actually above me, and has a lot of daily professional interaction with our community and the other agencies we collaborate with.
A lot of the time, she doesn’t make sense, talks in tangents, says rude things, and just flat out doesn’t know how to communicate properly. And she gets away with it! I would be fired if I said half the things she does.
It’s wearing soooooo thin on my patience! I get embarrased to be associated with her. Worst of all, she twists words so that it looks like she’s the hero and I’m the idiot. Mostly because she talks in half sentences and in a nonsensical circular way that I literally can’t understand what she is talking about.
Sigh….sorry but I prefer working with people who speak English properly in the workplace.
Post # 3
Um if all you say is true, how did she get to the position above you?
Post # 4
@Sunshine09: “sorry but I prefer working with people who speak English properly in the workplace’….“
you’re a real treat!
Post # 5
@Atalanta: Your guess is as good as mine, same as why she is STILL in that position. She was here long before me.
Post # 6
Have you tried learning a second language and then having to use it in a professional capacity? It’s freaking hard. Maybe she says rude things and speaks improperly in her native language, too, and it’s just her way of communicating, but I say give her a break and have a little empathy.
Post # 7
@Double_rainbow: Yeah, I know, but you’d feel the same after working with this woman. I’ve worked with her for 3 years. That’s a long time of trying to be patient and ask “I’m sorry, what do you mean?”
Post # 8
A lot of the teachers at my grad school were ESL and there are so many phrases/words that don’t translate well into English. I actually respected them more because they were ESL.
Post # 9
What is her native language? Have you tried learning some of it to help communicate with her? How long has she been speaking English?
Post # 10
I can understand where you’re coming from. When I was returning my leased vehicle a couple weeks ago, the first guy I dealt with at the Honda dealership spoke with such a thick accent that I could not understand him. I mean I just couldn’t understand what he was saying, even after he repeated it several times. It really is frustrating, because there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s rude to ask to speak to someone else, so instead I just had to muddle through with this guy and hope I wasn’t agreeing to things I didn’t want just because I couldn’t understand him. I try so hard to be empathetic, as I know full well how hard it is to function fluently in another language, but at the end of the day … can’t I just talk to someone I can actually understand? :-/
Post # 11
@Sunshine09: She might be super smart…communication is definitely key but it’s only one aspect of a job. If she’s a whiz everywhere else, someone thinks that’s worth keeping her around.
I hope your frustration doesn’t show because that could be seen as very culturally intolerant…be careful.
Post # 12
Okay, I’m going to go against the grain here.. I understand a lot of places respect inclusion and equal hiring. I respect it even. And yes, it is hard to learn a new language and function in a foreign enviroment. Yes, we have to try to be pleasant and we have to be humane and obviously not exclude people because they have a so called “disadvantage” in our world.
All of that aside, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to have to deal on a professional level with someone you can barely communicate with. It is just plain hard! Been there, done that, I understand. Does the fact that she’s venting about it mean that she treats this person any different than any other person? Probably not. I have had my share of experiences in this department. And although I have aways remained professional in the stuation, it doesn’t mean I haven’t gone home frustrated!
@Sunshine09: I feel ya girl! Hang in there, eventually you’ll get to a point where you find a semblance of communication 🙂 It’s work and its frustrating but the challenges in life are what teach us things!
Post # 13
be patient. english is one of the hardest languages to learn.
Post # 14
@Sunshine09: Have you given her clear, honest feedback about how she could communicate better?
I think it might be important here to determine which aspects of her interaction style actually stem from being bilingual vs. those that come from her personality and management style. It’s unlikely that the difficulties you experience all relate to her being bilingual and from another culture. A lot of it could change if you give her specific feedback.
Post # 15
Hahaha, I used to have an ESL co-teacher. None of the parents could understand her, but since she was the only black employee and all the parents were white, they always nodded and smiled and asked me what she said the next day!
It was hilarious for both of us!
Post # 16
@Sunshine09: I can understand your frustration but, I have class with people that speak ‘broken’ english. English is a hard language to learn. Her attitude my not be best but, kill them with kindness. She has to bring something to the table since she has been there longer than you.
Maybe try to help, than criticize. I often help pronounce things and correct sayings for my fellow classmates and they often are happy to learn the correct way. Also, are other people complaining about her?