(Closed) Co-worker who is ESL *vent*

posted 5 years ago in Career
Post # 3
4771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Um if all you say is true, how did she get to the position above you? 

Post # 4
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Sunshine09:  “sorry but I prefer working with people who speak English properly in the workplace’….

you’re a real treat!

Post # 6
114 posts
Blushing bee

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 # 8
1090 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@FatherTed:  +1

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
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

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
4416 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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
1460 posts
Bumble bee

@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
1400 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

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
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

be patient. english is one of the hardest languages to learn.

Post # 14
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@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
12248 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

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
108 posts
Blushing bee

@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?

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