Post # 1
I am not sure what to do about our situation. My husband just started a new job in heating and cooling construction and he has a work partner that he is alone with all day. My husband has never worked construction and is learning everything for the first time. This job was a BIG break for us. We have went through unemployment hell and temp jobs for what seems like forever. I am in school full time right now and we have three kids. One of our kids has special needs and requires me to take her to multiple appointments during the week and then I attened school until late at night once my husband gets home. We absolutely cannot afford daycare or else I would jump at the opportunity to work too.
Anyways, My husbands co-worker is mean. Really mean. My husband came from an extremely abusive childhood and can take alot. You could say whatever you wanted to him and he will not say much back. The guy he works with has a felony from around 10 years ago. Every day this man talks to my husband like he is stupid. He talks to him in a constant sarcastic tone and everything has a double meaning. He doesn’t act like he wants to teach my husband anything just watches him do stuff and then gets pissed off when its done wrong even though he just WATCHED him do it. When my husband asks him a question the man responds with “Use common sense!” My husband has tried to start conversations with him about anything other then work to find common ground and the man will just respond with one liner sentences. My husband said he feels like hes walking on eggshells and he is waiting for this guy to explode at any moment. He feels like the guy is egging him on to get him to do something stupid. My husband does have a breaking point.
Before my husband, this man didn’t really have to work with anyone. The other guys at my husbands company work together but this guy was alone. There were two previous guys who worked with this guy for a short period of time. They were fired for some off the wall reason. Today my husband asked a question and then asked for clarification and the man responded with “How do you want it? Chinese to Spanish?!”. When my husband texted me that I about hit the roof! I would of knocked this guy clear across the room.
My husband wants to go to the boss about it but this other guy has been with this small company for a long time and his brother also works there. There is no reasonably talking with this man. He is irrational and unpredictable. I hate sounding like my husbands mother but I know he woundn’t put up with me being abused and I will not tolerate him being abused. Even if he is a man. Advice?
Post # 3
Your husband needs to be the one to deal with this. You going to the owner/manager in a “mans-man” business, will result in more harassment. I know you want to protect your husband, but what he needs to do is record all of these ceebal insults so he record of the harassment if it escalates and he needs to sit down with the boss and discuss his concerns in a way that doesn’t seem whiney or weak. (It’s the only word I can think of!)
Post # 4
Is this guy difficult? Sure. Does the scenario suck? Yeah. But, it doesn’t sound like he’s being abused, persay. He’s just got a sarcastic coworker with a bad attitude.
First of all, if the guy doesn’t want to have common non-work related conversation, then you can’t fault him for that. It might be uncomfortable, but maybe the guy just doesn’t want to talk. But, perhaps your husband just needs to step up to him and talk back to him when he makes the snide comments. Maybe that’s how this guy’s brain works. I’m not suggesting he instigate a fight, but instead of letting the comments roll off his back, why doesn’t he respond back?
It sounds like you have a lot of stress on your plate, and I can see this is adding to it. But, I think you need to let your husband handle this.
Post # 5
EllasGrace20: Sounds a lot like a place I was in. This crazy girl was such a biatch and we seriously thought she had mental problems. I tried to work stuff out with her, very reasonably and adult-like, and I finally went to the boss of the place. She literally told me, “If you don’t like it here, there’s the door.” They were buddies. There was nothing I could do, but leave. Hopefully your husband can tough it out to learn some stuff and then just leave. It’s so unfortunate, but in most businesses it seems there’s nowhere to turn.
Post # 6
EllasGrace20: Tricky situation, but ultimately your DH needs to be the one to speak up for himself.
I worked in construction sales for three years, so I definitely understand the “type” you’re describing. Unfortunately, they suck. The good news is, they thrive off of reaction. Chances are, your DH is providing the reaction that this guy wants. The guy finds some type of sick pleasure in being the “big dog” on the job, and your DH’s temporary lack of knowledge puts him at a disadvantage.
He has two options, going to this supervisor or tackling it head first with the guy. IMO, I like to use upper management sparingly, but that’s just me. Some people are just boundary pushers, and once you display that you’re not a pushover, the “fun” is off and they leave you alone. Could be your DH just needs to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with the guy and then escalate it at that point if nothing changes.
Also, you really shouldn’t get involved. The guys sounds like a prick, but it doesn’t sound like abuse or harassment, just a case of the all-knowing asshole.
Post # 7
The co-worker sounds like a dick but I certainly wouldn’t go around claiming your husband is being “abused”. The guy is used to working alone and that’s probably for a reason. Some people are just naturally grumpy. You family needs this income so your husband needs to suck it up and deal or find a new job. Going to his boss will probably do more harm than good. Seniority typically rules in those professions and as of now, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Your husband is a grown man who doesn’t need his wife to fight his battles.
Post # 8
EllasGrace20: This dude sounds like a grumpy asshole and every workplace has them. It sucks your DH doesn’t have someone else to go to for his questions.
It probably seems more abrasive right now because he’s new but once he gains his footing this dude will just be another old grumpy coworker. I’m sure everyone else who works there knows exactly what this guy is like.
Your DH just needs to decide if he wants to put up with it for a little while until he’s no longer “new” or if he wants to look elsewhere. Maybe HE can go to management and let them know he isn’t able to learn from this guy and he either needs a new partner (supervisor?) or he’ll have to start looking for other work.
Post # 9
Firstly, you need to stay out of it, other than being supportive of your husband. He should not be texting you from work when his co-worker is being a jerk. It’s his job and his workplace. He needs to handle things.
His suggestion of going to his manager is spot-on but he (and you) also need to realize, there is a big difference between a co-worker who acts like a dick, and a co-worker who is abusive. Your husband’s co-worker is indeed a giant dick, but he’s not abusive.
Your husband also needs to appreciate that in most jobs, especially skilled labor/craftsmanship, having a rookie who knows nothing slows the more experienced people down. It is not fun to have a trainee, and even less fun if it is a trainee who has no clue. It makes extra work for the trainer. Your husband’s co-worker probably resents the fact that your husband was hired with no industry experience. Your husband’s co-worker probably even has friends who actually have experience and can’t find jobs. This situation can bring out some very harsh reactions and emotions. I am not excusing the co-worker’s outbursts, but I think it’s very important to understand the other person’s point of view whenever there is conflict.
A helpful technique would be: if your husband is faced with a task on which he is not quite clear, instead of just asking his co-worker what to do, he should explain what he thinks he should do. In any job, you will get better reception if you say “Hey Dave, I’ve never done this exact thing before but I was thinking if I did X, Y and Z and used this specific tool, it would be the best way. What do you think?” instead of “Dave, tell me what I need to do!”
In the long run, your husband’s co-worker is probably not going to get fired, so he is either going to have to put in some effort towards learning how the two of them can co-exist (going to the manager is a great step), or he’s going to have to find a new job.
Post # 10
Horseradish: So spot on regarding the topic of having to deal with a rookie in a skilled labor position.
My FI and I own a printing business, and when it’s busy, it can get stressful and the last thing my FI wants to do is stop and show someone how to do something that a) he can do himself or b) he can find someone to fill the position that knows what they’re doing already. It really does slow things down in that type of environment. My FI is certainly not a dick about it, or sarcastic, but he generally will just do it himself instead of stopping production to have a training session.
Post # 11
Why hire someone if you aren’t willing to put in the time to train them? As a business owner, if you’re going to the trouble to interview and hire someone, why would you not take the time to give the new hire the tools to succeed? If you can do it all yourself then don’t hire someone to help!
I agree with what a PP said–your husband needs to let him know he’s not ok with being spoken to that way, and he needs to address it head on. When a bully is called out, it’s best to show him you’re not taking any crap. If that doesn’t work then he needs to go to HR or a union rep with a grievance. While this long-term employee might be a decent worker bee for the company, he doesn’t need to be in the position to train or evaluate a new hire.
Post # 12
Horseradish: Just wanted to say, this is fantastic advice.
Post # 13
I had the same thing happen to me when I had been in a new job for two weeks. My boss was a pig, asking me to borrow money (before I had even gotten my first paycheck), putting me in a position of having to go to HR! These people don’t know anything about my work ethic, etc because I had not been there long enough for them to know me.
As it turns out, going to HR was the right thing to do, and this was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Apparently he had been carrying on an affair with a MUCH younger employee for ahwile and had made promises to her that he would protect her. He was persuading me to overlook things this person did, and she was MY direct report! If I wouldn’t have gone to HR, there is no telling how long this harrasment would have gone on. I’d encourage him to take the steps to file a grievance if speaking directly to the coworder bully doesn’t change things.
Post # 14
OP, listen to everything Horseradish said. This is not abuse. I also don’t see why the fact that this guy had a felony ten years ago is relevant. He made a mistake a decade ago. Seems like he’s had a steady job at the same company without any problems since then. My husband is 14 years sober and did a lot of stupid shit when he wasn’t. I’d hate to think that 14 years later even though he’s completely straightened his life out, it’s being used against him. This guy sounds like he keeps to himself, is an introvert, and is frustrated about having to train someone with no experience. A bit of a dick who isn’t a ‘people person’? Yeah. Abusive criminal on the edge of going postal who scares people? Not so much.
Post # 15
Oh yeah that is a really crappy situation. My boyfriend is dealing with a crazy mean boss right now and its gotten really bad also. The other day the boss called my boyfriend yelling at him and saying he was fired and calling him all the names in the book just because he didnt realise that there was more work. Pretty much the boss is crazy everyone is pretty sure he is on drugs because he is unpredictable and very mean or sometimes nice. But there is nothing really we can do other than be there for our SO and give then advice if they ask for it but it is something they have to figure out on their own. But oh i know it is hard i wanted to go down there and kick his bosses a**.