(Closed) NWR: Workplace abuse

posted 8 years ago in Career
  • poll: suggestions?
    Confront Your Co-Workers : (10 votes)
    30 %
    Push Through : (3 votes)
    9 %
    Quit : (15 votes)
    45 %
    Other : (5 votes)
    15 %
  • Post # 3
    342 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 1991


    I completely understand.  As a matter of fact, I’m going to try to PM you tonight and tell you my situation if you are interested. 

    I’m sorry you are going through this, and no, you are not paranoid!  Unfortunately some people become bullied in certain offices.

    Post # 4
    3576 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I’d hardly say that you’re still the newbie since you’ve been working there over 8 months?!

    HR is HR. I would go and discuss this situation.  If they breech your conversation I’m sure you can take action of some sort.  I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time.  I hope things get better for you.

    Post # 5
    544 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    If I were you, I’d look for another job on the side while keeping employed at this one.

    Post # 6
    342 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 1991

    I agree with both Steph and Lilac.  Unfortunately, HR wasn’t much help in my situation, but every place is different.  I think it is a good idea to look for another job while you have this one.

    Post # 7
    5823 posts
    Bee Keeper

    I was just reading an article on bullying.  There’s very little research which shows exactly why people bully other people.  The article referenced self-esteem, among other things.  But the common thread I saw (which was never explicitly stated, sadly) is that bullies tend to pick on people that others are not willing to stand up for.  They pick on someone because they are “deficient” in some social capacity that precludes others from wanting to stand up for them or next to them.

    In your case, I’d call this behavior “bullying.”  I think you need to take the opportunity at the next staff meeting to ask everyone point blank why they do these things.  Be sure to mention explicity:

    • Why do you belittle me when I ask questions about procedure?  Would you prefer I didn’t ask and completed my tasks incorrectly?
    • Why do you pile your work on my desk so you can take extended lunches?
    • Why do you text each other inappropriate messages about me at work, in my presence?
    • How can I improve as a business professional?

    Be sure to have concrete examples of these.  Write it down for a week if you have to.  Use current examples, don’t bring up things from months ago.  Avoid any references to social things that aren’t related to work.  Don’t ask about your birthday or going out after work.  Keep it strictly professional.

    They will probably still make fun of you.  But after you confront them, it will either be to your face, or behind your back.  If it’s behind your back, you won’t see it, maybe it won’t irritate you as badly.  If it’s to your face, keep a record of it to bring to HR.  Workplace bullying is against the law.

    When I’ve seen this work, people realized they were being a-holes for no reason.  The person called them out (kinda shamed them actually) and they figured out that she wouldn’t be bullied into quitting and she wasn’t going to do their work for them anymore.  She was never really accepted, but work became bearable, and they didn’t dump tasks to her anymore.

    PS-In no way should you threaten anyone.  Just bring up their unacceptable behavior and make them question why they do it.

    Post # 8
    3526 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2010


    I agree. People do not change. Going to HR would aggravate the situation. Yes, HR should technically keep it between you & them. But it doesn’t sound like the kind of company that would keep that confidentiality.

    I would look for another job and quit when you find the new one.


    Post # 9
    2077 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    My Fiance quit a job that paid EXTREMELY well because of an issue like this.  He would come home depressed for weeks after it started happening.  His coworkers were a bit more forward about it…calling him nasty names to his face and making jokes about him while sitting next to him.  Disgusting.

    I’d be looking for a new job, like yesterday.  I wouldn’t have been able to put up with what you have been for 8 months (seriously, kudos on having thick skin!  Mine shreds like paper…).  I’m sure having a fulfilling job that leaves you feeling good about yourself at the end of the day, even if it’s less than what you’re paid now, is 20 gazillion times better than what you’re going through now.

    I hope everything works out for you, whatever you choose to do.  🙂

    Post # 10
    1995 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    Is there anyone else you can talk to besides HR?  I honestly have no clue what I’d do in this situation.  I’d say go as high up as you can to get this resolved?  I’m not sure you mentioned but are these all men bullying?  Are there any women high in the company you could speak with?

    Post # 11
    870 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    Maybe it’s just me but I would handle this differently. Some of these things are a little too unsubstantiated to take to HR or a boss. (You say that you hear text messages and people laughing and that people talk within earshot about “young people”. I’m not saying that you’re not right about your interpretation of these events–ie. that it’s about you–it’s just going to be hard to prove and for HR to actually do something besides listen and offer advice you’d need more.)

    For things like saying: “Good Morning” you need to direct it at someone. Maybe pause at a desk, and smile and say: “Good morning, Tim.” It’s that whole pack mentality thing. If you say a general comment everyone feels free to ignore you because you could be talking to anyone. Tim can’t ignore you though because you’re looking directly at him and you used his name. 

    For asking questions I would take the approach of something like: “Everyone said you were the expert on this so I’m coming to the source. How do I…” it’s harder to be mean, or laugh at someone who just complimented you. If they do still laugh at you or roll their eyes or whatever they do that’s when I would be direct and confront them. ie. “I’ve come to you with questions the last two days and you’ve sighed and rolled your eyes each time. I don’t want to burden you but this is part of my job. Is there something we can do to reduce your issues with my questions? Send only one email with a list of questions at the end of the day? Direct me to someone else with more time?” Most people will realize they’re being rude and apologize/explain that the frustration is about something else. Then you can call them on it if it happens again. 

    The birthday/going out after work thing–it’s not work related so I wouldn’t bother with it. But if you really want that you’re going to have to bring it up. Invite yourself to drinks if you hear people talking about it. ie. “Oh is this a work happy hour? Do you guys mind if I tag along?” 

    I would basically try being aggressively nice until people finally shut up. If someone blames a mistake on you I would just smile and look confused and say: “Oh I’m sorry I think you’re mistaken. I didn’t work on that at all. But I can certainly look into it and try to find out exactly how that mistake happened.” I used to use that one all the time. And then I would actually do it and find out how the error occured and go back to them. “I looked into the matter we were talking about earlier. Strangely you are the last person who edited that document on that day. Maybe you uploaded the wrong file?”

    Especially when a person knows that the error is theirs that’s a really powerful way to get people to stop blaming you. 

    Good luck.

    Post # 12
    1222 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing w/ this. I quit a job because of this sort of treatment. Along w/ lilacwire, I advice a job search while still employed. No one deserves to be treated this way.  

    I find it odd they’re giving you shit for “being so young” when there’s only a 3 year difference between you and another person.

    Post # 13
    2867 posts
    Sugar bee

    I’d suggest seeking employment elsewhere.  Mostly because if you mention to HR or someone else there, they might find a “reason” to terminate your employment or give you a really bad recommendation with a future employer.  Do your best right now to stay positive, focus on specific pieces of work and look forward to your weekends. 

    Post # 14
    2742 posts
    Sugar bee

    @Taylor4: I totally ditto this. I am so sorry you are going through this but I would start being a bit more aggressive and not just sit down and let them steamroll all over you. This place sounds like a place that they are all up in each other’s biz so don’t even bother going to  HR unless you want to give them more ammunition. If you care so much, then be nice to them… don’t be quiet. Invite yourself out when they are going out (if you care, I personally don’t socialize with my co-workers but then they are a lot, having 12 is less). Sit down and have lunch with someone when they are eating. Ask specific questions. Also, you can make a comment about if someone texts “Ha ha, are you texting her abou the comment I just made?’ Let them know that you know how they are behaving. I can’t STAND when people behave this way at an age when they should know better.

       I went to a single sex school and that herd mentality was hard when I was a teenager. Now as a hard nosed New Yorker, you bet I won’t let you get away with that.

       Lastly, you have to really ask yourself why you want to be friends with these people? I would put on my headphones and just face my job. It’s an 8hr work day. I don’t know, I like my co-workers enough but nyeh, I can live without them. I would be hurt though if they had a party for EVERYONE but me. I would so mention it 🙁

    Post # 15
    1088 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    If you hate it and are unhappy I say seek out a new job. It’s important that you are happy and it doesn’t seem like these people will change.

    Post # 16
    3788 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I think previous posters have given some really good advice, but I know if it were me, I would be sending out resumes and looking for something else. We spend half or more of our time awake at work; it should be a place where you are at least comfortable if not happy. Good luck.

    The topic ‘NWR: Workplace abuse’ is closed to new replies.

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