to think we should not have to tone down our frendship to suit these colleagues

(114 Posts)
whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 05:47:15

Where I work 7 of us spend part of the day in a small office all together. One of these people is our head of department, another her second and I have a less senior management role.

Our HoD has always had poor management skills and tends to undermine people and put them down. she has a poof effect on staff morale as she does not show good leadership and micromanages people (or tries to) and stifles creativity - a big part of the job. She is also poor at the other aspects of her role and this has been picked up on by her bosses. Despite this we have, in the past, got on well, as I really don't think she does what she does out of malice. She just struggles with her job.

Sorry to be blunt, but her second is a lazy, arrogant twat and most things he should do, I do, despite the fact that he is on a lot more money than me. This is another example of her poor leadership.

We generally all get on (notwithstanding the issues above!) and I get on particularly well with one of the other women and, this year, a new member of staff has joined and the three of us have a lot in common and get on well. I suppose this has changed the dynamics of the group a little and the second, who has always been fairly loud and thinks he's funny, has been a lot quieter this year. I should add that ours has always been a fairly sweary office - our job is a stressful one and we go in the office to let off steam. Everyone has joined in with this.

Another relevant point is that the Hod's undermining behaviour has got so bad thos year that the three of us have made a complaint about her to her bosses. This was done confidentially and he has spoken to her in a a fairly low-key and supportive way about this and has not told that we, or anyone, has complained.

Last night, the hod got me alone and told me that toaday she intends to send an email to me and the other two women mentioned above about our swearing in the office. she says she has had several complaints about it, which is untrue as there are not several people there and those that are would not complain and all join in with swearing at one time or another. She also said she felt the department had become divided by age! Never have we done anything to exclude others and, when she is in a good mood she joins in with us and all is fine. Seond has, imo, had his ego dented because he is no longer centre of the room.

AIBU to think we are being penalised for being young and friends. I'm not sure what to do but feel a huge row is brewing.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 24-May-13 05:54:54

How young are you?

If I'm honest, that sounds great craic when you're in your 20s, but, not very professional for a work place at all.

It's all well and good to have friendships at work, but it is a place of work first and foremost, and people carrying on like that - while great fun for them - can be incredibly annoying for anyone not in the inner clique.

Obviously there is a bigger problem in terms of your HOD's managerial style and various personality issues as well.

But at the same time, I do think that maybe you guys need to address your behaviour just as much as the others have to address theirs.

Probably time for a bit of a round table discussion, to work out how you can all work together better as a team.

StrawberryMojito Fri 24-May-13 06:00:35

You should not be so certain that nobody has complained about your behaviour. Maybe some people have joined in because they wanted to fit in. She's your boss, she wants you to stop swearing, so stop swearing.

If you are in any position of authority, yes you should try and tone down your friendship in the office. Outside of work, do what you like.

CabbageLeaves Fri 24-May-13 06:03:32

Your title says tone down our friendship. The HOD has asked for less swearing. Have you linked the two?

Toning down swearing in the workplace is very reasonable

Assuming you cannot be friends unless you can swear together is childish

It does sound as if your resentment about the leadership of the office is boiling over. It doesn't sound like this is really about either friendships or swearing however.

wankerchief Fri 24-May-13 06:05:26

Stop swearing its unprofessional.
And regardless if what you think of them the boss is in chargevand you do what they say

carabos Fri 24-May-13 07:29:38

As strawberry said, don't assume that no-one has complained about the swearing. I once worked with a woman who had a mouth like a docker. After she had been in our dept for a few days I politely and discreetly asked her to stop swearing. Her answer was to tell me not to be so silly and she thought I was much more robust than that hmm. Nothing changed. It was a power trip.

Featherbag Fri 24-May-13 07:32:43

You sound very immature. Stop the swearing if you've been asked to by your boss, whether or not you think she's a good boss is irrelevant in this situation.

AngryGnome Fri 24-May-13 07:34:59

It sounds as though there is a lot of division in your office, which isn't healthy. You say that both of your managers are useless at their jobs, and even put in complaints about your hod. You say that she micromanages her staff - maybe she does, I don't know, but equally some of the staff may need to be managed very closely if their performance is below par.

It also sounds as though a little clique is developing with the new staff member and again this is not healthy. I can understand your boss wanting to tackle this, and maybe she sees the swearing as part of this divide. Obviously some people are not happy with a sweaty office, or she wouldn't have had any complaints, and so maybe she is wanin to discuss the swearing as part of an increasing divide in your team.

Why do you need to swear? Just because one or another swears a bit maybe they do it to feel part of the "in crowd".

I'm not sure I get the jist of your post but basically, you're there to do a job. Social aspects shouldn't take over but obviously if it's having a negative impact then you need to think about it.

I'm an old gimmer in my 30s. I suspect ten years ago I would give a different response grin

AngryGnome Fri 24-May-13 07:36:41

sweary office, not sweaty - a sweaty office would be even more unprofessional wink

AngryGnome Fri 24-May-13 07:40:40

Yes, I'm an old 30s gimmer as well- my first job was in a fabulously sweary, manage your own workload come and go as you please workplace. Now I am a manager I am much more strait-laced professional!

Thesebootsweremadeforwalking Fri 24-May-13 07:41:41

People may not want to complain to you directly, it can be very intimidating to confront a clique on your own. So YABU. In any case, it's irrelevant as not swearing is a reasonable management instruction in an office environment.

Actually you should 'tone down your friendships'at work if it is affecting others. It is unprofessional otherwise. You can have fun, noone is saying otherwise, but if you are stepping over the line and making others uncomfortable and unproductive then it needs to be toned down.

Of course she might be getting back at you because she thinks you are the ones who complained but the bottom line is she is your boss so you need to do as she says. Or if you have a think about it and genuinely don't think she is being reasonable at all then get in touch with her boss again although be prepared for him to get fed up with having to sort out this bickering. Don't be so quick to say she is making up the complaints thought. Even if others join in they might well feel like you are taking it too far and affecting the team with your behaviour.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 24-May-13 07:46:49

You seem quite sure that everyone enjoys the loud banter/swearing/ letting off steam. Well obviously they don't and your boss is one person who has made this clear. The complaints may also have come from people senior to her who feel your group's behaviour is inappropriate.
and that you sound like a group of 15 year old lads after too many alcopops

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 08:29:49

I know how others feel, yes, because there are only two others apart from the two mangers I have mentioned. There are lots of reasons why I know and I was aware that the OP was getting a little long and immature sounding but, I do know how the other two people feel. Our office is enclosed and there is absolutley no way that anyone else in the organisation knows what goes in there in terms of chat. No way. So when she says 'several' people have complained, that is a bare-faced lie. Moreover, she and her second both swear and have done ever since I worked there (been there 8 years). I have adapted my style to suit theirs, not the other way round.

I am mightily pissed off about her spiteful cowardly attitude tbh. Oh, and productivity is not being affected. The three of us are more successful than her, for sure and by a long way, and, to a lesser extent than her second.

But people on here have got hung up on the swearing...

Featherbag Fri 24-May-13 08:36:34

Not so much the swearing, more that your OP makes you sound like a bitchy little girl rather than a professional woman - this is something you need to address in private discussion with your boss if you really feel she's being unfair.

LineRunner Fri 24-May-13 08:37:52

When you don't do what your boss asks, what do you expect will happen?

That's what you need to think through, I think. She will have evidence that you were politely asked to do something reasonable, and you will not have evidence that you responded to that request in a professional manner.

I would comply with her specific request about not swearing - but ask her to confirm that it applies to everyone in the office.

eccentrica Fri 24-May-13 08:47:24

You sound like a nasty, bullying, bitchy clique. Convinced you can do no wrong. It sounds pretty unpleasant for the other people who have to work with you. I would take this as an opportunity to rethink the way you are acting.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 08:51:08

If you feel that you have to tone your behaviour down because the second in command is feeling dented, yep that's annoying if he's generally crap but its also life. An age divide will probably aggravate the current management issues, so its worth putting the kibbosh on it.

A few years ago I was the third in command to two more senior colleagues who too were totally useless. I really resented the fact that they each got double or triple my salary and I was the one getting stuff done and done well. So I acted like you seem to have. Cliquey friendships, lots of swearing (which is frankly a way of asserting dominance, think of it like a cat spraying someone else's garden). It did me absolutely no good because more senior people thought I couldn't be trusted to set a professional tone, support more senior colleagues and not make decisions based on friendship. So I shot myself in the foot, and lost a promotion. Even worse, I acted like a test and still cringe about it now.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 08:52:14

Test rather than test. Although I suspect some people found me the latter. Every single day...

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 08:53:23

Twat. Stupid iPhone.

Morloth Fri 24-May-13 09:00:15

When your boss tells you to stop swearing, you do so.

I work with miners, on site they can say whatever the hell they like (and do so). In the office they are perfectly capable of adapting their behaviour to the environment.

I suggest you stop bitching about your bosses, stop acting like a bunch of school children and adjust your behaviour before you lose your job.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 24-May-13 09:01:06

I'm not hung up on the swearing at all. (nearly wrote 'sweating' grin)

I just don't think you're being penalised for 'being young and friends', I think you're being penalised for being unprofessional in a workplace.

And yes, you should tone down your friendship to suit colleagues in a work place.

Your very thread title shows a rather significant lack of nous.

EuroShaggleton Fri 24-May-13 09:06:22

I agree with a number of other posters. You sound very immature and your behaviour sounds unprofessional.

GobTheGoblin Fri 24-May-13 09:13:36

Maybe people walking past your office have heard the swearing and complained. Or more likely the bosses you complained to about her, have told her to sort the swearing out because they think it's unprofessional and have just used your complaining to them as the impetus to sort several things out at once.

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