to think this is a double standard?

(54 Posts)

People at work actively berate me for being 'posh'.

I am probably middle class but have just left uni and am living independently on the lowest salary in this place (16k).

They say things to me like 'you got a plum in your mouth?' and 'saw you on Britains Got Talent on the weekend' (ref 'Lettice' with the violin). Sometimes I am on the phone to a customer and they mimick me, 'oh loooooveeely, thaaaank you' in a really shrill, Queens English accent. makes me feel like fucking shit.

If I had to give you a voice twin, it would be someone like Holly Willoughby. Certainly not as well pronounced as BBC types.

It can be a bit playground actually and they group up and do it together and I feel myself getting hot and angry and defensive (tho not saying anything ofcourse). I think I'm probably B a little U because I am sensitive to their jibes anyway (they are quite rude to me about my weight) and I know there are much bigger problems in the world but this has been going on for months and months.

what pisses me off though is imagining this going the other way. Would they dare to call someone common or compare them to people off the telly? 'Saw you on Benefits Street on the weekend'? I don't think they would. is it becoming a bad thing to not have a dialect? Do I need to lighten up?

Pinkynotperky Wed 23-Apr-14 19:24:43

I live in Bucks I'm from Oxfordshire though... People think my oxford accent is posh! Never knew I had an accent...!

Emmaroos Wed 23-Apr-14 18:04:27

It seems that when you have been clear that a topic is hurtful and off limits it doesn't reoccur. Should you have to? No, probably not, but people have different ideas of what is acceptable/funny/friendly etc. I don't agree with other suggestions that you play along or laugh it off, and I think it is unreasonable to complain to 3rd parties if you haven't been clear with the people involved. Don't play the victim. If it is affecting you enough to discuss it here, then the first step for any assertive, sensible, grown-up is to clearly state that you want it to stop. After you have done that unambiguously, then you can be clear whether people have been tactless and insensitive (as with the man who commented on your weight) or are intentionally bullying you in which case you should take action.

My DH gets lots of comments about his "poshness" too. He's a teacher at a comp. He fears one day he may just retaliate with comments about other teachers' commonness… hope that day won't come!

Well this is just it Objection and I guess my wider question on it all is when did people with no dialect, just normal, RP English accents, become unusual or at least unusually 'posh'?

And colleague never did give me an answer when I asked if he would be quite so mocking of someone that was 'common'. To me it is a bit like people being outraged at calling someone fat, yet thinking it is fine to go around telling people they are 'soooo thin' - equally shitty IMO

I always bang on about my latest bargain at Aldi and sit here rolling my cheapo fags. I might sound posh but I am so not!

Oh yes Fiscal that's another favourite actually.

Was making smalltalk with another colleague about taking my dog to the vet.
'Don't you have a butler to do it for you?'

hmm tosser. Not only does it interrupt conversations whilst I get flushed and try and defend myself, it is just so unnecessary (btw this man is in his thirties, nearly ten years older than me.)

ironically whilst I have sat here writing all this me and said colleague have had quite a good laugh this afternoon. Shame he'll probably be lambasting me mercilessly this time tomorrow!

Objection Wed 23-Apr-14 17:27:54

People do this to me A LOT. If they keep doing it reply "I'd rather sound posh than common" and smile

Best not to defend yourself ever, if being accused of poshness.

I just play up to it, and make jokes about Waitrose myself, to preempt any jokes (though really I shop at Lidl!)

They'll get bored with it.

It shows them up for being immature and insecure. Ignore it, or if you feel feisty, live up to the stereotype (if I was ever asked to make tea, I would say;" sorry but I don't know how, we have staff who that for us normally" with a smile, …and the actually not doing it)

oldgrandmama Wed 23-Apr-14 17:19:24

Oh, I used to live in Bucks. I have a 'Roedean' accent (no, I didn't go to Roedean - strictly state schools). And I'd get teased about how I spoke, so I'd roll my eyes and say, in a (bad) Cockney voice 'You ain't heard nuffink yet - I can do the Queen ...' and then mimic the usual 'My husband and I ...' routine.

Not saying it's what you should do. I was middle aged at the time, so more practised in dealing with teasing.

SarcyMare Wed 23-Apr-14 17:18:17

"i didn't mean it to be" is an apology, aplogies don't have to include the word sorry, just an admission that the intent wasn't to upset you.
So you have done it once do it again about the accent.

Pheonixisrising Wed 23-Apr-14 17:07:56

do exactly what emmaroos said and keep a log
do not walk away from this job because of these idiots. you worked hard for you degree and you have a job because of it

Emma I agree re: making my point clear. I was very very firm with one of them when he made a comment about my weight. I said 'that was really hurtful'. He said 'I didn't mean it to be', never apologised (tho apparently he said to another colleague how bad he felt...when I wasn't there...could have shoved his pride up his arse frankly)

so they do know that I have felt hurt by them in the past. I don't think I should have to explicitly tell them every time they make a knobbish comment especially as I'm NOT precious and most peoples 'banter' that's directed at me i find a) funny and b) usually true (but that is friends, family, partner). When it happens again, I absolutely will say something, but I will try and keep it light whilst making it clear that I don't like it. if that makes sense.

Emmaroos Wed 23-Apr-14 16:57:24

YANBU, but you also have a responsibility to establish clearly that you do not find this 'amusing' or consider it to be 'friendly workplace banter' before you escalate it.
If I were you I would calmly say to anyone who raises the topic that personal comments about your accent make you feel uncomfortable and that they don't have any place in the professional workplace. If you have an interest in being friendly with these people I would take them aside 1:1 and would emphasise that you know they are joking but their comments make you feel self-conscious and isolated which you are sure is not their intention; if you past wanting to be friendly then say it in front of witnesses (or via email) and let them know you are telling them so that if the comments reoccur they will not be surprised when you escalate the matter.
Hurtful personal comments are not acceptable in the workplace, and of course they shouldn't need to be told. However, the line between professional and friendly relationships can be a bit blurred when it comes to colleagues, especially in smaller workplaces, so you need to clarify your boundaries in a way that is unambiguous and fair to your colleagues even (especially?) if they are idiots.

alpaca I like your thinking but I couldn't guarantee the bastard banshees would do it on any particular phone call. it's not often i take customer calls (overspill when customer service is busy), but definitely appreciate the offer.

Yeti I haven't directly asked them to stop but I have sort of rebuffed them with trying to make them aware of what they are saying...I think because I don't do it with any kind of temper or obvious mood they think I am just a bit precious (I'm really not)

fudge I would never comment on their accent/background, and never have done, especially as i know just as little about theirs as they do mine!

JMFAO What I would give to use the Embarrassing Bodies line. Sadly I don't think it'd help my case. Maybe once I've handed in my notice grin

JMFAO Wed 23-Apr-14 16:54:22

oh yes definitely keep a record of it all.

Undercurrent Wed 23-Apr-14 16:50:40

They sound like idiots - don't know when a joke is no longer funny.
You could maybe try "were you also bully at school?" - with a genuinely interested look on your face. Maybe they don't realise they've gone past the 'banter' stage.

I agree - keep a log of everything as and when it happens, right in front of them.
When they ask what you are doing, tell them.
It must be horrible.

JMFAO Wed 23-Apr-14 16:39:20

it's bullying, they will call it male banter, if you rant they will become worse so stay cool.

I would yawn theatrically or let out a loud 'boorrrring'. If you can manage a cool and wry "well I saw you on Embarrassing Bodies, such a shame they couldn't help get you're head out from up your arse" (maybe follow up with "I hear they are changing it to 'inadequate penises' after you were on the show'). Or a good old fashioned "I'm sorry I can't tell what you're saying while you've got you're head up your arse". Or some comeback about tiny testicles or from all the attention they must fancy you, or jokingly threaten telling their wives how they treat you (stern eyebrow raise). Or just say "does X (boss) know he's paying you to take the piss out of me while you should be working?" might stop it.

wowfudge Wed 23-Apr-14 16:33:58

OP - this is definitely bullying as many other posters have said. Please don't lower yourself to their level by making comments back to them: yes to stand up to them, but don't comment on their accents and backgrounds.

AreWeThereYeti Wed 23-Apr-14 16:25:51

Have you tried directly telling them that you don't like being teased about it and would like them to stop. I know it's not always easy to do though.

No apologies or explanations just a simple 'can you please stop teasing me about my accent. I don't like it and I want you to stop'

You could consider putting it in an email although I don't know if that would be a good plan or not.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 23-Apr-14 16:13:06

I get my accent taken the piss out of all the time...and I am anything but posh. I try and give as good as i get back tbh.
I work with someone who speaks very very well, I think its lovely and I am secretly jealous and if not a bit enamoured by how well he talks.
I take the piss out him sometimes as does he over my funny accent which I am very proud of despite the piss taking. I wouldn't like being ganged up on though and everyone making fun of me, that must be upsetting.
Just give as good as you get, let them know it's upsetting you and if that doesn't work tell your manager to have a word.

AlpacaPicnic Wed 23-Apr-14 16:11:59

Sorry - a rogue 'huge' crept into that post... Ignore!

AlpacaPicnic Wed 23-Apr-14 16:11:25

Hmm, just reread your comment about them mocking you while on huge phone to a customer... Could 'a customer' make a complaint about the noise in the background of the phone call, or even better if they heard what was being said and complained about that. What if the customer thought that they were being mocked?
I'll happily be an irate customer for you, as long as I don't have to buy a fancy car or a house or summat expensive

AlpacaPicnic Wed 23-Apr-14 16:08:19

Could you trot out the mumsnet classic 'did you mean to be so rude?' but you must do it with the right attitude. Bored iciness is how I'd go.

I'd start keeping a tally. Five bar gate would work fine. Label it 'Pathetic comments about my life'

And refuse to engage with them for anything except work matters. So they would ask your brothers name for example, and you should pause for a few seconds and reply - 'do you mind, I'm trying to concentrate on this email/document/brain surgery right now'
Repeat until they get bored.

MaryWestmacott Wed 23-Apr-14 16:06:38

If it helps, in my experience, small companies that have just started up and have a nasty habit of driving away talent, tend not to last long. I'd look for a new job based off the fact you are on a very low wage, in an area that is commutable to London, and aren't enjoying your job. There seems little going for this other than it pays the bills and gives you experence, both of which you can get elsewhere.

Its crap they are driving you out, but everyone needs one soul destroying job on their CV - trick is to get to the nicer one quickly!

The blokes doing it aren't any more senior than I am tbh. We're all part of a 'team'

I'm not entirely sure about the woman that left due to bullying. I think she just found another job, and made sure to let the management know exactly why she'd gone looking. I think I will likely end up doing the same!

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