Crap day at work. Have I been stupid and cocked this right up?(86 Posts)
At work today finishing up in one department before moving on to start helping out in another. A male colleague that I'm friendly with suddenly ran up behind me, grabbed onto my face and wiped the wet sleeves of his filthy outdoor work coat all over me. His department works outside so they have to wear waterproof high vis coats - they don't have their own individual coats, they get worn by any member of staff who needs them and pegged up in the warehouse when not being used. They don't get cleaned very often and frankly, they're disgusting. This member of staff knows that I have some issues with cleanliness and germs. It's not debilitating and I wouldn't have said it ever negatively impacts my day-to-day life, but it is 'obvious' enough for most people at work to recognise that I can be a bit particular at times.
Suffice to say that when this person, who I have always counted as a friend, grabbed my face this morning I felt myself panic quite a lot. I became quite tearful for a number of reasons - the thought of all the germs on my face, the thought of having 5 hours to go before I could get home and wash my face properly, the terror I felt at being grabbed and surprised (I was sexually assaulted as a teen and don't always do well with male contact, though obviously nobody at works knows about this), and feeling generally quite hurt that he'd done it knowing I have a few ...issues. My knee jerk reaction was to shout "What are you dong? Don't ever do that to me again!" quite loudly and also very forcefully. Totally out of character for me being the usually too nice wet blanket that I am. He was evidently taken aback by my reaction and tried to say that the coat was clean and that I should calm down, at which point I yelled that that was no excuse and he had no right to do that to me. He skulked off looking a bit bemused and I went to the toilets and burst into tears, feeling like my heart was actually going to come through my chest.
I spent the rest of the day with my makeup smeared, scratching at my face (which has cracked and bled in several places) and feeling very jumpy. As soon as I got myself cleaned up and calm enough I went to start helping out in the other department, at which point my manager, who I get on very well with, instantly asked me what was wrong. Said manager hired me several years ago and we have a good working relationship. He knows me better than anyone else at work and after some pressing, I explained what had happened. He became quite angry on my behalf, fully understanding how the situation would make me feel. He asked me if I wanted him to have words with the colleague, I said no and that I'd dealt with it. He told me to take 10 and go have a cup of tea, which I did, and then I powered on with work.
At the end of my shift as I was leaving the building, my colleague approached, got quite in my face and said "If you've got a fucking problem in future, come and speak to me about it. Don't get XXXXXX to do it for you and don't bother speaking to me again."
I can only assume my manager felt strongly enough about the situation that he did in fact, go and have words with him. And now my colleague is upset with me. I couldn't help my reaction and I can't help how I feel. I wish I was the kind of person who could just laugh that off as a joke, but I can't. I don't find it funny. I think it's cruel to play practical jokes on people you know have certain limitations, and who will ultimately struggle with it afterwards. At the same time, I fully recognise that these are my limitations and I wonder if I've seriously messed up today? Was I wrong or unreasonable to call him on it and should I have just kept my mouth shut, both to him and to my manager? I didn't say anything with the aim of getting him into trouble
Your colleague was in the wrong and was rightly told it wasn't acceptable. His reaction means he knows he was out of order..
YNBU here, your colleague was completely out of order!
I don't see what you may have done wrong. Sure maybe you overreacted but your colleague is annoyed because he got called out on his childish and unprofessional behaviour. You only spoke up when directly asked.
I'd go back to you manager and say that the staff member approached you quite aggressively and warned you not to speak to your boss.
He's a wanker, don't give him headspace
You weren't unreasonable at all. His behaviour was a disgrace. Well done for reporting it (and well done to your manager for dealing with it appropriately). You have nothing to feel bad about - he should feel mortified, and owes you a grovelling apology. I'm sorry this happened.
I would be really peed off if anyone did this to me, so think you are being entirely reasonable, as does your boss.
He needs to accept there are consequences to acting like a wanker. A reprimand and the loss of your goodwill are those consequences.
Any considerate person would realise their 'prank' had gone wrong and apologised.
I'd prepare a response if he speaks to you again - its usual to apologise after being an arse, not compound it!
Sorry you've had such a bad day.
Wipey Guy can go jump. You did (quite rightly!) have a problem with what he did, and you did say something to him. So tough luck to him - he'll just have to get over having that bad decision.
I'd probably attempt to avoid him for the next couple of days, if possible. But just act polite & professional if you do see him.
I would be horrified if anyone did that to me! Surely it's gross misconduct?!
Fuck your colleague. He is a nasty fucker. You need to tell your manager that he approached you like that. I know you don't want to cause a fuss but you really do I'm afraid.
it's ok to be angry about it. It was a horrible thing to do to someone and he doubled down on that by the way he reacted after your manager spoke to him.
I hope you're feeling better now.
Wow. I'd report him for the second thing as well. He is definately not a nice guy.
I have no issues with cleanliness (frankly, I'm disgusting) and have never been assaulted, but I would have reacted in the same way. He was in the wrong and I'm glad your manager stuck up for you. It's his fault, not yours.
That was a horrible thing to do and how dare he speak to you like that! You did nothing wrong. Getting in your face aggressively is unacceptable and I would raise this too
Your colleague was in the wrong and was rightly told it wasn't acceptable. His reaction means he knows he was out of order. this
and this I'd go back to you manager and say that the staff member approached you quite aggressively and warned you not to speak to your boss.
Your colleague is a dick. He should be the one feeling bad.
I'm really surprised that he did it. He's always been quite understanding with me in the past - kindly even. He has a habit of always offering people a mint or a sweetie whenever he's passing by, and when he worked out I wouldn't take any from an open packet that other people had taken from, he started carrying a small packet of individually wrapped sweets knowing I'd take one of those. It's utterly daft sounding I know, but that lovely little gesture is so at odds with what he did today. He's never touched me before and that really shook me up. He's a big guy and I felt myself shrinking back from him as I was leaving work
OP you clearly did say it to his face and you can tell whoever you like so no, you've done nothing wrong. He's displayed a massive lack of judgement twice in the same day. Unless he genuinely realises why it angered you so much and apologises then I wouldn't bother speaking to him unless purely for work purposes.
It sounds like he was trying to be funny (har har) rather than malicious and it was stupid and of course backfired massively. His subsequent response to your manager pulling him up for it is abusive and threatening and I think you need to go back to your manager and make a formal complaint - it's completely unacceptable for him to behave that way. The correct response from him would have been "I'm sorry".
As above. I would feel violated if someone dis that to me.
Perhaps your line manager knows of other occasions this person has acted badly towards a member of staff and this time they couldn't let it pass.
Hope tomorrow is a better day.
You're not in the wrong. Your colleague behaved completely inappropriately in a work setting. I don't think he's the nice person he usually portrays himself to be. Stop kicking yourself and thinking you did something wrong, you didn't. Being grabbed like that would shake me up without the issues around germs etc.
That was appalling behaviour from your colleague. I'd be furious if anyone did that to me, or any staff I line manage. Please tell your line manager about him swearing at you and warning you off speaking to anyone higher about his conduct.
If he was genuinely a nice guy and it was a joke that went wrong (though even with my most generous head, I can't see it) then he should have been mortified at realising you were upset and apologised massively.
You are not overreacting.
I'd go back to you manager and say that the staff member approached you quite aggressively and warned you not to speak to your boss. - THIS! Your colleague is an arsehole.
Absolutely mention the guy's follow-up to your manager.
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