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.

ZZZenagain Fri 24-May-13 09:13:39

are you sure she doesn't know that a complaint was made and hasn't figured out it was you 3?

ExcuseTypos Fri 24-May-13 09:13:50

I'm afraid you sound like my 17 year old when she had a Saturday job.

As I said to her, working isn't about friendships. It's about work.
Stop spending so much time thinking about who's said what and who's done what, concentrate on yourself doing a better job.

Cosmosim Fri 24-May-13 09:14:39

If you want to be petty and bitchy, at least do it professionally. If shes having private conversations with you, email her after a "recap" of your understanding of what was said and confirmation it is correct so that you have a paper trail and not a she said-I-said scenario. be positive about the no profanity rule and mention you look forward to her and your other manager setting the expected tone in the office environment and leading by example. Then in following 2 weeks, write notes of time/swear words any time either breaks their own rules. Make sure you and your friends adhere to new policy 100% and not swear at all. Email your concerns after 2 weeks with your documentation and cc her boss. If you really want to be petty. If they however actually stop swearing... Then maybe she's just doing her job. Perhaps someone pulled her up on the swearing and she's now trying to correct her mistakes and set the right tone for her dept.

DoJo Fri 24-May-13 09:16:13

People have focussed on the swearing because that is what you have been confronted about, and whilst it's perfectly possible that everyone has joined in at some point, if you three are the constants in that situation then it probably is too much. In the same way, I used to work with two temps, who had a job which was fairly boring and in no way required their brains to be engaged. However, they talked loudly and boisterously all the time, which really disrupted the office. Now from their point of view, everybody else talked at various points during the day, and occasionally a team discussion would get a little loud, and they could do their jobs perfectly well without needing to be quiet, but they were the only ones who were always talking and that made it difficult to concentrate for everyone else.

Could this be the situation you are in? You might not need to be quiet to get your work done, but that doesn't mean others wouldn't appreciate a little peace. And swearing can be infuriating when done purely for effect - I can't imagine that normal conversation actually involves enough swearing for it to be an issue (and I do swear a lot myself) so perhaps you are feeling annoyed because it's embarrassing to be called on something like that.

WorraLiberty Fri 24-May-13 09:16:34

I don't see how you can call her spiteful and cowardly because she wants you to tone down the swearing?

Especially since you and your 2 friends have all been behind her back and complained about her. That's your right of course, but unless it's a complete and utter coincidence that you all complained separately without's pretty obvious that you 3 have all been discussing her behind her back.

The whole thing sounds very immature.

HeathRobinson Fri 24-May-13 09:17:22

Well it won't hurt you to tone down the swearing, will it?

Why do you do the tasks the second bloke's supposed to do?

Fairylea Fri 24-May-13 09:17:28

To be honest you shouldn't really have such a clique of friends at work that it leaves someone else excluded. Keep socialising on that level to outside work and make sure you make efforts to include everyone you work with even if you don't like them. It's just good manners.

And there is no need for swearing.

Clearly someone is uncomfortable, so just stop. Your boss has asked you to.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 24-May-13 09:17:55

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.

On the one hand, you're certain that she doesn't know that all three of you have complained about her (who else would have?!)...

And yet, you're also certain that no-one's complained about you.

Lots of complaints being made by the Invisible Man, then...

DaveDeeDozyBeakyMickAndTitch Fri 24-May-13 09:18:53

Your office sounds really fucking horrible. Do as your boss asks, and grow the fuck up.

ZZZenagain Fri 24-May-13 11:03:33

my guess is that Nr 2 in the office has complained to Nr 1 about the situation since you say he has been sidelined and has gone quiet. Then Nr 1 got a talking to from the boss (she will know someone has complained otherwise how does the boss know about this?) and she discussed the office situation with the boss including complaints of Nr 2 and remarked on the excessive swearing etc. She then got the message to speak to your gang of 3 about it.

Floggingmolly Fri 24-May-13 11:27:14

You say "joining in with the swearing" as if it's not only an activity in itself, but is also a fundamental part of your friendship confused
Why is the ability to swear uninhibitedly in the workplace so important to you?

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 11:31:45

Thanks for comments.

I really don't want to reveal the job we are in as I think it will make the thread go off on a tangent, but I want to emphasise that there is absolutely no way anyone more senior than us knows about the situation in our office. No one else comes near us. Also, we don't do the main aspect of our job in the office and are mainly in there at lunchtime - sorry, I should have said that earlier. That is why I am so cross beacuse we are basically being told how to behave during unpaid time. This is how I know we are not really disturbing the working atmosphere.

I think it's good advice to stop swearing ourselves and note any infactions by the head and her second. We will do that.

I know I'm coming across like a bit if a twat but, really, the behaviour of these two has been horrible throughout the year and now it feels like they have found a way to get back at us. Yes, I certainly think she knows about the complaints.

StuntGirl Fri 24-May-13 11:36:23

A colleague used to sleep on his lunch break. He was told off by the manager and told not to do it anymore. His reasoning was that it looks unprofessional if visitors come into the workplace. Just because it's your lunch hour doesn't mean you can do what you want, its still on work premises.

Morloth Fri 24-May-13 11:38:12

We can only go on your words, if a bunch of unbiased strangers are telling you your behaviour is off, based entirely on your side of the story then I think it is a fair bet that your behaviour is off.

It isn't that hard to behave in a professional way.

EldritchCleavage Fri 24-May-13 12:15:36

Be canny rather than confrontational. There probably are some rows brewing, because the problems you've mentioned will come to a head eventually. Just make sure you are in a strong position when they do.

That means, don't dismiss this issue out of hand. You probably could tone things down a bit. You could also stop doing No.2's work for him-tell the boss this and let him sink or swim. Make sure you do a good job and your behaviour at work is irreproachable, and let those chickens come home to roost.

I do sympathise-my mother had an incompetent boss for her last few years at work and found it a complete nightmare.

Pendipidy Fri 24-May-13 12:16:19

I bet you are teachers? Not that it matters, just amusing myself :-)

CelticPixie Fri 24-May-13 12:25:32

OP, no disrespect but you do sound a bit up your own arse if you don't mind me saying?

Tee2072 Fri 24-May-13 12:26:08

I would imagine that when she was spoken to by her boss, which sounds like it happened in a very wishy washy way, he said 'you need to X Y and Z' and she thought 'Oh no, they swear too much!' and missed what he actually said because she's been concerned about it.

So stop swearing and start acting professional. Even if you're on your lunch, in the office you need to act professional. Or go elsewhere for your lunch.

tomorowisanotherday Fri 24-May-13 12:28:54

one person can be so offended they make multiple complaints. i don't think swearing is acceptable in an work environment.... they pay the money, they get to say whether you can swear there or not.

fromparistoberlin Fri 24-May-13 12:32:25

yup YABU

grow up, work, be professional and dont have cliques at work

MidniteScribbler Fri 24-May-13 12:32:55

For the second time tonight I'm posting: "Grow the fuck up".

saffronwblue Fri 24-May-13 12:33:24

I think her complaint about swearing is shorthand for "you are in a noisy clique with your own injokes and others are excluded." It is easier to pick up on the swearing, although it is a symptom, not the main problem.

WestieMamma Fri 24-May-13 12:33:33

I think it's good advice to stop swearing ourselves and note any infactions by the head and her second. We will do that.

This bit of your last post worries me. Firstly because it seems that you think you should be policing the actions of your managers. It's like you don't accept being subordinate to them. Secondly 'we will do that' sounds like you're very much a clique, and an unpleasant one at that.

Sounds like a fun place to work. You are only in your office at lunch time, and you are not paid for any time spent outside the office?

So, you are paid to come in and eat? confused

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 12:40:21

She's your manager and she's asked you to tone the swearing down. So tone the swearing down. I don't see the big problem.

Whether you think she is lying about the reason or there is a subtext going on is irrelevant. Asking people to tone down the swearing on work premises (even in your lunch hour) is a perfectly reasonable thing for a manager to ask.

I understand that if there is a back story you might find it irritating but tough. Tone the swearing down and she won;t be able to use it against you, or go out to the pub at lunchtime and behave how you like.

Cosmosim Fri 24-May-13 12:50:07

Westie, I think she missed the point in my post - I don't think the manager will be swearing. Perhaps manager did set the tone and these three followed, but the point is, the manager is now setting (the correct) tone and they're resisting.

Also OP if you complained, then people DO know what's going on in your dept. Don't be so naive as to think your top manager took your version of events as the whole truth and acted on them.

ballstoit Fri 24-May-13 12:56:42

If you don't like the office lunchtime rules, don't stay in the office at lunchtime confused

squeakytoy Fri 24-May-13 13:00:04

"I really don't want to reveal the job we are in as I think it will make the thread go off on a tangent"

or it will make OP look even more unprofessional! grin

flowery Fri 24-May-13 13:02:21

How are you being penalised? You are being asked to tone down the swearing, which is a perfectly reasonable request.

They are canvassers, I bet.

The come back to the "office" at lunchtime and they let of steam like "Friggin numpties dont care about our sheep for sausages appeal"

or "I got 50 nimwits signed up for Radiators to help poor freezing Norsemen, Yah! Buckaroo!" etc

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 13:30:53

workers at a soft play area?

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 13:40:00

I have worked in a place where it has been split by age and it is a really horrible environment to work in.

Ever since that experience i have made a concious effect to make sure everyone mixes and joins in because i hate divided workplaces - what seems funny and a good time to one half is very annoying to the other half.

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 13:42:21

Westiemamma I realise it does sound a little sinister when you quote it like that but I am just trying to be brief while on here. But, since you mention it, no, I don't really accept being subordinate to her as she is frankly incompetent. Since I have worked there (8 years) it has been well known across the organisation. I know it makes me sound 'up my own arse', as someone so kindly put it, but I do resent the fact that these two are being paid more than me. When they are also rude, it just makes it even worse. And I do believe my boss will swear because she is always doing it! In fact, she swore just before having the word with me last night!

Quintessential I think you have misundrestood. We are not paid when we are on lunch, which is the main time we are in the office.

I can't go out at lunchtime as we only get 35 minutes and there is nowhere near enough to go. Also, I don't usually take the full amount of time.

Royalmailer Fri 24-May-13 13:42:49

Are you a teacher OP? "Office" is subject department office?

Viviennemary Fri 24-May-13 13:44:26

I think swearing in the office is totally unacceptable and unprofessional. You seem to have little respect for your boss and her deputy. I think you sound like any Manager's nightmare.

Floggingmolly Fri 24-May-13 13:50:53

Why have you continued to work for 8 years for a boss who's competence you question; while picking up the slack for her deputy who is apparently incompetent too? Why not go somewhere else where your undoubted talents will be recognised?
You might even find a company that allows you to swear with gay abandon while you run the place work there.

DaveDeeDozyBeakyMickAndTitch Fri 24-May-13 14:02:13

Superiority complex, much?

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 14:05:03

I have a lot of loyalty to the organisation itself and do not have to spend a lot of time in the day with my boss. Her second has only been there three years and, I will add to the general consensus on here that I am being arrogant by saying that, when I recently told the head of the organisation that I was thinking of leaving, he offered me more money to stay. So, yes, I am confident in saying that I am well-regarded. Tbh, I don't think she liked the fact this pay rise was behind her back and presented as a fait accompli without any input from her. In addition, I think her second may know and also feels threatened by this. I just feel it's spite.

DaveDeeDozyBeakyMickAndTitch Fri 24-May-13 14:24:28

It may well be spite, but it doesn't alter the fact that she is your boss.

And you have been plenty spiteful towards her in a few of your posts.

Cosmosim Fri 24-May-13 14:37:09

So you were there 5 years but instead of promoting you, they brought someone more senior in, pay him more and you feel you have been doing his job for the last 3 years? And stayed when you got a slight pay raise by going above your manager's head? Do you not see how you are coming across? If you can come across like this in your writing to strangers, how disrespectful are you to your manager in real life?

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 14:52:35

Cosmosim When the promotion came up 5 years ago, I decided not to apply as I was about to go on maternity leave. It just came up at the wrong time for me. They couldn't promote me without my applying for it, so your assumption is way off there. Yes, since I came back I have picked up more and more slack from him.

I have no idea why you are assuming that the pay rise I got three weeks ago, not three years ago, is 'slight'. I gave no indication of how much it was worth. I did not go above my manager's head to get it. It is protocol where I work to go to the overall head of the organisation if you are thinking of leaving. That was what I did, never believing for a second he would do what he did. If I had asked for a rise I would not have got one, so don't start reading between the lines and saying I have pushed myself above her like that, because I haven't. In fact, the head of the organisation complemented me on my professionalism.

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 14:54:11

Oh, I see what you mean. I didn't just say i was thinking of leaving to see what he would say. A particular job had come up in my field and I told him I was going to apply, as per protocol. Sorry for the misunderstanding - I see now how it looked the way I originally put it.

arabesque Fri 24-May-13 14:58:03

You are coming across as very schoolgirlish OP. Also, cliqueiness in work can be very annoying and get people's backs up. You can have particular friends in work without making other people feel excluded. There's a bunch of people where I work who are a bit younger than the rest of us and tend to stick together all the time, go for breaks and lunch at separate times from everyone else etc and it looks very immature and gets on other people's nerves a bit.

GobTheGoblin Fri 24-May-13 15:04:31

You may have loyalty to the organisation, but it sounds as though you have no respect for your immediate superiors.

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 15:05:16

No, well, respect has to be earned doesn't it?

GobTheGoblin Fri 24-May-13 15:11:04

Err no, in order to demand respect we must first learn to show respect.

curryeater Fri 24-May-13 15:14:46

Sorry, but in the nicest possible way, you three sound very annoying.

1 - just stop swearing, that is a perfectly reasonable request, it is very likely some people who would not say so your face find it a bit much
2 - your friendship is for outside work time. Take it to the pub. Good for you that you have found good friends through work but your friendship is for outside work; within work you have a pleasant professional relationship, as you should with everyone.
3. this is nothing to do with the shortcomings of people senior to you. This is about your behaviour and has been completely professionally communicated to you, by people who have the right and, in fact, duty, to do so.
4. One of the MOST ANNOYING THINGS IN THE WORLD is junior members of staff who REFUSE to believe you, and argue with you, when you tell them that certain things they are doing are not ok at work. "Yebbut," they say, "Iknowbut..." and they basically tell you "It is ok because I want to do it and I feel like it and all my friends are like this". You just want to say: You don't know everything, I know you don't know everything, how could you goddammit, but I am 20 years older than you and I do know a bit more and I AM TELLING YOU THIS BECAUSE I AM RIGHT AND I WANT TO HELP YOU AND THIS IS INFORMATION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

OP, if you carry on at work like you are you will just look like a dick and it won't do you any favours.

SueDnym Fri 24-May-13 15:18:00

OP, if you carry on at work like you are you will just look like a dick and it won't do you any favours.

Like it has one here, frankly.

BrianButterfield Fri 24-May-13 15:18:52

I bet you're teachers - why not go somewhere else (someone's room?) at lunchtime? Different departments and staff rooms have different atmospheres - I avoid my dept office as it is too strait-laced for me but in one staffroom it's very much 'anything goes' and a real letting-off-steam place. People who prefer a quieter vibe go to one of the other staff rooms, but I wouldn't go in there and swear. (In my experience school offices and staff rooms are quite sweary; it comes from bottling it up and being polite to children all day! We have a fair bit of swearing even in dept meetings, although we are all v professional in public!)

AlanMoore Fri 24-May-13 15:24:17

The smart thing to do would be buy a nice jolly swear box and make everyone put a coin in when they swear. Try and rebuild some sense of community?

I have sympathy re incompetent superiors, I work in an organisation that frequently rewards the lazy, stupid and unpleasant, but you are coming across as a bit of a nob I'm afraid.

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 15:33:29

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are. The atmosphere in the office, in terms of how sweary and loud it is, is exactly the same now as it ever has been. This is why it is so annoying - we are being told off due to jealousy, basically.

Why are people making assumptions about my age? I am younger than the 2 seniors and older than my two friends.

I'm a knob. Ok. The head of the organisation clearly doesn't think so, does he? But let's all overlook the fact I was given a pay rise not to leave. That counts for nothing does it?

curryeater Fri 24-May-13 15:42:52

whysogrumpy, just let go of all this resentment for a second, about how great you are, and how dare they tell you what to do, etc etc. I am sure you are wonderful at your job, dear, but here is two tips:

- being broadly speaking good at your job (or even excellent) does not mean you are perfect and never annoy anyone. In some organisations, the friction caused by annoyance can completely outweigh the excellence of your work and you will cease to get credit for it.

- this is the one that people like you find really hard. Please try to read this aloud in your head slowly and think about it: if someone tells you there is a problem, there is a problem. It will be something to do with you, even if your instincts about it not being to do with you in exactly the way they say are correct. It is still to do with you, and there is still a problem, and it is something you have to pay attention to, and there is no point - no point - in sticking your fingers in your ears saying "la la la la I am happy with this situation so there can't be a problem and they are just JEALOUS or something". If someone tells you there is a problem, there is a problem.

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Fri 24-May-13 15:43:39

Not teachers at all.

Lap dancers I'd say!!

JeanPaget Fri 24-May-13 15:52:06

I think you sound unprofessional. No matter how wonderful you think your performance is (hmm) you are subordinate to this woman and being bitter about it isn't going to change anything. You were given a pay rise not a promotion, she is your superior.

You need to take a telling.

SueDnym Fri 24-May-13 15:55:43

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Finally, she gets it! Welcome to the wonderful world of work, my dear.

StuntGirl Fri 24-May-13 16:07:09

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Quite simply, yes. You can raise the issue with your superiors and see if they resolve it, put up with it, or leave. What you don't get to do is act like a spoilt child because you don't like someone's management style.

EldritchCleavage Fri 24-May-13 16:08:40

Yup, that's why incompetent bosses are such a nightmare-you do have to put up with them.

If you even appear to be disregarding your boss(es) or putting yourself above them, it will do you no end of harm. No matter how much the senior boss likes and rates you now, if you appear to be disregarding the heirarchy and doing what you want regardless of polite ad ostensibly reasonable requests your stock will do downhill fast. That's why I suggested you should be canny in my first post.

Pancakeflipper Fri 24-May-13 16:13:16

Yes an incompetent boss can tell you to stop swearing.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 16:25:22

iWhysogrumpy, I have sympathy, I used to think like you. But, I promise you this, it will get you nowhere except for more frustrated.

I had an incompetentboss. He used to make any number of reasonable requests - that I be more patient with a particularly dimwitted colleague, that I provide him with briefings on stuff he could have found in the two minutes he took to ask me, etc. I used to fight against them. But it didn't make melook any better or make him any less inincompetent. And actually pushing against things which are reasonable but mildly annoying is more energy sappingand frustrating than just doing them.

Also, remember that while your boss may appear incompetent to you they are there for a reason. They may bring skills to the smt which you don't see, they may even be decent leaders in that their incompetence forces others such as you to do their best. Or they may be there because either people more senior haven't noticed their incompetence or can't get rid of them. In none of those scenarios is resentment and aggravation going to make the blindest bit of difference. By all means address specific concerns which can be dealt with with their superiors. But if you can't handle it you either have to work so hard and so well, including things like not swearing, to get promoted over them or you have to find another job elsewhere.

BridgetBidet Fri 24-May-13 16:25:49

Right. So you are complaining that your boss undermines you. Yet you are loudly complaining that she is completely incompetent at her job, you would be much better at it and you and your little mates are ganging up together to make complaints about her.

It's not for you to decide whether she's doing her job properly or not, it's for her seniors to decide. Quite frankly you sound like you are disgruntled because despite being there '8 years' (as you keep telling us) you have not been promoted to a position of seniority and you don't get paid as much as you like. Judging from your attitude on here it's quite clear why this is, you're not cut out for being a senior member of staff, you like mucking about and bitching with your mates and wouldn't be competent in the job and would probably show favouritism and create a cliquey office with a bad atmosphere because of your immaturity should you be promoted. Which is why you haven't been. Rather than blaming and undermining your boss because of that why don't you look at your own behaviour?

It sounds like you're trying to get your boss sacked. To be honest from your nasty comments and your cliquey excluding behaviour even if you succeed in that you haven't a hope of getting promoted.

If you're that bitter because you haven't been promoted I would suggest looking for a job elsewhere, because your behaviour will have been noted and you won't have a chance in hell of getting it where you are now.

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

You can turn this around and say:
"If someone is your junior you have to put up with how they are, regardless of how annoying they are (unless outright offensive), ^as long as they are doing a good job^". Seems like you are in this category op. Your superior is asking you to reel in the offensive swearing.

Because if you were annoying and incompetent you would also be out of a job.

To be honest, many years ago (actually a decade and a half and some), I could not stand my then director, I found her incompetent and annoying, because she did not know all aspects of my role. I thought, how can she be my superior when she has so little understanding of my job or our department. She delegated a lot of her work to me, and sometimes it felt like I was "picking up her slack" - as if it was me doing her role.

It was only later that I realized that she was not there to know my job, or even all aspects of my role, but to have an overall picture, deal with budgeting, reports and finance and a heck of a lot of other things that I did not know about, liaising with senior management in relation to matters above and beyond me. I did not have years of managerial experience, like she did, I did not have a business degree, like she did. I looked at her through the spectacles of my own role, and did not grasp hers at all.

Reading your posts, I see a lot of my young self in you.

Floggingmolly Fri 24-May-13 17:12:14

What exactly do you imagine your superiors are jealous of?

LineRunner Fri 24-May-13 17:12:28

OP Do you work college in a sixth-form college?

nkf Fri 24-May-13 17:31:55

I'm not going to speculate on how old you are or what the job is. But one thing struck me. The way you worded your post sounds as if you prioritise friendship over work relationships. And of course many people do, but maybe not in the office.

Your OP is also confusing. You say you all get on well, but you don't do you? There are all sorts of tensions there. As to, "I'm not sure what to do," couldn't you just concentrate on your work? Just get stuck in and get on with the tasks?

Jinsei Fri 24-May-13 18:38:23

People are assuming that you're young, OP, because you sound quite naive and inexperienced. Your boss has made a reasonable management request and you need to comply with it. End of.

As for whether your boss is incompetent, I very much doubt that you're in a position to judge. There is probably a reason why she is senior to you, whether you recognise it or not.

I manage a large team, and I know that the staff in one of my sub-teams think their immediate line manager is pretty incompetent. That's because she doesn't do things in the way that they want her to do them, and she doesn't spend her time on the things that they consider to be the priorities. As her manager's manager, I know exactly what they think and I completely disagree with them. She is doing the job that I brought her in to do, and she is doing it brilliantly. Her team might not understand this, as they don't have the same overview as she and I have, and we can't even share all that we know with them. They are all very competent at what they do, but none of them could do their manager's role and they simply aren't in a position to judge her performance.

I think you need to focus on your own conduct and performance tbh. And grow up.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 24-May-13 21:29:32

I'm guessing this is your first job - if you've been in it 8 years and you're still quite young, so that makes sense.

On all honesty, unhappy as you seem to be with the office politics (you'll get this wherever you go), then you need to look for another job and leave.

8 years is a good innings in any job. You don't have to be persuaded to stay by a pay rise. There is more to life than this.

Actively look for another job and move on. More experience out in e workplace might help you put all this in perspective.

ShadowStorm Fri 24-May-13 21:45:20

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Yes, that's right. You do have to put up with them. Or get a new job elsewhere.

Whining because she wants you to swear less won't help you at work. It's a perfectly reasonable request.

I'm also wondering just how incompetent she really is, if she's managed to stay employed in this role, rather than being sacked or shuffled sideways into a different role. Is it possible that there's a lot more to her job than you think there is?

McBalls Fri 24-May-13 21:46:59

Oh god...I doubt there is an office or dept anywhere that doesn't have junior, know-everything members of staff.
Always convinced they do more than their superiors, always adamant that they hold the place together.
Know-everything yet still manage to miss the glaring discrepancies in their beliefs.

You're being pulled up on your behaviour op, concentrate on that. Believe me, if you were the prized employee you believe yourself to be then how are you in a lower position than two people you regard as being useless?

Morloth Fri 24-May-13 22:15:00

People who get raises can still get fired.

'Big' bosses change.

Stop burning bridges with people and be more professional.

You sound like really hard work.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 22:32:57

Oh god I remember having the mindset that I hold the place together! You do learn though.

AngryGnome Sat 25-May-13 07:16:28

As a lot of other posters have said, I suspect the main problem is that you don't fully understand your bosses role. It is likely that she is doing a lot more behind the scenes than you know about, and it a sign of your professional iimmaturity (which is not related to age) that you fail to recognise this.

I know that there was a group of 3 staff that I manage were convinced I was incompetent, lazy etc. I wasn't - I just had a larger perspective and their priorities were therefore very different to mine.

A lot of people would be a lot happier and more successful at work if they stopped focussing on the perceived shortcomings of others and just got on with their own jobs.

nkf Sat 25-May-13 09:25:32

This has been one of my favourite threads. There is a sort of clear eyed business like aspect to it that makes me appreciate how hard many women are working and how well integrated we are into professional and managerial fields.

OP, you have been given feedack and advice that you could really use.

topsyandturvy Sat 25-May-13 09:36:30

stop swearing

reply to her email and copy in her manager and second in command saying swearing has been part of the office culture, participated in by all levels (name them) since before you started. If it is no longer acceptable you are completely happy to stop.

request that if there is to be a non swearing policy an email is issued to all staff

AlanMoore Sat 25-May-13 09:47:28

And buy a fucking swear box! You catch more flies with honey, etc.

Moaning is really bad for you as well. The odd bout of group venting can be constructive but what you're doing really won't be. There's someone at my work who is a prick, does no work etc. and I got sick of everybody whinging so decided to kill him with kindness. I am so nice to him he can't be an arse back and I just don't do any of his work. I'm much less stressed!

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sat 25-May-13 10:26:33

curryeater and everyone else, what magnificent advice you've been giving, I wish I'd heard this advice when I was in my twenties. I was very similar to the OP and must have been frustrating to work with. I'm now in my <ahem> 40s and it took me so long to figure these things out for myself. Can I come and work with you lot?

ShellyBoobs Sat 25-May-13 11:24:24

reply to her email and copy in her manager...

Yep, undermining your manager like that will help for sure, OP.


Morloth Sat 25-May-13 12:29:09

God I wish I had had MN around when I was 20 to hand me my arse.

It would have saved me a lot of time learning the hard way.

Turns out my Mum was right about pretty much everything...

lustybusty Sat 25-May-13 14:11:51

Sounds like my office in a lot of ways... Two cliques, one within the department, one a group of women that congregate in our department for a natter, which tends to include the boss. I'm the youngest in the department, and I cannot ABIDE the hour long gossips about football, films, and recently, the size of an ex boyfriends cock. During working hours. In loud voices. I do not need to know. Really. It is so unprofessional and distracting. I mentioned it to the boss and you know what he said? "Lighten up". Ffs.
Anyway, if you are cliquey and chatty, you may have had complaints from the others in the office. They may not say anything to your face (I wouldn't, I would see it as by saying to your face it is a criticism of YOU, Whereas going to boss is criticism of working practice iyswim?) but they may still have issue.

LessMissAbs Sat 25-May-13 16:22:26

Christ. The way you describe it sounds more like school than a work environment. Why would you even think about these things so much? As opposed to getting on with your job?

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 25-May-13 20:26:24

In all honesty, it just sounds like bog standard office politics, the like of which you'll get in any work place. You can choose to either get caught up in it or not.

If it bothers you that much, move on. But do be aware that the next place will have its own set of issues. It's once you realise this, that it becomes much easier to detatch as much as you can, put it all in perspective, and get on with your job.

And please don't reply to the email copying in your boss's manager. That is really bad advice.

RawShark Sat 25-May-13 20:42:10

If it bothers you just say to her that , if swearing is unacceptable, then that email should go to everyone in the room as you are aware everyone does it. And that she is right, and it has become too much of the office culture and you will try to stop. And thanks for the heads up - I've worked for people who would have just emailed.

And then try to stop.

And then let it go.

RawShark Sat 25-May-13 20:47:24

Also reading between the lines it sounds like you and your friends maybe have a bit of a clique going, which while you don't intentionally exclude anyone doesn't do much to intentionally include them either.

Make the situation work for you and your profile and organise a night out everyone will enjoy.

And if she is trying to put you down carry on turning her actions against like this.

( I am 35 and work with people from 24 to 66. I swear WAY too much although having a toddler is helping. I know I need to swear less. I am also shit at managing people).

ravenAK Sat 25-May-13 21:06:08


You do sound like teachers. In fact, you sound quite a bit like one particular clique of rather entitled young staff where I work, who are currently seeing their collective arse at being entirely appropriately ticked off for their unprofessional behaviour.

You have really, really got your response to this reprimand barse-ackwards. This is a good opportunity to take stock re: whether your behaviour is actually that of someone promotable - especially if you are the most senior of the problematic clique.

You should be accepting this as a warning shot across the bows & distancing yourself from the behaviour which you've been told, quite emphatically, is Not On.

SoTiredAgain Sat 25-May-13 21:10:13

I wonder if you are teachers? You may have got a pay rise because you are a brilliant teacher, but your attitude outside of the classroom sounds a bit much. You guys complained about your HOD to her senior - you must have all discussed it first. "If you do it, I'll do it too." Have the balls to keep your complaints about your HOD to yourself and not share it with friends at work. Immature. Nasty. Also, when the pp said oh keep a paper/email trail about how much they swear and cc her boss, I think she added, "If you want to be petty."

You sound ruthless. Just think, you could be that HOD in a few years with a bunch of younger colleagues all having the same discussion about you. Think on that.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 26-May-13 10:25:29

Being a middle manager is a shitty, stressy, thankless job a lot of the time. You're usually managing junior staff, and there's also a lot of pressure coming from above. You're sandwiched between it, trying to keep two factions happy.

As useless as you think she is, you're only adding to her plate by being snipey, and complainy and in cahoots with your buddies.

arabesque Sun 26-May-13 11:04:13

You seem to have become friendly with two younger and newer colleagues and started to behave childishly and immaturely as a result, seeing yourself as part of a new 'fun' set. This is obviously irritating and annoying your manager who has tried to have a quiet word with you about it. Cop yourself on and grow up, would be my advice.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Sun 26-May-13 11:12:03

It sounds like you're planning on tracking and complaining about any swearing she does if you stop.

And you say you're not childish?

I'm another one who would have loved to get the advice of Mumsnet in my 20's. grin

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 26-May-13 13:23:39

Where do the two who aren't bosses or part of your clique stand? It sounds childish, unprofessional and thoroughly horrid. Regardless of other people's strengths and weaknesses the clique of three is not working as a team.

If you are as good as you think you are get your head down, stop bitching and whining, redraft your CV and get a better job in a different pond. If not shape up.

Loa Sun 26-May-13 13:32:53

Suggest a swear box to your boss - get her on side and suggest fun things to do with the money.

Stop swearing, and either act professionally during your lunch break or leave the place for it.

Then start looking round for other jobs - either side ways moves in same company or other company. The fact your actually looking could help you deal with the current unpleasant atmosphere - as you would be taking steps to get yourself out of it so can view it as temporary and get less emotional about it all.

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