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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.

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.

QuintessentialOldDear Fri 24-May-13 12:35:33

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.

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