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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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?

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.

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...

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.


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?

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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