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to think I'm being bullied/pushed out of my job?

(25 Posts)
dolphinsandwhales Fri 14-Mar-14 19:12:04

I've been working at my company as a professional for over ten years, on part time hours several years now. Recently I was moved to a new team as part of a new role (tbh the last role didn't work well as it was in a chaotic team with lots of ad hoc requests which didn't work well with part time).

Since joining the new team my manager has not been friendly but gradually got worse. For example, she chats about work and non work with the others around me, but pretty much ignores me all day. When I try to join in she is dismissive or changes to subject to something she has in common with her 'favoured' employees, ie tennis as three of them play (there are five in our team).

She openly criticises me and my work in front of others, but it's usually unjustified, ie 'if you do xyz it will make your summary better' to which I reply, 'ok, can you show me how?' then she'll tell me she doesn't know how (so a pointless criticism). She nit picks my work, often not giving specific examples of her criticisms, as soon as I tell her something wasn't done by me she changes her tune.

I have 121s with her where she seems disinterested and I've asked what she'd like me to improve, I always act on what she says.

The most recent examples of her behaviour are where she had a go at me for attending a compulsory company meeting that she'd told me to attend, because it meant I couldn't do the work I would normally have done then (I couldn't do it earlier and she knew I had to leave after), she also asked me to send someone a report and then the following week criticised me for sending it.

I do stand up to her but it's a miserable situation, Aibu to think she's bullying me/pushing me out? It would be hard to find a new job with hours to fit with dc, but I'm reluctant to make a formal complaint as I had informal problems with my previous manager due to part time working.

outtheothersidefinally Fri 14-Mar-14 19:16:59

Take notes of everything (dates, emails etc). Start there and look back after a few weeks.
It's an awful position to be in - it really gets to you. Try to
Pour it all out in your notes and TRY not to think about it other than that for now, as it's all very recent. After a few weeks of a pattern, take stock and see if you need to take action...

FelineLou Fri 14-Mar-14 19:20:46

Send an email confirming her verbal instructions.

You ask me to send to ... by time/date.
I am at meeting on .. at ... so task B will be delayed.

Her response(or lack of response) should firm up what you have to do
Document it all and keep copies to protect yourself.

PumpkinPie2013 Fri 14-Mar-14 19:26:06

Agree with the above posters - keep evidence of everything!

Do you have a HR department who you can speak to (perhaps informally at first)

Gen35 Fri 14-Mar-14 19:43:29

I agree, the best way to deal with these tactics is to email her confirming everything as mentioned by feline and wait and see if things get any better. Probably give it 6 mints and then consider if you have to look around as she's still being unkind and hard to work with. Sounds horrible..

dolphinsandwhales Fri 14-Mar-14 19:48:23

Thanks, I'll definitely start writing the notes and try to do more confirmations by email. I'm reluctant to approachHR as they are quite skeletal and I suspect some other managers may want me to leave too...I'm a bit long in the tooth and not as good value for money as a part timer compared to full timers who work late into the evening :-(

Botanicbaby Fri 14-Mar-14 20:07:28

OP I feel for you, its really horrid when you are being managed by someone who has favourites and constantly nitpicks. Noticeably more so when its in a small team.

However, I think there are some communication issues to be cleared up: for example, I think that if your manager expects your attendance at a compulsory meeting, that she is aware the X piece of work will be pushed back due to the fact that you work p/t and can't be there all the time.

At your 1:1s you need to have a clear agenda and be able to a)ask questions and b) raise issues with her. You need to agree and prioritise on tasks for the week ahead that are manageable within the timescale. I think you need to call her on the fact she is dismissive and that she only ever highlights 'failures'. You need to keep a written log of your achievements/successes and flag these up to her at the 1:1s. It might be worth pointing out to her that she never seems to notice the positive things and that your 1:1s are always negative.

I don't know how long this has been going on but you might wish to speak to her manager before (if) you go down the HR route. But I think this could possibly (hopefully) be resolved between you if clear expectations are set and that she supports you in meeting these, which is what a good manager will want to do. It is awful that she criticises your work yet gives no concrete explanation of what you could do differently that would make it 'right'. Sorry this is so long, you have my sympathy and I hope you resolve it thanks

Botanicbaby Fri 14-Mar-14 20:10:16

PS in some cases, full-timers who work late into the evening are often not as productive as part-timers who have less time to do the job. Don't do yourself down just because you have had a negative experience with previous managers, sometimes, quite often in fact, its them, not you!

dolphinsandwhales Fri 14-Mar-14 20:21:37

Thanks botanic. I suspect a fair amount of it is 'her' notme, but I definitely do need to do your suggestions and then hopefully things will improve.

zeezeek Sun 16-Mar-14 18:04:45

You are being bullied. As others have said you need to make notes of all the things she does, along with dates, times and how it's made you feel.

Is there anyone at work that you can talk to about this?

Re the comments about part and full time workers....I work full time, long into the night some nights. I object very strongly to anyone suggesting that I am somehow less efficient that someone who works part time.

Financeprincess Sun 16-Mar-14 20:18:34

Can I offer a different perspective, OP?

From your account it appears that you're having a difficult time. However, it does sound rather one sided.

I just don't believe that your boss is as much of a monster as she's been portrayed. Is it possible that your performance isn't quite up to snuff?

I'm used to dealing with poor performers; my last two jobs have been turnaround roles for underperforming organisations. Whilst I don't know enough about you to determine whether you're an underperformer, I do know that the standard response to somebody being 'managed out' of an organisation is, "I'm being bullied! The person who thinks that I'm not good enough must be punished!".

Are you being bullied, really? Try to see through the sympathy in the other responses; the other posters don't know the real situation either. I find the standard advice doled out in these situations (which boils down to, keep notes of everything and work to rule, be as difficult as possible, that will show them) rather unhelpful. Instead, ask yourself whether you're truly a productive member of the team and whether you're prolonging the inevitable. If you're not performing, and if you're militant about your part time commitment (including assuming that everybody must work around you; you acknowledge that your working pattern has caused problems in the past) then it's possible that your manager, and the organisation, would prefer that you weren't there. Businesses are not charities (unless they are the public sector; I speak from knowledge).

This isn't to say that nobody can work effectively if they are part time. Many people do, but it's clear that it's not working in your situation. However, you'll be doing yourself and everybody else a favour if you're honest with yourself. It doesn't sound as if you're being bullied; you've presented it as too black and white to sound plausible. I suspect that you're being managed out, in which case you should read the writing on the wall and move on.

I'm sorry that this isn't what you want to hear, but I think it will help you more than, "oh, you poor thing, that wicked bully, tell HR!"

lougle Sun 16-Mar-14 20:39:03

I disagree wholeheartedly with Financeprincess and, in my opinion, it's because of practices that she describes ('managing out') that people feel bullied.

Management should be professional, not personal. They should want you to be a productive and constructive member of the team. The fact that you are a part-time worker must be irrelevant, by law.

If they have issue with your performance they should raise it with you formally, setting an action plan for you to be able to redeem yourself. If this fails then you can be dismissed or resign, etc.

Nobody should be 'managed out' without their knowledge and if they are, then they're half-way to proving constructive dismissal.

Financeprincess Sun 16-Mar-14 20:58:39

The OP's performance has been discussed, in 1:1 meetings.

'Managing out' is not the same as 'being picked on and ignoring the formal process'.

roastednut Sun 16-Mar-14 21:03:35

Finance princess you are so right about public sector - some of the people I work with in that area are a disgrace in terms of what they get away with and the money they get. Shocking confused

zeezeek Sun 16-Mar-14 21:16:01

Isn't there enough public sector bashing going on at the moment ffs.

Fozzleyplum Sun 16-Mar-14 21:33:57

I'm afraid I don't agree with most of FinancePrincess's assessment. If there were genuine, justified concerns about OP's performance, and she was being fairly managed out, she should be put on a structured performance improvement plan. Sidelining and ostracising someone, eg by leaving them out of conversations, as the OP describes, is unlawful bullying. Whilst there are 2 sides to every story, the manager's behaviour is not fair.

OP, Id agree with everyone who's suggested keeping a record of everything and covering your back. At some point, you might be well advised to raise a grievance. However, before you do that, it would be best to decide what outcome you'd like - to put things right, if that's possible, a sideways move or to leave with a settlement package. The risk for your employer is that, if you bring your manager's behaviour to the attention of a higher authority and they do nothing to assist, the company could be at risk of a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

If there are genuine concerns about your performance/suitability for the role, there are ways in which this can be raised which would allow you a right to reply.

Financeprincess Sun 16-Mar-14 22:15:31

We don't know all of the detail, though, do we? For all we know, the OP might be undergoing performance management already. I suspect that she might, hence the complaints about 'nitpicking' and the overwhelmingly negative description of the line manager.

The case against the line manager appears to be simply that she talks about tennis with colleagues who also play, that she has asked the OP to improve some of her work in a public place (and saying, "if you do xyz it will make your summary better" doesn't sound like unfair nitpicking to me; remember that most people work in open plan offices, and line managers can't constantly be taking people aside in private when trying to get something finished) and that she "is dismissive" and "nitpicks" (both subjective and easy for very sensitive people to misconstrue).

To suggest that the OP's line manager told her to send a report then 'criticised her for sending it' just sounds silly. We've obviously only had half the story.

Even with the OP's partial (in both senses of the word) account of events, something just doesn't sound right.

(I was waiting for somebody to say 'cover your back', by the way. I tick it off on my 'obstructive, paranoid, passive aggressive blocker bingo card' along with 'always get everything in writing' - so that everything takes twice as long - and 'only work your exact hours', not forgetting whinging about 'the powers that be')

ThePinkOcelot Sun 16-Mar-14 22:16:15

Having been in y position, I too totally disagree with finance princess.

Take a look at your company grievance procedure, as mine had the time scale of 1 month in which to bring about a grievance, and unfortunately for me, that time had passed.

There are some horrible bullies in organisations and they should be brought to book.

Good luck OP

Letsgoforawalk Sun 16-Mar-14 22:24:41

Isn't this called "constructive dismissal" if bullying and contrary demands make an employees position impossible? OP are you in a union? Agree with taking a rational look at effectiveness but V hard to be rational when being undermined to this extent. This is not the way to improve an employees performance.

Fozzleyplum Sun 16-Mar-14 22:41:34

I'm a specialist employment lawyer (solicitor) with 22 years' experience under my belt; I advise on this type of situation every day.

Believe me, if there's a problem, there should be a PIP run along the lines of a disciplinary, not the behaviour the OP describes. And anyone in this positions needs to keep a note. It's not paranoia - it's evidence. If the OP really is an unreasonable whinger, that will all come out in the wash. Evidence is everything.

TheGreatHunt Sun 16-Mar-14 22:46:23

Pmsl at the public sector bashing. I'm part time in the public sector and work shit loads more than my hours. Ridiculous.

Anyway, back to the OP. Is your performance up yo scratch? Do you go the extra mile? Do you call your boss on her comments eg telling you off for attending something compulsory? Because I would.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 16-Mar-14 23:06:36

I was managed out recently. It feels like bullying. I was given the choice between dismissal or extra support and in my profession, extra support means not picking or bullying.
Management didn't want to see my successes like my excellent results but only picked on my failures....chatty classes. They would tell me how to work then criticised me when I did what they said. hmmMy face didn't fit.
Ultimately if you are being managed out you are being set up to fail which I think is illegal.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 16-Mar-14 23:10:53

Op. I have made a formal complaint. Life is too short to be stuck in a miserable job. Think of your health, find a job working for nicer rope and file a complaint with a diary of events.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 16-Mar-14 23:13:06

Nicer people even!

Bemused33 Mon 17-Mar-14 00:05:14

Notes notes and more notes. Emailing her to confirm is a great idea.

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