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AIBU to think I'm being treated badly?

(71 Posts)
ForeverJinxed Fri 14-Mar-14 20:07:31

After 18 months of searching, lots of hard work and plenty of rejections, I finally got a job early this year and I've been working for a month now.
Since the firm is well reputed and the job looked really interesting, I was so excited about starting work.

While I do find the work involved very interesting and the culture of the office is also quite good, I dread going to work because one of my colleagues treats me horribly. sad

I am completely new to this sort of work and I am being trained by her. I consider myself willing to learn and while I may not be a genius, I don't think I am stupid or a slow leaner. Despite this, I find myself constantly being humiliated and insulted by her. She is rude and patronising and she tries to control everything I do.

She speaks to me like I am a child and she is my teacher. She also tries to pull me into arguments when she knows our manager is around. For example, we often have arguments over what's been taught and what hasn't. I am often explained some things in a hurry and so I obviously don't follow or retain everything. But she'll quiz me on it the next day during some random task that's assigned to me and then after she's made me feel extremely small and stupid for not remembering it all, she'll deny having taught it in a hurry and insist that I have forgotten or that I "should have noted it down somewhere". If there are other colleagues around, she'll try to embarrass me by asking me to explain aloud what she told me yesterday or by "quizzing" me on something.

Her method of teaching is also quite odd and inefficient. Instead of explaining things straight off she will open up documents and ask me to tell her what I understand. Obviously I'm at a loss when she does that because I've never seen those systems or documents before.

It's really hard to explain her attitude in words, but I suppose the best I can say is that her tone is very abrasive and her manner is deliberately condescending.

Given that it's my first full time job and that I am completely new to this line of work, it's obvious that I have to learn from scratch. There will be times when I have to ask questions and sometimes I'll forget and ask the same question twice. I don't understand why this means that I have to be humiliated and intimidated and treated like a wayward child by somebody who is my age and is not even my supervisor or my manager.

I don't know what to do. The other day i couldn't take it any more and I just argued back. As luck would have it, this was overheard by a supervisor who told us off.

I am terrified that she will ruin my chances of retaining the job I've worked so very hard to get.

I have no idea how to work around office politics and I don't want to come off as the new girl who complains. If I say something about her, nothing is stopping her from making things up about me and since she's been around longer I have to assume that she will be believed and I won't.

Any advice on what I should do about this?

ScarletStar Fri 14-Mar-14 20:52:14

Because she's been there longer than you have, I'm sure everyone is well aware of her personality and how difficult she is. Don't necessarily see her time at the company as a good thing.

I had an arsehole colleague like this and I was advised by my line manager to write everything down but keep factual and unemotional as I reported it to the Head of Department. It was brilliant advice, as it showed how he prevented me from working to the best of my ability, which the Head couldn't ignore. I kept my feelings of how stressed I was and wanted to kill him, to myself, because that was a natural result of his unprofessional attitude. Maybe just start to write everything down, even for your own sanity. It would also wind her up to see you make notes to yourself after every horrible encounter. grin

eightandthreequarters Fri 14-Mar-14 20:53:28

Go to your manager with this, absolutely. This woman is going to your manager with lies about your performance, and you must put that right. Do not be emotional, do not get upset, go in calm and confident and present the facts.

Reiterate how much you love the job, how much you have learned, how keen you are to do your best for the clients, blah, blah. Keep this all focussed on how you want to do your best for the company, and this attitude is holding you back. Throw in the word 'unprofessional' at key points to describe her behaviour. Make sure you stick to criticising her training of you, not her herself or her own work. Ask for advice on how to handle this situation professionally and in the best interests of the clients, rather than simply complaining.

Your point will be made, though, and your manager will not be able to believe her lies about you without question.

hiddenhome Fri 14-Mar-14 20:59:09

The management must be pretty stupid if they've haven't identified this woman as a problem. She sounds as though she's not particularly subtle.

justasmallone Fri 14-Mar-14 21:00:24

I was in a very similar position in my current job. I tried to ignore it, then tackle it head on until it came yo the point where i wasnt prepared to take it anymore.

I complained to my manager and discovered I wasn't the first. He was well known for this sort of behaviour and was pulled up on it. Things have been a lot better since.

justasmallone Fri 14-Mar-14 21:01:37

I agree with eight.

SomethingProfound Fri 14-Mar-14 21:02:25

Talk to your line manager, but instead of coming at from an angle of complaining try saying that you don't feel her method of training is right for you, have examples of why this is the case. Say you are bringing this to their attention as you are really enjoying working there and want to be productive and competent member of the team and you are worried that this wont happen unless the issues in how you are being trained are addressed. Your manager and company will want you to succeed, recruiting someone new and training them is a time consuming and costly process so will want to ensure you stay.

ForeverJinxed Fri 14-Mar-14 21:02:38

Just to clarify, I do take take notes. That's actually the only way to remember things.

But some things are told in passing and some things are taught in a hurry while completing urgent tasks with deadlines (which makes it impossible to take anything down). I cannot possibly document each and every thing that is ever said to me and that is exactly what she expects.

I think her game is to portray me as someone who forgets things and lies about whether or not something was covered.

Also, with some things just one training session is not enough. And sometimes I need to see the more complicated bits more than once in order to really retain them. I would never take ownership of a task unless I was confident that I could do justice to it. So there have been a couple of occasions where I've asked to see the same thing a second time. On these occasions I have been made to feel like I am a stupid child who is wasting time.

ForeverJinxed Fri 14-Mar-14 21:18:26

Every time I say something was not covered in detail or if I can't recall her having said something to me because it was very brief and in passing, she always makes it a point to say "We've been over this", "I already did this", "Don't you remember what I taught you the other day?"

For example, there was a task that I had already done. My manager asked me about it but she used an alternative terminology that I wasn't familiar with. So because I didn't know what she was referring to, I said I hadn't been shown that yet. She explained what it was and when it rang a bell I immediately corrected myself and said I knew what it was but I didn't know there was another way to refer to it.

My awful colleague overheard this and very smugly said to the manager- "I've shown her this" and rolled her eyes. I'd had enough!!! I just asked her to repeat herself. She did and then I said very clearly that I had already admitted to knowing the task, but I just didn't know that it could be called by another name as well.

mistlethrush Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:00

Can you record all her 'teaching' sessions?

ForeverJinxed Fri 14-Mar-14 21:26:02

Record on my phone? Or just sly audio recordings?

Recordings and photography are not allowed in the office so I don't think I could pull those up as evidence without getting into trouble myself.

lavenderhoney Fri 14-Mar-14 21:27:24

How long is this training supposed to last and is there a checklist for you and her? If not, write down the list in bullet points and ask her to list anything else she thinks you need to know.

Then see your line manager and show her the list. Say " it should be completed by x as discussed with smarty pants."

Its her job to see you've been trained properly. Its your job/ line managers to ensure she covers everything adequately before turning you loose. Get control of that process.

If its that awful you don't have to stay past the probation period. Keep your cv updated, add your new skills and get on linked in. Imagine working there with her - its going to be hell. Start to network round the company, so people know and like you, not time wasting, just interest in other depts etc. there might be a role elsewhere. Look on it as a temp assignment.

You won't be the only one she has pissed off. She is insecure and resentful of you and you won't change that. If she moans you're not writing things down, ask for a copy of the procedure already in place. If there isn't one be proactive and do it for all new starters. Tell your line manager you are doing this as she will take credit if you don't. Tell others you are doing it and be open about it. It should be an organic documentsmile

Be pleasant, polite and make a plan. Even if its to leave as soon as you can.

NewBeginings Fri 14-Mar-14 21:33:59

I would email her and phrase it is 'I'm concerned that you seem to be getting frustrated with me and I would like to know what I can do differently as I am really keen to make the most of this opportunity. What I would find really helpful is if we could do x,y,z.'
Or something along those lines. That way you have it in writing that you have addressed this and if she doesn't do the things that will help then you can escalate it further, with proof of what's been said. It's also not an attack on her so she can't legitimately get the hump with you for it.

ForeverJinxed Fri 14-Mar-14 21:39:45

Right now I just don't want her to jinx my probation and I have no idea how to protect myself.

lavenderhoney Fri 14-Mar-14 21:48:24

Protect yourself by seeing your line manager for a 1:1 and asking for a progress report on how you are doing.

Then do as I suggested below, and take control of the training so you know what you are trying to achieve. All stuff like this in good companies is documented and also feedback on the trainer is as well.

Seriously, is this company right for you? You seem desperate to be there, but it sounds horriblesad

The probation period is not a one way street. They are the ones who will have to re hire etc and all this costs money. You- keep looking for another job and be honest in that the company turned out to be very old fashioned and you found the company culture very difficult, in terms of management style and leadership. People will know exactly what you mean!

Did you ask about staff turnover on your interview, in your dept?

floraldora Fri 14-Mar-14 22:28:40

What a cow! I wouldn't be surprised if there is an extremely high staff turnover at your workplace because of her.

I actually left a new job a couple of months ago because the woman training me (who was also, unfortunately, my boss) was similar to the woman that is training you. She'd train me on something, so I'd get on with it, then do something wrong as she'd omitted to tell me something vital, then get it in the neck from her as she'd 'already told me' it even when she hadn't.

As the woman at your work isn't your boss, I would approach your boss calmly and factually and tell him/her about how you are feeling.

ImperialBlether Fri 14-Mar-14 22:31:22

I think you should record her. Put your phone on mute and press record every time she speaks to you. Put it in your pocket. Don't tell her. When you get home at night type up your notes. Keep them in the file. At some point she will realise that you're recording her. That's fine. She has told you to keep notes hasn't she? You are keeping them. I think the bullying will stop when she realises you are recording. Good luck.

lavenderhoney Fri 14-Mar-14 22:43:37

Isn't recording people without their knowledge illegal?

I wouldn't do all that, just think what you are being trained on- it must be over soon, I can't think of many roles that need 3 months full day to day training, and if there isn't a procedures book you are in the wrong place anyway. Any company that expects staff to follow exact process has them written down, not relying on staff to tell new hires!

Keep job hunting. Smile and be pleasant. For all you know, she is shagging the boss and will never be sackedsmile welcome to the world of office politics.

When she tells you things, write them down and ask her to look at it so you haven't missed anything. Type it up. Get her to initial it. Say you're looking forward to your meeting with hr to see how you are getting on and her performance as a trainersmile be nice to everyone.

BeautifulBlondePineapple Fri 14-Mar-14 23:00:29

It does sounds like she's being deliberately difficult, obstructive and a total bitch. She probably feels threatened by you. I doubt very much that you are the only person who has had problems with her. However, I do think you have to bite your tongue until your probation period is over.

I would make sure that you get communications with her documented - it is much easier to prove that someone is being obstructive if you have written proof.

Be careful about your language though - make sure nothing could be twisted. Everything you say should be positive. How about emailing her to say that you're enjoying the first few weeks training and that you are sure she appreciates how much you have to learn and that you would really appreciate it if she could outline the scope of your job description and to confirm the dates that she has trained you on x,y and z. Just so you can be sure that you haven't missed some crucial area of course. Perhaps you could ask for some training documents (and then raise it with the manager if none are available or forthcoming). Maybe you could suggest in the email that you could assist in writing some if there aren't any? You could also ask her if she is happy with the way the training is going and if you can do anything else to facilitate it. This way you will be seen as being proactive and open to learning...exactly what a company would want in a new employee.

If she is still a problem when your probation period is over, I would take more direct action. Bide your time.

mumminio Fri 14-Mar-14 23:16:33

Great advice on here. +1 on keeping a record, also make note of all the positive things you did (which she forgets so quickly) as well as the things you get pulled up on. When your probation comes up, you will have something to fall back on if you need it. (if you don't need it, that's even better).

Good luck and keep learning.

EurotrashGirl Sat 15-Mar-14 00:02:23

Is there any way you could ask to be trained by someone else?

ForeverJinxed Sat 15-Mar-14 00:31:08

There is one more person who could potentially train me. I don't know how I can ask for my trainer to be changed without complaining or being critical though.

ForeverJinxed Sat 15-Mar-14 00:37:21

In the 1-1 meetings I've had so far, it's been more about what I do wrong than all the things I've been working so hard at to get right. I feel like I can work my arse off and still not be noticed because only the one thing I did wrong that day will be picked up on.

I've never had 1-1 meetings before so I don't know if it's the norm to discuss only improvement areas? I'd personally love to hear some more positive words of encouragement and some acknowledgement of the long hours and hard work I've put in.

Kandypane Sat 15-Mar-14 06:44:13

OP you HAVE to talk to your line manger to cover your back.

If she's been moaning about you and you haven't had your side heard you might not be kept on.

Also you owe this woman nothing so don't feel bad about criticising her. Look after yourself.

lavenderhoney Sat 15-Mar-14 07:32:32

Op, a 1:1 is a. 2 way meeting and would be used to talk about good and areas of improvement, plus any issues you have.

I think your manager is not a good one if they can't manage a simple 1:1 and also ensure that the training process works.

Personally I would not want to stay. And the way you are being treated, you shouldn't want to. Be careful you are not being used to stay til the need of the probation period and then they don't take you on ( using you)

ForeverJinxed Sat 15-Mar-14 11:12:40

AIBU to think that maybe my manager should say something if she overhears someone talking down to me?

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