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To be struggling with colleagues - advice?

(30 Posts)
mytartanscarf Wed 10-Dec-14 22:31:11

I am currently working part-time in a field that I am somewhat over-qualified to work in. I am fortunate enough to be mortgage free and own 2 other rental properties, and am living comfortably from the income from these and the small income from my part-time role while I complete a Masters and try to write something

I am however struggling with colleagues and this came to a head on Tuesday. I am quite unwell at the moment with a cold and didn't go in but the feeling of relief from this was immense, hence my asking for advice here.

I am in my early 30s (33 in May) and the fact I am this age and am not married/in a serious relationship/divorced with children is a real question-prober. I've been asked more than once why I "decided not to have kids." They aren't being nasty - it's genuinely out of their experience. For them, people my age are preparing to send their children to secondary school but amongst my contemporaries we're just not there yet.

I have one convinced my name is something it is not - hmm - the name of a fucking brand of ICE CREAM and she sings it incessantly. I have tried jokily saying "well lovely singing X but you know Vienetta isn't my name?" She still calls me Vienetta. It's pretty annoying now to be honest.

Another thing I find hard is the casual sort of racism - it's a very "white" area and there's a lot of "I'm not racist but - " of the sort that, "Well I'm not racist but they should just go back to their own country if they don't want to celebrate Christmas!" Same with sexism - someone said a child in a school uniform was "asking for it" the other day because of a short skirt. I have given these two examples but this sort of thing happens a lot. I generally just don't say anything.

Some are lovely and we work together well but others - like the ones above - who go on about my name, where I live (on a narrowboat) and just treat me like a bizarre zoo creature drive me mad.

I am very tired and ill just now so probably am being silly and over reacting but just the same I'd like to feel not wound up and cross and stressed on days I work!

Any advice? And AIBU for needing to moan!?

MrsWolowitz Wed 10-Dec-14 22:35:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plantsitter Wed 10-Dec-14 22:36:24

Just change jobs. I did a load of temping after uni and came across lots of workplaces like this and it's just miserable. Sounds like you can afford to leave and look for something else.

mytartanscarf Wed 10-Dec-14 22:38:49

Mrs, I have thought about this and I may well do so in all honesty.

However, the job is a social one - not in terms of colleagues so much as it is based in social care and I do enjoy this and am quite good at it. Plus, it's chronically short-staffed and as a result I feel some guilt over potentially leaving, although I know this is probably silly!

I also like the fact it pays weekly!

However, I do feel at the moment some (not all) colleagues are really making me reach the limit of my patience. I may need to stop for my own sanity as much as anything else.

DoubleValiumLattePlease Wed 10-Dec-14 22:39:22

You sound rather fab to me. I think the only way ahead for you is to stop giving a shit about being the object of comment/interest. Challenge the racism where you can. Make the name singing person feel very small and stupid by repeatedly telling her that her party trick is SO 2011!! Apart from that I would rejoice in being different enough to be interesting.

mytartanscarf Wed 10-Dec-14 22:41:42

Ah bless you Double - I am certainly a most exotic thing and this is bonkers really as I most certainly am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination! I am SO boring.

It's crazy, that colleagues are the most difficult aspect of this work. It would be a nice job without some of them blush

DoubleValiumLattePlease Wed 10-Dec-14 22:50:36

These people are everywhere! You'll have to wait a bit but when I'm in charge I'm going to send them all to work at the Department of Parking Tickets or the National Office of Chartered Shitkickers! Hang in there!

Suefla62 Wed 10-Dec-14 23:15:05

As others have said, it's going to be the same anywhere. Have worked more years than you've been alive, wherever I've worked it's been similar people, just different names.

missymayhemsmum Wed 10-Dec-14 23:51:49

You're expanding their narrow little horizons, I'm afraid.

twizzleship Wed 10-Dec-14 23:58:20

have you told your colleague that her little sing-song is now becoming tiresome and offensive? if she doesn't stop then take it it to your manager - it's passive aggressive bullying and it isn't funny. it really isn't difficult to learn how to pronounce a colleagues name, if it is then you use a nickname - preferably one that the other person is not offended or insulted by.

if they keep asking you about marital/parental status just tell them straight that you've already had this conversation with them and you're not repeating yourself. If a new person asks just say you don't want to discuss private matters.

i'm 34 and very happily child free - i don't think my biological clock has the same batteries as most other people fgrin It really pisses me off just how often i get asked about marriage and kids - and how shocked most people are when you tell them you're not interested in either. my stock reply to either question is 'what for!?' and ' i don't desire marriage or children'. Then they look at you like there's something wrong with you because you don't buy into all the stereotypical social norms like them fhmm

SparkleZilla Thu 11-Dec-14 00:06:03

Oh for goodness sake why don't people and off and stop judging others? Just tell them you always wanted childrenbut found out you have a 99/100 chance in passing on cantbefuckedtoexplainitus which is deadly to anyone in the near vicinity

radiobedhead Thu 11-Dec-14 01:24:10

There'll be cunts everywhere OP.

Just quietly mutter 'boring!' under your breath every time they say something and follow it up with 'oops did I say that out loud!' and a huge guffaw when they ask what you said.

Do you not have a manager you can complain to? They sound like a bunch of immature knobends, and if they're working in "social care" then their attitudes are even more out of place than they would be in any work environment (where they'd STILL be massively out of place)

You're being subject to workplace bullying and harassment - you do NOT need to put up with this!

Gawjushun Thu 11-Dec-14 01:37:02

Ugh. I'm not sure how people get away with casual racism and sexism, but in most work environments nobody seems to give a shit until you start getting HR involved. Then you're the one with no sense of humour who can't handle the banter etc.

Have you thought about looking for a bit of volunteer work in this sector instead? Different workplace of course. You could still do the bits you enjoy, just with less obligations toward colleagues.

Any chance you can learn to fake cry? Next time someone ask you about why you don't have children, simply start fake sobbing and run to the toilets. Hopefully they'll assume you've got some fertility problem and stop bringing it up.

FabULouse Thu 11-Dec-14 05:18:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

AwkwardSquad Thu 11-Dec-14 06:49:37

I had this in one particular work place in my early twenties. Narrow minded aggressive reverse snobs. One woman in particular, sadly she was the alpha female! I got through it by a combination of ignoring, gaining respect by working very hard, and having a much bigger vocabulary of filth, so I could make them laugh.

Wouldn't want to do it again but I learned a lot from it.

TheChandler Thu 11-Dec-14 07:21:20

I am currently working part-time in a field that I am somewhat over-qualified to work in.

This is probably why. People can be very intolerant if you are not from the same background as them. If you are going to work in a field you are over-qualified for, you probably have to put up with people whose life experience is not the same as a university graduate.

That's why some people prefer to work in jobs in their (qualified) field, even when they're more difficult and not all that much better paid, because they are around similar people.

I think you are being a tad niaive, and possibly intolerant yourself, in not realising this.

defineme Thu 11-Dec-14 07:41:49

You are unusual though...a tiny proportion of the population do a higher degree and even fewer than that live on narrow boats. Childfree is not..average age of first childjis uk is now 30.
however, name calling and racism is awful. I challenge stuff like that with a cheerful firm tone.
have you made an effort with these people, I know far far more about colleagues than they know about me because I ask a lot of questions and remember to ask about stuff that's going on with them. People very different from me are my closest friends at work.we are different ages, politics, education, life stages.
On the other hand, you might just need to find your people.

Orangeanddemons Thu 11-Dec-14 07:49:37

Why is she unusual? She sounds interesting to me.

You work with a load of narrow minded, parochial bigots if you ask me. If you worked where I worked, no one would be saying any of these things to you. I personally would face them out, and really rub it in that you live on a boat.

I also don't know anyone who was sending their kids to secondary school when they we in their early 30s, they sound the odd ones not you

fambam Thu 11-Dec-14 08:14:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mytartanscarf Thu 11-Dec-14 08:17:37

TheChandler - one of the things I was worried about was sounding intolerant myself and snobbish and I'm really not. I do get on really well with some of the women but we nearly always are paired up on shifts so I have "one at a time" and recently it's almost always been someone like the ones I've noted above.

The problem is they genuinely mean no harm by it. They quite honestly think that I am odd - not in a nasty horrible way - it fascinates them. I do wonder if the "Vienetta" (!) lady has a mild learning difficulty as I think she really can't process my name isn't Vienetta. When I correct her she thinks my name is Vienna. My name is nothing like either - it doesn't start with a "v". It just ends with the "nna" sound; that's IT!

I don't think I'm being naïve -it isn't naïve to want people to say my name correctly and to know people do different things at different times for different reasons. I honestly can't stress enough that they aren't bad people - they aren't deliberately sexist or racist. They just haven't been out of the area much. But it is made very clear to me by some - not all - that I'm a stranger in their world and for just a couple because of this I'm not really welcome.

defineme Thu 11-Dec-14 08:29:06

Orangeanddemons are you aware of the wider world outside your own? I meant factually unusual...what do you mean...odd? Post grad education is very rare in the population as a whole as is living on a boat. People are naturally going to find the boat thing fascinating. ..there are documentaries made about living on a boat. Just because you dont know anyone with secondary age kids in their early 30s doesn't mean it's odd.
op... just ignore the ones who don't make you welcome and make an effort with the rest. If you still hate it in 6 months leave, life is too short to be miserable at work.

Onetwothreebanana Thu 11-Dec-14 08:44:02

Whereabouts are you based? Sounds a bit backward without being rude. Where I work (London) I encounter loads of single child-free 30-somethings. Also have come across not one but three people who live on narrow boats.

mytartanscarf Thu 11-Dec-14 17:02:39

grin it probably is a bit backwards!

I've decided to leave in the New Year, at the end of January, I think smile

outofcontrol2014 Thu 11-Dec-14 17:08:12

Euuuuurgh, they sound AWFUL OP. I'm not surprised you're struggling. It's hard working with people with whom you have nothing in common.

Don't make any decision now - get over the cold, enjoy Christmas, feel better - and then, if you still feel the same in the New Year perhaps start looking around for a more conducive environment.

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