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Am I being bullied at work ?

(22 Posts)
Strivingforperfection Mon 09-Nov-15 19:15:05

Posting here as I want honest , to the point answers wink

I'm utterly miserable at work . I feel like I don't fit in anymore and I'm starting to feel very isolated.

There's a new woman on our team - she has a very strong personality and is very direct in what she's saying .

All day long I hear her sniping about various colleagues - what they're wearing , how they can't do their jobs properly , how people's moods get on her nerves , people are miserable - anything and everything she gripes about . It's hard to sit near her as she's so negative .

A colleague (my friend) has mentioned to me that she notices when I speak about anything , day to day stuff , that this woman (who sits with her back to me) , can be seen rolling her eyes or glaring at her companions in a "wish she'd shut up way".

Her companions either laugh with her or pull a face too .

It seems this woman's mood affects the surrounding colleagues - she will openly state she's in a bad mood , so nobody speaks to her and it feels like there's an atmosphere .

I've been told to shut up by her when talking to another colleague about my weekend plans. I think I may have been talking too loud ? I don't know .

Some days she won't even say a quick hello or morning . I'm ignored - that's when I know not to talk to her . If I try to talk to her , she doesn't even bother turning around to look at me sometimes .

It's got to the point where I'm feeling so paranoid about who I can trust , that I've just stopped bothering or if I do talk , I'm so over anxious not to offend anyone .

A conversation with a couple of colleagues the other day turned in to me getting defensive because I felt ganged up on - they were telling me I had done something (nothing bad) when I hadn't . It turned out they were wrong and I hadn't done it - it was laughed off as a joke . Then I felt bad for causing a problem .

I can't work out whether I am being paranoid / sensitive - I'm a very sensitive person so this can cloud my judgement . It's all so subtle that there might actually not be anything happening confused

I'm in tears in the toilets this evening after a colleague has just sent a "jokey" email to the whole project team about how I must do so little work as my "percentage complete" table was so low . It's low because I was asked by my boss to work on something else .

I asked her about it and she said it was a joke and she apologised if she'd upset me.

To me , it's just another slight . We are a very small project team and I just feel so isolated but I don't know if I'm doing it to myself ?

AIB silly ?

Strivingforperfection Mon 09-Nov-15 19:19:17

And now I'm feeling bad that I asked my colleague about her email confused

I know she will tell the new woman and I know I'm going to be labelled as a miserable cow who can't take a joke .

IrisVillarca Mon 09-Nov-15 19:22:51

That sounds awful! I would be miserable too, in that sort of atmosphere.
The whole team needs to stop pissing about sending 'joke' emails and behaving like primary school children.
What is the management structure like ? I would be going to the layer above the one where all this silliness goes on and giving them the details of the teasing and time wasting.

Sighing Mon 09-Nov-15 19:23:24

It's not a joke if she's questioning what you're doing though. It's point scoring (or an unfounded attempt). She's disruptive and her passive aggressive eye rolling and conttolling the work atmosphere need to be dealt with. I'd raise with her manager you're not happy with the atmosphere she is creating.

chumbler Mon 09-Nov-15 19:24:35

She sounds like a bitch. Unfortunately some people are so insecure they behave like the school bully. Keep a note of everything, maybe mention it to your supervisor, and a line I like is. - what a strange thing to say to me / do to me - puts their behaviour back on them flowers

Strivingforperfection Mon 09-Nov-15 19:36:46

Would you have questioned her email ?

I feel like I've jeopardised a "friendship" by querying it - even though I know the colleagues in question are not my friends confused

I hate rocking the boat .

BerylStreep Mon 09-Nov-15 19:51:52

The eye-rolling, face pulling, atmosphere issues are all quite subjective. I don't doubt you for a second, but it is difficult to prove.

The e-mail is completely out of line, and not subjective at all.

I would send the e-mail to your boss and ask about the company's bullying & harassment policy and say that you wish to make a complaint.

You are being bullied. Now you have some concrete evidence to prove it. If you don't do anything I suspect it will encourage others to join the pack mentality.

Oh, and don't discuss weekend plans or the like with colleagues. None of their business and it sets you up for criticism.

Sorry you are going through this. I had a workplace bullying situation years ago, and it was awful, but I stood up to the bullies and faced them down. It was traumatic at the time, but it made me stronger and showed people I wasn't to be messed with.

lorelei9 Mon 09-Nov-15 19:54:13

What was it like bedore she turned up? It sounds like she is a horrible person who may be pissing off others too?

What dud your boss think of that "jokey" email?

Idefix Mon 09-Nov-15 19:54:27

This new colleague had probably already Sussex this out about you SFP well done for talking to her about the email, that would something a lot of people would find hard to do. Sadly in these situation you often find that others who you would previously get on ok with will go along with the bully.

This women is a bully and you are being bullied by her, IMO you are not being over sensitive. If things don't improved in the next few days after speaking to about the email I would consider raising this with your line management. I would also consider keeping a diary of when things happen.

Hope things get better op.

Idefix Mon 09-Nov-15 19:56:11

Umm not sure where Sussex came from damn you autocorrect that would be sussed.

Mistigri Mon 09-Nov-15 19:57:07

The email would have been tactless and poor taste if it had been a private exchange between the two of you - but copying it to colleagues puts it firmly into the bullying category.

What's your manager/ supervisor like? Can you talk to him/ her? Do you have an HR department?

What you might consider doing is forwarding the email to your manager, requesting that s/he make it clear to the rest of the team that you've been asked to work on other projects and have not been neglecting your own work.

If you don't do this, then you should still keep the email for the time being, as it's evidence should you want or need to take out a grievance procedure.

Supermanspants Mon 09-Nov-15 19:57:43

Oh you poor thing. I work with someone like that. She is like one of the Dementors from Harry Potter. I have had a couple of run ins with her. Interestingly those people who have called her out on her crap are given a wide berth by her. She is constantly throwing people under the bus and her moods and ranting are utterly exhausting. I only speak to her if I absolutely have to. Sounds to me as if other work colleagues may be trying to keep her sweet so they do not become her next target. People like her are absolute menace in a work place. Sadly, unless people call her out on her behaviour or repot it then she will never stop. I think you need to speak to your line manager. Does anyone else feel like you do that you are aware of?

Strivingforperfection Mon 09-Nov-15 20:11:02

flowers for the replies .

One of my other colleagues feels the same . And it has been mentioned by others that this woman is always bitching about everyone - but it's laughed off and she's excused because she's "funny" hmm

CantSleepClownsWillEatMe Mon 09-Nov-15 20:26:29

You know Op this new woman sounds like she's going to get on everyone's nerves eventually. People may find her entertaining when her digs are aimed at others but when she turns on them or people they like they will likely start avoiding her too.

Of course you can't be expected to wait until everyone else gets fed up with her too so I would agree that as others suggest, you should speak to your immediate supervisor about the situation. I would want to be told if this kind of thing was going on in my team in order to put a stop to it before it escalates.

I wasn't clear whether this new person or another team member sent the email?

Strivingforperfection Mon 09-Nov-15 20:28:34

It was another colleague who sent the email about my lack of contribution to the project .

As it happens though , the woman who sent the email is best friends with the new woman .

CantSleepClownsWillEatMe Mon 09-Nov-15 20:35:33

Ah ok and I take it neither of these people are your supervisor? Obviously I don't know what you do but I'm guessing it's not part of their role to check on your work/contribution to a project let alone send a group email about it.

Really I think if you want this to be addressed you need to raise it with your manager/supervisor. You don't have to complain formally at this stage if you don't want to but certainly speak to her/him about the atmosphere in the team, the comments and nastiness and show them the email.

lovelyconverse123 Mon 09-Nov-15 20:58:17

she's a bully. take the first step and speak up. I heard a phrase which has stuck with me : your silence is the bully's biggest weapon. speak up.

AdjustableWench Tue 10-Nov-15 00:35:21

You're not being over-sensitive. The whole thing sounds like a nightmare. And yes, the colleague's email was completely inappropriate. Definitely say something to management: this kind of working environment is horrible to work in and it needs to be sorted out. Also, in my experience, people who behave like the new woman at your workplace are usually those who get less work done than everyone else.

Senpai Tue 10-Nov-15 06:21:33

Yeah, I had some colleagues do subtle bullying. I couldn't do anything about it until I had something substantial. When I had something substantial it was basically why didn't you mention this before?

If you think you have the confidence, I'd just start speaking up when she says something. Next time she tells you to shut up, give a dig back "Like we don't all hear you all day long". Or if a colleague says something about her, just be like "Oh yes, she's a difficult one, isn't she? Ah, well. Her loss". Or chuckle and say "Honestly, the things that come out of that silly girl's mouth sometimes"

If you don't have confidence to do that and act breezy (and that is perfectly ok) it possible to find a new job? I'd maybe start looking. It's incredibly rare to be the "office tattle tale" and still have good relations with people afterwards. You shouldn't have to be the one to leave, but work situations are never fair like that.

IguanaTail Tue 10-Nov-15 06:36:10

She sounds absolutely horrible. The power she has, through being "funny" is what is stopping you.

I think you need to respond to her if she makes a comment like "shut up" to you. Tell her in a very slow and measured way, "sorry, I don't think I quite heard that. Could you repeat what you just said to me?" - see if she repeats it. If she says "nothing, never mind" say assertively "thought not". If she repeats it, say "As I thought. I'm not going to be spoken to like that". Make a deal about writing it down, look at the clock for the time etc.

You have got to report this on. The email you were sent - why shouldn't you query it??? These women are pathetic. It's a place of work ffs. What bit don't they get? Why is there no supervisor? Who can you complain to?

Change your demeanour to bright and breezy - tough though this is - try to appear that you don't care.

greenfolder Tue 10-Nov-15 06:55:40

You need to start being assertive. Bullies immediately stop very often the second you become assertive. Example. I went to work at a college. There was a manager there who apparently shouted in meetings (yes really). I went to a meeting where she shouted at me (bless). I stood up, said "you seem to have lost your temper. Let me know when you regain your composure and I will happily speak to you". Now I know that sounds ott but it has taken me years to get to the point where I will just tackle stuff head on. The most important thing is that you feel bullied. Who can you explain that to at work? Who can help?

IguanaTail Tue 10-Nov-15 06:59:59

I have a feeling these women aren't shouters. I reckon they are more snidey commenters.

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