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Office martyr

(121 Posts)
Larryduff Wed 26-Oct-16 11:23:29

Been made to feel like a miserable cow but I'm hoping for some vindication.

We have an office martyr who buys all the leaving cards etc and moans about this while also insisting that no-one else can chip in or god-forbid actually buy them. Apparently that wasn't enough and now she's started buying everyone birthday cards, well not everyone just the people she likes. Fair enough if they were just from her but no, everyone has to sign them (about 30-40 people). So I told her privately that maybe it was a bit much and people would get sick of signing loads of cards and/or people who were missed would feel a bit shitty and unpopular. I've come back to work after a stressful 2 days looking after a poorly toddler and there's this fucking sickly sweet PA email obviously aimed at me about how some people may be a bit fed up of signing loads of cards but how lovely it is to receive them. Yeah I know this doesn't sound like much but she has form so it's really wound me up.

Anyone else got similar and how do you deal with it without coming across like a sour old bitch?

JellyBelli Wed 26-Oct-16 11:28:13

She sounds unhinged. And her email is bollocks as she only buys them for her favourites.
I'd just refuse to sign any more. Let her make a big deal out of it if she chooses, you cant stop her, but dont get involved.

CoraPirbright Wed 26-Oct-16 11:34:38

How about telling her that she might find herself in hot water with HR if it is felt that she is deliberately excluding some people (you say she only buys for the people she likes).

Arfarfanarf Wed 26-Oct-16 11:34:54

Well she sounds lovely.
Imagine you're one of the ones she doesnt like.
You see others getting cards signed by everyone.
Come your birthday - nothing.
You might think the whole office doesnt like you!
It might even be argued that it could be considered bullying.

I would buy cards myself and make sure everyone got one not just her favoured few. Just to piss her off!

BarbaraofSeville Wed 26-Oct-16 11:37:49

Do you work in my office? <tries to work out which of my colleagues has a toddler>

Our office martyr does all the birthday carding and has a nice line in passively agressively cleaning the kitchen too, even though it is not her job, but if you leave anything unwashed for more than about 30 seconds she will swoop in and wash it up, moaning about 'slobs leaving everything for her to deal with' even if you've just popped out to answer a phone call or something.

And woe betide anyone who leaves anything in the office fridge that gets anywhere near a use by date. She checks the fridge daily and starts to panic if anything gets near a date let alone beyond it.

Larryduff Wed 26-Oct-16 11:39:03

Ha, good idea arf. Or even better, I could start a charity fund instead of buying cards because they're so wasteful. She is an attention seeker of the highest level, this is probably all an elaborate plan that she knows will go wrong and she can then play off the drama. God I'm so cynical.

Larryduff Wed 26-Oct-16 11:41:31

Barbara yes that's her. She also has to buy the milk because who else will do it? I spilt coffee on the stairs once and before I'd had chance to get some tissue there was an email about it including the line 'do you want your colleagues to suffer a serious injury'.

WaxingNinja Wed 26-Oct-16 11:41:33

I would 'reply to all' including anyone she's missed off the email and she misses off the birthday card rounds, saying "I'm happy to do that, but I've noticed that a couple of people have been missed out in the past, so at long as we're including everyone from now on that sounds great to me!".

hotdiggedy Wed 26-Oct-16 11:42:28

How much money are all these cards costing per year per each person who contributes??

Larryduff Wed 26-Oct-16 11:45:02

Oh no hotidggedy she insists on paying for them herself, whilst also complaining about it. She must be shelling out about £15 a month, at least.

Arfarfanarf Wed 26-Oct-16 12:02:05

You dont have to obey her.
Buy milk if you want. Or even just to make a point! Buy a card. Dont just fall in line.

SapphireStrange Wed 26-Oct-16 12:04:02

I'd reply-all to her email and say that personally, you're not tired of signing cards but you are worried that the policy is not equal as some people do not receive cards.

Stillunexpected Wed 26-Oct-16 12:04:20

Who is in charge at the office? Do you have an office manager/administrator? If you are going to do birthday cards then they should come from petty cash or not at all, in my opinion. It should be part of someone's job to organise them and arrange signing. Then everyone gets one, or you do away with the whole thing.

TimTamTerrier Wed 26-Oct-16 12:06:01

You could reply to all that you are only thinking of her. She is so sweet to put others before herself but it's a huge task for her on top of all the many things that she already does in her work and you fear that she may be burning herself out. You have noticed that she has been commenting on the cost and the extra work, so it is clearly something that is a burden to her. Kill her with kindness.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Wed 26-Oct-16 12:06:55

I'd want to kill her!

So those who don't ever receive a card have to sign cards she's bought for others?

YelloDraw Wed 26-Oct-16 12:07:14

Can you try and shift the office culture to 'birthday person brings in cake' rather than birthday person receives? This way you only have to do something for birthdays 1x per year.

PlayOnWurtz Wed 26-Oct-16 12:08:13

Every office has one. I resist the urge daily to do serious harm to our office one.

SarahMOs Wed 26-Oct-16 12:09:31

I work in a field based role and from home and I don't miss this! I'm a terrible rebel employee and would reply to her and say... "Really? This needs to be an 'all office' email? Let's just get a card for each person in the office (as people are always missed out for some unknown reason) and leave it at that. Yes it's a little tiresome when there's lots of birthdays in one go but please can we just get on with it without the fuss".

Ps I work in HR myself but sometimes common sense needs to win and I'm never afraid to point that out. And yes it does get me in trouble but I can sleep at night knowing that dumbass colleagues get educated 😊

PlayOnWurtz Wed 26-Oct-16 12:11:32

I also find these types do it so when they come to leave/have a baby/have a big birthday they expect a huge expensive gift. 9/10 in my place very few people sign their card and their gift is usually something regifted.

ItShouldHaveBeenJess Wed 26-Oct-16 12:15:00

Can I share my office martyr story? Worked on a hotel reception desk with a very similar woman - she made it very clear who she liked and didn't like, and I worked out pretty early on that I fell into the latter category (despite her bullying me into going to see a stage version of The Sound of Music, which was 'amateur' at best)

She announced one day that she was fed up with the 'deplorable' office skills of her colleagues as it made her job 'exhausting', and that she had sent the owners of the hotel a letter outlining her concerns - she made the mistake of telling us that we'd never find it on the shared computer (circa 1998) because we barely knew how to turn the thing on.

My (nicer) colleague and I spent many hours trying to hack into her private file, to find said letter. I suddenly had a lightbulb moment - my niece had been born a few weeks earlier, and when I'd told colleague her name, she'd made a sneering remark about it being the same name as her dog. Bingo! There was the password!

Ironically, it was my lack of awareness with technology that she highlighted in her letter, as well as slating every member of staff from the manager through to the room attendants. We printed out a copy for each member of staff who had been 'named and shamed'. My nice colleague took great pleasure in informing her that it was me who had cracked the password. She handed in her resignation a week later.

ReallyShouldKnowBetterAtMyAge Wed 26-Oct-16 12:18:07

Oh god, we had one of these at our work! On top of her selective birthday club along with desk decorations for the privileged few who were scared of her she would buy all the office tea and coffee with petty cash and then claim petrol money back for going to buy said items!

I put a stop on all of the above, created birthday club for those that wanted to join all did except her and her scared crew drew up a list of all birthdays and we all pay a set amount, say £3. Card and gift bought out of the money and all join in with choosing and taking turns with the gift etc.

We performance managed her and she ended up resigning. Her scared crew joined birthday club as soon as she left. Birthday persons brings in cakes and nibbles which means we have a constant flow of treats at work <stares at waist line>

Where is the Manager in all of this and why are they not putting a stop to it?

SarahOoo Wed 26-Oct-16 12:24:16

ItShouldHaveBeenJess - I love that story!

Whoopsieeeeeeee Wed 26-Oct-16 12:28:27

Not an office martyr but someone who copies everything I do. I have learnt to swtich off and ignore ignore ignore

Larryduff Wed 26-Oct-16 12:35:53

I agree with the cake buying thing, everyone gets to say 'happy birthday' and like PP said, it only involves effort/cost once a year.

Manager doesn't get involved in anything like this, he's hardly ever here. I've already politely told her that I'd rather not sign any card than miss someone out, that's why I was annoyed at the email as unless someone else said the same thing, it was directed at me. And I just know she'll make a big thing of handing the card over while looking at me and saying 'everyone has signed it' and this person will see that I haven't. GRRRRRRR.

TrueBlueYorkshire Wed 26-Oct-16 12:42:11

The secret to someone like this is to give them so much kindness in return that they explode. You need to literally ram the kindness down their throat in such a way that they cant refuse.

What someone like this forgets is that all these things are nice when they come naturally, when they are all about that person it just becomes selfish and weird.

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