To want to be treated with respect by colleagues?(25 Posts)
Some of my colleagues seem to have a problem with my accent and/or how I come across, and it's getting me down!
I have a south east accent and I live and work in Scotland - I know I am quite reserved and I'm always polite at work (obviously!) and think this is just part of being professional.
Since starting my job about 6 months ago, a few of my team make regular remarks about me being "posh" and comment on how I pronounce certain words, or laugh when I'm talking. It makes me self-conscious and reluctant to speak in front of everyone, which makes me feel chilidish. Am I just being over sensitive and should get over it??
No they are being childish. Accents aren't a new phenomena and after the first day or so they should have gotten over it. YANBU.
I totally understand I am from the south and moved to North 4 years ago and get comments that i speak "posh".
Do you think you could be brave and address it directly next time a colleague makes a comment or laughs? Or could you talk to your manager?
If you didn't want to do that - take it as a compliment and grow a slightly thicker skin.
But no you are not being sensitive, especially if it is getting you down.
Speak to your manager or if you are friends with any of your colleagues ask them to tell the others to stop it because it's upsetting you. They may think it's affectionate teasing but it's horribly bullying.
YANBU. DH and I are southerners up North, and have experienced this often. It's not so much the comments that are irksome, but the general air that you're not to be taken seriously.
As jemmstar said, it would be perfectly reasonable to take this up with your colleagues directly - and if they're doing this in formal situations such as presentations or meetings, you should certainly speak to a manager, as this simply isn't respectful.
In informal situations, I usually try to turn it round - 'How would you pronounce X, then?' or 'What would you call X?' This sometimes leads to a conversation about regional dialects generally, which can help break down barriers. It does get better over time - the novelty wears off, and also you gradually learn more 'local phrases'.
You're definitely not being over-sensitive - imagine the reaction if it were, say, an Asian accent that they were mocking - quite rightly, this would be viewed as unacceptable. Be proud of your heritage and your accent!
That's appalling, please report to your boss or HR. I'm Scottish and we have a number colleagues from the south in our office - this kind of bullying absolutely would not be acceptable.
OP - that's awful.
I work with lots of people with either regional accents or English is not their first language and no-one would dream of commenting on their accents.
Your colleagues sound very insular and quite rude.
Sorry OP I spent a number of mostly happy years working in Scotland and I'm sad to say in some strata of society up there you will be singled out and be bullied and abused simply for being English.
Most won't stand for it, clearly, but it can be quite venomous. Report to HR?
I only clicked on this thread in the hope it was Donald Trump. Soz OP!
Where in Scotland are you OP? I'm from Glasgow and work for a large company with a whole variety of accents and it's just not an issue. Anyone commenting or poking fun at someone's accent would be viewed in a very dim light. Are you in an area which is not very diverse?
Thanks everyone, you have made me feel better. I'm in Edinburgh and have worked in two other places in the city where I've never encountered this.
I want to be brave and deal with it myself with them when it happens rather than speak to my boss - what should I reply?
E.g some of the comments have been said in a 'joking way' with lots of laughing but still stung as I remember them clearly -
- "what would you know about X, you went to private school" (I didn't actually, but would it matter if I did?!?)
As I said in my first post I worry its more about how I come across, along with my accent - I don't look down on anyone and I would never dream of saying that kind of thing to anyone. I really want some witty retorts that will just make it stop xx
I'm fairly thick skinned but this would piss me off. I'm Irish and have lived and worked in the uk for 18 years, so I'm pretty used to this sort of 'banter'.
The next time they comment on your accent,
I'm afraid my response would be, ' oh I'm sorry, I meant ...' Then repeat what you have just said in the most ridiculous 'Och aye the noo ' fake Scottish accent. When you get the annoyed looks and comments, you may then respond, oh I thought it was open season on accents around here?
Play them at their own game. Tell them they are mistaking 'posh' for 'class' but that 'you know they wouldn't understand that.' Say with a smile and a wink if needed. Scot here in Scotland but with English parents. I was 'posh' in school ... and still sometimes...but now love talking with colleagues about accent differences. Our western isle colleague gets some words 'sung' back at her... but it's a beautiful sounding accent.
RubySparks from how they treat me I think I come across as 'posher' than them (which I think they must see as negative). Looking at it objectively I am just myself at work - well-spoken, polite, perhaps a bit shy. Maybe this is construed as being aloof
Maybe.. just there are so many people in Edinburgh who come from other places including England that it would seem unusual to pick on your accent! Also isn't Edinburgh accent thought to be posh in other places?
I would say that is bullying. As you can't easily change your own accent because you can't 'hear' it.
I think I might ask them how it should be said - and try to copy it, which should be amusing so you are making a joke of it and yourself. Maybe write it down to use in future eg 'Wit can a day noooo?'
Maybe if you are a bit aloof it is also being seen as snooty. There is a loooong history in Scotland of not liking people who 'get above themselves'. Evidence of a sense of humour is prob the best solution but not easy to do if you are feeling got at. I'm a bit worried that complaining to HR or manager will be seen as more evidence of your lack of humour. So I wouldn't do that until other avenues have been tried.
And speaking back in their accent will highlight how unattractive some of our words are (not saying a scottish accent is bad but I had words spoken back to me when in the US, as they tried to understand me, and I was OMG is that how I sound!!)
An answer to the private school would be 'Haha there weren't many toffs at Scruffbag Highschool.' Maybe do some relaxation classes, mindfulness, meditation so you are more relaxed as it is v hard to think of funny ripostes if you are stressed, or at any time tbh.
TBH the works the other way round too. My DD is Scottish and works in London. Her colleagues often laugh at the way she pronounces certain words. Thankfully she thinks it is very funny and doesn't let it bother her at all. In fact i think she plays on it as she feels being Scottish is her USP at work. Try not to let to bother you OP this might be your colleagues way of getting to know you better, as clumsy as it might seem.
I would be tempted to smile sweetly and 'jokingly' tell them it is easier to speak properly without a deep fried mars bar in your mouth.
"what would you know about X, you went to private school" (I didn't actually, but would it matter if I did?!?)
What is the name of my school?
Right, so now that the personal insulting segment is finished, can we refocus the conversation on the work issue?
If it's not happened elsewhere in Edinburgh it's just your colleagues and is possibly compounded by your shyness - they might (clumsily) be trying to bring you out of shell or getting to know you with this 'banter'.
You said it's making you reluctant to speak up but if they're going to get used to your accent around the office you'll need to be comfortable with talking whenever you have something to say and take the attitude of 'Yes, this is how I speak, I don't give it a second thought, it's not going to change so just get used to it'.
Thanks everyone - going to speak up more and they will hopefully just get used to me.. and I will grow a thicker skin!
That's weird that it's happening in Edinburgh- IME offices in Edinburgh are stuffed full of ex Stewart Melville, Heriots and George Watson types who rather assume that anyone nicely spoken is also in their "club" so to speak.
I've never in my life been asked which school I went to so frequently as when working in Edinburgh. I used to really enjoy telling those types that I was state educated.
Nevertheless it's not acceptable for them to be bullying you this way - start calling them on it.
If you don't like confrontation, then I suggest instead of embarrassingly minimising it (on their behalf) you blankly stare at them for 3 full seconds then raise your eyebrows, break eye contact and pretend-mutter (speaking in normal voice). "Woooow" while you lower your head and shake it in disbelief. The you-did-not-just-go-there. Practice that in mirror first. What also works is arched eyebrows and dropped jaw coupled with a raised hand signalling you're putting the poor soul out of his misery with...
Anyway.... To get back to ...
Let me just stop you right there X before you dig that hole so deep not even HR will be able to pull your arse back up.
Or just look in disbelief, shake your head, and scribble it down. If questioned what you're writing down, just shake head and reply "unbelievable, just unbelievable"
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