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AIBU to be angry at colleagues?

(931 Posts)
HappyGoLuckyGirl Mon 20-Mar-17 10:38:15

For background, I work in an extremely male dominated industry and I am the only female on the team.

In the office we sit in 'pods' of four. On pod A, there is myself and two male colleagues. On pod B there was two male colleagues, however one has just left the company.

I have just come back from 3 days annual leave to find that the colleague who sat next to me (Colleague 1) has moved all his things onto my desk and Colleague 2 who was sat on pod B is now sat at Colleague 1's desk. My things have been moved to pod B, where Colleague 2 used to sit. So now, I am sat in the middle of the office, on a pod by myself. If I had chosen to move, it wouldn't be a problem but it feels like I have been pushed out of the rest of the team and almost 'relegated' if you will.

I asked them to move my desk back and then left to get a coffee. I came back and Colleague 1 smirked and said I should sit down at my 'new' desk. I gathered my things and came to sit in the spare office, as I felt angry and embarrassed and didn't want to lose my temper.

The head of department came into the spare office and asked me what was up. I explained what had happened and he said he was now in no-win situation. I asked why, when it was quite simple to ask everyone to move back. He then told me they had done it without his permission and he 'wasn't getting involved'.

I then said, well I am now asking you to get involved please, you're the head of department. To which he repsonded that it wasn't my decision, it was his and he wanted me to 'give it a go'. He said it would be a good thing for me and Colleague 1 to sit apart as we have been butting heads slightly lately. I said yes, but because of Colleague 1's behaviour, things like this!

I said if that was his opinion then I accept that but I didn't understand why I was the one being punished. He said I was being daft and he wanted me to give it a go but understood if I wanted to work from the spare office.

I'm extremly annoyed because he told me himself they did it without his permission and I feel that now he is attempting to make out like it is his decision because he doesn't want to reprimand Colleague 1. It is easier to make out like I am being a silly girl over a desk.

This is an open plan office, by the way. So two other departments know about it!

I feel extremely embarrased and upset about it now and I can't think straight, so need you lot to tell me if I am being silly or if I am justified in feeling that this behaviour is unprofessional and disrespectful.

Noctilucent Mon 20-Mar-17 10:43:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThreeFish Mon 20-Mar-17 10:44:54

I'm with you. I'd feel pushed out of the team.
Even if the colleague didn't want to sit on his own anymore, he could have moved to "your" pod. No need to move you from your desk.
I'd speak to HR.
You are not being silly. They are counting on you "not making a fuss".
They would not have done it to another male colleague.

QuinoaKeen Mon 20-Mar-17 10:45:00

Angry on your behalf OP 😡. They're rude bullies and your Dept. Head sounds cowardly and incompetent.

Document all of this.

BackforGood Mon 20-Mar-17 10:46:22

WEll, it does sound annoying and frustrating, but, if I've understood it right, you now have a space on your own to work in ? Surely this is a bonus, rather than having to sit close to the colleague you don't get along with ? I'd much rather have my own space.

KatharinaRosalie Mon 20-Mar-17 10:46:28

Wow your head of department is a wet noodle, isn't he.

But on the other hand, is the spare office nice? I hate open plan work places and would just take the office over permanently.

silverduck Mon 20-Mar-17 10:49:27

YANBU, how mean of them. I'm afraid I would lock horns with the head of department over this and complain if he wouldn't do his job but then I'm probably not a role model of good behaviour at work.

The best way to do this is probably to put it in writing, then you have something you can forward to his boss. HR would always tell you to escalate up the chain of command before raising a grievance anyway.

highinthesky Mon 20-Mar-17 10:51:41

The decision about you was made and implemented without you, and you have been presented with no choice. Ergo bullying. You may have butted heads with colleague 1 but this is not the way to resolve things. You've approached the HoD who has effectively sanctioned this and dismissed your concerns about process.

Its notionally very simple, you need to log a complaint with HR. Stick with process rather than anything personal. Be in no doubt that you are going to have to develop a very tough carapace.

GloucestershireGuy Mon 20-Mar-17 10:53:56

I used to work in financial services in a giant open plan office (only senior managers and directors had individual offices) and there were about 150 people in the open plan area. Different teams/depts were seated together but no dividing partitions marking them out. Every year there'd be a big move around for some reason or other. No one ever got a say where their desk was. You'd still be in the same team but you might be sitting with three different people from the time before. No one got their arse out and complained.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Mon 20-Mar-17 10:54:45

I tried to move into the spare office about 6 months ago (well actually, they put my things in here and then 'jokingly' locked the door).

Unfortunately, a Director upstairs found out about it and told our head of department he didn't want me having my own office! Probably because he doesn't have his own office confused

I know it's just a desk but it was my desk and he has just decided to take it from me. I've sat there for almost two years, when another colleague left the company. Funnily enough when he left, head of department said that Colleague 1 should get first pick of the desk and he said he didn't want it and was happy for me to sit there.

I can see that it just a desk but it almost feels the same as if someone had taken one of my belongings just because they like it. He also makes a show out of using my mug. Which is pink with bloody minnie mouse on it!!

God, I feel ridiculous typing this. Maybe IABU. sad

iseenodust Mon 20-Mar-17 10:55:07

I'd feel like you. They should not have moved your stuff without a chat with you. Your head of dept is a plonker. He has basically said they can work in a team environment and you should work on your own. He should have just said to the guys 'let Happy have her desk back and other guy can have the 4th seat at the pod'.

I wouldn't necessarily pursue it now but I would document what is going on because this sets a precedent that head will not act in order to avoid confrontation. Once bullies know that they will take advantage.

roarityroar Mon 20-Mar-17 10:56:59

Bloody hell OP, how cruel. I would find this very upsetting and I also work in a very male industry; I can't imagine my colleagues behaving so poorly.

You're now in a shitty situation where if you do get you desk back you'll probably feel awkward. What bastards.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Mon 20-Mar-17 10:58:57

GloucestershireGuy I understand that but that isn't the way it works at the company I work for.

Everyone is free to chose a desk from any of the spare ones in the department. The only time there are desk moves is when someone leaves the company/moves departments.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Mon 20-Mar-17 11:00:23

Exactly roarity and I know they will try and have lots of 'banter'.

Noctilucent Mon 20-Mar-17 11:00:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ScarletFever Mon 20-Mar-17 11:00:40

Fuming for you too op

Can u go in early one day and move your desk back and move their stuff to random locations?

Narnia72 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:00:55

This is just yet another example of everyday sexism. So depressing. If you make a fuss you're a hysterical woman, if you accept it, they'll feel superior and do it again, belittle or ignore a woman in the workplace. Have you seen the Twitter conversation doing the rounds at the moment, where a male boss was asked to encourage his female colleague to work faster. They accidentally swapped email signatures and he realised that the reason she was slower than him was because she had to work twice as hard to get clients to take her comments seriously. This was all on email. They swapped for a week and she got far more done than him. I would be tempted to go in after hours and swap the desks back. When called on it, say "Oh I thought that was what we were doing now. Swapping to sit where we we want without consultation or agreement from our colleague." But then that would label you a bolshy troublemaker. You really can't win. I feel for you.

sonjadog Mon 20-Mar-17 11:01:37

I would turn pig-headed on this one. If you give in, I think it will be a slippery slope into real bullying. I'd sit in the spare office until they give you your desk back, or until it becomes such a big fuss that they have to sort it out properly. I also would make it clear how useless your HoD is.

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:02:22

YANBU, particularly as you are the only woman on the team and this deliberate isolation will make onlookers think that you have separated yourself from the group space either because you can't 'hack it with the guys' or because you're difficult to work with.

I don't have any useful advice about dealing with it I'm afraid, but I think the bullying behaviour combined with the unequal gender balance makes this more than just a spat between workers.

TheAntiBoop Mon 20-Mar-17 11:02:41

It sounds like he's bullying you - I'd keep a note of all these things. Whilst one thing may be petty a build up isn't.

Goldfishjane Mon 20-Mar-17 11:04:42

I'm sorry to say, while it sounds like bullying, it also sounds like he has either been complicit or is pleased to take the chance to stand against you.

so you could go to HR but you might find it's one of those times where they are doing it on purpose to see how you react and they will go from there.

bloody hell office politics - boring, complicated and stupid. Depending on what else goes on in your office could be sexism - perhaps that's a better way to approach it.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 20-Mar-17 11:04:53

It sounds like there's quite a lot to unpick here. There's more than a suggestion of bullying towards you but I'm also not sure you're helping yourself.

Your HoD is just that, not your dad to sort out petty work place squabbles. You can also choose how you react to stuff and getting upset is what a bully wants - so try not to give them that.

Have you ever made a complaint about the bullying behaviour? Or do you just seem to over react to things now and again (not saying you are but just how it may appear)?

KatharinaRosalie Mon 20-Mar-17 11:05:14

Of course if the head of department says that people should just give it a go when other colleagues move their stuff, I might be tempted to come in early tomorrow morning and do some rearranging of colleague1's stuff. Any room for a desk next to the toilets?

Childish of course, but this is also childish bullying. In fact, exactly what happened to me when in high school. I moved their stuff back.

WateryTart Mon 20-Mar-17 11:05:15

Go in early tomorrow and claim it back.

MrsELM21 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:05:35

AW OP I'd be upset as well. I see my desk almost as my little 'home at work' and would be really annoyed if anybody moved me out of it without asking.

Your Head of Department has been rubbish in this situation and I'm not sure that there is really very much that you can do about it without looking like you've caused a scene over what some people would say is just a desk.

They have however in my opinion behaved terribly, can you do something to make your new desk really nice instead? Do you get the impression that this is something that they have done on purpose to upset you or is it just the thoughtless act of people who thought you might not be bothered? Is there somebody else you can talk to?


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