Would it BU to quit my job after this incident?(32 Posts)
This is going to be v v long but I am hoping one or two people might read it. I've had the most horrible fallout with a colleague today that has left me shaken and very upset.
Background - been unhappy at work for about a year now. Lots and lots of reasons. I stay because we need the money. It's a male workplace with the usual "banter" that working with (some) males can bring. (Have posted before about being called Treacle Tits by our main supplier for example). Company is small, we are an office of 15 but most of the staff are on the road. Head office is in another town a short flight away. Also quite small. Complaints about each other from what I have seen are handled with bitching and moaning to each other and "sucking it up."
Nothing ever gets reported officially because there is no HR department.
So I'm unhappy, actively looking for something else, getting rejected at interview stage. (Possibly because I've lost the ability to sell myself because I don't feel valued in current role.)
In my office there is usually (but not always) me, the branch boss and my male colleague, S. He is senior to me but not my boss. We have fallen out once before, because of a similar incident to today.
Upon entering the office I was immediately told by S that I needed to provide some information to L in head office regarding an item that was hired by a colleague. He had gone through my documents and been unable to find the relevant bit. (This is because it wasn't ordered by me.) I asked when the job was done, he told me with a definite note of annoyance that he didn't know. I was then told that paperwork should have been sent up for two jobs having previously been told I didn't have to send. He also said that all paperwork from March should have been sent. I explained (calmly I thought) that I send paperwork twice a week so all March papers will be in head office. I was interrupted by S several times and unable to get my point across in a complete way. It was strongly suggested that he didn't care about that as it was out of his remit. I admit that this was mildly frustrating but at no point did I lose my temper. The manner in which these requests were presented to me were with a definite edge of annoyance. I genuinely felt that his annoyance was with "work" and misread it because he was actually annoyed with me. In my attempts to get my point across and being consistently spoken over I said, in an attempt to be jovial about it "Aargh! I'm getting annoyed now!" I never told him I was annoyed with him. I misread the situation and when I said "I'm annoyed, it's annoying" S seemingly took it that I was annoyed at him. Crossed wires I guess, I didn't realise he was angry with me, he didn't realise that I WASN'T angry with him. His temper absolutely exploded at that point. "I tell you what, Fried, don't fucking go off at me, I tell you fucking now-" and the rest was cut off by a door slam with such force that the windows rattled in their frames. I was shaken and upset. At this point I called the MD to ask her what information she needed as the info from S wasn't clear. I was very upset at this point and struggled to compose myself in time for S to arrive back into the office. I did manage to find the information that MD needed and proceeded to catch up with some orders. S returned and the anger was still palpable. I went to the kitchen area to do some work as I didn't feel comfortable being in the same room as him while he was so angry and I was upset.
Once I had composed myself I asked him if he would like tea. He declined. When I returned from making my own tea I said the following:
"I wasn't going off at you. I was cross because L had asked you-"
S interrupted and shouted over me. "Well is L here now? No, so I'm the one who fucking gets bitched at. I'm sick of the way you speak to me. I am always fucking fair to you. The way you speak to me is always fucking out of order."
I tried to reply. "Right. Sorry. Is there any point in me trying to explain?"
"No. I'm still too fucking angry."
I turned away and went back to my work, breaking briefly to go outside to drink a mug of tea. I did this outside because I did not feel comfortable in the office when he was so angry. I did not feel safe actually. I have never made anyone quite as angry.
Around an hour later I asked him if I could please apologise to him.
"To be honest, Fried, I am really pissed off."
"I know. I do not like pissing you off, I work quite hard to try not to. I would rather piss off L than you and I would like to apologise. I am sorry that the tone I used annoyed you. I felt as if I was having a moan and I did not realise that my tone suggested I was very cross. That was not my intent and I am sorry."
S reply was "Right, OK." A begrudging acceptance, but still clearly furious. I left without either of us saying goodbye or even acknowledging that I was leaving.
Colleague says "That's what S is like, though. We've all been there." Difference is they're all blokes. They probably wouldn't feel as intimidated as I did. I tread on eggshells to avoid upsetting him because I know he can and does get stressed and pissed off.
I arrived home shaking, very upset. Spoke to DH and I broke down in tears. I felt intimidated by S and there were moments where I did not feel safe. DH thinks I should report this to my boss today even though it's his day off. I said this would not go in my favour, contacting him on day off. (So I haven't.) He also thinks I should hand in my notice if my instinct is right and they're not going to hear my side. But we'd struggle financially until I could find something else.
Am I overreacting to be considering handing in my notice? I have to work with S almost daily and the situation has always been precarious because of his moods. Now it feels untenable because he's turned it round to being my fault.
Sorry. I know it's an epic post, if you've read it this far thanks
I think you need to consider raising a formal grievance. It doesn't matter that there is no hr, you can raise it directly with your manager. I would suggest seeking legal advice ASAP on Tuesday.
It does sound like you might need to leave but it might be possible to negotiate an exit and get you some money to tide you over whilst you seek something.
Do you have legal cover with your house insurance? If so this would be s good starting point.
It doesn't matter that he's senior, the way he spoke to you is disgraceful, your DH is correct & you should raise it with your boss asap.
I think you are under-reacting if anything. That's shocking, made me feel uncomfortable just reading it. It's like an abusive relationship.
Absolutely report this, phone in sick on Tuesday and get some advice. He really needs to know how out of order this is. I'm really sorry you're in this position x
It's not acceptable to get angry and swear repeatedly at colleagues. He should have been apologising to you. Don't let the company off the hook. Complain about his incident, tell the boss you felt frightened and intimidated.
Completely out of line. Do raise this formally. What a horrible experience for you
That's awful - it sounds as though you ended up practically grovelling to this apology-for-a-man! Completely unacceptable for his temper to rule your workplace. Raise it formally with your manager.
Report this now. By email if necessary and your boss will see it when he next shoes up for work. Record everything said to you and anything you hear about you.
Please sign up for assertiveness classes of there are any anywhere near you.
You tool the blame on the argument (verbal attack on you)= you suggested ou had made him angry,no think he was angry , not your fault.
Even if the failure to send the paper work had been yours and even if it was your job that had not been completed/recorded or whatever...*he was utterly wrong to speak to you like that*.
Is there a union? Get whatever advice you can and do not leave until you either have another job, arrange a settlement or simply cannot stand it any longer.
Please get advice from somewhere, union, citizens advice, whatever.
You did nothing wrong, thus man verbally assaulted you and has anger issues.
In future never try and lighten the mood by making jokes, accepting the blame or offering something when you are the victim. Learn from this now and take a stand. If you really feel you have no route but to leave consult someone and see what grievance you can bring if you left.
You were not at fault. Stand up to this man, I'd you can, it may help you in future roles and continuine to look for another job.
I would make sure when you do leave that refersences reflect your good work and not this one incident.
Thanks all. Am drafting a letter and will speak to the boss on Tuesday.
(I have an interview for another job Tuesday afternoon as well, fingers crossed for that.)
Still feel sick though. I really didn't think I was speaking any differently than I normally do.
Thank you for reading, can't believe how long it was!
The company doesn't provide references. It's in my contract and everything. It's a toxic environment without any of this stuff, honestly! I've been searching off and on for a year for a new job.
"...to go outside to drink a mug of tea. I did this outside because I did not feel comfortable in the office when he was so angry. I did not feel safe actually. I have never made anyone quite as angry."
You were so scared of him you took your tea outside and worked away from him!
Get this straight in your head now, you did not make him angry. He was angry and got more angry! He was at fault. End of. He should have asked L, he should have spoken politely, there is no excuse for his behaviour.
Make it clear you will not even speak to him again if he ever uses that tone with you again.
Do you really think the tone you might ever be able to use could excuse such a loss of control in a colleague? Honestly?
If I spoke to a colleague or even my boss and his interpretation of that was to swear and make me feel physically intimidated I really hope I would speak immediately to a higher up manager. Do not wait until Tuesday. Write and date your letter or email today (IMHO) even if the letter will not arrive I til Tuesday.
I think i would raise it with whoever is appropriate, your superior / his superior depending on company structure. Making sure they undestand you felt physically threatened, not just a bit 'girly and weepy' (male dominated sweary workplace here too!).
If they don't respond in a satisfactory way, then i would absolutely quit, and probably look to find out if it would qualify as constructive dismissal.
ACAS are absolutely brilliant for advice on this kind of thing - and i found i was taken very seriously when i made a bullying complaint and mentioned i had checked my position with ACAS before raising it.
Good luck - no one should ever feel like that.
Sit down and write / record everything that happened and was said in detail (while it's still fresh in your mind).
Start a formal complaint next week.
You should not have to put up with this. It is unacceptable and unprofessional.
I have never made anyone quite as angry. Around an hour later I asked him if I could please apologise to him
I agree with PP - this sounds like an abusive relationship. He gets angry, you don't make him angry. And whilst you are in no way at fault, you shouldn't apologise to him.
I would be inclined to write up what you've put here and escalate it. The company has a duty of care and you should feel safe at work. And I'd seriously consider resigning. Once out of there you may find your self esteem comes back up and you do better at interviews.
You're obviously employable since you're getting interviews - hang onto that as a positive.
Do Raise a grievance because it's possible he will too and you don't want to be in a position of defending yourself when he's had the opportunity to take the lead.
No HR department makes no difference.
Formal complaint. Perhaps the constructive dismissal route if they can't/won't resolve it.
Good luck OP both with the complaint and with the job interview.
I encountered similar behaviour a couple of times earlier in my career. Like you, I tiptoed around these 'men' trying to smooth things over and make light of the situation. I wouldn't tolerate shit like this now and neither should.
Get it all down in writing and make a formal grievance. Although you think your company doesn't 'do HR' they will have to if you this escalates. Going forward, keep notes and record conversations for your own sanity if nothing else.
I'm really saddened to hear that women are still putting up with this type of crap in the workplace. We need to stamp it out if we are going to have any hope of equality (ha!).
Definitely do keep a paper trail and note any witnesses. If you should later want to bring a case for constructive dismissal, or scare them into thinking you might, that kind of paper trail will be invaluable.
I have reported someone where I work and made it clear that I cannot work with her. I don't feel physically intimidated but she is a hectoring bully and other people have already left because of her. Another staff member is considering it. I told my line manager that I am applying for other jobs. Her response was that there was nothing she could do.
Honestly, I wish more people were trained to manage staff effectively. Then we would all be that bit happier in the workplace.
Thank you. I think the reason I'm considering resigning instead of raising a formal complaint is because I know he will make my life more miserable if I raise it formally. The job has already eroded my confidence. If I get out of there I can start to salvage it.
Assertiveness course sounds like a good plan too actually.
Make sure you write everything down now as you remember it . And you can get free advice by contacting ACAS. Bullies in the office often carry on until someone stands up to them .
Personally I would keep quiet until you speak to ACAS and also dig your contract out to check your grievance procedure. Bide your time and do things correctly.
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