Undermined at work: coping strategies please(7 Posts)
Work with two others who are very matey with each other and leaving me pretty much out in the cold. One of them, in particular, has a rather obviously low opinion of me (we do rather similar work) and only this morning send me a couple of unnecessarily censorious emails and, for no particular reason, copied in the other colleague.
We've worked in the office for about a year now and she's been developing the knack of putting me down from the outset. I think she thinks I'm rather dim. They're both younger than me and this one colleague in particular is seemingly intent on making me feel like little more than a middle aged mum, with not a lot to contribute. I have lots of relevant experience and have been pro-active and hard working since I started and don't encounter this attitude or subtle hostility elsewhere in the organisation. Working in this small team is quite isolating anyway and more so because of the efforts that my colleagues are making to find niggly ways of undermining me. The more difficult colleague is rather clearly exerting her influence over the other colleague who, when it's just her and me in the office, is perfectly nice. But when it's the three of us, it's a different matter.
I have other work but can't afford to give up the f-t post. All I do is look around. I'd be worried about giving up the day job until something else crops up.
I did once say that something that had been written about me in an email that went to quite a few people, hurt me but was slapped down in an effort to make me feel like a hopelessly sensitive person.
Anyway, any coping strategies that people can recommend would be warmly welcome. I won't see a huge amount of this unpleasant colleague over the Summer and would like to build my resilience for September, in case I find myself still working there.
How big is the company? Is there any hope of switching departments?
Feel for you. Am in similar situation. Dont know what to advise other than what you're doing- jobhunt or as other poster said transfer internally. Good luck! It is very undermining and destroys one's confidence
Who do you report to? Are they effective? If you have evidence of the bullying on email i would print it off and discuss it with them.
I had a really horrid situation with a work colleague a few years ago. She was impossible to work with. I raised it with my boss and he could already see what was happening. They separated us workwise so that we didn't overlap (so less room for conflict). They then ended up getting rid of her about six months later on capability issues. I almost danced on the desk!
if your manager is ineffective I would seriously start looking around for something else either inside the organisation or outside. Life is too short to spend it in a state of paranoia. With any luck your replacement will be a difficult cow!
Copying the other colleague in is wrong. I would forward that straight to my manager explaining situation and saying you feel it unfair that she has cc'd this matter to another team member who isn't involved.
Transfer internally or job-hunt.
In my experience even with larger companies a lot of companies do not know how to deal with bullies and often even try to sweep it under the carpet.
What does the email say apart from hurtful?
I would in your position (and I have done this) zone out from the both of them if you want to stay there... the more they see you are hurt, sensitive etc the more they will ramp up their campaign.
You could... as the unpleasant colleague is away most of summer try another tack and try to be super nice to the other colleague and even confess how hard you're finding it with the nasty one being nasty. take her out to lunch, coffee, a few chats about non work stuff etc. It could have the knock on affect at least of having her not being nasty/gossip etc. or it could backfire and she tells her nasty colleague about it.
Bullies often love to work in pairs or groups if it were just one on one they would not and do not often bother.
I recognise where you are coming from .... i feel pretty isolated in my role. In my stronger moments at home/work i say to myself " why should i let a shithead like that de-stabilise my working life"
Truth is, its pretty difficult not to at times.
I think you hit the nail on the head regarding resilience - useful skills to have in any area of life. When i remember to practise these skills i feel good about myself and MY work choices - and think that's the key - in that I wish to maintain reasonable control over working decisions.
Ultimately though, work isn't just about salary, how you spend your day etc. It can be tied into our self-esteem, sense of purpose. If these are seriously being eroded then it may be time to look elsewhere.
Sorry its a bit rambling - these situations are rarely so black and white!
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