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work colleague clique

(73 Posts)
tomatapassata Wed 27-Jan-16 01:20:58

I'm writing this whilst feeling absolutely fed up with the group dynamics at work. I started a role in a demanding, fast paced business environment around 3 years ago now. Straight away, I was a little shocked at how closely knit and unwelcoming most of my team were. None tried to get to know me and I really had to fight to be heard or noticed. I've seen 2 others come and go and still be treated in the same way. Both have acknowledged this was happening to thme too. I've since spoken to the main boss about this who tells me he is aware and is closely monitoring the situation.

Last year, I took 9 months off to have a baby, returned and it's much the same, just as expected. Only this time, I've stopped trying with this group of people. I get on with my job, speak civilly and go home to my DS at the end of the day. I wondered why it would be worth setting myself up for failure and inadequacy. Nobody openly noticed or asked how I was on returning to work within my team. Again, just no acknowledgement of a new member of staff'a existence.

Last week however, I started feeling really lonely at work, other 'teams' seem to work more inclusively together and I'm desperate for conversation! As it is such a demanding field, there isn't much time for mixing with other teams and I work through lunch break's to get home to DS earlier. Therefore, mixing with other teams isn't an option. I decided to 'try again' with my team, but again any attempts were met with ignorance, talking over me and no attempt to involve me in conversation whatsoever. I fact they spoke about what they had collaboratively been up to at the weekend. How do I contribute to that?

I've reverted back to isolation and I just feel completely deflated and sad that it has to be this way. I don't know how else I can make my work life a more pleasant experience whilst in the presence of these people?

Other teams are aware of my team''s cliquey-Ness as are management but nobody can really do much about it. I can't change teams because my expertise are in a very defined area. Changing jobs would be problematic as there aren't many jobs in my area within my field and I'm so close to DS' nursery, it SHOULD suit my family''s needs. I'm so miserable of being this social hermit though, and aside from this I enjoy my work. What is the answer? Going to work with these people just grates on my confidence and self worth every day. I so wish we were on friendlier terms but they aren't interested.

SoThatHappened Wed 27-Jan-16 01:57:49

I was once ona group desk in which the other two women used to lean roudn the side of their computer monitors and whisper to each other and used to wait until as in the loo to leave for lunch out with a few other so they didnt have to ask me.....

I'm sure what to suggest other than rise above it. You know it isnt just you.

SoThatHappened Wed 27-Jan-16 01:59:44

*wait until I was in the loo

Stupid phone

Chottie Wed 27-Jan-16 06:56:05

You can't force work colleagues to be buddies. Lots of us work with people whom we have nothing in common with except our jobs. I don't have any work buddies either, it's just the way it is.

In your position, I would stop banging my head against a brick wall, just do my job and be professional at all times. Work isn't all of your life, focus on stuff outside work too.

Why let these people get to you? do you really need their approval to validate you?

Imbroglio Wed 27-Jan-16 08:12:48

I've since spoken to the main boss about this who tells me he is aware and is closely monitoring the situation

In other words, doing nothing.

Its not just you who is being affected by this and if people are unhappy it will be affecting the business.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 27-Jan-16 08:36:10

how absolutely miserable. Being blanked and excluded through the working day? No wonder the other two left.

If they're so unwelcoming, there's nothing you can do about it though. Management can't mandate a better attitude; the only thing that would work is if the clique was split up and various people sent elsewhere.

On paper this job is in a good location for the nursery but I think that you really need to try to find another job .. .at least look for it. Being with these miserable unfriendly people can drag you down badly and really affect your confidence. It's not worth enduring unless there really is absolutely no choice. If there isn't, then prop photos of your baby and partner on your desk, get the glow from them and ignore the teen cows masquerading as adults.

Chinesealan Wed 27-Jan-16 09:03:47

As you say you can't move groups so you need to leave despite the job's convenience.

SevenOfNineTrue Wed 27-Jan-16 09:04:43

Unfortunately no manager can make his staff make small talk and include others if they don't want to. If they tried, it would lead to more resentment towards the outcast person I suspect.

The only other alternative would be to move one of two of them to break up the team and bring fresh faces in. Would that be possible?

If not, can you take short breaks and use social media to chat or communicate with your friends during the day to make you feel less alone?

tomatapassata Wed 27-Jan-16 12:37:36

Thank you for the tips. I have a few lovely pictures of my family on my desk to keep me going! The team could actually be broken up, as one of the main members of the clique (a group of 4) could work in a different area. It would make a huge difference I feel, but who am I to suggest this to management? :-/
The management team have a pretence attitude (think positive, be positive, produce positive results) and so seem to fail to notice any negativity (this is across the board.)
It's all so unfortunate and frustrating as I can drop DS off at nursery and be at work within 30 minutes. If I left, I would be looking at at least double this. DH just so happens to work in the same building (completely different area of work) but we only need to have one car etc. It's so convenient! But I'm craving social interaction. DH pops to see me from time to time and me him, but it's very difficult to squeeze into the hectic, demanding day.

I'm a little concerned that it's affecting my ability to function in groups as I'm isolated so much of the time within my working environment. A couple of weeks ago, I went home in floods of tears after not having a single conversation with another adult for a whole day! It's making me really sad and yet I see 4 adults sitting around me, chatting away, blatantly ignoring me. They are very immature and no, we don't have a lot in common, but a polite chat isn't much to offer is it? I've stopped trying because as I say, the lack of response makes me feel inadequate.

winkywinkola Wed 27-Jan-16 12:52:14

Wow. Why on earth are they like this? It's utterly bizarre.

And as for the poster who asks why you need them to validate you, that's bizarre as well.

Nobody should have to tolerate downright rudeness like this. For one, it's unprofessional because of the effect it has on others in the workplace. It will also affect staff churn.

I wouldn't bother trying at all. Keep being polite and vaguely friendly. I would start casting about for another job despite all the conveniences wrt nursery and your commute.

And make it very clear upon your departure why you are leaving. I would really lay it on thick about how it's affected your morale etc.

Those people are utter gits for behaving this way and your management people are crap. I would leave because it won't get better.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 27-Jan-16 14:00:41

No, if the clique -could- be broken up but management aren't even looking at that, then it's never going to change.

Btw, at a guess if you were accepted into the clique, there might be some very strange dynamics going on in there. Uber closed groups like that often have, I suspect. I don't think you'd ever fit in becuase you might actually be friendly to newcomers. Your attitude is a lot healthier.

Meemolly Wed 27-Jan-16 14:53:12

Good grief, tomatapassata, they sound really difficult. It must be horrible and isolating on a day to day basis. I was just wondering if you work full time could you perhaps reduce your hours so you are not having to cope with it so much and then find another part time job or do some voluntary work so you can meet some different people? I think I would have left that job ages ago as that kind of stuff really upsets me, I am currently in a job where the team is super cliquey too, but I only work about 10 hours a week so it doesn't really affect me to much.

tomatapassata Wed 27-Jan-16 15:29:40

I work a 3 day week so I just tell myself that I'm at home more than I'm at work; I try to manage it on this basis really. Newcomers are not welcomed at all, even the 'clique' appear to have issues when newcomers join the other teams. The clique spend their weekdays and weekends together as a solid unit of 4 plus husbands/wives. So I've really nothing to offer their conversation if I tried as I've no idea what they're talking about most of the time.
They have a very pessimistic view of the management team and spend their time mocking and belittling them, they are pretty bad, but thet won't give them or anyone else a chance. I don't stand much chance...
Being as contemptuous as they are comes very difficult for me so I struggle to fit in. I just want to be able to bring in cakes for everyone and do normal nice stuff, but even nice stuff appears frowned upon. I despise going to work everyday putting up this hard, bulletproof, cold front just to get by without feeling massively rejected or inadequate. It's very grim.

tomatapassata Wed 27-Jan-16 15:31:45

They are not wholly negative, they have a giggle together quite a lot, but I'm always 'out of the loop' so to speak so the joke goes over my head a lot of the time.

SoThatHappened Wed 27-Jan-16 15:44:56

I cannot believe the advice to LEAVE a stable convenient job because of a work clique.

Come on!

Op if you can have a giggle with them then it is not nearly as bad as you say. confused

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 27-Jan-16 15:57:17

the clique giggles. The OP is not part of the joke.

It might be unrealistic to just leave, but there's nowt wrong with looking around for another job.

pocketsaviour Wed 27-Jan-16 16:02:12

You poor thing. I really sympathise. I have worked in a place a little like this before (although not to such an extreme degree) and it was wretched. Being excluded is very hurtful.

They sound like bullies and I wonder if the manager is actually afraid of them. It sounds like the manager does not have the strength to address the issue.

Managers CAN address issues like this and I have seen it work myself. At the last company I was at, there was an older chap on one team who was being a bit left out, he had mild OCD and was a bit dull and annoying, and the rest of the team was quite young. Pulling faces behind his back when he was off on one of his "stories" and not inviting him out for lunch, etc. His Team Manager saw what was happening and spoke to all of the team to say it wasn't acceptable and that every team member should be as valued as the others. Obviously some people are going to make closer friends than others but she wasn't asking them to invite him round for drinks at the weekend, just to be sociable and eat a sandwich with him once a week and not look blatantly bored and impatient when he was talking. It worked well and it made the team stronger as a whole.

mum2mum99 Wed 27-Jan-16 16:05:30

Is it possible to ask the manager to move them away from each other as they are chattering?

MoominPie22 Wed 27-Jan-16 16:20:31

This is tricky cos there appears to be nothing that can be done, other than you trying to find a way to deal with it and change your mindset. Easier said than done I know, esp if they're in the immediate vacinity and basically rubbing your nose in it.
So these bitches even have husbands?tbshock what on earth would anyone see in them? Hardly warm and friendly are they? Wonders never cease. But if they've got a history of being like this with others then they're blatantly going out of their way to behave like bitches and pointedly exclude others. I would say it says more about their inability to work in teams if you're deliberately being ostracised. I'm not even sure if this would come under the Bullying and Harassment at Work Act but could you inquire with HR incase there's anything at all they can suggest?
Even if it's just how to manage it better but I would hope, esp when you emphasise the fact you're miserable and dread coming to work, mayb they can put pressure on your manager to split that clique up. That's the only way the dynamic will change. If only there was 1 person on your team who wasn't ignorant and in a clique, that would make all the difference I expect?
Even go to HR and put that idea forward. I think I'd b suffering too, feeling down and anxious about going into such an environment every day. Getting one of them moved would b less extreme than you leaving. And why the hell should you have to if u enjoy the work?

PamDooveOrangeJoof Wed 27-Jan-16 17:00:15

I would go to hr. It sounds like bullying to me.

Twinklestein Wed 27-Jan-16 18:00:35

Management could do something about it, they can't be arsed.

spudlike1 Wed 27-Jan-16 18:00:53


choceclair123 Wed 27-Jan-16 18:11:30

I would definitely go to HR about this, it does sound like bullying and it's totally unacceptable behaviour in a workplace. These people are paid to work within the company and are required to abide by laws in relation to bullying and harassment. They should be spoken to and this should not be ignored. Don't leave a job that suits you over something that management are obliged to fix. No, you don't have to like each other but they should be courteous and behave in a civil manner. Surely management can't be happy having new staff leaving because of a group of silly bi*^+^$?!

Rinceoir Wed 27-Jan-16 18:33:51

When I was a student I worked holidays/weekends in a very cliquey workplace. The clique socialised together, there were couples and even marriages within the group(of around 12 people). Management were apparently delighted at how close knit the staff were. It was miserable, and I only worked there part time. Could you be transferred to another team?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 27-Jan-16 18:45:44

It must be absolutely awful for you.
Personally, I wouldn't leave, as all other aspects - nursery/3 working days/transport with DH work very well.
Basically they are bullies and possibly jealous of you?
Being blooded minded, I would front it out and carry on as normal, appearing on the outside to be totally unaffected.
Give it time and they will very likely pack it in because it's outwardly not having their desired effect on you.
But that's me, far too determined for my own good sometimes. I'm not for one minute saying it wouldn't be challenging though.

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