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Toxic environment at work

(6 Posts)
athelophobic Tue 10-May-16 22:15:17

I've recently moved offices... have retained the same boss (who adores me and orchestrated this move), and am now level with, and sharing an office with, 2 people whom I previously "reported" to -in the sense they would ask for work and check it before forwarding to boss.

I will be taking over from them -1 is resigning, the other is moving to another department as soon as they are ready for her -and right now boss is making it very clear she prefers me and is giving me stuff to do which was typically their province. They hate this, and it's very clear they dislike the fact that it was me in particular who was promoted, rather than getting a new person from outside the company. Boss knows this, has witnessed it, and keeps telling me "they see you as a threat".

I can see their point, I would hate it if a new person came in and my boss made it VERY clear she preferred them and started giving them my work and let them mess with my files... but while I knew they wouldn't take it well, I didn't realise how badly they'd take against me. I'm either ignored or belittled, there's lots of whispering to each other and giving each other presents and loudly telling each other "don't worry if there's mistakes/Athelo's doing it wrong, it won't be your problem now".

Boss is amazingly supportive although demanding and I enjoy working with her. It's only a matter of time till they both move on, but is there anything I can do to make it more tolerable? I do have doormat/"you're right and I'm wrong" tendencies, along with very bad anxiety, which may also be contributing.

Zaurak Wed 11-May-16 11:36:00

I've found that most industries are small worlds. It's horrible to be in such a situation but you will only come out of it well if you maintain your cool and professionalism. You will likely see these people again so you need to not be a doormat, but also not lose your cool.
Secondly I've found that people are rarely arseholes to one individual. I worked with a woman who made my life an abject misery. Thankfully when my project ended I didn't have to work directly with her any more, but others did and soon I was hearing moans from others about her behaviour. While I was sorry for them, it was kind of nice to be vindicated!

When i interview people I often ask something like 'tell me about a time you were in an awkward position at work. How did you handle it?'
Think about that. If you were asking that what would you want to hear? You'd want to hear that you detatched emotionally and acted professionally. You'd want to hear that you challenged anything that threatened your professional standing (outright slander) in a calm manner while letting the trivial stuff go. You'd want to hear that you kept your mAnaher appraised. And perhaps you'd want to hear that you learned from the experience and noted to yourself that if you ever initiated such a situation you'd be aware of the possibility for ill will.

Good luck, it's horrible to have such behaviour directed to you at work. If you hear these comments again you need to say, calmly, something like " I know this situation we have been put in is not ideal. The work you've done is good and it can't be easy seeing someone sent in to take it on. You will be moving soon to a great new opportunity so let's try to make the best of what we have."

athelophobic Wed 11-May-16 13:11:02

Thank you so much... it's actually not only me having problems with them, I think I feel it more because I'm in the same room, while others can walk away/put down the phone.

I'm trying to let it all bounce off me: I let them talk, ignore the hurtful comments and act unfazed. Sometimes when there's a pointed comment directed at me, I think about saying something but I don't because
1. they'll deny it was aimed at me
2. I'm so anxious and self-conscious around them that I know I have a tendency to stammer (only happens when very tense/upset), and that will show them they're getting to me

This will most likely come up during interviews for promotions, so will keep your words in mind.

brassbrass Wed 11-May-16 13:18:47

Yes I would agree, remain professional even if they are stooping to bitchiness.

All you can do is do your work to the best of your ability. You have your boss on side which is a bonus. Keep her updated of any risks to do with their work or handover to you. If you can capture any of this in emails then you will have evidence of your efforts and their lack of. Equally don't go telling tales every five minutes. Let her see you handle it like a grown up professional. If they are resorting to petty bitching to make you feel excluded you should know they are scraping the bottom of the barrel as they have nothing work related to target you with.

And as you say, they'll be gone soon.

athelophobic Wed 11-May-16 15:50:17

Boss is well aware and wants them gone just as badly... she's trying to get the one who's moving moved asap, particularly as I'm already doing the bulk of the work (but I have to keep asking for documents/emails and I get death glares if I dare go near one of "their" files).

It's just difficult to feel so unwelcome in my own office. At the latest, one will leave end of August and once the clique is broken it should be more manageable.

brassbrass Wed 11-May-16 15:55:41

yes I was just thinking that, as soon as one of them leaves the other one will be a lame duck so life should improve dramatically.

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