I’ve joined this firm at the beginning of this year and work-wise, its been great. However, on hind sight and looking at the problems I’ve been having, I think that I am being bullied. I was looking forward to being part of a young and dynamic organisation. However, it turns out that I’m being called a bitch at work.

I cannot even begin to consider who my ‘enemy’ might be. I am always friendly and try to be non-threatening. A colleague at work told me that it could be due to the fact I am young, married to a successful man and have nice things without being broke. I think its silly but no one else seems to have an explanation.

This affects my life because a bunch of women put together a performance plan for me and presented it to a partner. This will affect my career progression. I’ve recently done more work for men and they are happy with what I have done for them. I don’t want to think that my problem is due to women taking each other down. Can you offer a way to get rid of this problem? I am over understanding why but rather a solution to how to deal with office politics without trying to look ugly or make an effort to be inferior in some way.

6 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    It doesn’t matter if a few people don’t like you. Just figure out what you need to get from your job, and get that. If you can’t get that then leave.

    If someone is actually calling you bitch to your face at work it is so ridiculous that you should not even give it a second thought. The person is absurd. Ignore it. If the person has power over you and is calling you a bitch, then quit.

    That said, you don’t come across as very likable in your email. It’s doubtful that people don’t like you because you married a guy who makes a lot of money. People don’t care about that, but you seem to care about it a lot because you judge people for “being broke”. And it’s doubtful that you’re being “bullied” if you “don’t know who your enemy is”. And it’s doubtful that the office really does fall into the camp of all women and all men, which is the way you portray it.

    I have a feeling that people don’t like you because you are not nice to them. You might think you are, but you cannot pretend to like people who you don’t like. It sounds to me like you don’t like the people you work with. And if that is the case, why would you stay?

    Penelope

  2. CJ
    CJ says:

    I don’t think the author sounds unlikeable. Jealousy is an ugly thing, and I went through a similar situation at my first job out of college. Except it was my actual boss and her ‘crew’ who didn’t like me.

    They had hired me out of a pool of over 40 people, but disliked me after a month. They would comb through my work to find the ‘mistakes’, and then yell at me about it. I got yelled at every single day, despite me working lots of (unpaid) overtime to compensate the learning curve of being new. So I quit after 3 months. I don’t think they were pressuring me to leave – I think they thought I was too young and meek and needed the money.

    The reason for the jealousy? I think it was because I was likeable. It was just a few (crucial) people who had ganged up on me, but the others in the office seemed to like me. People would come to my desk to say good bye (which my boss hated seeing!) and even chipped in their own money to throw me a going away party + take me out for lunch. Even some of the other bosses came over to wish me well.

    Penelope’s advice is spot on about seeing what you can get out of the job, and leaving if you can’t get it. In my case, even though most people liked me (or at least were neutral towards me), I couldn’t change my boss’s behavior. I couldn’t even get a good reference from her, so it was just a waste of my time. I’m glad I left.

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Even though it’s stupid and childish, how well you get along with the other people in your office is a crucial success factor. Over time I came to learn that I was disliked by most of the people at a place where I worked, and it took an enormous toll on me after a while.

  4. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    I don’t think the author sounds unlikable either, and I don’t think she came across as judging people for being broke–that was only an explanation a colleague came up with. But I do agree that she does seem to be making a separation between women and men in the office, so I am imagining that perhaps she’s good-looking and sexy and maybe some construe her as flirting with the men. I am thinking a possible solution would be to try to make more female friends at work because women tend to be a lot cattier with women who they can objectify (as competition or sluts or flirts) rather than personally relate to as friends. But that’s just my opinion, worth less than even 2 cents because I have no experience whatsoever in this type of situation.

  5. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here and take sides with the problem writer. It is possible that there are cliques within the office, and are not accepting of new people. My guess is it could be related to her pay scale or some preference that she’s been getting, which the others feel that she doesn’t deserve. It is also possible that by divulging details of her good life, she may have across as someone who doesn’t need to work. If the dept. has had to fire people then this factor goes further. The troubled lady needs to wait till another new person comes along or get one person from the clique to be her friend. Its easy.

  6. Cheryl Morris
    Cheryl Morris says:

    CJ, they were pressuring you to leave–by creating a hostile workplace environment. What they did was horrible!

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