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Dear Wendy

Politics in workplace.

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by avatar Northern Star 1 week, 6 days ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 17 total)
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  • #722388 Reply
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    Flowerfly

    I am a person who likes to work hard and please others. I recently overheard my senior colleague at work saying to my other colleague that I don’t work hard and I’m very shy. This upset me. Just because English is not my first language I tend to be reserved and quite as I feel like I will say something stupid. I hate the way others perceive me especially when I want to show my worth.

    #722389 Reply
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    Flowerfly

    Shall I just ignore the meaningless comments and continue to work hard because I am only using this job as a stepping stone anyway. I know I will not be here forever so I think I should take it day by day and eventually leave when I get a proper job I love. What do you think.

    #722390 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    I don’t think the comment about not working hard is meaningless. I think it probably means she thinks you don’t work hard. I’d be actively looking for another job if I were you, because the fact that senior colleagues see you as not a hard worker means you probably won’t move up.

    If you ARE working hard, you need to do a better job of letting people know what you’re getting done.

    #722392 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    Is this person your manager? if so, you need to have a conversation with her as soon as possible to address your concerns about her perception of you. If she is not your manager, is she someone who could influence your manager or HR? If so, then you need to address this with your manager to outline your concerns. Basically – you need to meet with your manager.

    I recommend outlining your understanding of your responsibilities and confirming with your manager. Ask if you are underperforming or if your manager is satisfied. If your manager is fine with your performance, then keep doing what you are doing. If not, then clarify what actions you need to take to improve and meet expectations.

    Schedule a standing meeting with your manager as a check in. Maybe once a week or once every two weeks to confirm that your meeting goals, understand your manager’s priorities and find out what work may be coming your way so you can prepare.

    #722394 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    My two cents: I think it would be a good idea to meet with your manager to confirm you’re meeting expectations and learn whether there’s anything you could be doing better. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend standing weekly or bi-weekly check-ins. I’ve had those with an employee who was on a performance improvement plan and subsequently had to let her go. My boss had them with each of her team members when I was in a strictly sales role, because she needed updates on the numbers for the forecast. But under normal circumstances I think check-ins like that are a pain for managers and not something they want to deal with unless they have to for HR reasons. It may work against you. If your boss isn’t suggesting regular check-ins, I wouldn’t do so.

    #722398 Reply
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    Flowerfly

    Thank you. This colleague seems to say bad things to me indirectly about but would then say things like well done and thank you constantly. I don’t seem to know where I am with her. I guess I must continue to work my ass off everyday until she treats me as a equal.

    #722400 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Okay, I’m not sure that’s the best strategy, to keep doing what you’re doing, which she passive-aggressively complains about, in hopes that she’ll start treating you as an “equal” (which if she’s senior to you is probably not realistic anyway).

    #722401 Reply
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    Flowerfly

    I don’t mean to use the ‘poor me’ routine. But this job definitely does affect my self-Esteem. I guess I have to keep going and working hard

    #722403 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Personally I’d change something I’m doing, proactively get feedback, work on that, check back in after a while… I wouldn’t keep doing what I’m doing if people are complaining about me.

    #722438 Reply
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    MMR

    Your colleague is definitely being unprofessional, but it could be because they’re unaware of the work you’re actually doing. If you are fairly reserved at work, I think this is pretty likely.

    If you can find a way to bring up your accomplishments when speaking with this person, maybe they’ll get a chance to see what you’ve been working on. Since they’re senior to you, you could also ask questions that show what you’ve done or are working on.
    e.g. “I took this approach when I was working on project X, do you think they same thing would work with project Y?”
    “I need to find information about A, is Doris from project planning the person to ask?”

    Keeping your head down and just working hard is (unfortunately) unlikely to change this person’s opinion, if that is your goal.

    #722444 Reply
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    Fyodor

    Flowerfly, please take and listen seriously to this advice, which I had to learn through trial and error.

    1. Everyone at your company does not have an encyclopedic knowledge of what everyone else is doing. Part of your job is finding ways to make your contributions visible, which may involve working better on how you communicate what you’re doing and volunteering for higher profile projects. Simply sulking that your efforts aren’t being automatically recognized will not fix the issue.

    2. What you may consider to be important may not be what your employers consider to be important. You could be working hard but not excelling at the things that your employers consider to be important.

    I would ask to meet with your boss and ask if you can discuss (A) your performance (B) things that you can do to improve and (C) (if A and B are met) if there are some higher profile tasks you can take on to try to improve your visibility within your office.

    I don’t know if you need to look for another job or how serious the issue is. People sometimes form bad impressions from one interaction but then just as easily have their opinions turned around.

    I know that it seems unfair to you that you should have to do this, but these are necessary skills for succeeding professionally. I still struggle at being proactive about these kinds of things.

    There are probably good books/resources out there that might help you. Maybe Kate, who seems very savvy about this kind of stuff can suggest something?

    #722447 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    Here’s a really good bit of advice that I got from one of my first managers many many years ago: No one will ever care about your career more than you.

    The onus is on you to protect and nurture your job. Yes, you have to work hard but if someone is disparaging you then it is YOUR job to put a stop to it. Yes, your manager shouldn’t allow for it. Everyone’s workplace should be respectful. But the way things should be aren’t necessarily the way things are. And some managers are bad managers. And some workplaces are toxic.

    I recommended the check in not to continually ask “How am I doing?” because to Kate’s point – that gets old really fast. I would structure it more in terms of “These are my current priorities, I need help or I have capacity to do more and can I get insight into what’s ahead?” Your manager should be aware of the first two and telling you of the third but maybe your manager sucks, and you may need to manage your manager. I don’t know.

    You don’t have to get along with the people at work, but you do have to successfully work with them. Hard work is not enough.

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