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Problem at work

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by avatar Ruby Tuesday 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #784885 Reply
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    tinyjoey713
    Member

    My name is Joe and I’m a dwarf. 4 feet even to be exact. I’ve worked at a huge electronics store in the city for 6 years. A new girl started working here a couple months ago. It’s hard to estimate height of really tall people but she’s like 6’2”, I’m about as tall as her belly button. But that’s not the problem. The problem is she treats me like I’m less than her.

    She’s training for a supervisor position which I feel like I deserve because I’ve been here for 6 years. But her dad works in corporate so what can I do? She’s not a supervisor yet but she’s had no problem bossing me around; I do most of her work for her.

    On top of the bossiness, she also does other things that make me feel microscopic and helpless. Like, she will rest her hand on top of my head when she talks to me. She calls me “munchkin” which I can’t frickin stand… and no one says anything about it. She doesn’t do it in a mean way, though. It seems like she just genuinely believes that I’m less than her.

    I know I should stand up for myself but it’s hard. This is not easy to admit but I’m really intimidated by her. Between her height and her looks, I can hardly speak to her. I don’t normally stutter but I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to her without stuttering. It’s especially soul-crushing that she’s only 18 and I’m 24.

    I don’t know if I should keep my mouth shut and deal with it or what. Any advice?

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by avatar tinyjoey713.
    #784891 Reply
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    ron

    You need to find a new job. Do speak up to management on the way out.

    Talk to her. In her defense, she is very young and inexperienced.

    It does sound like you are getting a raw deal here, but in general supervisors aren’t chosen by time in position. In this case, it seems to be family privilege, but there are management and leadership skills that employers seek in managers. You may well have all of these skills.

    As you suspect, there is more than a little height discrimination going on here. Our society really, REALLY values height in men. No logic behind that at all in this day and age, but in the corporate world, among managers and professionals, there is a very strong correlation between height and salary.

    #784897 Reply
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    joey

    I guess you’re right. It sucks to throw away the 6 years that I’ve put into this place but it’s clear that they won’t ever promote me. I kind of feel bad to quit because no one even knows that I’m disgruntled. Even the new girl has no idea. She thinks we’re good friends, I even have her on social media. I don’t know what I’m gonna say when she asks why I’m quitting.

    #784900 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Wait a second. If this is for real, touching you and calling you “munchkin” is a serious HR issue. I mean, yes, next time she does that, you should calmly ask her to not call you that, and please not touch your head. You absolutely do not have to put up with some asshole calling attention to your physical appearance and belittling you. This is something you should talk to HR about. You do not need to work it out with her directly, but you should start saying no to the behavior and also taking notes of when this stuff happens.

    I also disagree that you need to leave this job. If you feel like you deserve a manager position, you should be speaking up, advocating for yourself, finding out from your supervisors what you need to do to get into the running for that promotion. You’ll have to deal with this same stuff at any other job, trying to get promoted and move up the ladder, so you may as well start working on it here.

    #784901 Reply
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    brise

    To rest her hand on your head and call you names is unacceptable. My advice would be to ask for a meeting with your supervisor (the real supervisor) and expose your problem: not the resent you have about her position, but what you can’t accept in her treatment of you (those two acts). This is a discrimination. You can say that it is difficult for you to address this issue directly with her.
    Then the manager will probably organise a meeting with her and you, and there will be a talk where you will, under his control, explain what you can’t tolerate. Say you would like to be treated like any other employee.
    She probably doesn’t realise that her actions are discrimination, but she needs to learn it.
    Anyway, if I were the manager, this is how I would address the issue and I would find it completely reasonable of you not to accept such actions.
    Then, about your career, you can ask questions, for example at the end of the year, about your perspectives and enlighten your accomplishments for the enterprise. It is a sign of motivation that is good in itself.
    Last but not least: I disagree with the statement there is a correlation between height and career for men – at least not in all professions. The manager I had at the beginning of my career and that I admired most was very short, but he had a huge charisma and authority. The same about a famous professor at a tech university near my place who is a little person. Don’t buy those cliches and don’t let go what diminishes you.

    #785028 Reply
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    anonykins

    I agree that this is an issue of discrimination and that you should speak up. I would recommend submitting a question to askamanager.org as Alison, who runs the site, is very good with workplace issues. Not saying that anyone here isn’t, but it takes a particular kind of experience to navigate a discriminatory situation, and you’re definitely facing discrimination.

    Also, @brise, it’s awesome that you know some shorter people who are well-respected in their fields. But, the correlation between salary and height has been well documented in peer-reviewed psychology studies. It’s definitely A Thing, even if we all agree it shouldn’t be.

    #785030 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    I mean just because it’s a thing (which I believe it is) doesn’t mean you just accept it and quit your job. If some man was patting me on the head and calling me Doll, I wouldn’t just quit because sexism is a thing.

    #785039 Reply
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    anonykins

    @kate, I agree, I don’t think that Joe should just quit his job. I absolutely think he should push back. I am just objecting to the idea that there isn’t a correlation between height and a person’s career trajectory because of anecdotal data. There is a well-documented correlation, and the fact that we wish it weren’t so or that we know some awesome people who have overcome it doesn’t change the reality that it exists. Just like a woman overcoming sexism to excel in her career doesn’t mean that no other women are going to face sexism. Personally, I prefer to know that people have these biases, and understand more about how these biases work.

    #785042 Reply
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    ron

    I wouldn’t quit before finding a new job, but after 6 years service and being replaced by a raw 18-year old, who has family privilege… you gotta assume the chances for advancement at this job aren’t good. If daddy plowed the career path for his little darling, odds are he can protect her. OP should complain and he may get a settlement out of this, but I don’t think it will get him a future promotion.

    #785045 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Ok first, he’s not complaining to get a settlement. He’s complaining to get the bullshit to stop.

    Second, if he’s just been sitting back and waiting for a promotion, and not letting his manager know that’s what he wants, then is it true he’ll never get promoted? Or could he get somewhere if he started actively managing his career? He’s got to learn how to do that, here or elsewhere.

    #785070 Reply
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    Ange

    I would assume it’s the case over there that blatant discrimination is illegal. Nobody in a workplace here would get away with that behaviour, daddy’s little darling needs to learn she could find herself with a big fat lawsuit if she keeps it up. Maybe that has the run on effect of daddy realising he shouldn’t fast track a liability into management who knows.

    I know how tough it can be navigating the world when you feel at a disadvantage, one of my favourite athletes of short stature did her PE teaching placement at a high school and the kids had to help her with her own equipment. She has said often how intimidating it was and she’s super confident. Assuming this is real you don’t have to put up with people making you feel less than and you certainly don’t need to do her work. Bring it up to whoever is the boss now and do it privately, if the boss is smart they’ll understand what could come of her behaviour and deal with her, you won’t have to get your hands dirty.

    #785082 Reply
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    ron

    LW finds himself in a company that is run based upon nepotism. A company which sees nothing wrong with allowing one of his execs to get his 18-year old, fresh out of H.S. daughter a starting job as a management trainee is not one I would rely upon for fairness. LW has the deck stacked against him. He isn’t going to win in this company. He really does need to search for a new job. Once he lines one up he can let others in the company know what is going on. That may cause changes for the future and put Ms. Privilege out on the street, maybe even with her father’s wrist slapped gently. Whistle blowers tend not to be treated well. A story in todays Washington Post: VA whistleblowers 10X more likely to be disciplined than non-whistleblowers, and that’s in government, where there are statutory protections for whistleblowers.

    The legal system isn’t going to intervene in cases of the company promoted the wrong person or nepotism was involved. You have to be a member of a protected class to claim discrimination. I agree that LW isn’t looking for a settlement, but either status quo with Ms. Privilege winding up as his formal boss and him stuck in a rut or a new job elsewhere and walk away knowing he has gotten some of his own back and possibly with some 4 in his pocket are his only real choices. An H.R. that allows a corporate guy to slide his H.S. daughter into this slot fresh into the company isn’t about to undo this injustice.

    The company I worked for had a very formal H.R. department, yet summer jobs, more or less paid semi-intern jobs for college sophomores and juniors, went in high proportion to the children of friends of V.P.s. I dated one such summer employee, a very intelligent woman from a good school, but she very openly named the V.P. who got her the job and his relationship to her father. Years later, her younger and considerably less impressive sister also landed a summer job. That’s how even Fortune 300 companies with lots of H.R. rules and systems can operate.

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