should I show how angry I am when I resign?

A reader writes:

Three months ago, I applied for a short-term contract position in order to get my foot in the door with a company in an industry I had previously worked in and missed immensely. Shortly before my interview, my resume was shared with a separate department in that company and I came in to the interview to the news that a completely separate team (headed by the OM) had seen my resume and wanted to “steal” me (their word). My previous experience made me a great asset and I was offered a temp-to-perm job on the spot by the OM himself.

I brought my A game to this job. I developed organizational tools and documentation to be used in the field at my boss’s request, in addition to performing my regular duties. I received glowing feedback and handshakes, meetings to present my products to higher-ups, and no indications that there was any dissatisfaction with my work. I was even told I could be the OM’s “right hand man” in the future, whatever that means. Basically, I could do this job with my eyes closed due to my previous experience and had the drive and wit to do even more. On the downside, I’m all about work and do not have any need to socialize or gossip and have been ostracized by the other people in this office because I don’t allow people to use me to boost their own self esteem. Meaning, I don’t give audience to trash talk. I am respectful and civil and try to make conversation, but when I see unprofessional behavior towards internal and external clients I will say something. I will never be the person who brown noses and gives people credit where none is due. I lack the skill to be fake or to giggle and brush off reprehensible behavior. If someone comes to my desk talking to me in a showboat fashion to correct a typo I’ve made, I will first ask them why they are talking so loudly and then quickly fix it. I’m that person.

Fast forward to present day. About two weeks ago, the OM notified me that department finances were tight and that they would have to cut my hours from full-time to 20 per week. I spent the next week choking down my pride, keeping a smile on my face, and hiding from my coworkers the utter chaos this has thrown into my life (specifically finances and fights with the spousal unit). The OM told me that this was temporary and that a new permanent req would eventually be opened … in April 2018. He said if I leave for a full-time job, he will personally call me when the req opens. More pride choking. He hasn’t spoken to me since that day.

On the Monday of my second part-time week, I overheard people teasing the temp who applied for the same job I originally applied for. It was apparently her first day of being a *permanent employee*. The same job. That I originally applied for. But my “better job” is now part-time?? I am fully aware that they by no means owe me an explanation, but it hit me like a truck. I think I was literally physically stunned. Nobody warned me to soften the blow at all. Like: “Hey, you’re going to notice that Temp B was hired on. Don’t take it personally.” Or even, “Hey, thanks for choosing to stay with us so far.” Just crickets.

That night, because I know only I can control and fix this, I started applying for other jobs, including one that was a shot in the dark. Tuesday, call received to schedule an interview for that job. Wednesday, interview. Friday, job offer. Not sure if the details of this job are important to mention, but it’s full-time, direct hire, great pay, and they align with my ambitious nature.

So now I get the pleasure of resigning from my current job in a few hours. Except I’m freaking out. I will of course offer two weeks, which due to my new shiny part-time schedule will actually be about a week and a half. But I’m wondering how much to say during that conversation. I know it was well within their rights to cut my hours, to hire someone else permanently on, to not talk to me about it at all after the initial notification, and to feed me a line about calling me in April. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

So far I’ve played it cool, but my pride and emotions are starting to emerge. Can I tell him “do not call me in April” or do I just smile and nod knowing that there is no chance I’d come back even if he does call? Can I ask him to stop blowing smoke and tell me if this had anything to do with me pissing off the queen bee? Can I absolutely refuse to tell anyone where I’m going? Can I delete all of the working copies of the projects I was given? (Joking.) I feel the need to send him the message “hey, don’t for one second think that I’m not on to this BS, so don’t patronize me.” I am really upset and feel that somehow this opportunity to really shine and be a game changer at this company was ripped right from under my feet. I want them to know that. It may appear that I’m fine, but I’m pissed.

Probably should just give him the two weeks, smile and nod, and tell him only that the new job is not with a competitor, and move on, huh?

Yep.

You’re taking this all really personally. And I get that it feels personal. But it’s almost certainly a lot less personal than you think it is.

Cutting your hours sucks, but it’s not a personal slight. It’s almost certainly, as they explained, about their budget.

And I get that it was a blow to hear that the job you’d originally applied to had gone permanent … but first, they may not even remember that that’s the job you originally applied for. It’s really common for manager to forget that kind of detail around someone’s hiring; you remember it because it was a big deal to you, but they’re usually juggling a bunch of different candidates. Second, even if they did remember, it might not occur to them that you’d need special messaging around it, since it’s a different job than yours. (To be clear, they should have thought about that — cutting someone’s hours is a big deal, and a good manager will be as thoughtful as they can around that — but it’s not outrageous that they didn’t.)

You said that you feel like your opportunity to shine at this company was ripped away from you. But business needs change. Jobs get changed or eliminated. That’s just how it goes.

It sounds like you think there may have been internal politics at play. Maybe there were! But if your hours got cut because you weren’t getting along with people you needed to get along with, that’s a pretty clear sign that you weren’t operating in the way that this particular company wanted you to operate, rightly or wrongly. Which means it wasn’t a spectacular fit for you after all. (Or maybe it truly was just finances. Either way, it’s not the personal attack that you’re taking it as.)

I’m not saying that this doesn’t suck. But sometimes this stuff happens, and it’s no one’s fault, and the best thing you can do is to just carry on making good decisions for yourself, without getting bogged down in anger or resentment about things that ultimately are just business decisions. You’ve done the “making good decisions for yourself” part of that: You went out and got yourself a better job, which is great. But now you need to deal with the emotional side of it too.

The thing is, it might feel good in the moment to say something cutting when you resign, but (a) it’s likely to leave them more bewildered than humbled or dressed down, and (b) it will burn a bridge that you may want in the future. What if your circumstances change and next April you really want or need that phone call inviting you to come back? It’s not worth shutting that door for yourself. (There are some circumstances where it would be worth burning a bridge — but it takes worse behavior than what’s happened here.) If they call you in April and ask you back, you can politely tell them that you’re happy where you are and not interested in returning … and that will feel a lot better than prematurely telling them that now.

When you resign, be professional and polite. You lose nothing in doing that, and you preserve your professional reputation, your good standing with this company, and a bridge you might want in the future.

{ 666 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Roscoe

    Yeah, I dont think its nearly as personal as you are making it. But you also seem like you are taking pride at the fact that you piss people off. Its like people on reality shows who say “I’m a straight shooter, its not my fault if you can’t handle the truth”, which is just cover for, I’m a mean person and you better take it.

    Take the high road here. Never say never since it doesn’t really sound like it was that bad, just your pride was hurt more than anything else. Maybe your boss could be a reference in the future or your paths will cross

    Reply
    1. MuseumChick

      Your articulated what I was trying to get at in my post down thread. The “I keep it real/ don’t put up with drama/I call out BS when I see it” = “I am going to actively unpleasant” attitude was what I sense from this letter.

      OP, don’t burn bridges here. Simply tell them you’ve gotten a great new, full-time job offer so your last day will be X.

      Reply
      1. Anony

        Kinda reminds me of this comic:
        https://xkcd.com/1124/

        ” ‘Drama’ is just ‘people being upset,’ when someone says they’re always surrounded by drama and they just ignore it, it starts to make sense that their strategy might be backfiring.”

        Reply
      2. Specialk9

        Exactly. OP, you clearly like to stick it to people, and then got hugely upset that they find you unpleasant? Uhhh…

        Alison had a line in one of her recent columns that was practically lit up in neon in my head, it was so true and yet never said outright: it actually IS your job to get along with your co-workers.

        Reply
        1. RB

          I was just going to point that out. I wish this could be explained to people early in their careers. They should put it in all job descriptions — it’s actually that important. I’ve worked with difficult people in several jobs and sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t hired specifically because they felt I could get along with difficult people.

          Reply
          1. Misc

            And on the flip side, I had to spend a lot of time explaining to friends that they didn’t owe their coworkers anything (like not leaving) for being reasonably nice, because their coworkers were *paid to get along with them*.

            Reply
      3. Snark

        Yeah, it’s my experience that people who describe themselves the way OP describes themself often have a harder time than they think staying on this side of the “gratuitously abrasive and standoffish office grump” line.

        Reply
      1. Sigrid

        There’s a fifteen minute video on YouTube that is nothing but a reality show contestants saying “I’m not here to make friends” and it is one of my favorite things ever.

        Reply
            1. Sigrid

              That’s the one! Sorry, I had inflated it to 15 minutes in my head. 3 minutes feels like forever when it’s nothing but 6 second clips.

              Reply
            2. travelandi

              This is so fantastic and at the same time a disturbing reminder of how much of my life I’ve wasted watching trashy really TV!

              Reply
            3. Emi.

              Wow, there are so many more of these shows than I realized. I’m really glad I don’t have a TV or I would never get anything done!

              Reply
        1. Collarbone High

          I would adore a contestant who said something like “I came on this show because making friends as an adult is hard and I was excited to meet people with the same interests as me.”

          Reply
          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            You must watch the Great British Bake-Off. Not the current season, which elicits complicated feelings, but the ones that are currently available in the US on Netflix (as The Great British Baking Show). They are all there to make friends!

            Reply
          2. Elizabeth the Ginger

            Try Strip Search – it’s a web series from maybe five years ago, run by the guys who created the webcomic Penny Arcade, looking for a new webcomic artist to promote. The artists are competing but they are also obviously loving the chance to hang out – in real life – with people who share their own niche interest.

            Reply
          1. Code Monkey, the SQL

            I watched it during an awful period of UAT at work where everything was breaking and horrible. It’s like televised Xanax, I swear.

            Reply
    2. Amber T

      “Its like people on reality shows who say “I’m a straight shooter, its not my fault if you can’t handle the truth”, which is just cover for, I’m a mean person and you better take it.”

      I think this is the important thing here. It gets to a point where it doesn’t matter how good you are at your job or how good your skills are – if you piss enough people off with an unpleasant attitude/outright meanness, that’s going to affect you. If enough good workers are avoiding working with you, then management should (and seemingly did) step in. Maybe they should have had a conversation with you first, but I can see why they wouldn’t want to extend a new opportunity to you. I don’t understand why you would take pride in admitting you’re *that* person. There have been enough letters written in about how to deal with *that* person. I think we’ve all worked with *that* person too. So maybe this should be a wake up call that there’s more to being in the work place than just whatever skills you bring to the table – “plays nice with others” counts for something.

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        It’s like that quote: “People who are brutally honest usually enjoy the brutality more than the honesty.”

        Reply
        1. Mints

          And people use that as an excuse for brutally honest mean things, not nice things. It’s great being around people who aren’t afraid of being brutally nice, and leap at the opportunity to give compliments or encouragements

          Reply
        1. MsMorlowe

          I also find that people who say they “tell it like it is” rarely actually do so. They’re often unnecessarily harsh, or rude, or wildly off-base. Also, those “tell it like it is” comments are usually on topics that they have not been invited to comment on! You’re having a conversation, you reach for a biscuit, and Brutus McHonesty pops in with “You sure you want to eat that? I’m just saying.” Or you’re at a party and she says, “That dress is really unflattering on you. It’s just not your colour. I’m just telling it like it is.”

          Like. Thanks.

          Reply
      2. Shelby Drink the Juice

        I’m currently working with “that” person. She has great technical knowledge and could be quite an asset. But she’s also condescending, rude, belittling, and ALWAYS RIGHT (even when she’s wrong you can’t correct her). I’ve worked with her for 4 months and told my boss if she wasn’t retiring at the end of the year I would be requesting off this team. In addition, she’s alienated all the other team members, people dread working around her.

        Being professional and courteous is Work 101. She failed.

        Reply
        1. ECHM

          @Shelby Drink the Juice: Oh yeah. I worked with one of those. I was already miserable in the job and when she received “Employee of the Month” I decided no way was that workplace big enough for both of us. I moved on to something more in line with my skills.

          Reply
    3. Mediamaven

      Completely agree. I felt all kinds of red flags when I read that. Obviously the OP feels that may have been a contributing issue or else they wouldn’t have brought it up.

      Reply
    4. Jen S. 2.0

      A lot about how OP can’t be bothered to be congenial or “fake,” and then a quick aside about annoying an important colleague. Hmmm, I wonder what happened there. Cue the “I’m not here to make friends” montages.

      Anyway, I agree that this is unlikely to be as personal as OP thinks. They do not root their business decisions in being against you, or trying to hurt you, or trying to bring you down a peg, or humiliate and embarrass you, or teach you a lesson. Your pride isn’t part of this. They didn’t cut your hours to insult you personally, and point and laugh at you and your piddly little 20 hours. They didn’t hire someone else in that job to snicker and watch you turn green with envy at the new colleague; they probably got 75 applications for that job, and 5 of them might have been from people currently employed there. I’m sure they like and respect you — your brusqueness notwithstanding — but you are a cog in their large machine, and while it sounds like they like your work, their business just does not revolve around you to this degree. They seriously are. not. thinking. this. much. about. your. life.

      They make their business decisions because they’re best for their business. They told you these are money decisions. Take them at their word. Nothing more, nothing less than just business. It’s fine to be irritated because losing the money is inconvenient for your personal life and finances, and you can then find a new job and salary and schedule that works better for you, but it’s just…not a personal insult to have your schedule adjusted for business needs.

      Reply
          1. Trillian

            She’s equal to me. (Was) She is the social leader, is what I meant. My boss, literally the only person in the office above me in the COC, never displayed annoyance with me.

            Reply
            1. Artemesia

              The boss may well be a more socially skilled person who doesn’t show when he is pissed off. I worked my whole career in the South where they smile to your face and knife you in the back; no one ‘tells you’; you are supposed to get it. I have also worked in the Middle East where communication is extremely subtle and indirect. Plenty of people act without telling you what you are doing that displeases them. An enthusiastic boss may still listen to a colleague who says ‘X is a pill to work with’; being blunt and ‘calling people on their BS’ is a great way to alienate those you work with.

              Reply
            2. NaoNao

              But we’ve all read letters where someone in the office who is very low on the totem pole (by appearances) actually wields quite a bit of clout/power. Witness the letter where a front-line employee objected to a fellow employee’s *legal name* and the employee was asked by the org to change it.
              Or the hundreds of letters about incompetent or rude or weird or downright abusive employees/coworkers who have the big boss’ ear.
              On a final note, people can dislike someone or find them frustrating or hard to work with and not show it. In fact, that’s the essence of professionalism.
              Just food for thought.

              Reply
              1. Not a Morning Person

                “On a final note, people can dislike someone or find them frustrating or hard to work with and not show it. In fact, that’s the essence of professionalism.”
                That’s a quote worth saving!

                Reply
                1. MyInnerDemonLikesCookies

                  Printing that quote, cutting it out and putting on my desk to remind myself of this. Thank you!

            3. Katherine

              Why is it relevant that only your boss outranked you? Are you suggesting that it doesn’t matter how you treat people who aren’t above you in the hierarchy? A good manager cares about how an employee treats everyone, not just the important people.

              Reply
                1. Artemesia

                  The Germans have a word for it which in English is ‘Bicycle personality’ — above he bows, below he kicks.

              1. designbot

                Also, remembering our recent thread about how contract employees often get treated like they’re second-class citizens, if you are contract, temping, hourly, or in a well-defined probation period, you’d do well to consider everyone who is a permanent employee as outranking you.

                Reply
              2. MCMonkeyBean

                There was just that letter from a guy who was rude to the CEO’s wife on the subway and was like “Well now I know I need to be polite to everyone because they might turn out to be important and I just don’t know it” which wasn’t *quite* the right lesson to take away there…

                Reply
            4. Jen S. 2.0

              Also baffled as to why ranking matters. Being congenial to everyone — not just those above you — is for most people a critical element to being a good colleague. And being congenial only to those above you is noticed by your peers, and not in a good way.

              You can be basically nice without being fake. I have colleagues I don’t particularly like. I still work with them in a neutral – to – pleasant manner.

              Reply
            5. Clare

              As someone who has previously been in a temp-to-perm position too, it’s important to remember that until you actually get the permanent offer, you’re still just a temp. Which means you were not above anyone. It doesn’t matter what type of work you were doing, all permanent employees generally “outrank” temps. Obviously still never an excuse to treat people badly. But it seems like you might have overplayed your hand.

              Reply
      1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws

        Yeah, I had to backtrack to figure out who this “queen bee” is. I didn’t find an answer, but in any case, tact is an important workplace skill. If you can’t be diplomatic towards coworkers who set your teeth on edge, it will not reflect well on you. Even if you’re in the right, even if they treat you like garbage. I have BEEN there. It sucks. It requires swallowing your pride. But if you don’t make an effort to get along with difficult people, it’s going to create friction for everyone around you.

        Giving someone a job is not usually a slight against the applicant who didn’t get the job. Most hiring managers won’t shoot themselves in the foot by hiring a less-qualified candidate out of spite. But interpersonal skills can totally be a part of why someone is qualified for a higher-level position, so yeah, pissing off someone important could have been a ding if that’s something the person who got the job has never done. I get the sense that OP strongly suspects that that’s the case, he just doesn’t stop to consider whether that decision may actually have been fair.

        Reply
        1. Margaret Tongue

          I thought the queen bee was the person who came showboating about the typo…

          I once managed someone who was quite young and inexperienced but also very dismissive of other people’s contributions and overly impressed by his own ability. He told me once he found our company a strange workplace because people worked better with colleagues they got on with, rather than working best with people who were most capable… I had to break it to him that in most organisations personal goodwill is pretty important!

          Reply
    5. DeskBird

      Yup. My step-mother-in-law is like this. She talks all the time about how “Honest” and “real” she is – but whenever she tells stories about all the times she was “Honest”, it just turns out she was being rude.

      Reply
      1. Koko

        Yeah, if the only way you can be nice is to be “fake,” perhaps it’s time for some self-improvement so that the real you can be a nice person.

        Reply
      2. K.

        Literally every person I’ve ever met who claimed they were just “keeping it real” or “people can’t handle me because I’m too honest” or something similar was actually a horrible rude jerk. To a one.

        Reply
      3. Mallory Janis Ian

        My SIL is like that, too. She is “honest” and “real” and “doesn’t pull any punches”, but she also has a big giant chip on her shoulder and so much pride that she is constantly choking on it (ahem) and if anyone is “honest” or “real” with her, she takes it as the first volley in the upcoming nuclear armageddon.

        Reply
      4. Courageous cat

        Absolutely almost always the case with people who say this. It’s pretty unbearable for the people around them.

        Reply
    6. Stranger than fiction

      I wouldn’t say Op takes pride in pissing people off, but rather they take pride in being above the BS games (which may or may not piss people off).

      Reply
      1. Anony

        But actually being above it would be simply fixing the typo when it is brought to their attention in a showy way. Not correcting their behavior first.

        Reply
        1. Dust Bunny

          Yeah, this. ^^ Just fix it. If you match the other person’s drama, you’re not above it. You’re down in it with everyone else.

          Reply
      2. Specialk9

        Really? They seemed to relish putting people in their place, and considered social skills to be being fake and they’re better than everyone for Being So Real ™.

        “I’m all about work and do not have any need to socialize or gossip and have been ostracized by the other people in this office because I don’t allow people to use me to boost their own self esteem. … I will never be the person who brown noses and gives people credit where none is due. I lack the skill to be fake or to giggle and brush off reprehensible behavior. If someone comes to my desk talking to me in a showboat fashion to correct a typo I’ve made, I will first ask them why they are talking so loudly and then quickly fix it. I’m that person.”

        Reply
      3. Snark

        It’s my experience that the more pride someone takes in “being above BS games,” the worse they are at distinguishing between “BS games” and “maintaining collegial workplace relationships.”

        Reply
    7. Artemesia

      This. And I say it as someone whose job in the organization where I achieved a fairly high level management level was speaking truth to power, so I am well to the frank end of the ‘telling it like it is’ spectrum.

      The tone of the letter, a sort of smugness about irritating people suggests to me that it is very possible that this is a personal decision. In my experience people who brag this way tend to be rigid, judgmental and moralistic and it shows and puts people off. To string someone along indefinitely at half hours is a pretty strong message that they are not valued and being someone who annoys people is a good way to be that person even when you are otherwise talented.

      Or it may just be that no one is paying attention and you fell between the cracks especially if you have not followed up on your situation.

      In any case, I would not show anger in leaving. I might say; ‘the part time job was not sustainable’ but I’d be more inclined to say ‘I will be leaving in two weeks for a wonderful opportunity’ and leave it at that. If they really hoped to hire you then they will feel a little bit bad that they treated you so badly (and yeah any of us would be angry) and wish they had managed to do what was needed to keep you and if they were hoping to get you to go away then showing anger when they are happy to see you go has no purpose except to diminish you.

      Reply
      1. Wheezy Weasel

        I’ve often heard people ask ‘what is your ultimate wish’ and ‘did you get the results you intended’ as two questions to help dig into a problem. Artemsia summed it up in her last paragraph. If your intent was to make them feel bad for not hiring you, leaving to work somewhere else will accomplish that without any further effort *if* they feel that way already. If they don’t, you leaving is not going to change that outcome. And theoretically, if you did go to the boss to resign angrily and he or she offered you 3x your annual salary to stay, would you? No, you’re already angry about the cut hours. So the final result would be the same and your only ‘win’ would be a fleeting sense of…what?

        Reply
        1. Anonymoose

          I’ve also heard it as ‘will what I say make any positive changes toward what I want’? And if the answer is ‘no, my pride will feel better though’, then you let it lie.

          Reply
  2. Jerry Vandesic

    You should give them as much notice as they gave you when they cut your hours. If cutting your hours was something that took place immediately, you should feel free to leave immediately.

    Reply
      1. Mike C.

        If the employer can’t appropriately track their own cash flow such that it leaves employees in the lurch, they shouldn’t be surprised nor penalize employees when they need to make decisions to protect themselves.

        There’s nothing wrong nor unprofessional about doing this.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous Poster

          Maybe you’re right. But what will that reference look like?

          Look, we all want justice, but we also live in a world that’s unjust all the time. Sometimes you gotta react to the real world, and not the idealized world where people would get the full story during a reference check and say, “Yup this person acted appropriately.” In the real world, the new employer would probably think instead, “This person quit with no notice and in a blaze of glory, I’ll… find someone else, thanks.”

          Reply
          1. Elsie Tyler

            I’m currently facing a situation where I’m going to have to cut a couple of employee’s hours for cash flow reasons, making them part-time instead of full-time. And I know not every manager would react this way, but if they felt they had to resign to take a full-time position with less notice (or no notice), I would completely understand given the financial hardship I know this decision is likely to cause them. It wouldn’t affect future references I would give them, especially if they explained why they didn’t feel they could give a typical notice period.

            But of course YMMV, and it is best to follow business norms if it is financially and professionally viable.

            Reply
            1. Curious

              Just curious why you wouldn’t eliminate one position and keep one full time. Most people can’t go from full to half time easily as it’s not easy to find another 20 hour job. Of course I don’t know your industry but in most office situations that would make more sense.

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              1. JulieBulie

                If they do two different jobs and aren’t interchangeable, it’s better to keep two part-timers than to cut one person loose entirely and expect the other to pick up the first person’s responsibilities. The remaining person will be miserable with the extra work and unwanted tasks, and will also worry that they’ll lose their job soon too.

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              2. Indoor Cat

                I can’t speak for Elsie, but in my line of work, if you have (for example) four full-time employees, it’s significantly less expensive to cut two to part-time than to simply lay off one and keep the other three full time.

                It’s a mix of, “full-time employees have xyz mandatory benefits” and “our hours demand at least partial coverage 24 hours a day, and it’s easier to fill the gaps with four people rather than three, even if it adds up to the same number of man-hours total.”

                I realize I have a bit of an unusual job– our department works with non-911 crisis cases in our county, like addiction recovery, abrupt homelessness, the local suicide hotline, and interfacing with Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services; we’re partly funded by taxpayers and partly funded by donors, but our services keep expanding while our budget remains static. So we’ve had to deal with the frustrating issue of, “do we lay off staff or try to demote some to part-time?” fairly frequently, although fortunately a levy was approved four years ago and we now have all the full-time staff we need! So things are going much more smoothly.

                I suspect that in any industry that has longer hours than 9-5, managers have financial incentives to make similar decisions. I’ve heard about this happening in retail too, especially 24-hour grocers. And while big chains can usually avoid hiring someone to full-time then realizing that wasn’t actually feasible on the budget, it can still happen sometimes; it definitely happens with smaller stores.

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                1. Sheworkshardforthemoney

                  My last workplace did a corporate level re-structuring. Most full-time positions were down-sized to part-time hours. They tried to sell it as giving people more stability but at the end of the day hours were cut and people quit because they couldn’t live on part-time wages. They will save money by not having full-time staff but it will be hard to find and keep good part-timers.

              3. Perse's Mom

                It generally costs less to have two part time people than a single full time person simply because of any benefits offered. Most likely the base salary for the part time position also pays less than the full time position, which is a further cost reduction (though one would hope in a reducing FT to PT situation, the hourly pay would at least stay the same, but I would bet if the people with reduced hours find new FT jobs, any replacements hired into those now PT positions would be at a lower hourly rate).

                Reply
          2. Mike C.

            I’m not sure why you threw in the “blaze of glory”, everyone including the OP thinks it’s a bad idea and I never mentioned it.

            As far as your hypothetical reference, why would you talk about the employee leaving without notice, but leave out the fact that you cut their hours by 50%? Given the number of families in this country that are living paycheck to paycheck and can’t handle emergencies of just a few hundred dollars, how could you expect them to work out two weeks at half pay for the sake of “professionalism” when they could instead immediately jump to the new job at full pay?

            Put another way, if you as an employer have to cut the OP’s hours based on financial issues, why would you fault the OP for immediately jumping to a new job for the very same reason?

            Reply
        2. Trillian

          That part did bother me a little. I was brought on with much enthusiasm.. it was the only time I’ve been offered a job on the spot, called an hour later after he spoke to former colleagues about me, blah blah blah… I had left a fulltime permanent position and was the most excited I’ve ever been about a career move. If you had asked me 3 months ago what I’d be doing in 5 years, I would say “working here of course!”

          I guess what comes easily, can be lost easily. I don’t know.

          Reply
          1. MK

            It’s not so much a question of “easy come, easy go”, as “act in haste, regret in leisure”. Sounds to me that you made a decision without considering it very thoroughly, and it was not a great one. Maybe your vanity was flattered that they wanted to snap you up and you didn’t think carefully or ask the questions you should have. Maybe that’s why your pride was hurt when they cut your hours (you come across as if you think being part-time is almost demeaning) and why you feel so emotional now.

            Reply
              1. Morning Glory

                That would have been a perfectly appropriate thing to communicate to your supervisor, HR, etc. – why did you feel the need to hide that when you resigned?

                I think it was your comments on pride that made it sound like you felt being cut to part-time was demeaning, and your pre-empting your resignation with speculation that they may be relieved. Those are not indicators of a ‘no hard feelings but I have to pay the bills’ reaction.

                Reply
                1. The OG Anonsie

                  I mean, let’s be straight here– being cut from 40 to 20 hours with an equivalent drop in pay, with little notice, explained away by some sudden financial issues with a vague promise of bringing those hours back in six months… That all is demeaning. Taking a new job only to have them suddenly pull the rug out under your financial stability would be supremely embarrassing and have a high chance of being unsustainable, which Trillian’s manager seems to have already acknowledged at the time by noting they would rehire her if she left for a different job.

            1. Jesmlet

              Working part-time is objectively worse than working full-time unless you want to just be working part-time. No one wants to be considered the most expendable person in the office/department and being the only one cut to part-time essentially says that you are. I could imagine feeling a little indignant and disappointed if this happened to me.

              Reply
          2. LQ

            I would definitely be wary of being swayed by the enthusiasm (theirs) in the future. Especially the offered a job on the spot. I mean it feels good. SO good. But…I think it is often indicative of culture. Soak in the goodness of being desired. And take a day to think about it. If they don’t respond well to that you’ve learned a whole lot about them. Unless it is really common in your industry to do on the spot (which it doesn’t sound like) then I’d say…that says a lot about them.

            Reply
        3. INTP

          They shouldn’t, but they still might. Especially when the one dealing with the fallout of an immediate resignation (the manager) and then being called for references is not the person that made the decision to cut hours on short notice, and may not see it as a matter of justice being done.

          Reply
        4. Artemesia

          I actually agree that you might be able to get away with a shortened notice on the basis that the part time work is not letting you pay the bills and since you haven’t heard anything to suggest it is changing, you needed to find something permanent.

          I’d still give a little notice and offer to meet to transition your work with whomever would be picking it up, but a full two weeks for a part time job seems more than they are entitled to. You still need to handle it with grace not just quit and stomp.

          Reply
      2. CatCat

        I think immediate departure may be appropriate, but don’t do it in a bridge-burny way. Quite frankly, I would not be giving much notice to a job that cut my hours in half unless they could bring me to full-time during the notice period. The cutting of the hours is a huge burden on the employee.

        So I’d offer to negotiate a notice period, but I wouldn’t just put in two weeks notice in a situation like this unless I could get full-time pay.

        “Boss, the cut to my hours is a big financial hit for me. I have an offer for full-time work at New Company and they’ve asked when I can start. I’d love to give you and Current Company a full two weeks notice, but I would need it to be full-time pay. If that’s not feasible, is there any notice period that Current Company can offer for full-time pay? Otherwise, I really need to make [incredibly soon date] my last day.”

        Reply
        1. CatCat

          I mean, it strikes me as patently unreasonable that an employer would expect someone to keep working for half pay for two more weeks when there’s a full-time opportunity available now.

          I would think differently if it had always been a part-time position and the employee knew those terms going in.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        I don’t think she would burn the bridge as long as she were truly professional about it. She’s a temp to start with and her hours were cut. Anyone with sense understands that that changes the dynamic and obligation of the employee. Also, the boss had already made it clear that he realized she might be job hunting, so having her leave with no notice would not exactly be the most shocking thing in the world.

        That said, it’s probably not something I would do – CERTAINLY not to make a point. Either they will miss the point or it would come off as really childish. NOT a good look. It never is.

        Reply
    1. Former Usher

      My previous job cut my pay 30% with two weeks notice, yet they were unhappy when I “only” gave two weeks notice when I resigned, rather than four weeks.

      Reply
  3. Rusty Shackelford

    Basically, I could do this job with my eyes closed due to my previous experience and had the drive and wit to do even more. On the downside, I’m all about work and do not have any need to socialize or gossip and have been ostracized by the other people in this office because I don’t allow people to use me to boost their own self esteem. Meaning, I don’t give audience to trash talk. I am respectful and civil and try to make conversation, but when I see unprofessional behavior towards internal and external clients I will say something. I will never be the person who brown noses and gives people credit where none is due. I lack the skill to be fake or to giggle and brush off reprehensible behavior. If someone comes to my desk talking to me in a showboat fashion to correct a typo I’ve made, I will first ask them why they are talking so loudly and then quickly fix it. I’m that person.

    You know, I see why you’re aggravated. I’d be aggravated too. But all of this? Maybe it turns out they don’t want that person. A lot of employers wouldn’t.

    Reply
    1. CA in CA

      I was thinking the same thing. OP says they don’t socialize but in the next breath they say they were ostracized by coworkers. Uhhhh…?

      Reply
    2. Susanne

      “On the downside, I’m all about work and do not have any need to socialize or gossip and have been ostracized by the other people in this office because I don’t allow people to use me to boost their own self esteem. Meaning, I don’t give audience to trash talk. ”

      I’m curious as to how “do not have any need to socialize” plays itself out. Does that mean you don’t greet people, occasionally ask “how are you doing,” engage in a limited amount of chit-chat when you’re both standing at the copy machine or waiting for your turn at the Keurig?

      There’s a wide amount of distance between normal socialization and gossip/chatterbox/unproductive. Don’t be one of those people who thinks themselves too good to engage in a little small talk here or there.

      Reply
      1. Sharon

        Or worse, someone who walks around with a stone-face, never acknowledging (let alone saying hello) to people you pass in the hall. There is someone at my current job like that and I have to say that even though I don’t know him (as I haven’t worked with him), he seems so unpleasant that I don’t WANT to know him or work with him.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Oh gosh yes, there was a co-worker who did this! She was warm and funny and charming to clients, and to male managers. The rest of us, she would literally walk by in the hallway and ignore, not even a twitch of her face to indicate a human was in the same space. Because she had the skills in one context, with people who helped her bottom line, it was clear it was appalling rudeness.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            So that’s where my former co-worker worked before her current job! She even refused to make space in the hallway, which was technically wide enough for two people if one of them didn’t walk right down the middle.

            Reply
      2. Trillian

        I do try to make small talk, but I get iced out by the women. The men (which outnumber us by 3 times), have no problem with me. I’m not trying to make it a gender thing, but for some reason the women are the only ones who dislike me by association even though I have had nothing but pleasant things to say to them. The men like my work. They like that I do it without complaining as well.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          All I have ever figured out to do with that is to decide that I like the person. Then I try to find something specific that I like about them. When someone says, “So-and-so is annoyed with you.” I can say, “I am sorry to hear that. Personally, I like them, I think they are great at X. I hope they will come talk things over with me.”
          I think the offer to talk things over, really shuts down the static. It’s a sincere offer, I don’t want to go through the workday with excess luggage. Let’s talk things through, make a new plan and run our new plan.

          Reply
          1. BeenThere

            When someone says, “So-and-so is annoyed with you.” I can say, “I am sorry to hear that. Personally, I like them, I think they are great at X. I hope they will come talk things over with me.”

            Really? You really do this? I have never met anyone who does that in real life.

            Reply
            1. my two cents

              yep – I’ve definitely done this as well. Helps keep you from getting dragged down into others’ conflict, too.

              Reply
            2. Working Hypothesis

              I do it in real life too. It’s totally disarming, especially since it is usually meant. I don’t necessarily have to like the fact that they don’t like *me*… but if I can like or admire *something* about them and I don’t give them anything to fight with, the worst result I usually get is being treated civilly when necessary and otherwise left alone. Often, I get better than that.

              Reply
          2. MyInnerDemonLikesCookies

            This is great advice!! And, I like that you’re putting like that — “Personally, I like them, I think they are great at X…”
            Of course, I wish I could always be that graceful and gracious about some of the people where I work — but this is a good thing to keep in mind and strive for.

            Reply
        2. NaoNao

          I have actually run into very similar situations in previous jobs that were more women than men. I was a personality type that many may feel is more ‘male’–serious, self contained, not great at small talk, cerebral, lost in my own world, and uninterested in day to day affairs. I really alienated women without even trying. I had groups of older women force me off the job (to be fair, I wasn’t great at it, but their complaint wasn’t accurate, it just showed me really clearly that they disliked me intensely), I’ve had staff ‘coups’ when I was a retail manager, and so on.
          It took me a few years and some life experiences to soften, to grow, and to learn that it’s not either REAL ME 100% raw myself or FAKE ME OH SO GROSS AND AWFUL BARF.

          People who one thinks are far beneath them in the realm of intelligence, wit, or sophistication are almost always smart enough to know you feel this way.

          I can make small talk and coo over dog pics. I can smile and do a funny wave with coworkers. I can ask about kids and holiday plans and exclaim “love those shoes!” and it’s not a betrayal of who I am. It’s helped me tremendously in my career and I don’t feel it’s “fake” at all.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            This. This right here! OP, please read this comment over and over. It’s really important.

            Those of us (myself very much included) who are frank, focused, and a bit socially awkward can grate the heck out of those who, frankly, have better social skills. We’re not better humans of greater worth because we are higher in the school version of intelligence. We have to learn social skills the hard way, and it’s not being fake, it’s learning a new kind of intelligence.

            Right now your letter comes across as self righteous and lacking in EQ. (And also being in a toxic workplace.) But it’s fixable! Lots of us have learned how to be smart in social skills and emotional intelligence. There are books and workshops, but the first step is recognizing that you need to learn a new technique.

            Reply
          1. Louise

            Right?? I actually wonder if there’s not some growing up OP needs to do—the whole “I only hang out with guys because girls are too much drama” just feels very teenager-y, as does the whole “I don’t like fake people.” Once you become an adult, 9 times out of 10 people aren’t being fake, they’re just being nice. If you can’t be compassionate and respectful to the people you work with, that’s a you-problem, not a them-problem.

            Reply
            1. Salamander

              Yup. Here’s the thing that makes me give serious side-eye whenever a woman tells me that she can’t work with other women. Fifty percent of the population is female. If you can’t work with half the population, the problem is *you.* And judging people based on their gender is just gross. Nobody in their right mind would say that they don’t like/can’t get along with people of a different age, race, religion etc. Let’s not do that with gender.

              Reply
              1. Trillian

                I am so confused… Where did I say I could not work with women? Where did I say I could not get along with them? This is getting to the point where it’s actually funny. There are FOUR other women in my office. Are you able to see that it may be in the realm of possibility that FOUR women could shut out a coworker? I’m not talking about every other single women I’ve ever worked with. I’m talking about a very exclusive clique, where I’ve actually only pissed off one of them.

                Reply
                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  The issue is that you’re making a distinction based on gender. It’s problematic to do that, just like it would be if you were distinguishing based on, say, race.

                  Four people didn’t like you. Their gender isn’t relevant.

                2. Barney Barnaby

                  Trillian, you committed the cardinal sin of saying that women can sometimes be awful to specific women.

                  I get along well with men. Some of it is being an INTJ; some of it is being raised by my dad. I do car work for fun (hence my blog name), watch sports, have an engineering degree, and, like almost every INTJ out there, struggle a lot with small talk. That doesn’t mean that I am anything but kind to people I work with, because human beings all deserve to be treated well, but I find it easier to get along with men. Most of my woman friends – of which I have several and am very close – have a lot of man friends.

                  You should HEAR the screaming coming from “the sisterhood” when I say that. The real problem isn’t you or me: it’s them. They fundamentally do not see men as anything but potential conquests or suitors, do not enjoy men for their own company, and are thus beyond irate at the idea that a woman could actually just find it easier to make conversation with men than with women. They have to make it about extremes (“You hate women!!!111”) because they don’t want to admit that *they* are the ones unable to have functional, platonic relationships with 50% of the population.

                3. Observer

                  Barney Barnaby, you do realize that you are doing EXACTLY what you accuse other women of doing, don’t you? YOU get along with men because YOU are better than WOMEN who don’t like cars and don’t struggle with social skills because THEY all see men only as conquests and YOU see MEN as people (and women as a bunch of phonies who are trying get get trophies.)

                  You have, essentially just provided a data point for all of the people who say that people who say “I get along with men but not with women” tend to raise red flags.

                4. Salamander

                  Let me take that apart a bit. Which, as a fellow INTJ, I tend to do. And I’m not excited by reducing things down to gender, because…it’s sexist.

                  When you, Trillian, say things like:

                  “I do try to make small talk, but I get iced out by the women. The men (which outnumber us by 3 times), have no problem with me. I’m not trying to make it a gender thing, but for some reason the women are the only ones who dislike me by association even though I have had nothing but pleasant things to say to them. The men like my work. They like that I do it without complaining as well.”

                  That comes off as men>women. Sub out that statement with race instead of gender, like “the white/black/Asian people are the only ones who dislike me” or “the white people like my work” and you can see how offensive that is to a lot of us. Would you argue that, in any context? Would you say that out loud?

                  And, um, BB…I was raised by my dad, too, and worked in male-dominated career for a couple of decades. I am quite certain that I wasn’t just trolling for dates. That’s demeaning as heck to any woman in the workplace. When you say things like:

                  “…the idea that a woman could actually just find it easier to make conversation with men than with women.” So all men are easier conversationalists than all women? Try the exercise above. Say aloud: “The idea that a white person could actually find it easier to make conversation with white people.” See how bad that is? It’s the same thing.

                  And as for immaturity…you treat people as PEOPLE first. Why gender has to be a signifier for “good conversationalist” or “person who will value my work” or “person with serious interests” is just ridiculous and not valid.

          2. Barney Barnaby

            That’s an insanely immature article and a pathetic way of looking at friendships that cross gender lines.

            The way women behave when this subject is brought up makes me think that quite a nerve is being touched: you know that your group dynamics are unwelcoming to women with different interests.

            Notice that the complaint is always that women who get along with men are doing it for some other reason than actually enjoying typically masculine pursuits. There’s some insane projection going on, wherein you just can’t understand that some women don’t have ulterior motives.

            Notice as well that the complaint is never, “I can understand that Sally doesn’t like rom-coms, but she didn’t want to see Dunkirk with us, either,” or “I think it would be awesome and empowering to learn to change my oil, so I asked Sally if she would give us a lesson, but she said she would rather watch football with our husbands.” The reality is that you don’t want to accommodate the legitimate, heartfelt interests of the Sallys of the world, and then complain when Sally finds other friends.

            Reply
            1. Morning Glory

              I did not read it at all to be a criticism of women with interests that are not traditionally feminine; most women, after all, have a mix of interests. Nor did I read it as a criticism of women who have a lot of male friends.

              The article was criticizing the unrealistic expectations society places on women, like being able to eat pizza with the guys, but also never gaining weight. This has sometimes manifested itself as some individual women twisting themselves into knots to try to be the “chill girl” men approve of, and trying to prove they’re not like other girls and don’t want to hang out with other girls (read, there’s something wrong with other girls, and traditionally feminine interests). This is similar to the contempt Trillian shows in her comments for her colleagues. I do not personally believe Trillian is trying to be a ‘chill girl,’ I think she is a well-intentioned person who needs to work on her interpersonal skills – but I can see why k8 thought of this article. Perhaps this does not fit with your outsider knowledge of female dynamics. But from your comments, your knowledge of women seems…two dimensional.

              Plenty of us went to see Dunkirk in theaters, and don’t wear makeup, and can tell a phillips-head from a flat-head, but still may take issue with a new temp like Trillian taking a black and white view of every comment, and policing everything she sees as ‘wrong’ without making an effort to be diplomatic about (my interpretation, from her crybabies example script).

              Reply
              1. Morning Glory

                Reading another of your comments, I think you are a woman, actually? I am confused and saddened by the way you seem to see other women – the two dimensional comment remains true.

                Reply
            2. Louise

              reductress is a satirical website—it’s like the onion but for jezebel. the issue isn’t that women like different things, the issue is women who like masculine-coded activities using that as a way to look down on/belittle/diminish women who don’t like those things. “I’m not a regular girl, I’m a cool girl, I hate gossip and drama and love tearing down other women who I perceive as participating in those gross-shallow-feminine activities,” is VERY much a real thing.

              Reply
        3. Elizabeth H.

          I find this type of statement from women really bothersome. It always feels to me like somebody is trying to get credit for being the “cool girl” and not “girly” like the majority of other women with their trivial interests, complaining, and slight tendency to be more adept at nuanced social skills (because this is an expectation of women that’s present in our culture).

          Reply
          1. Julia

            This. It also makes me wonder if those women realise they’re just one misstep away from losing “cool girl” status and then they have no friends.

            Plus, all the women who claim that other women were too much drama were always the instigators of said drama.

            Reply
        4. Courageous cat

          I saw this comment coming 500 miles away. Do you also consider yourself “not like other girls” and as “getting along better with guys”? I would engage in some self-reflection about a lot of this honestly.

          Reply
        5. Another person

          I don’t think so. I’ve been iced out by men just as I’ve been iced out by women. The difference tends to be men can do it relatively in the open/in professional terms and have it be acceptable, whereas women can have professional issues dismissed based on perception of personal dislike so they end up having to be more subtle about it.

          Reply
        6. Green

          At work, if there is some demographic of people (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity) that *all* dislike you, there is a good chance that there is a problem with how you interact with people from that demographic. If you want to get ahead, that’s on you to change.

          Reply
          1. Trillian

            This job is not representative of my entire career. Almost every single friend I have and contact I maintain from past jobs are female. It just so happens that this job has only four other women besides me, only one of whom I had a direct working relationship with. That is an extremely small number of people. I think the fact that they have all shunned me has more to do with the fact that they are all close and less to do with the fact that they are female. Also, I ticked off only one of them. Since my interaction with the others doesn’t go past small talk and sharing a printer, I really doubt I did something to piss each one off individually. I wish I had never even mentioned that they were women. And who knows, maybe some of the guys don’t like me either. But I’ve never caught a man at this job rolling his eyes at me, walked in on men gossiping about me, been left off of the office lunch order by one, or been yelled at by one here.

            Reply
            1. Green

              I obviously don’t know what your specific situation is or what they were saying about you and whether you were intentionally left off of a lunch order (I’d assume it was unintentional, and that seems the best way to go about life), but from your letter and comments here, it sounds like you would be difficult to work with and that you’re unwilling to change the way you interact because you LIKE those traits about yourself and believe them virtues.

              Mutual dislike problems have a tendency to start to spiral, often with slights in both directions. So if I had several established colleagues, and I had a bizarre interaction with you, I might ask them about it. For all of your interactions at work, remember at all times that your audience is ALSO everyone else you work with, and not just the person you’re talking to.

              Reply
            2. Ramona Flowers

              If you don’t make small talk with them, I’m not sure it’s possible for them to shun you? It may be that they think you’ve shunned them.

              Reply
              1. Susanne

                Great observation, Ramona Flowers! Yes – you can’t simultaneously hold yourself to be “above” other people in not needing to socialize, make small talk, inquire about the weekend or compliment their shoes, and then get upset that they didn’t include you in a lunch order.

                It sounds trite, but you have to be a friend to have a friend. I don’t say this in the sense that you need to be BFF’s with your coworkers – friendly acquaintances and collegial co-workers is just fine – but you seem to see them as all uniformly aligned against you, when your only “proof” is that they don’t socialize with you in ways that you’ve already sort of announced you are too good to be a part of.

                Reply
            3. MsMorlowe

              They sound like very immature people. I’ve seen similar situations at work–a group of women whereby if you weren’t involved in either their activity (think a social club, but not) or their department they just…didn’t talk to you. Actually, the whole environment was like that. You could walk into the break room and maybe one person would say hi while everyone else ignored you. And this was culture-wide! Most people did this!

              Some friends I worked with told me that this was odd, but it wasn’t until I moved to a different environment myself that I realised just *how* odd.

              Reply
            4. oldbiddy

              I think it’s a toxic environment thing, and not a men/women thing. I had that dynamic at my previous job but the men were the ones doing it. I’m sorry about your job, but I can only second Allison’s advice to be professional on your exit interview. I still regret the few times I went off one someone and burnt bridges.

              Reply
            5. Snark

              If your attitude towards your coworkers was as contemptuous and unfriendly as your letter and posts indicate, I’d imagine they perceive you to be the one who did the icing out, not themselves.

              Reply
      3. Alli525

        Like, the sticky wheel sometimes gets the grease, but sometimes the sticky wheel gets thrown out altogether when the budget gets tight and the wheel wasn’t a good culture fit for the office anyway.

        Reply
      4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I also wondered about this. Not just from a chit-chat perspective, but also from a work-life perspective. Part of me wonders if OP’s non-work-life also skews, where work informs OP’s sense of self in a distinct way from non-work parts of life? For example, if one is “all about work,” then it’s possible that they’re investing too much emotion in their work in addition to missing out on the general social niceties needed to provide smooth work relationships. That might help explain taking it personally when the hours reduction may not have been personal at all.

        Reply
    3. a Gen X manager

      Totally agree. I wonder if OP’s post was written when they were extremely emotional or late at night, because OP sounds sanctimonious, judgmental, and as a result, extremely difficult to work with. Worse yet, it seems OP wears those qualities as a badge of honor, rather than seeing them as sharp edges that hurt not only other people, but him/herself!

      “do not have any need to socialize or gossip” – but being pleasant and friendly with co-workers is part of the job in most offices!

      “I lack the skill to be fake…” – even OP has identified this as a skill. Time to develop that skill, OP – it isn’t about being a phony, it’s a part of being professional and well-mannered.

      “…I don’t allow people to use me…”
      “… I will say something.”
      “… brown noses…”
      “…showboat fashion…”
      “…why they are talking so loudly…”

      OP’s choice of words seem to reflect a very harsh, judgmental view of the world and others. Maybe therapy or another resource (I can’t think of one, but there must be something –
      ?) would help for helping OP to see outside of the narrow tunnel OP is viewing others / life through? It sounds like a very frustrating, stressful, disappointing (and perfectionistic?) way for OP to live their life, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

      Reply
      1. Dee

        OP did mention in a comment below that they wrote the post in the middle of a sleepless night, so you’re right about that.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Yeah, I think it’s useful to think about that when reading the letter. I’m not at my most even keeled at 3 am even when I don’t have work trouble.

          Reply
          1. Rusty Shackelford

            Yes, but the OP came back and basically doubled down on everything in that letter, so… I think that letter is the OP’s baseline.

            Reply
              1. The Stopped Clock

                Your comments on the site have not indicated a significantly different attitude to the unpleasant and antagonistic one displayed in this rather contemptuous and arrogant letter.

                Reply
      2. kittymommy

        This so much. If the tone of the letter is anywhere close to how they were to work with, then I would not be surprised if their attitude played a part in the layoff/firing.

        Reply
        1. Anony

          Or at least in being iced out by the coworkers. People can tell when someone thinks they are above them and tend to respond accordingly.

          Reply
  4. Dee

    OP, you might want to consider how you’re presenting yourself. Your “all about work” may be someone else’s “actively unpleasant.” “Calling out disrespectful behavior” might come across as “being hypercritical and nosy.”

    I can only go by what you’ve written, and obviously you’re upset right now. But I’m sensing more than a whiff of disdain and condescension for your coworkers, and it’s entirely possible they’re sensing it too.

    Reply
    1. AdAgencyChick

      I got this sense too.

      OP, at the very least don’t you want to be able to use this company as a reference in the future? I’d keep that in mind during your notice period.

      Reply
    2. Dust Bunny

      Oh, yeah.

      AAM has gone on in past letters about how concrete job skills aren’t the *only* job skills–soft skills count, too, and . . . I can’t actually say that you’re coming up a little short here, but your letter suggests that you might be.

      Reply
      1. Antilles

        In fact, soft skills usually count as much, if not more, than the hard/concrete job skills.
        1.) An employee who’s mediocre technically but great with soft skills is usually a LOT more coachable than someone who’s great technically but with mediocre soft skills.
        2.) It’s also usually easier to shift someone lacking technically into a different role – someone who can’t design Vanilla Teapots well might be a fit for the Chocolate Saucer design until we get their teapot work up to par…but if you’re bad with people, there’s no position in the entire company where that isn’t mission-critical.

        Reply
    3. Genny

      Agreed. LW, I mean this nicely, but you sound exhausting. You may want to consider this new job a chance to work on your soft skills. Socializing isn’t a bad thing. Letting a colleague vent to you isn’t necessarily bad (though it can be if it’s overdone). Giving credit to someone who had nothing to do with a project’s success can grease the wheel for the next time you need something from that person/team. You don’t always need to say something when you see unprofessional behavior (unless your that person’s manager, and even then you want to pick your battles).

      All that to say, resign with professionalism of course, and maybe reflect on your own attitude to see if being a little less rigid might benefit you.

      Reply
      1. JD

        This! LW came across as very “I am better than everyone” and aggressive to me. I wouldn’t be offering her a full time position that’s for sure. Team player is a bit hokey to me but it sounds like LW refuses to be one at all. There is more to a good employee than being able to do the job.

        Reply
        1. Leatherwings

          Well I don’t know if there’s enough info in this letter to conclude that – it’s possible she’s talking about not tolerating idle gossip or other workplace shenanigans. That doesn’t necessarily translate to me that OP refuses to be a team player.

          Reply
          1. RVA Cat

            Yes, but I got a “hall monitor” vibe from the whole calling out unprofessional behavior bit. The OP comes across as having cold contempt for their co-workers.

            Reply
          2. INTP

            She describes an actively confrontational response about someone asking her to fix a typo, so I don’t think we’re reading things into the letter to assume she’s not exactly diplomatic when shutting down or calling out idle gossip, at the least.

            And if you react to hostility when someone says a piece of small talk or office gossip conversation you don’t like, they’re going to stop risking speaking to you at all, they can’t read your mind and know what you deem acceptable discussion.

            Reply
            1. The OG Anonsie

              Man I can’t tell. I can see that exact description either being someone bringing up the typo just to needle her and be petty and her doing a classic AAM “I’ll help you but I don’t know why you’re being this way” kind of wow-category reaction, OR someone bringing up a typo because it’s relevant and the LW being basely offended at their audacity.

              I kind of lean towards the former since it sounds from her description that the person doing this was being “loud,” like they’re trying to make sure people around them hear that LW made a mistake, but who knows– maybe those people also needed to be aware of the correction?

              Reply
              1. Julia

                Yeah, the typo response is one I could see myself doing, and I consider myself more of a social glue kind of person. (Former colleagues have called me the workplace diplomat!)

                I had a really rude co-worker who seemed to think she was my boss, and who also often talked at me really loudly because a) I think she was hard of hearing (she also yelled into her phone) and b) because she thought I was rude by not responding sooner when she had never called me by name. (She would sit at her desk, which mine faced away from, and say “hellooooo” which I always assumed to be into the telephone.)
                So I may have asked her why she was talking to me so loudly, especially over something like a typo.

                The rest of the letter, though…

                Reply
          3. The OG Anonsie

            Yeah, I could read this letter two ways and it’s not possible as an outsider to know which one it is.

            I did work somewhere the core group of staff were extremely gossipy and judgmental, and I got frozen out in a way that seriously affected my job and eventually led to me leaving entirely. I mean, groups of people huddled in the break room whispering gossip about their personal theories on other coworker’s marital struggles, telling people they didn’t like that a report was fine before a meeting then pointing out errors when that person was presenting to embarrass them… Some real middle school garbage. I always tried to be friendly and helpful to everyone in the way a normal team member would, but there was no way I was going to literally go stand in a circle and talk about other people’s personal lives, and eventually that made me the odd one out.

            There’s almost no way to describe this situation without sounding entirely delusional, too. “They’re all just gossips and they’re only doing this because they don’t like me personally, and they don’t like me because I’m better behaved than them!” Like, there’s no way for that to not sound silly as all get out no matter how true it is. I like to say it’s hard to respond to crazy without sounding crazy.

            Then I’ve always worked with tons of people who are exceptionally difficult and unpleasant, and they would describe themselves in the exact same way. Which is why the above sounds so delusional– everyone knows that guy, the person who thinks they’re too talented to need to be functional otherwise and whose “strong personality” trips everyone else up. So when someone describes this situation, it’s reaaaal hard to know who’s responding to nonsense or talking nonsense.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              I was thinking that it was reminding me of yesterday’s “my manager girlfriend” letter that way. (And of course in this case both things could be true.)

              Reply
              1. The OG Anonsie

                Right? I can read both of these letters entirely both ways. It makes sense in either direction.

                Bonus: The workplace I’m describing above was a hospital, as these tend to be bathed well in really toxic cultural practices as the “my manager girlfriend” LW described. I was torn enough on that one that I don’t think I commented at all.

                Reply
                1. serenity

                  I think your points are valid, but I think in OP’s case here I’m leaning toward there being some prickliness that’s getting in her own way.

                  The thing is, she’s been in this role for less than 3 months and was in a temp role hoping to go permanent. I’ve been a temp-to-perm in former lives, I’ve worked in toxic workplaces, and I’m sorry but less than 3 months is not enough time invested in a workplace to accurately gauge toxicity (if it exists) and certainly not enough time to get snippy with co-workers and then be surprised if you’re deemed not a good fit.

                2. ECHM

                  @Serenity: In the job I mentioned above, I was there about three months and that time was toxic enough for me! :P

            2. Relly

              I had a friend once describe a huge falling out she’d had with another friend with “okay, you won’t believe me if I tell you, so here, let me forward you the email discussion.” Like, it went off the rails crazy from the beginning and just got crazier.

              First Person: I wanted to let you know that I have decided X.
              Second: THAT IS UTTER BS YOU ARE THE WORST I HOPE YOU DIE
              First: Okay, I see that you are upset, and I understand, but my mind is made up.
              Second: EFF YOU YOU EFFING EFF HOW DARE YOU I HOPE YOU DIE
              First: Is there a compromise we could come to, that might make this workable?
              Second: DIE DIE DIE DIE IN A FIRE DIE

              Me: …. Well that escalated quickly …

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                Oh my gosh, was the ranty one always that extreme? Or was X really important, eg ‘I know I promised to donate my really rare blood to save your baby but decided that’s inconvenient’ or ‘I know your wedding is today but I’m not going to DJ after all, best of luck!’

                I’m guessing it was the former not the latter though. Reasonable people express every deep fury more reasonably than that.

                Reply
                1. Relly

                  I don’t know Second very well. But …. oh man. The stakes were laughably small. Like the equivalent of “I’m not enjoying bowling any more, so I’m leaving your bowling league. I’ll finish out the season if you’d prefer.” And then FOOM, RAAAAAGE.

        2. Trout 'Waver

          I don’t know. I know that people’s self assessment on social stuff is notoriously bad in general. But you really shouldn’t be trash-talking internal or external customers. That stuff should be corrected. By management, of course. But that’s a red flag to me about the OP’s coworkers from the OP’s account of things.

          Reply
          1. INTP

            I’m wondering if what the OP deems “trash talking” is just normal venting. If you deal with numerous clients chances are some of them are unreasonable and it’s healthy to vent about it off the record and in reasonable amounts, it’s a way to diffuse tension and bond. I’ve never worked anywhere that no negative word was ever spoken about a client, that would feel very unnatural and repressive to me.

            Reply
            1. Ramblin' Ma'am

              Right. Does “trash-talking” actually just mean, “Ugh, Client X gave us an unworkable deadline again”?

              Reply
            2. Elizabeth H.

              I think I may FEEL as strongly as the letter writer does about venting / complaining about your clients or coworkers. I find this to be in incredibly poor taste and wrong – I used to share an office with some people who would make snarky eye-rolling comments about clueless students and it really bothered me. However, even though I feel that way, I would never describe it in such aggressive language or vehemence as OP is doing here. It’s just not sensible or appropriate to get that personally worked up about something in your workplace. If something rises above a certain level, I would definitely comment on it and I would expect a reasonable person to, but you can and should do this in a calm fashion without seeming like a basket of aggression yourself. It would even be more effective that way!

              Reply
            3. Trillian

              She once told me Project Manager A wasn’t a *real* Project Manager because he didn’t graduate from college like Project Manager B. Even though that was indeed his job title and he has over 30 years of experience in this field. PM B (which is probably one of my only friends here so no offense to him) has been in the field for 3 years, but graduated from an Ivy League school. Hence, he is a *real* project manager to her.

              I mean… come on… could you seriously let someone trash someone like that and NOT say anything back? Me responding to garbage like that is what got her to a) stop saying things like that to me and b) paint the picture of me being this horrible person.

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                Oh dang, that’s not cool at all!

                So I’m getting a picture of a workplace with a Mean Girls clique, AND that you may need to work on social skills. For the former, good riddance, and awesome that you have a new job! Sayonara, mean girls!

                For the latter, sometimes the really hard workplaces teach us things about ourselves that we need to work on. For me, the worst workplace taught me that I can spiral into a place of helpless bitching that makes nothing better, and I need to guard myself from that behavior, hard. I’m not proud of that me, and try to use that to be better. It feels like the only way to transform suffering.

                Reply
                1. Cassandra

                  This is where I was going, too. A thing I know about myself is that I rise or fall to meet the level of (dys)functionality around me in a workplace. I have an extra-special need to stay out of dysfunctional environments, because I am not at all good at rising above them, and I’ve even been known (to my shame be it spoken) to make them worse.

                  You might be like this too, OP. If so, be glad for the new job (I am glad for it for you!), and watch your step in it — I had to make a special effort to shed bad behaviors from Toxic Ex-Job.

              2. tigerStripes

                “She once told me Project Manager A wasn’t a *real* Project Manager because he didn’t graduate from college like Project Manager B.” I’d be angry about that too.

                Reply
              3. INTP

                Honestly, I could listen to that and say nothing if I thought saying anything would backfire, otherwise I would say something like “Hmm, well, I haven’t had any issues with his project management skills, he’s always been really easy to work with” rather than “what you’re saying is not okay.” You can express disagreement without calling people out directly, which will put them on the defensive and make them double down. (I actually don’t consider that trashing someone though, it’s just an offensive and weird opinion about formal education being a mandatory part of the job, and if I started arguments every time I heard a weird and offensive opinion at work, I would have had a very tumultuous work life.)

                Reply
              4. FormerEmployee

                That seems more like a sign of someone who invents their own reality. There’s how things are and then there’s how the person thinks they should be.

                Since you were a temp aka: relatively new, you had the opportunity to play dumb. When that individual made the comment you could have looked puzzled, indicated you were confused and said that you were under the impression that both A and B had the same title, i.e., Project Manager. Then, you might have gone on to ask if PM was used informally while, in fact, they had different formal titles.

                I would guess that they probably did have the same title, which would have made it extremely difficult for your co-worker to continue going on about who is a real PM and who isn’t.

                Reply
              5. FYI

                I could easily not say anything back to that person. Easily. I might think that the person commenting has a distorted view of the situation, but I would also think that she is making herself look foolish and doesn’t need any help from me to get “set straight” or anything. I also might think that she’s having a tough day, and I might let it go for that reason alone.

                Reply
                1. MsMorlowe

                  I’d be concerned that either someone else heard the conversation and my not replying now makes them think I agree with her, or that the person who said that thinks I agree with her and takes that as a sign to keep telling me similar nonsense.

              6. Susanne

                Here is another way to frame your response:

                “It seems to me that PM A is just as much of a project manager as PM B – he’s been for here for x years, he handles the ABC account beautifully, and I’ve always found him a pleasure to work with and I appreciate his expertise on Pumpkin Teapots” [assuming that’s true]. And then continue on your merry way and continue to treat PM A and PM B as “equal” project managers.

                With this approach, you’ve still communicated to her that you don’t share her (stupid) view that PM A is “inferior,” but you haven’t attacked her personally. This is a much more effective way of going about it. Note how it’s not “you’re wrong” but “I see it differently.” Same thing, but much more effective.

                Reply
                1. Trillian

                  I didn’t list my response, so how do you know I didn’t respond in a manner similar to that? I didn’t attack her at all. You’re just making assumptions. I have mutual professional contacts with PM A and already knew about him before I started, which I don’t think she realized at the time. She was almost trying to taint my impressions of people she didn’t like as I was fresh meat. I told her that I he’s got a very good reputation and a lot of experience though and she huffed and went about her merry way.

      2. Anon Accountant

        Completely agree. Some of the wording sounded a little abrasive. Soft skills count for a lot also.

        It sounds like a mismatch for LW and the company.

        Reply
    4. Leatherwings

      Yeah. Even if everyone around you is complaining or talking loudly or whatever, you have to have a little social tact about it that I’m sensing might be missing. That doesn’t mean giggling through it, but it might mean (especially when you’re new and temp to perm) that you suck it up and ignore it for awhile. Or mention it in a more tactful way than saying “Why are you talking so loudly?” which is going to come across as pretty hostile.

      The OPs hardline (or what sounds like is very hardline) stance on “calling stuff out” and “being that person” could easily make someone seem… hard to work with.

      I’m not saying that had anything to do with the decision, but I do think it’s worth considering as OP moves into a new position.

      Reply
      1. AndersonDarling

        It really sounds like this department wasn’t a good culture match for the OP. People chatted and gossiped and that wasn’t the OP’s cup of tea and it festered. Breaking away is probably the best thing for everyone.

        Reply
    5. Mike C.

      I think we need to be very careful about how much we assume the tone of the letter here versus how the OP presents themselves at work. Code-switching is a real thing after all.

      Reply
      1. Morning Glory

        I think most people are reacting to the LW’s self-described behavior in the workplace, not the angry tone of the letter.

        Reply
        1. serenity

          Exactly. The behaviors described in the letter, more than the tone, point to a possibly prickly, defensive, and unpleasant demeanor. I don’t think people would be doing the OP any favors by ignoring that, instead of offering advice on how to re-calibrate her perceived attitude.

          Reply
          1. Not So NewReader

            I definitely got a sense of defensiveness from the letter. I am not sure why OP feels she has to defend herself.

            Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            Wait…what? We are supposed to attribute everything to code switching, including the specific things she said about how she behaved in the office?

            How could anyone ever comment on any letter by these rules?

            Reply
            1. serenity

              Agreed. Sometimes we can twist ourselves up in knots defending an OP, where our words end up not making sense. I’m feeling that’s what happened with this comment above.

              Reply
          2. Working Hypothesis

            I’m confused. Why would we ignore what the OP wrote *about* in the letter? I can see ignoring her *tone* in the letter, because that could be the result of writing to a non-work recipient about a frustrating situation in the middle of a sleepless night, and no kind of tone she’d ever use at work. But surely, if we are supposed to take the OP’s word for the facts of what happened, that implies that when she says that she does X or says Y, or that she doesn’t do Z at the office, we accept those statements as fact, too.

            Reply
      2. JD

        I don’t think we owe LW any obligation to be careful. She chose how to represent herself in the letter and we respond to that. If it isn’t accurate that’s her problem for not representing herself accurately. Speculating on what they “could have” meant is a waste of fingers moving on a keyboard.

        Reply
    6. bb-great

      Yes, I agree. It’s worth asking yourself, OP, how you are coming across to your coworkers, regardless of how you think of your own behavior. It may or may not have been a factor here, but it’s good to reflect, especially as you prepare to move on and start fresh.

      And if you decide you stand by your behavior, and you think that hurt your prospects at this company? That’s valuable information, too. It says you’re not a culture fit for this place, no matter how much you could have done for them business-wise.

      Reply
  5. MuseumChick

    OP, something I’ve learned from ask a manager, that Alison has repeated a lot is this: part of what a company is paying your for is getting along reasonably well with your co-workers. The way you describe your behavior comes off as fairly aggressive. For example, when someone points out a typo, why not just say “Oh, thanks for spotting that. I’ll fix it.” Or something to that effect?

    I don’t know if this is how your were viewed at this company or if it had anything to do with your hours being cut, but I do think its something that your should think about.

    Reply
  6. EmilyAnn

    There seems to be lots of moving parts to this story, but the part that stuck out to me was the negative interactions you seem to have with your colleagues. You don’t seem to like or respect them or their attitude towards work. It sounds like you had good relationships with management, but not good enough for them to keep you when budgets got difficult. I’m glad you’ve found a new job and I hope you can thrive there.

    Reply
    1. idi01

      “the part that stuck out to me was the negative interactions you seem to have with your colleagues. You don’t seem to like or respect them or their attitude towards work”

      I absolutely agree with you.
      The OP should use this resignation opportunity to ask his manager to give him an honest appraisal if his social skills (or lack of) had any part in his being put back on part time. Because if that is the case he needs to get help on improving socially otherwise his new job may also sour in a few months.

      Reply
  7. RPCV

    No sense burning a bridge over something that probably wasn’t personal, no matter how much it stung. Hell, burning a bridge in general is a bad idea. I live in one of the biggest cities in the US but a burned bridge definitely gets around among employers in a given field.

    Reply
    1. Detached Elemental

      Yup. Most fields are smaller than you think. Much smaller. People talk, and people move careers. The people you alienate in a resignation letter today might be your future interview panel with a different company 5 or 10 years down the track.

      While I understand OP is angry, they don’t want to become well known for all the wrong reasons in their field.

      I’ve seen it happen in my industry.

      Reply
  8. K.

    You say the temp job is in a field you missed. If you’re staying in that field, it’s not worth it to burn a bridge. It’ll feel good in the short term but wouldn’t be worth it in the longer term.

    Also, you didn’t ask this but you might take a look at yourself and see if your interpersonal skills need honing. Based on what you’ve written, it sounds like they might.

    Reply
  9. La Revancha

    I agree with Rusty . Sometimes part of being good at a job is also getting along well with people, which can mean socializing at work. The way you describe your personality at work makes me not want to work with someone like you. Perhaps your employer had different needs for the job that the other temp person could offer them. If anything, you could ask them about it if you’re curious but showing your anger will not only leave a bad taste in their mouth but they also won’t understand why you’re angry, since no one did it intentionally.

    Reply
    1. Personal Best in Consecutive Days Lived

      That’s what I came here to say. Resign, keep it professional, don’t burn bridges, and look forward to your new job. :)

      Reply
  10. McWhadden

    “Nobody warned me to soften the blow at all.”

    I guess they didn’t think they should be used to boost your own self-esteem?

    Reply
      1. LCL

        Aw, I think it was a cheap shot. OP was talking about not joining in the trash talk game. Expecting a briefing was what OP saw as a professional standard that wasn’t met. I think OPs expectations were too high.

        Reply
    1. SL #2

      Yeah, I just… if I were OP’s coworker, I would be muttering “good riddance” under my breath and going about my day. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to warn them about this, even if I had the advance knowledge to do so.

      Reply
      1. a Gen X manager

        YES! I work with someone who could be this OP and there is a lot of eye-rolling when dealing with her – not that that is right obviously, but she is so frustrating to interact with (and to be constantly judged by).

        Reply
        1. LCL

          Yeah, but that is offset by the entertainment value. When very rigid controlling people flame out, the results are spectacular. I know my schaudenfraude sounds awful, but I keep it to myself and still do whatever work is needed.

          Reply
    2. DeskBird

      Well – you did say you didn’t want to gossip. There are times when knowing what people are saying around the office can come in handy.

      Reply
    3. Close Bracket

      That is a cheap shot. Expecting management, or anyone, to think about how their decisions look to the people affected by them and have the courtesy to soften the blow is not using them to bolster one’s self esteem. Management *especially* has a responsibility not to be tone deaf bc of the power imbalance. Having that expectation is simply not comparable to staying out of the petty gossiping and back-stabbing that some people use to bolster their image at the expense of others.

      Reply
  11. Trout 'Waver

    I hate the ‘Don’t take it so personal’ line. People work to take care of their personal lives. If you single someone out at work and treat them poorly, you can’t just absolve yourself by saying, ‘don’t take it personal.” At the very minimum, cutting someone’s hours in half with no warning is going to affect their ability to take care of themselves or loved ones, which is as personal as it gets.

    If it was across-the-board layoffs with advance notice, that’s not personal. If a new technology fails to pan out and you have to shuffle around most of the people on that team, that’s not personal. But the OP’s case does sound personal to me. It doesn’t in any way affect how the OP should respond to this situation, though.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      What I mean by that is that the OP is thinking about this as if they sought to wrong her — as if she was entitled to an opportunity there that’s now been taken away from her. She can feel like someone wronged her, or she can feel like the situation sucks but that’s how business needs go sometimes. The second is a lot better for her mental well-being, and it’s much more likely to be true.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        I think there’s a middle ground here – they might have not done this to directly harm the OP, but there are a ton of different ways that hours could have been reduced, not to mention tons of ways to save money or cut budgets that don’t affect the OP. The fact that it was just “surprise, you’re half time” is maybe the second worst way of announcing it.

        /Putting it on a sheet cake for the office to share would be worse.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          not to mention tons of ways to save money or cut budgets that don’t affect the OP

          They presumably did it because they thought that was the decision that made the most business sense. If some of her work wasn’t critical and they’re in a budget crunch, it can very well make the most sense to cut the hours of the position. We don’t do the OP any favors by encouraging her to think otherwise.

          Reply
          1. Trout 'Waver

            Unless there’s a strong and pressing need for it, “Surprise you’re now getting half as much money” is terrible for morale and pretty lousy business practices.

            Reply
              1. Mike C.

                I was a bit clumsy, but that’s what I was trying to get at when I said, “there are a ton of different ways that hours could have been reduced”.

                Reply
              1. Anony

                It was a temp position (that sounded like it would go permanent, but was still a temp position), so it isn’t surprising that her hours are the first affected.

                Reply
          2. Mike C.

            Look, I’m not trying to argue some esoteric point here, I’m only relating my own experience. Systemic process improvement is a large part of my job, and I’ve been in teams in the past that have saved my employer millions of dollars per year. Some of the things we did were really obvious, others were only considered after significant analysis.

            Given that many people become managers (perhaps even the OP, depending on how high the new job is), these sorts of considerations can be important.

            Reply
          3. Artemesia

            I think it actually is helpful to the OP to consider that his or her own behavior on the job resulted in this lack of effort to make the job full time. The behavior seems as described to be quite egregious. The OP is heading for a new job — reflecting on how this one went so bad might help get the next one off to a good start.

            Reply
        2. Relly

          Intellectually, I agree that the sheet cake is worse, but my sweet tooth wants to argue that being fired and immediately getting free consolation cake might help to soften the blow ;)

          Reply
    2. Close Bracket

      I hate the phrase bc it’s always personal, including across the board layoffs. Sure, every department might have to cut 10% of their staff or whatever, but you better believe the particular individuals chosen were chosen at least partly for personal reasons.

      Reply
    3. Working Hypothesis

      There is a big difference between “Don’t allow this to have a significant personal effect on you,” and “Don’t take this as if they did it because of something personal about you.” Unfortunately, the phrase, “Don’t take it personally” has been used to mean both. As Alison just pointed out here, she meant the second, but enough people mean the first by it (for example, “It was just a joke! Why are you taking it so personally?” to mean “Why are you getting offended by something offensive?”) that it can be hard to recognize when that’s not what is meant.

      A form of language that Captain Awkward uses for the same concept, which I like very much is, “They’re not doing it AT you.” This company didn’t hire another employee AT the OP. They didn’t even cut the OP’s hours AT her. They did those things, and those things affected the OP, but they probably weren’t doing them with the intent to harm or insult… they just weren’t thinking much about the effect on the OP at all. One can reasonably argue that they *should* think about the effect on a good employee of cutting their hours in half — this is how companies lose good employees, far more often than just in this case! But the OP is probably going too far to see malice there, because companies rarely make their business decisions AT their employees… it’s too expensive for no useful business result.

      Reply
  12. Jeanne

    The one thing I will give you is that you do not have to tell them anything about your next job. You can resign and just say you have new employment. “I don’t like to talk about it.” works most of the time. After that if they push stick with “I have to get back to work now.” With your whole story, I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t think it was a good fit. Move on and forget them.

    Reply
  13. Trillian

    OP here. I did actually give my notice yesterday in a completely professional manner. I opened it up with “you’re not going to be surprised by this and may actually be relieved, but….” When my boss asked me if he could call me when the position opens up, I said “absolutely.” When he asked me where I was going, I kept it vague, but from the information I did provide, he came to the conclusion that it’s a step up. (It probably is, as scary as that is to me. I am kind of taking a risk here regardless of the fact that I found myself working part-time.) I thanked him for giving me this opportunity, thanked him for keeping me part time in lieu of letting me go, and expressed regret that it did not work out at this time.

    To everyone saying that I come across as arrogant, condescending, or aggressive… that is exactly the behavior in others which I combat. I had a very bad experience in my past where I tolerated and accepted that kind of treatment when I was doing work for which I did not receive appropriate credit and was actually often times painted to be incompetent. I vowed that I will not allow that to happen again. So if sending the message that “No, that is not funny that you ripped the customer apart in that fashion.” or “I made a simple mistake and you caught it. Congrats but I’m not going to let you act like I’m a dummy.” is arrogant or condescending, then so be it. :/

    Reply
    1. JD

      It seems you are letting your bad experience turn you to behave similarly than those you dislike so much. Might want to be careful so that doesn’t follow you into your next position which causes you to be looking for a job once again.

      Reply
      1. Magenta Sky

        Sometimes, “I won’t take crap from coworkers” is a sign that person is the problem. Sometimes, it’s a sign that the coworkers are the problem. There are a lot of dysfunctional work places in the world. And a lot of dysfunctional workers.

        There’s a big difference between getting snotty with someone who says, “Hey, Bob, you misspelled ‘business’ in paragraph three” and blowing off someone who shrieks at the top of their lungs “OH MY GOD!!! YOU MISSPELLED ‘BUSINESS’!!! IT’S THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION!!! HELLFIRE WILL BE RAINING DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS!!! DOGS AND CATS WILL BE LIVING TOGETHER!!!”

        I’ve seen both. Most of us have.

        The devil is always in the details.

        Reply
        1. The OG Anonsie

          Agreed. I could have easily written a letter like this within the couple years after I left my mega-toxic workplace, and I even wrote then deleted a few AAM letters about it over the years I was there knowing that it’s hard to not sound entirely delusional when claiming the problem is everyone else but me. They’re all just mean and hate me but there’s definitely nothing I did to cause this, they’re just awful! Really! I promise! A lot of impossible to deal with people I’ve worked with have given similar complaints, I’m sure.

          And with the power of long hindsight, I can say that it really probably was dysfunction on a level I could not have done a damn thing about. But good luck making that sound plausible and reasonable to a bunch of strangers, you know? Especially when you’re angry or defensive about it, because that’s the wrong attitude for someone being treated badly to have for some reason.

          Reply
          1. Magenta Sky

            The only reasonable or rational response to such an environment is to find another job, even if it means switching careers (and there are professions where that kind of toxicity is hard to avoid), moving, or other significant hardship. It can be tough, but not as tough as becoming one of “them,” which is the only other way to survive.

            People have a tendency to exhibit a double standard about such stuff. The person who is an ass first, people “get used to it,” and expect everyone else to tolerate it, too. It’s OK for them to be toxic, but not for anybody else to be toxic to them in return. (You see this a *lot* in family relationships with a toxic family member, and it’s even more abusive there.) “Don’t say anything to Bob, you’ll just set him off!” Yeah, well, he just set me off, and that doesn’t seem to bother you. That isn’t about somebody being rude, it’s about taking sides.

            I read the letter as the writer responds . . . poorly to that kind of double standard. I know I do. I am not known for my tolerance of stupid, annoying questions asked for the tenth time by the same person. But I’ve been on the same job 25 years, and am considered a key person in the corporate office (after starting out collecting shopping carts from the parking lot), because I do the job well, and make a deliberate effort to choose my battles.

            Courtesy costs nothing, and is a damned useful tool. But it’s not the *only* tool, and sometimes, it’s the *wrong* tool. Just make sure you can tell the difference.

            Reply
            1. Specialk9

              Great comments. You are really perceptive.

              Also, I’ve noticed that people who leave an abusive situation tend to go through a bit of overly strong boundaries and overly strong reactions.

              My poor husband certainly dealt with that with me – “THIS IS MY BOUNDARY DO NOT TRESPASS!!”
              “Uh, ok, wasn’t planning on it.” “oh.” (Repeat repeat repeat) I was used to boundary annihilation through back door stealth and direct combat, so it took awhile to relax. I did relax eventually, though, because he can be trusted.

              Here’s hoping for that for the OP at the new job.

              Reply
              1. Magenta Sky

                I had the good fortune to have to learn to deal with the sort of people who make any place they are toxic at a very young age (there were a lot of them – it’s a cultural thing in the part of the Midwest I grew up in, women with very strong personalities, who end up being either (mostly) the pillar that anchors the family, or a malice ridden do-gooder b***h, but *nothing* in between), and have excellent role models to learn from. (My mother was very, very good at the sort of “ignore them, and eventually, they’ll go away” passive response, and my father was the absolute master of “in your face in such an obnoxious way that your only hope is to never, ever have to interact with him again.” Neither method works well *all* the time, but one or the other almost always does. My mother taught me how to have good manners. My father taught me when not to use them.)

                When I was younger and had less experience at getting along with coworkers I don’t necessarily like, it was easy to perceive me the way that many here perceive the letter write: overly aggressive, in your face, touchy about trivial stuff. I didn’t, and don’t, feel that was accurate, but now I can see why people saw me that way. I suspect she and I have a few things in common, and I certainly sympathize.

                And certainly wish her the best on her new job.

                Reply
    2. Leatherwings

      I’m glad that you gave notice and it turned out okay! Congrats on your new position, and I hope that you’re able to tell the old place in April that you’re thrilled with your new job and have no intention of leaving :)

      As for the second part, I think that there may be a little more nuance than either being walked all over and treated poorly vs. being aggressive about shutting stuff down. I’d encourage you to consider whether you need to soften your stance on this just a little so that you can interact and “play the game” a little without it coming to being treated badly. You know?

      Reply
      1. Naomi

        Agreed–OP, I understand not wanting to be walked all over, but I think you may be over-correcting to the point where you’re coming off too harshly. You can stand up for yourself while still being tactful.

        Reply
        1. Liane

          And, much as I hate to say it, OP sounds like she is well on the way to becoming one of them.

          Good luck, and take a bit of time to get over being annoyed at soon-to-be ex-job and settle into your new one. Then think about what people here have said, when you’re in a better place to judge whether some of us might have a point or 2.

          Reply
        2. NW Mossy

          And such people are often very effectively neutralized by a warm “thanks – good catch!” and proceeding on with one’s day in stride. Most people who enjoy needling others like it best when they get a bristly-hedgehog reaction; accepting their feedback as a positive tends to throw them for a loop.

          It also works well for people who aren’t trying to needle you at all, but don’t want to let an easily corrected slip go by – it can be a powerful relationship-builder with these folks to show yourself as someone who’s willing to hear them and extend respect.

          Reply
          1. Mary

            Yeah, I’m a huge fan of responding to someone else’s snottiness with overt niceness. Pisses off the deliberately snotty, shamed the accidentally snotty, and maintains relationships with the bit-actually-snotty-at-all.

            Reply
            1. Anony

              Yeah. It isn’t fun to needle someone who doesn’t seem to notice. And you can’t lose if you were wrong about their intent if you respond with blanket niceness. It isn’t letting people walk all over you. It is not letting them dictate your behavior at all.

              Reply
            2. Specialk9

              Exactly! A warmly enthusiastic “thanks, great catch” or even “thanks, you have a real eye for detail, glad you’re on the team” can be effective in a way that bristling can’t. As you said, if they were actually being a jerk you just made them look bad, if they were really trying to help you got them on your team and made them feel good, if they were just being shirty that day but they’re not usually like that it reminds them to be better next time.

              But there’s also an important power dynamic there that is paradoxical – that kind of positive reception makes it clear their correction is minor, and that your big picture view isn’t even remotely ruffled by this. It subtly gives you power in a way I’m not explaining well.

              Reply
      1. Mike C.

        I would have no problem calling out a coworker for being demeaning to someone else. That sort of bullying shouldn’t be tolerated. I’ve been the person bullied and it’s so much worse as an adult than as a kid.

        Reply
        1. Susanne

          Mike C – agreed, but correcting a typo might really be – well, not personal, but something that needs to be done. Neutral. Not “bullying” or “demeaning” – but just matter-of-fact “hey, the Teapot Annual Report is ready for the printers, but I see that on page 10, Teapot is spelled Taepot; can you please fix it.” I get the sense that the OP would react to the fact of the correction as opposed to gracefully accepting the correction and moving on.

          Reply
          1. Purple Jello

            Right – but public corrections are out of line, whether by “replying all” to an email message or announcing someone made a typo that needs correction.
            “If someone comes to my desk talking to me in a showboat fashion to correct a typo I’ve made, I will first ask them why they are talking so loudly”

            Reply
            1. tigerlily

              Eh, yes and no. I’m not going to pull someone aside into a private space just to say hey, I noticed you made a typo. I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to make sure everyone’s listening either, but small things like that don’t need major reactions in either direction.

              Reply
            2. Specialk9

              The typo thing sounds like bitch eating crackers – but then again I’ve known a few people who could be so sly and mean but did it all by tone so they could say “what? All I *said* was…”

              Reply
          2. The OG Anonsie

            I don’t think there’s any reason to assume the LW would be offended at any correction. It’s normal for people to point out corrections in a regular ol’ neutral way, sure. It’s also super common for people to use small corrections as a way to needle someone and be condescending in great disproportion to the error. She’s describing this as someone loudly announcing an error and trying to act like she’s stupid for it.

            Reply
            1. Relly

              Considering everything, though, especially how personally she took matters throughout the letter, I’m not sure that I trust the OP to render an accurate depiction of other people’s motives. I’m not saying that her co-workers might not be crappy people who are trying to be crappy about a typo — they totally might be. Some people suck. But … “OP thinks that they wanted her to feel stupid” can be true without “other people did in fact want her to feel stupid.”

              Reply
              1. The OG Anonsie

                Yeah, I don’t know if the LW is overly defensive due to past experiences or has fallen into a new dysfunctional environment. I suspect a mix. But at the very least it sounds like this person was indeed being over the top about it to some extent, and I disagree that the LW’s relation of events seems unreliable to the point that we should assume it was more her overreaction than anything else.

                Reply
        2. Green

          People need to be able to accept respectful feedback that they dislike or don’t agree with at work. People who make it unclear that feedback is unwelcome aren’t standing up to bullying; they’re stifling their own improvement and progression.

          Also: assume positive intent. It goes a LONG way towards helping you deal with people you don’t like or who communicate differently from you and takes a lot of questioning out of “HOW DID THEY MEAN THIS?” that lots of people get caught up engaging in.

          “Assuming X meant to just alert me to a typo, how should I respond?”

          Reply
    3. Dee

      I’m glad your resignation went well.

      It’s entirely within your rights not to want to be flexible. You just can’t be surprised if inflexibility leads to your being passed over for something or being perceived as hostile.

      Reply
      1. SL #2

        I get that you came out of a toxic environment, and Alison has a number of great posts about how to deal with toxic baggage from an old job, but if you’re coming off as hostile and arrogant to your coworkers and you can’t work well with your team, you’re always going to be on the chopping block when it’s time to re-org or when there’s a position that needs to be cut. If you’re okay with that situation, then that’s your right and I’m sure you’ll find ways to adapt, but yes, like Dee said, you also lose the right to be shocked and angry when you get passed up for promotion or when your hours get cut because you’re the PITA* that no one wants to work with.

        (Not specifically calling Trillian a PITA. Using the term as a general statement/lens that their coworkers might view them through.)

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          We don’t actually know if the diction in the letter is at all linked to the reduction in hours.

          If you want my opinion, if I’m in the position to change headcount simply because I don’t like someone, I’m going to fire them completely rather than have to deal with them part time. There’s also added complexity with part-time people in a normally fully time workplace.

          Reply
          1. SL #2

            You’re right, we know that the company’s official line is budget cuts, but if I were in a position where I couldn’t fire a staff member for whatever reason, I could only reduce their hours, then I’d still go with the employee who’s been rude and condescending to the rest of their team. It may not be the only reason for the cut in hours, but I’d wager it was still part of it.

            I think regardless of the cause behind the hours reduction, OP still really needs to re-evaluate their desire to not be a doormat with the need to work well and get along with their coworkers, or else they’re just going to keep getting burned in their career progression.

            Reply
            1. JulieBulie

              I have seen managers jump through all kinds of hoops in order to preserve the jobs, benefits, full-time status, special privileges, etc. of employees that they really care about. There’s no way to know if Trillian’s boss had any options besides cutting her hours, but it’s absolutely true that the search for options is likely to be more intensive for someone who doesn’t alienate coworkers.

              Reply
          2. Jesmlet

            I’ve worked places where in order to avoid unemployment eligibility, they just cut someone’s hours until they quit. It’s another (albeit longer) way of forcing someone out. On the other hand, if everyone on my team was fantastic and there were budget issues, there are other places to find money and I would do everything in my power to find the money elsewhere. Just last month I pulled $15k out of nowhere with a shit ton of grunt just to give us more headroom. I wouldn’t have done all that work if there was someone I disliked working with.

            Reply
            1. PollyQ

              Maybe Allison can answer this, but aren’t you eligible for unemployment if you leave because they cut hours? Or am I just imagining this?

              Reply
        1. Green

          LOL. I’ve worked with extremely assertive people at the highest levels of publicly traded companies, and I don’t know ANYONE who has moved up without being willing to ignore at least some bullsh*t and keep focused on what really matters. You have to prioritize where you spend your energy and value relationships to move up.

          Reply
    4. CaliCali

      I think you’re taking a bit of the “fight fire with fire” approach, which, while satisfying for the ego, actually does nothing to really correct the behavior. Sure, no one likes when someone is being cruel or needlessly pedantic, and in its way, it can be called out…if you’re in the right position to do so, in the right context. And I don’t think anyone advocates just rolling over and accepting crappy behavior, but you’re also referring to experiences in your past that you’re translating to your present, which no one else has any context for, and which will come off very harsh and unforgiving without it.

      Reply
      1. serenity

        Exactly. I’d go further, and say this feel like “fight fire with a total scorched-earth policy with colleagues”. OP, I respect that you feel you may have been burned in interpersonal transactions with former co-workers, but your present attitude sounds quite antagonistic. As others mentioned, you might have a range of skills but this perceived hostility is not going to be well-received if it continues with you from job to job.

        Reply
        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          I’d go further, and say this feel like “fight fire with a total scorched-earth policy with colleagues”.

          Or even further to “see fire where no fire may even exist” and fight it with a total scorched-earth policy. My sister is like this because she was a pushover about everything for so long. Now she’s quit being a pushover, but she STILL doesn’t have any sense of where proper boundaries are. She still can’t figure out when someone is being normal versus trying to take advantage of her, so she just reacts AT ALL TIMES as if everyone is trying to take advantage of her and scorches the earth even when no provocation was intended.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            I call this the Israeli period of therapy (Israelis tend to be *very* strong in how they communicate even about low key things). I’ve seen it a lot, and lived it. When we realize there’s a big problem and we have to fix the parts we control (especially if we’ve been pushovers), that usually involves making boundaries and defending them like rabid skunks. It can be unpleasant to be around, but it is a necessary stage, and usually reduces over time.

            Reply
          1. serenity

            For someone in OP’s position, who’s been in their role under three months, is temporary hoping to become permanent, and who doesn’t have standing in the organization to chide colleagues? I’d say, share with a manager if you witness egregious behavior (and what OP recounts is so not egregious). Otherwise? Mind your business. It’s not that hard.

            Reply
      2. ex-aggressive co-worker

        Also, even IF you are dealing with a combative co-worker, becoming combative back can end up biting you in the butt instead. Years ago I worked with a combative co-worker in my first job. EVERYONE knew she was horrible, and I was new and didn’t know workplace norms (nor did this place really have any, thus the problem being there in the first place!) When she started trying to bully me, I pushed back. She got mad and tried again, I pushed back. This kept up, until one day I heard the rumor that I – *I* – was getting a reputation as “hard to work with”! I was on good terms with every other employee and I knew my employers liked me, and the rumor came from an outside source – so the whole issue was this one person, and my reaction to them. It taught me a very solid lesson – put your foot down on bad treatment, sure, but “be the bigger person” and don’t respond tit-for-tat unless you want to be painted with the very same brush you’re painting others with.

        Reply
        1. Trillian

          This. Yep. This is almost exactly what happened with me. All of a sudden I realized that I was the one who looked bad to these women. My mind was blown at first because I can’t fathom how her unprofessional behavior goes unnoticed/uncommented on by everybody else. On our specific team, she was the only person in her position until they brought me in. So it’s always been her way or the highway. She could talk to everybody (internal and external customers, her boss, vendors, other teams.) the way she wanted to because there was nobody else there to do what she does. I mistakenly thought I could balance her hyper-aggressive way of dealing with people by pointing out “you really shouldn’t talk to a customer that way.” types of comments. But I just really pissed her off and came across badly. (except to some salesmen and vendors who only wanted to work with me – no joke.)

          I’ve read most of the comments on here and I really can’t say how this (the comments and my experience) will affect the way I deal with this in the future. I know I come across as arrogant, but I can’t picture myself just sitting back while someone acts the way she did.

          Reply
          1. TootsNYC

            Maybe you just need a different tactic.

            The same conviction–that she’s wrong, and that your way is better.

            But fighting isn’t the most effective way to tackle it. You can truly kill them with kindness.

            Be ultra nice on purpose; be totally manipulative.

            Maybe be sad about how unhappy they must be with the job, since they seemed so upset in that interaction; be surprised, maybe even concerned (“that came across really sharp–I was surprised. It didn’t seem like you, are you OK?”)

            Step in ultra-nicely when they’re getting snotty with someone and say, “Oh, Jean, you seem stressed; would you like me to handle this/?”

            Reply
            1. CMart

              YES. Kill them with kindness. I just commented right below you about learning not to engage with the “office jerk” in a restaurant setting, and “kill them with kindness” is every service industry person’s motto when dealing with unreasonable people–customers and coworkers alike.

              It throws off the people who are looking to get a rise out of you, and it honestly eventually trains people who are just naturally hostile into being a little less of a jerk, and you always coming out smelling of roses.

              Reply
            2. Mike C.

              I don’t know, it’s always obvious to me when someone is trying to do that and it almost always comes off as being really inauthentic. I get the same feeling as I do when some salesperson (or lately MBA holder…) tries to pretend we’re buddies to get me to buy or do something I’m not interested in.

              Every tactic has it’s place, but I think this one is riskier than many imagine.

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                I’ve had incredibly good luck with this tactic. Even if people see through the Killing With Kindness (and so very many people genuinely don’t because they are just lurching through the day, from emotion to emotion) it’s still ok because they see you being the bigger person in the face of rudeness. Your kindness becomes a foil that reflects the bad behavior.

                Mike, you’re conflating techniques. Killing with kindness is NOT the same as being smarmy and overly familiar to get a sale. It’s about making a boxer punch Jello for awhile so you win the bigger fight. (Uh that analogy got weird.)

                Reply
              2. Genny

                Isn’t that confirmation bias? You don’t see it when people use the tactic successfully. Thus, it looks like it always fails since you can’t account for when it was used successfully.

                Reply
              3. Mallory Janis Ian

                You don’t really have to go overboard on slathering on the sickly-sweet kindness. You can just avoid giving them anything to push against by being generically pleasant and polite to them. You don’t have to purposely ham it or make it a show for audience consumption; you can just avoid being ruffled by them and let their attempts fall flat against your vague politeness.

                Reply
                1. Mallory Janis Ian

                  Yeah, I find it obnoxious, too. You can accomplish the same thing in a low-key way without putting on a full dog and pony show.

              4. Agatha_31

                I would agree with others in saying this is actually one of the less risky tactics. I mean, I feel the same way as you and I’d prefer just plain speaking and getting to the point – the sugar’n’syrup talk puts my back up immediately – but in my experience from the employee side in both retail and office work, there are WAY more people out there on whom an abundance of sugar works miracles as far as getting them into a more cooperative state. It’s kind of annoying, but at the same time, now that I know how to use it, it also amuses me that it’s so easy to mollify the majority of people this way.

                Of course the key here is, a good employee is usually going to be able to tell when the person on the other end of the transaction is like you or me and is just getting annoyed by that treatment and switch tactics immediately. That’s part of doing a good job for every single customer or client.

                Reply
          2. CMart

            Something I noticed in my days working in restaurants, which are always lousy with obnoxious characters:

            There will almost always be an Aggressive Alex– someone who is unreasonable and demanding, someone who treats others badly and who still has a job because God knows why. If everyone else is just rolling their eyes, sighing heavily, and moving on then that’s what you need to do to. Fighting back against Aggro Alex actually makes YOU look unreasonable, as if you don’t have the maturity to just walk away. Everyone knows Aggro’s gonna aggro, so you just let them scream into the void. But rising to their bait seems to signal a lack of judgement, as if you should know better than to poke the bear.

            It’s like trying to put a toddler in their place. You look like an ass being rude to a toddler, even if that tiny jerk deserves it.

            Reply
          3. Maya Elena

            I’d say, find the line where professional meets with authentic and toe it. You shouldn’t be an a– but you can’t please everyone.
            Anyway, the “spousal unit” (tee-hee) might be a source of good advice. :p

            Reply
          4. Another person

            There’s (at least) one like that in every dysfunctional office. Problem is, it takes a little time to identify who it is. Unfortunately everyone (well, the ones who don’t quit) will put up with it from that one person because they don’t want to rock the boat. It sounds like you rocked the boat and paid the price.

            Honestly I try to identify that person as early as I can and stay off their radar if possible.

            Reply
          5. fposte

            I’m agreeing with TootsNYC; I think you may be getting overfocused on the honor issue of publicly rejecting something bad in the moment, when what matters is the outcome.

            Reply
            1. CMart

              Something I often have to ask myself (having an overinflated sense of personal dignity) is “would I rather be right, or happy?”

              This most often came up in a customer service capacity: an unreasonable customer was being unreasonable at me (accusing me falsely of X, Y, or Z) and my instinct was to correct them at all costs. Preserve my dignity. I NEEDED them to know that I wasn’t wrong, or stupid, or whatever. But that 100% of the time comes across as being argumentative. The unreasonable person isn’t going to ever change their feelings, and everyone who is witness to it just wants it to be over quickly and quietly.

              So instead you kill them with kindness, as TootsNYC said. If they’re never going to concede that you’re right, you might as well walk away from the encounter as unfrustratedly as possible. Be unimpeachable in your response. People will see that So and So was out of line for yelling at you about a typo, you don’t need to call them out on it.

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                I think this also depends on the industry or position. My job will certainly color my views, but there are plenty of times where being right means not breaking the law or keeping people safe.

                Honey before vinegar? Sure, but if honey doesn’t work then you’re left with vinegar.

                Reply
              2. Specialk9

                Craig Ferguson has a really funny piece on the most important thing he’s learned about marriage, 3 marriages in:

                Asking “Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said *by me*? Does this need to be said by me *now*?”

                It’s actually great life advice!

                Reply
            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Very much this. Chiding someone by saying “you shouldn’t talk to customers that way” is guaranteed to be counter-productive. The person you’re correcting is going to feel patronized (especially since you were peers), and there’s no reason for them to change their behavior if it’s working for them.

              Folks generally take correction better when it’s constructive, or when it helps build from skills they already have or do well. Public rejections have their place, but they’re not usually an effective way to change someone’s behavior.

              Reply
              1. Trillian

                I don’t set out to make comments publically. She would occasionally take a comment of mine and turn it public however. Like the time she slammed down her phone, plopped into her chair and signed heavily. It startled me and I asked 100% genuinely if she was ok. She almost reached the yelling volume in her reply. “Am I ok????? Why would you ask a question like that???” I told her calmly that she seemed upset. She yelled again something to the effect of “no shit.” So now, every one in the area is paying attention, right? I asked her, still quietly, if there was anything I could do to help. After being yelled at, I really just wanted to walk out. But apparently THAT was the correct question to ask and she let me know loudly.

                Reply
          6. MK

            But is it really your place to correct her behaviour? Let’s say she is a horrible person, and the rest of the office is blind to her true character. If what you did was refuse to agree with her, ok. But if you took it upon yourself to actively reprimand her, a lot of people would think you were the one out of line.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              And, as TootsNYC notes, there’s a middle ground; you don’t have to either sternly reprove somebody or feel like you’re silently complicit in their behavior.

              Reply
          7. RB

            I’ve been in this position. It’s a no-win situation. My sympathies. At least you tried to push back — most of us would not have dared with someone like that.

            Reply
          8. Anony

            Part of the problem is that it is always jarring when someone new comes in and tries to change the way things are done. Even if the changes are good there tends to be push back. It is even worse if the person trying to change things is a coworker rather than a superior. Even when the position titles are the same, someone who has been there longer tends to be seen as having more authority than someone who just started.

            Reply
          9. Yorick

            If you’re not this person’s manager, and you’ve been there such a short time, it’s not appropriate for you to reprimand her. It may not be wise to say anything at all.

            If it’s really egregious it might be best to loop in her manager: “I’m not sure you’re aware about how hostile Jane can be with the customers; for example, today X happened and she said Y.”

            Reply
          10. designbot

            How to deal with that stuff can look very different depending on the security and level of your position. I would not just say, “you really shouldn’t talk to a customer that way.” unless it’s someone whom you are in a position of authority over.
            When you’re more established you can absolutely say to a coworker, “I’m sure you’re probably right in substance, but I think our clients can find your approach a little much. It’s really important for our team’s growth that we build trust with them and when you say things like that it gets in the way of that goal.” Notice that’s not just a blanket “don’t talk to the customer that way” because that assumes you have the power to tell her what to do, which is very inflammatory. It’s giving her some credit, bringing her on board with what you’re trying to achieve, and asking her to help you. That’s the way you speak to equals.
            When you are in a more tenuous position–like being a temporary, hourly, or contract worker, or being someone’s junior whom you wish to correct–it’s best not to say anything directly at all, but just demonstrate with your behavior how you’d like to see things done. I promise you, the clients will still notice it, and still want to work with you. But handling it the way you did just gets you on the cut list.

            Reply
          11. Green

            “You really shouldn’t talk to a customer that way” is not your role as a new employee who doesn’t manage her. If you have serious concerns about how an established individual at a company is behaving with clients, you should take that to your manager.

            That’s not sitting back and doing nothing, that’s identifying a problem for someone who can solve it instead of overstepping and trying to manage someone who you do not manage.

            Reply
          12. Safetykats

            Part of the problem is that there is really no workplace where it’s going to be well-received for the newest person most the group to be policing the behavior of more senior coworkers – even if they are out of line. As many people have pointed out, it probably is more effective to respond more mildly – and that kind of response won’t backfire and make you look like the one who is out of line.

            It also might help to remember that people hire temps for two reasons: because the job is really only temporary, or to see how well you work out without the kind of commitment that would make you difficult to let go if you don’t work out. So as a temp, you’re often on probation. And working out means not only being good at your job, it means fitting in.

            Maybe they cut your hours because of budget, and maybe they did it because you weren’t fitting in, and it was easier to subtly encourage you to leave than to let you go. Maybe they thought it was actually kinder to keep you part time than to let you go completely. But it does sound like you weren’t fitting in, and I don’t know why you would assume they would give you a permanent position if you weren’t fitting in. I also don’t know why you would want a permanent position if you weren’t fitting in – so probably it’s for the best anyway. I hope the new job is a better fit for you.

            Reply
          13. Susanne

            “My mind was blown at first because I can’t fathom how her unprofessional behavior goes unnoticed/uncommented on by everybody else. ”

            But “congrats on finding my typo but that doesn’t give you license to treat me like a dummy” (I’m paraphrasing, but you said something similar upthread) is also unprofessional behavior.

            You really have a double standard you might do well to think about. When other people are cutting or sarcastic or trash-talk customers/vendors, it’s unprofessional and you need to run to the rescue and point it out. However, you appear to be doing so in ways that are also cutting, sarcastic, and trash-talk-y, and then you wonder why you’re not part of the lunch order.

            “I mistakenly thought I could balance her hyper-aggressive way of dealing with people by pointing out “you really shouldn’t talk to a customer that way.” types of comments. ”

            Can you maybe practice some responses? I think part of the issue is that your responses tend to be “you should –” as opposed to “I feel differently.”

            “You shouldn’t get on the guys in the field for wanting to come home early” versus “I see it differently – I bet they’re exhausted and frustrated after being gone for 6 weeks and would really appreciate your help in getting them home.”

            “You shouldn’t trash-talk Client X” versus “I know that Client X can be difficult; I hear you. All the same, he’s a really good client to us, gives us lots of business, just awarded us the ABC account, and if we don’t show him the excellent customer service we’re known for, he may take his business elsewhere and then we’ll both be out of jobs!”

            “Congrats on finding my typo but you don’t get to treat me like a dummy” versus “I appreciate your pointing that out! I wouldn’t want any of the company’s work to go out unless it’s as polished as can be!”

            See the difference? And no, this is not “fake” or “BS” or whatever. It’s just developing emotional intelligence in how to relate to others (and ultimately, get what you want from them – which presumably is a pleasant, efficient workplace with cordial relationships).

            Reply
          14. LBK

            It feels to me like you’re painting yourself as the protector or the hero who finally calls out the bully after no one else has had the guts to do so. But you work with adults, not children – people can discern perfectly well on their own that your coworker is a jerk and that you are ostensibly not, and they can adjust their own behavior accordingly. Most people avoid confrontations like this in the office not because of fear but because it’s just not worth the energy, and it doesn’t usually solve the problem. Don’t assume your coworkers need your protection.

            As you say yourself, people were already asking to work with you exclusively instead of her. So just let them do that – you don’t need to do anything but be good at your job and a clear contrast to your horrid coworker. It’s not sitting back and doing nothing, it’s playing the long game and giving her enough rope to hang herself rather than trying to fight her on the spot, which is generally proven to be ineffective and only accomplishes making you her new target.

            I suppose this particular situation is a moot point since you’ve left now, but just something to think about going forward. Unless someone’s behavior is truly egregious (like making racist/sexist/homophobic/etc comments) don’t think of yourself as being passive if you don’t immediately call it out. Think of yourself as actively choosing to not spend energy on it. Particularly when you’re not in a position of authority you don’t really have the means to change someone, so why waste your time trying? For the sake of feeling like you did the right thing?

            Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

            Reply
          15. ex-aggressive co-worker

            “I know I come across as arrogant, but I can’t picture myself just sitting back while someone acts the way she did.”

            “Sit back and take it” and “strike back” aren’t the only two options, though – it’s all about finding the middle ground where people perceive you as a rational person they should take seriously. I have a heck of a temper and really struggle with keeping my cool when things go sideways, but I found that just reading through AAM’s advice (and also Captain Awkward for more general advice on difficult interactions with other people) has been very helpful for dealing with what could be tense situations. Heck, even for the restaurant job it would have been helpful, for times like when the co-worker tried to make me do her closing chores as well as my own and then blamed me when they weren’t done. I just got mad at her and argued with her. Made the restaurant look bad, made me look bad, solved nothing. Instead I could have taken one of AAM’s tactics for dealing with a difficult co-worker and solved the problem faster, even if it was only to conclude “not my circus, not my monkeys” (I eventually came to that conclusion on my own, but only after WAY more physical, mental and emotional stress, and years of service, than that job ever deserved from me).

            Reply
      3. consultant

        You’re wrong here.

        In my last job I had a colleague who would correct my nonexistent errors (it’s like in the letter, a spelling error would be important if we worked as editors, but it’s not if we work as project managers – everybody makes an error in internal communications at times). This was totally disruptive. At first I tried to explain to him why this kind of error is not important and why some of the things he pointed out were not errors at all. He always pointed out these things in front of other people to make me feel embarrassed I guess.

        Then I started to reply in a more decisive manner, embarrassing him when he was trying to embarrass me. And yes, it worked much better.

        I think it was mansplaining on his part since male colleagues never experienced anything similar.

        It would be good to live in a world where you can solve everything being friendly and polite, but it’s very naive to believe corporate environments are like this.

        Reply
    5. Stacie

      I think what others are trying to explain here is that you can stick up for yourself and take pride in your work while also trying to engage with your coworkers and get along with them. Sometimes people need to vent or commiserate a bit without your reproach. It’s a bonding moment and there is value in that skill. Develop it if you want to continue your career upward.

      Reply
    6. Luna

      I’m glad that you decided to go that route- while it is less satisfying in the short term, taking the high road will almost always be something you are glad you did when you look back at it later.

      It sounds like you didn’t really like your co-workers or the work environment at that company, so moving on is probably the best choice for both of you.

      Reply
    7. Colette

      “I made a simple mistake and you caught it. Congrats but I’m not going to let you act like I’m a dummy.”

      I see two possibilities here:
      – your coworkers were trying to make you look bad, or
      – you really overreacted to a simple statement of fact.

      In a functional workplace, a coworker trying to make you look bad (assuming you are good at your job and react appropriately to making mistakes) will probably make themselves look bad instead – unless you respond with something that aggressive and defensive. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s not the kind of response that will let you move pass them.

      If it’s not a functional workplace, maybe that kind of overreaction will not harm your reputation, but then you’re working in a dysfunctional workplace, which doesn’t seem to me to be something to strive for.

      Reply
      1. MK

        There is a third possibility: you keep making this “simple” mistake constantly and others keep having to get you to correct it, and they have started letting their frustration show.

        Reply
      2. JulieBulie

        Yes – if someone wants to be a showboaty ass by loudly telling you about your typo, bystanders will think he or she is a showboaty ass. If you reply loudly with sarcasm, bystanders will think you’re both showboaty asses.

        It is more effective to acknowledge your errors and fix them, than to bite someone’s head off for revealing your typo to the world. Your typo is neither a secret nor (most likely) a big deal, so don’t join that coworker in making a Broadway spectacle of it.

        Also: being a doormat and being aggressive/abrasive are not your only choices. People who are assertive can express themselves without coming off as thin-skinned/defensive/doormatty/mean.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          “Yes – if someone wants to be a showboaty ass by loudly telling you about your typo, bystanders will think he or she is a showboaty ass. If you reply loudly with sarcasm, bystanders will think you’re both showboaty asses.”

          Whereas if you respond with pleasantness and kindness (especially the kindness that comes from a place of confidence, and of a slight sense of superiority–not “snotty” superiority, but confident superiority), everybody will think the other person is a showboaty ass, and you’re pleasant and kind.

          Reply
          1. The OG Anonsie

            I like the furrowed approach along the “wow.” type of responses. Sort of, ok, we’ll handle it, why the big deal? Do you need something else?

            I used to always default to the super friendly response, which I now am more careful with as some people will take it as a license to increasingly escalate their level of showboaty assiness. And whether that makes them look worse than you or not, it’s not something you want to have to deal with all the damn time.

            Reply
      3. Close Bracket

        “but then you’re working in a dysfunctional workplace, which doesn’t seem to me to be something to strive for.”

        What industry do you work in that jobs grow on trees and leaving a toxic environment is as easy as picking fruit? Few people who work in toxic environments are there because it’s what they struggle for. Most people who stay there do so because we enjoy eating regular meals and sleeping indoors. Snarky comments about our situation not being something to strive for are not helpful.

        Reply
    8. Susanne

      So you combat arrogant, condescending and aggressive behavior in others by acting …. arrogant, condescending and arrogant? How is that working out for you?

      You may come off differently in person – I don’t know – but your tone isn’t one that makes me think “oh gosh! I’d love to work with / collaborate with this person.” It leaves me thinking “I have to walk on eggshells – if I make a mistake, he will rip me a new one, and if he makes a mistake and I point it out, he’ll become defensive.”

      Reply
      1. Trillian

        I don’t comment on her mistakes. She doesn’t make that many, to be honest. What I comment on is her unprofessional behavior which is really too aggressive and makes us look bad. I’ve been in this industry long enough (and longer than she has been) to know that we need to know which hands feed us and which hands help us to earn the food we’re fed. She is a really unpleasant person and I stepped in when I felt she was crossing lines.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          I wouldn’t say you can’t step in. You just need a more effective tactic.

          And that would be something like “acting like an ally with good advice for her,” not “acting like someone who is setting her straight.”

          So you say, sympathetically, “ooh, I hope that vendor doesn’t end up cutting some corners on service; that was kind of a sharp tone there at the end.”
          Or, “Are you OK? You were really short with him–it came across sort of snotty. And that’s not like you. Is something wrong?”

          The same message (“this behavior is nor normal or acceptable”), but with window dressing that makes you look good, her look bad (especially if she complains, because especially if anybody heard you, they know that you were so very kind and supportive!).

          It’s possible to be very assertive and even aggressive, and still come across as kind and supportive. (you just want to be careful that you never, ever, sound fake or snotty in your delivery)

          Reply
        2. Anony

          Was it actually your job to correct her? Because if you were stepping in when it wasn’t your project and you aren’t her manager, that can come across poorly. You may have been in the industry longer, but it sounds like she has been at the company longer which can make correcting a coworker tricky.

          Reply
        3. serenity

          I just….feel I need to point out that you have been in your role less than 3 months and were in a temporary role hoping to become permanent. I don’t think anyone in your shoes would have the standing (either within the organization or with colleagues) to make the kinds of comments you seem to have made regarding a colleague. It’s not up to you to police colleagues who you feel have “crossed the lines”, whatever that means. If you witness unkind or unprofessional behavior, share it with your manager. It just feels like you shot yourself in the foot at your organization, and you still don’t realize how or why. I really do hope you can learn and grow from this experience, Trillian.

          Reply
          1. Green

            THIS. Not to put too fine a point on it here, but … the hand that fed you is the one that cut your hours… at your next position, maybe that’s the constituency you should focus your energies on.

            Regardless of how much experience you have in an industry, you are still learning at 3 months in to a role at a new company. That is still “watch and learn” phase in which you should be absorbing information, not going drawing negative attention to yourself by going head-to-head with a longer tenured employee you don’t manage.

            Reply
        4. Leenie

          I know it’s frustrating to see people behaving poorly, particularly in ways that might reflect on your organization. But you can’t manage people you weren’t hired to manage. And you can’t raise other people’s grown children. Acceptance of this is essential to a happy working life.

          Reply
          1. LBK

            Totally agreed. And don’t assume that just because no one else is saying anything doesn’t mean they don’t know or understand what’s going on. You work with adults, they understand what jerks are.

            Reply
            1. Trillian

              I never said those words to her. I made a comment about her volume. Hoping to send the message that I don’t want her to treat me like I’m stupid. It happened one time, like I’ve said in other comments.

              I was never rude to her. Ever. I’ll keep repeating it. She was rude and aggressive to me, even yelling at me. I never matched her tone.

              Reply
    9. Jesmlet

      Happy to hear you kept things professional and are taking a step up in your career. In terms of your behavior, often when we react to things that happened in the past, we swing to the other extreme, and that’s clearly what you’ve done. I’d strongly recommend not bringing that into your next job. You can stand up for yourself without being awful to work with, and the phrases that you used here would in my opinion make you pretty awful to be around regardless of whether or not I was on the receiving end. There’s a way to disagree with someone without being so unpleasant. There’s a decent chance that this is why you were not made permanent and why you were downgraded to part time. Don’t become what you hate in other people.

      On the other hand, feel free to disregard all of this. But if what happened at your current job happens again, don’t be too shocked.

      Reply
    10. nonymous

      >“I made a simple mistake and you caught it. Congrats but I’m not going to let you act like I’m a dummy.” is arrogant or condescending, then so be it. :/

      An alternative response is “Thanks! good to know who is the go-to person for proofreading :-)” Proofreading is a skill, and should be acknowledged for what it is – high attention to detail that adds to the professional polish of the final work product. My coworkers and I swap docs all the time specifically to catch these issues, and in many industries it is definitely perceived as a value-added activity. Now, if you’re running into a typo situation frequently, I’d suggest that you build in more time for revisions (sometimes I find setting aside a document for a final once over after lunch or a meeting on a different topic to be helpful), before your colleagues have opportunity for feedback. But for managing the interaction with a colleague I’d challenge you to find a way to acknowledge the contribution for what it is, and with a positive affect. Giving them equal credit isn’t fair to your contribution, but being dismissive does not value their contribution. A larger discussion would be whether excessive proofreading is necessary for the work you do, but that is not something to address in the moment (unless this was a topic that was previously discussed).

      I also wanted to add that this can be a common challenge when working with perfectionists. It’s helpful in that case to set reasonable expectations “I’m looking for feedback on concept X, details regarding Y have not been finalized” or “I’d like to get concept X nailed down before we start working on finalizing the document, no sense in addressing typos if we may not use this approach!” In this scenario, it is really important to acknowledge the coworkers’ pathological need for perfection. The details are important to them, even if it doesn’t have a large-scale impact.

      Reply
      1. Trout 'Waver

        Yeah, but the appropriate way to correct a colleague’s typo is to e-mail or IM them and let them know about the typo. It’s not to march to their desk and present the typo.

        Reply
        1. LQ

          Oddly when I am (rarely) asked to proof I always do it with paper and go back to the coworkers desk to give it to them. (Though I rarely march anywhere so…)

          Reply
    11. fposte

      Just for a different view–I work at a top flight university, and the really smart people don’t actually get ruffled at being condescended to, because they’re secure in what they do know and aware that there’s plenty they don’t. Somebody demonstrably not caring looks more powerful than somebody defending themselves.

      Reply
      1. LQ

        This is kind of funny, this has happened to me a couple times when a coworker has come to me to loudly try to say I was wrong about something. I let my coworker go on and on and on because I knew my boss could hear her and he knew I was right (and so did I, obviously). But it was …extremely good at showing her…lack of skills in that area. No way was I going to shut her down, because it was so much more powerful to let her go on. (That said it may have been kinder to shut her down quickly so…I was maybe the jerk there? I don’t know. She was trying so very hard to get me in trouble that I didn’t mind being a little jerky.)

        Reply
        1. Trout 'Waver

          Unfortunately, I’ve been in situations like you describe except the boss doesn’t know enough about my work or the other person’s work to know who was right. It sucks.

          Reply
          1. LQ

            That does. And then finding a way to shut them down quickly and quietly and …maybe look for something else or decide that’s just not worth worrying about. (Unless someone has come up with something other than the slow, tedious, and sometimes unproductive method of bringing your boss around to see that you know what you’re doing.)

            Reply
    12. LQ

      You were so focused on being crisply professional in all your dealings I’m glad you kept to that in your resignation. It was the right thing to do to not shift away from that.

      I do think that you might want to pause a bit to consider if you are letting a really bad past experience color the way you are working with coworkers (especially if this isn’t the only time you’ve felt like this). Dealing with humans is really the hardest part of work and finding the right tools for the right situations can be difficult, especially if we’ve been given dull tools in the past. Just expanding your tool kit to incorporate additional ways of dealing with the humans might be a good challenge to take on in addition to all the fun new work at your new job.

      Reply
    13. a Gen X manager

      “To everyone saying that I come across as arrogant, condescending, or aggressive… that is exactly the behavior in others which I combat.”

      Counter-point: “What you see in others is just a reflection of yourself.”

      Reply
      1. Trillian

        Um, no. I don’t put people down, raise my voice at them, call them names, insult them, roll my eyes at them, argue with them when they tell you to do something, complain about having to do such thing, etc. Those are all things I do not do.

        Reply
        1. NaoNao

          You know…I’ve dated a number of men who listed the ways they didn’t harm me or the drugs they didn’t do or the fights they didn’t get into as some kind of brag list.
          You don’t get brownie points for behaving to a basic level of everyday decency. I’ve certainly been in the place where I felt like I *should* get some sort of reward and believe it or not, I do get where you’re coming from to a degree.
          It burns my preserves big time to see people apparently “getting away with” behavior that if I did it, I’d be smacked on the wrist hard and fast or worse. (Usually in my friend group). It feels frustrating and crazy-making.
          For years I was like “why do I always have to be the bigger person!?!?!”
          Answer: because it benefits me.
          Anger, rigid beliefs, and judgements are acid that only burn you up from the inside.

          Reply
          1. The OG Anonsie

            She’s not saying, “well I don’t do all these randomly assorted kooky things so I’m a good person!” a la “well some men would do worse things to you than I do, therefore I am a good man.”

            Gen X Manager says that her insistence that her coworkers are aggressive means that she herself is probably the really aggressive one. Trillian is saying no, they do ___ aggressive behaviors and I don’t, this is literal and not a perception thing.

            Reply
        2. a Gen X manager

          Trillian / OP,
          In reading your original post there was actually a great deal of putting people down, insults, complaining, etc. If your point is that you don’t verbalize it, trust the number of comments on this thread that have pointed out that people KNOW when you’re critical of them, whether or not you verbalize it.

          A few dozen strangers from all walks of life read what you wrote in the post (and have written today in comments) and there is an overwhelming consensus that your workplace attitude and behavior – as you yourself described it – are judgmental and self-righteous, and thus probably very difficult for others to deal with (and may actually have contributed to a change in the position change / permanent placement). You posted earlier that you won’t be bothered by what a bunch of strangers think, but given the consistent response and the quality of the people who contribute in the comments, I hope it gives you pause and that you’ll give the feedback some serious reflection.

          Reply
            1. a Gen X manager

              Point taken, I just meant that based on the posts and comments it is clear that the AAM community offers a wide range of ages, experiences/challenges, industries, and levels of positions held (currently and historically).

              Reply
        3. Jilll

          Except for in your letter to Allison. And most of your comments here.

          Self-awareness is not your strength, clearly. I’m not inclined to trust your judgement here.

          Reply
        4. Louise

          But your letter was filled with putting others down, calling others names, and insulting others. Even if you never said those things out loud to those people’s faces, I would be surprised if no one could tell that’s how you felt.

          Reply
        5. Courageous cat

          Frankly, the phrase “Um, no.” in and of itself is pretty indicative of the attitude you’re displaying as a whole here. Just because you combat that behavior doesn’t mean you can’t be far off from it yourself.

          Reply
      2. Julia

        I’m not a fan of that saying. I mean, if someone starts to bully me, and I hate that, does that mean I’m also a bully? If I hate Politician XY, does that mean I’m like him? Because I really disagree.

        Reply
        1. a Gen X manager

          I definitely understand your point. I think it is less about what you experience with others and more about what triggers you personally in interacting with others, because those triggers are often a reflection of yourself. In this example it seems like it might be a case of OP responding so harshly (internally only?) toward behaviors she works hard to avoid exhibiting herself – demonstrated by the energy she describes putting into observing, responding to, and judging with intensity. It sounds like OP has defined a standard for behaviors and holds herself to that standard and measures everyone else based on the same standard.

          Reply
    14. ENFP in Texas

      “you’re not going to be surprised by this and may actually be relieved, but…”

      I don’t know that I would consider this opening to be “a completely professional manner”. Why did you feel that needed to be said/written? To me it is “extremely passive-aggressive”, not “completely professional”.

      Reply
      1. Leatherwings

        I realllllly don’t think this is passive aggressive. This is a pretty normal thing to say/think when budget cuts are happening – it’s acknowledgement that there’s a relief that you don’t have to lay this person off or break a promise they may have made about April with a huge amount of guilt.

        Reply
        1. ENFP in Texas

          Fair enough – the feeling I got from the OP’s letter was that since the OP felt that their pride/feelings were hurt and the job situation was personal, the subtext was “I know you don’t like me so I’m leaving and I know you’ll be happy when I’m gone”. That was what I read as passive-aggressive, but may have been misperception on my part.

          Reply
          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Oh, I read it the same way as Leatherwings—as acknowledgement that lost hours means job hunting, not as passive aggression. But you’re right that it could read either way and really just depends on the tone in the moment (which we won’t ever really know).

            Reply
        2. Not So NewReader

          I have a friend who would call that “fishing” as in fishing for compliments. This may or may not be what OP was doing however she would call it out as fishing.
          This was interesting to me because I never heard anyone name that before, let alone identify it as a pattern of speaking. I don’t bother telling my friend I am not fishing, she will figure out later or not.

          Reply
      2. Koko

        OP, this and the comment you made about refusing to allow people to use you for their self-esteem.

        I would encourage you to resist the temptation to speculate on other people’s motives. If you’re really good at it, it can be helpful, but most people are not good at it and you especially seem to jump to negative motives for the people around you. A lot of the resentment and pride-choking you describe comes down to not what happened to you, but the reasons you made up in your head to explain why those things happened.

        Look at the facts of the situation and, if you must, assume a charitable motive before a hostile one. Do this as a matter of principle, not just when you think it’s the case, because your judgment on this seems a bit miscalibrated. Not only will this hopefully save you some personal grief if you stop assuming people are out to get you, but you’ll also avoid alienating people who pick up on the fact that you’ve wrongly vilified them. (Think back to the last time somebody told you how you feel and it wasn’t true. There are few things more enraging, honestly.)

        Reply
        1. Koko

          Also – the way you were insulted by your manager offering to call you if a permanent position opened back up, and accusing him of “blowing smoke” seems to be another case of assuming hostile motive when a more charitable explanation is that he feels badly about having to cut your hours, knows that it’s a hardship for you and you might have to leave, and wants you to know that you’re welcome back if they’re able to hire for the positiona gain.

          Reply
        2. Katherine

          Agreed. It’s like a double whammy- you’re criticizing your coworkers’ behavior AND their motivation and elevating yourself by comparison: “Oh, poor Fergus needs ME to boost his self-esteem. Pathetic.” There seems to be a gap between what you intend and how people respond to you. You should probably figure out what’s going on before you do the same thing in another job. That can be tough, but a good place to start is to stop assuming you know all about a person’s internal motivation.

          Reply
        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          This is wise and really concrete/helpful feedback. Trillian, I hope you can incorporate it into your next gig.

          Reply
      3. Trillian

        I knew he’d be relieved because he seemed concerned about me being financially ok when he first notified me. And after he was walking around the office that day worrying about business, I knew I was going to be one less thing he’d have to worry about. After witnessing that, I am pretty sure he would have had to let me go.

        Reply
      1. a1

        I don’t think it’s that they caught a mistake, it’s how they relayed that info. The difference between an IM/email saying “Hey teapots is spelled wrong at the bottom of page 2” and loudly walking up to someone in person and saying “You made a mistake!”

        Look, neither would bother me personally. I might roll my eyes at the latter after they walked away, but I do see the difference and do see how it could anger someone.

        Reply
        1. Ramona Flowers

          Sure. Totally understand how that might be frustrating. But saying you’re not going to act like a dummy is at best fighting frustration with frustration.

          Recently a colleague emailed me about a small error in my work and copied in a programme manager I haven’t even met. I replied just to her saying I’d prefer not to copy people in until we’d finished discussing it and would she mind discussing errors in private next time.

          You can get these messages across politely and doing so really strengthens them.

          Reply
          1. consultant

            Actually I would see your reply as totally out of place.

            If they copied the programme manager, they probably assumed that it was an important topic and wanted the programme manager to be aware of it. Or they had bad experiences with working with you, so they wanted to cover their *ss by adding the manager. That’s why the fact you asked them not to include the programme manager is out of place. If I escalated something to my manager, which I sometimes do if I feel someone is unprofessional, a reply like yours would be 1) ignored and 2) treated as proof you don’t know the corporate code.

            See, the difference between the letter writer and you is that she seems to feel insecure about what she does, you seem to see it as the polite way.

            Reply
    15. INTP

      I’m not going to say that you’re arrogant or anything else about your character traits – I don’t know you to make that judgment. But what you’re describing is going to come across as hostile, as there is a middle ground between not becoming a doormat and being confrontational every time someone does something that you don’t like. It’s going to cost you a lot of opportunities, at great organizations as well as crappy ones, because it’s just a style of communication that most people don’t want to deal with. In your mind, you’re only saying anything when someone clearly had bad intentions first. However, in theirs, they see you attacking coworkers, and they feel like you might explode on them at any moment if they say the wrong thing while venting about a difficult client or have the wrong look in their eye while giving you feedback. Even kind people with good intentions will start to avoid you.

      That said, it’s your right to continue communicating this way if these moments of justice against bad attitudes or over-the-line jokes are worth the lost opportunities to you. If you want your coworkers to respond well to you and to create good relationships at work, you have to develop more diplomatic ways of being assertive. When someone is gloating over a mistake, just say “Oh, thanks for catching that!” and continue cheerfully – if their goal was to make you feel inferior, you’ll still piss them off. When someone says something about a client that you think was inappropriate, just don’t laugh. That’s a conspicuous communication of disapproval that still doesn’t make everyone in the room feel awkward.

      Reply
      1. Salamander

        This is a good thing to think about. I get that you’re angry, OP…but it is not your job to police the rest of the organization. Especially not at a new job, regardless of your prior experience. When you manage other people, then you can focus on correcting gossip and culture and the other issues you mentioned. But you just don’t have standing to do this, right out of the gate.

        And here’s the thing…if you’re policing other people, they’ll police you right back. See what happened with the typo? If you come into a situation with an “me versus the world” feeling, the world will reinforce that. Other people can feel your contempt, even if you say nothing. And any mistake you make will be gleefully jumped on. You wind up feeding a feedback loop that reinforces your world view that people suck. It’s a depressing place to be.

        So what I’m encouraging you to do, OP, is to drop your end of the rope. People aren’t always going to behave the way you want them to, and unless you’re the boss ‘o them, it’s not gonna happen. Focus on your own work, be pleasant.

        And here’s the thing about “honesty” — you don’t have to express every thought that comes into your head. Other people do not want to hear every thought that comes into everyone else’s heads, just like you don’t want to hear everyone else’s opinions. If someone ASKS you for your opinion, you can respond with diplomatic honesty.

        I think it would benefit you to unpack this before it hurts you professionally. We’ve all had jobs with sucktastic situations. You can let that sucktastic job be the boss o’ you for the rest of your professional life, or you can let it stop controlling you. Your choice.

        Reply
        1. Ramona Flowers

          “If you come into a situation with an “me versus the world” feeling, the world will reinforce that”

          Yep. I really hope you can take this on board OP. I’m sorry the world hasn’t been kind to you and I can imagine that reading the comments might feel like everyone is against you. But I for one have been there and it is worth knowing that this doesn’t really work.

          Reply
    16. Indoor Cat

      Hi Trillian,

      I just want to voice a counter-point to a lot of the negative feedback you’re getting about tone of voice here in the comments. I feel like a lot of people are piling on, and honestly, I disagree!

      First, I’m guessing you come across more brusque in your writing than you do in real life, mainly because almost everyone I’ve ever met does that unless they’ve got some kind of writing job. That’s what happens when we can’t hear your tone of voice or see your body language. So, I’ve totally witnessed a situation where a co-worker corrects someone over a minor error, and as a third party I could totally tell from that co-worker’s tone of voice and body language that they looked down on the person they were correcting, or even disdained them. Wanting to push-back against that by keeping things in a professional focus is totally fine. “Why are you being so loud?” could be said in a judgemental tone of voice, or simply a calm one, with body language that suggests, “hey, no need to be aggressive; we’re all polite here, typo’s aren’t a big deal to get super angry about.”

      Second, I think when people read that you don’t want to trash-talk or gossip and thus are being left out (ostracized), other commenters made some assumptions, like you clearly must not be saying polite greetings or pleasantly inquiring about people’s weekends. But, I think those assumptions are pretty unfair tbh. There are definitely workplaces where you can be totally polite and make small talk, but people are just nosy or gossipy, and their affront genuinely stems from the fact that they feel entitled to knowledge of your private life or validation of their rudeness to others.

      I personally have been in workplaces that were friendly, and places where people are nosy, and it’s friggin’ night and day! Not the same at all. I’ll totally chat about new season of Stranger Things, or bemoan the total slaughter of the Mavericks last night (and whyyyy are they still starting with Barea, wtffff???), but I’ll dodge questions about my family or dating life. In a friendly workplace, people are fine taking the hint and I’m still well liked. But in a nosy workplace, non-committal answers about my personal life suddenly leads to an interrogation, which means I have to shut things down more bluntly. Then, all of a sudden, I’m “unfriendly.”

      So, anyway, I just wanted to chime in and say I’m sympathetic. I’m glad you stayed professional in your resignation, and good luck in the new job!

      Reply
      1. Hrovitnir

        +1

        I can certainly understand why many commenters are reading the post this way – “I’m just honest” very often does translate to “I am excessively abrupt or rude and think that’s a strength.” However, I feel like there’s a certain amount of not taking the OP on good faith going on in responses to updates.

        It’s worth thinking about exactly how rigid you come across. But absolutely there are people who are always just this side of plausible deniability while they condescend to everyone around them, and I can understand wanting to try pushing back rather than passive aggression.

        Good luck with your new job, OP!

        Reply
        1. The OG Anonsie

          Oh yeah, I know entirely where the opposite read is coming from– I mentioned this in an above comment, but the letter alone I could easily read as someone upset at being in a dysfunctional situation or someone who thinks they are quite superior upset that they are not being treated as such. The more I go through Trillian’s comments, though, the more I lean towards the former reading.

          Reply
          1. Relly

            The fun thing about the complexity of human behavior is that it’s entirely possible that it’s not an “or” situation at all — it could be that her co-workers are legitimately mind-blowingly awful, but that she acted in ways that came off as abrasive to them. Which loops back around to “majorly not a good fit, so good job dodging that bullet” territory.

            Reply
    17. Observer

      And you really can’t see that not allowing yourself to be walked over does not necessarily require being “that person”, regularly calling people out, etc?

      Reply
    18. Another person

      Congrats on the new job and for deciding to go the professional route in your resignation.

      As a veteran of far too many dysfunctional work places, I have seen the following outcomes from resignations handled less than professionally by ex-colleagues:
      1. Management really didn’t understand what prompted the anger. Or,
      2. Management was hoping to get an unprofessional reaction to point to how unreasonable the employee was.

      I’ve never seen it end with the ex-employee being remembered in a positive way or management changing anything as an outcome of it.

      Reply
    19. Jam Today

      It is arrogant and condescending (and just plain rude and obnoxious) and you seem to be reaping what you have sown. People don’t want you around. If you have a problem with that, adjust your behavior in the office. If you’re OK with people not liking working with you, then don’t complain when they run into “budget issues”.

      Reply
    20. Fleeb

      You made the comment above that it’s only the women you don’t get along with, and how much the men in the office appreciate you doing your work without complaining, implying that the other women complain (otherwise, that’s a bizzarely irrelevant statement to make). I think you have some internalized sexism that needs to be dealt with. It may be holding you back, which is a natural and fair consequence of this type of attitude.

      Reply
      1. Julia

        At the very least, I was wondering how likely it was that ALL the women in the office were horrible. Sure, it’s not impossible, but even in my experience as someone who was bullied quite a bit throughout her life, it’s either not just all the women, but all women AND men, or some or even most of the women, but not all.

        So all the women being awful to you, but the men being decent? I have a hard time buying it.

        Reply
        1. consultant

          There’s actually quite a lot of research on how women can make other women’s life in the office difficult. The Atlantic recently published a very good article on that (just google Why Do Women Bully Each Other at Work?).

          I also experienced much more problems with women than men in the corporate settings so far (it’s different when hiring, but we are talking about work here). After starting my job I quickly took over much more responsibilities than I should have according to my grade, because my bosses found me good. Many women hated the fact and would undermine me, take offence at my imaginary faults, etc. It’s no sexism, it’s an observation. And yes, I would like it to be different, even more so because we work in an area dominated by men and think we should support one another.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            Oh, I’m not doubting that women can be completely horrible to other women, I’ve experienced that myself several times, unfortunately. But even in those situations, most times there were other women who were terrific, so the ALL women thing just really struck me as … generalizing.

            But since Trillian (Hitchhiker’s Trillian?) said below there were only four women in the office, that makes it much more plausible, if still unfortunate.

            Reply
        2. Trillian

          All, as in all four of them. Talking about a small sample size here. If we take the other temp out of the picture, since she is most likely just following the lead of her teammates, we are really talking about three people. It’s not hard to imagine that, previous to my and the other temp’s arrivals, that these 3 women were close.

          If I worked in a huge office with like 10 women or more, I could see how “all” would be hard to believe. But this is a very small group.

          Reply
    21. Katherine

      So, when you witness arrogance and condescension in other people, you “combat” it, but when other people suggest that you exhibit those same traits, you just shrug and say “so be it”?

      Reply
    22. The OG Anonsie

      So I’ve already sprinkled this round the comments section, but I want to say I’ve been in some super toxic, dysfunctional workplaces and I am really sympathetic to where you’re coming from with all this. It’s really difficult to react to or describe a really loopy work situation without looking like a highly unreliable narrator. I have two thoughts that I think will really help you going forward, though, since this job is going to be a thing of the past anyway.

      1) You realize now that firm boundaries and a strong voice would have protected you in a previous unhappy work environment. Equally important to realize is when to deploy that, so they are known boundaries rather than poured concrete border walls looming over your place at the company. No matter what problems your colleagues may have, you need to pick and choose when you bring them up and when you assert yourself. Even when you’re right, doing it at every opportunity makes you sound more tone-deaf and reactionary than assertive. And if you’re somewhere this is truly happening constantly, that brings me to point 2…

      2) It sounds like this place doesn’t have their crap together and you didn’t fit in well there. Perhaps consider it a bullet dodged that you get to move on so soon. What if you had dedicated some good formative career years to this place, only to know the whole time that few people you worked with closely would speak of you fondly for references or networking in the future? What if you did a great job and you had glowing reviews from your manager, only to discover later when you try to move on that you’re being hamstrung by a vague reputation for being difficult due to your regular butting heads with this coworker? Back to point 1, it often doesn’t matter how right you are, especially because observers won’t have every little detail. There’s a lot more at play for you in determining your professional life than responding in the moment.

      Reply
    23. Artemesia

      Do you want to be ‘right’ or do you want to ‘win’? You might think about that. There is a ground between doormat and obnoxious and there are effective ways to tend boundaries that don’t alienate people. Alison makes a living providing excellent examples of how to confront situations like those that bothered you in ways that get results rather than piss people off. You have a great new job; don’t go in with a chip on your shoulder.

      Reply
      1. a Gen X manager

        YES! I was just thinking about this exact thing – but just the need to be right, not the winning part.

        Trillian, perhaps you’re a “right fighter”? Does that ring a bell? Might be worth googling it and reflection on the need to be right (to decide if it does in fact fit with your work / life approach/style and make decisions and/or changes accordingly – again for YOUR own benefit).

        Reply
    24. Sara without an H

      Hello, OP. First, congratulations on the new position. You handled your resignation perfectly, and it sounds as though you’re preserving a relationship with your former boss that could be valuable to you in the future, if you stay in this industry.

      You mentioned that you’d been in an abusive work environment before this job. Is it possible that you’re over-compensating? One of my earliest jobs was in a truly awful, toxic waste dump of an organization and, unfortunately, I developed some self-protective habits that worked against me later. Even now (and I left that job decades ago), I still have to remind myself occasionally, “That was then. This is now. These people are not those people.”

      Another commenter has mentioned that you took this job pretty fast, and maybe didn’t take time to really do due diligence. (I’m paraphrasing here.) It sounds like your new job also came together pretty fast. I can understand that you needed to get something full-time quickly for financial reasons, but you might want to slow down a little in your new organization until you get to know them and their culture. You said that you’re all about work, but part of work is collaborating productively with others in the organization.

      You sound as though you may have trouble picking up on social cues — I say this, because I have some issues with that myself. Try looking around for a mentor in your new organization, not necessarily somebody senior to you, but someone who’s been there long enough to help you figure out your new organization’s culture, why they do things the way they do, and some history.

      And lastly, don’t be quick to attribute bad motives to people. A few people are genuinely malicious, but I’m convinced they’re rare. Most people are just bumbling through life, trying to do their best.

      Reply
  14. Leatherwings

    OP, congrats on the job offer! I’d really recommend focusing on the accomplishments of:

    A) Doing a really great job in the job at the current place, even if they couldn’t hire you – it’s awesome that you were undoubtedly able to leave a good impression of how hard you work. Keep it that way! If you want to return in six years or whatever, this is a good reputation to have.

    B) Finding a new job so quickly. It’s easy to be bitter (I know, I’ve been there before), but if you really focus on moving forward and kicking ass at your new job you’re going to feel better overall than if you continue to dwell on perceived or actual grievances at your last job.

    These are good things!

    Reply
  15. CaliCali

    A couple of times in the letter, OP, you mention swallowing your pride. Of course, we all have egos we want to protect, but these statements, coupled with your somewhat superior tone, make me think your pride went before your fall. It may be worth a bit of examination to see how your attitudes contributed to not staying on in the role.

    Reply
  16. AK

    I’ve found that when someone tries to “teach someone a lesson” or something like that, the lesson learned is rarely the one that was hoped for. People trying to make a point often unwittingly make the point that they are petty or unprofessional. Of course that’s not always the case, but I’ve found it helpful to remind myself of this whenever I start thinking “Oh I’ll show them!” or something similar. Basically, assholes are not likely to accept the fact that they’re assholes when it’s pointed out (they think you’re the asshole instead), people who are not actually the assholes you think they are will be bewildered, and you are likely to look really immature.

    Reply
    1. Trout 'Waver

      Totally agree. Nobody thinks that they’re the asshole. The biggest assholes in the world think they’re 100% justified in acting the way they do.

      One thing that can help sometimes is to pretend you’re a translator and they’re speaking a foreign language. Convert their Assholese into normal person communication and respond the translated version.

      Reply
    2. Queen of Cans & Jars

      “Basically, assholes are not likely to accept the fact that they’re assholes when it’s pointed out (they think you’re the asshole instead), people who are not actually the assholes you think they are will be bewildered, and you are likely to look really immature.”

      +1 million on this one. I’m going to save this for the next time my husband gets irate about someone driving like a jerk.

      Reply
    3. CMart

      Yep. I learned this the hard way as a server/bartender. People don’t want to hear that they’re wrong, or be “taught a lesson”. They just want to have a pleasant time and have [whatever] solved as expediently as possible.

      So, “well, no, you didn’t actually ask for no onions, you can see right here where I didn’t write it down and I DID write down everything else correctly, so that’s why there are onions on your burger, but I can go back and fix that for you if you’d like” is actually needlessly combative. All that needs to be said is “I’ll go fix that for you!”

      Things are a little different when happening peer-to-peer, but not by much. “Okay, I’ll fix that!” is all you need. No one thinks the person yelling at you about writing “Teaptos” on the Teapots memo that isn’t deliverable for a week is in the right.

      Reply
  17. Observer

    OP, what exactly do you expect to accomplish by being unprofessional when you leave? I won’t even get into joking about destroying your work – don’t even let a hint of that cross your lips in your last days there, because that WILL affect your reputation and not just in this organization. But even the other stuff you mention is juvenile and does not make you look like a professional whose judgement should be respected.

    Telling people off when it’s not your job does nothing to enhance your effectiveness or reputation. And sometimes it actually gets in the way of actually getting your job done. That’s important to keep in mind in your new job. Also, you may want to move on from there down the line, and you don’t know who you will encounter and who will speak to your old boss and co-workers. Do you REALLY want them to say “OP – oh yeah, they have great technical skills but impossible to work with!” A LOT of good employers would be very leery of that.

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      I guess my point was that I haven’t even given a hint of how much going to part time really upset me. Even through my resignation discussion, I didn’t let on. What I really deep down felt like doing was saying “nope! you’re not doing this to me!” even though that would have been immature and self-damaging. I swallowed my pride in that I kept at it and fixed the problem myself while keeping it TO myself.

      Reply
      1. Susanne

        It’s interesting to me how you have a lot of emotion in how you were treated and how badly that makes you feel, but you haven’t stopped to think about how you treat others and how badly it might make them feel. Lots of good, smart coworkers are hurt if someone doesn’t engage in what I’ll call “gentle socializing” – not hours at the water cooler, but the occasional hi-how-are-you-how-was-your-weekend small talk. Lots of good, smart coworkers bristle at harsh corrections, even if the corrections are warranted. It’s interesting that when it’s your feelings, it’s important, but if it’s others’ feelings, it’s not.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Right now my friend is dealing with two cohorts who do not engage in small talk, no exchange of pleasantries, nothing. There is only one other person in her office. It’s very hard. And when problems come up things get much harder fast.

          OP, when you keep it all business people will respond in kind. If that is okay with you then there is no problem. If that is not okay with you then understand that they are banking off of how you present to them.

          Reply
        2. Hrovitnir

          See, this is an incredibly harsh reading – one of the possibilities from the letter but not absolutely the only one. I think it’s pretty uncalled for without more evidence that “not gossiping” = “giving everyone the cold shoulder.”

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            It’s an assumption that’s based on the disdain that comes through when describing the co-workers. No way OP is chatting about weekend/holiday plans and kids/dogs, based on the way OP describes them. The contempt for their very persons comes through loud and clear.

            Reply
      2. Queen of Cans & Jars

        I’m really glad you were able to keep your cool because I don’t think that letting them know how angry you were about them cutting your hours would accomplish anything except affect how they viewed you as an employee. Generally the employee’s opinion in situations like this is kinda irrelevant.

        Congrats on the new job! I’m also being subjected to a cut in hours, but haven’t had the good fortune to find a new position yet.

        Reply
      3. MuseumChick

        I’m not sure how to state this in away that’s not going to come off sarcastic in text. I swear its not meant that way! I’m honest curious.

        After all you said about how much you don’t put up with various behaviors of co-works, why do you think you are entitled to expressed how you feel personally wronged to your supervisor? You seems to take pride is shutting people down when they do anything your deem unprofessional, but then want to express how personally hurt your are. That doesn’t really make sense to me.

        Reply
        1. Trillian

          If you sit by and watch someone treat other people poorly without saying anything, you are just as guilty as they are. I’ll give you an example of how I would intervene.

          Coworker: “Man, those boys are being a bunch of crybabies. I am NOT arranging any flights, they just need to drive home. I am not a travel agent.” (even though she was TOLD to do this by a superior.

          Other people: *laughter* “yeah, what a bunch of babies”

          Me: “They are not being crybabies. They have been away from their families for 6 weeks. Cut them some slack.”

          THOSE are the types of interactions I have.

          Reply
          1. Leatherwings

            Yeah, this is a much more reasonable interaction than what’s been suggested – both on your side and on the coworkers’ side. I think you can walk away knowing that, BUT it still can’t hurt you to really analyze when and whether you have standing to make statements like that, and how often – particularly when adjusting to a new workplace

            As a few people said above, it sounds like this was a big culture mis-match which isn’t necessarily indicative of either side being Wrong.

            Reply
              1. Not So NewReader

                But if you make every hill a hill to die on there is a price to be paid for that. You may be right each and every time, but you can end up jobless. Sometimes we have to pick.

                Additionally sometimes we can create change in gentler ways. Not only do the gentler ways allow us to remain employed, these gentler ways earn the respect of our cohorts.

                It sounds like this place was an argument for you every day. When this happens it is important to remember that we were not hired to change the culture. Many times the best we can do is role model proper behavior and hope that other people think about what they are doing.

                Reply
          2. the gold digger

            That is the kind of interaction you have with people

            1. who report to you
            or
            2. whom you know very well and whom you like and who like you in return

            But after only three months? You aren’t the co-worker’s boss and you are not the one in charge of getting it done. Keep your mouth shut and stay out of it.

            Reply
            1. serenity

              It is a combative comment to make to new-ish colleagues. Not to keep piling on, OP, but I’m still of the mindset that your interactions with coworkers feel more abrasive than they need to be.

              Maybe it was just a culture mismatch, and you’ll be a better fit in your new job. But chastising colleagues (or being prickly when you’re presented with an error you made) is not the way to build relationships at work.

              Reply
          3. olives

            Hey Trillian – feel free to ignore if it’s off-base. I get the sense, though, that you’ve been in environments that are kind of terrible. Your constant pain and anger are pretty familiar to me as what happens when you’re around people you simply have trouble respecting, because they’re frequently casually cruel to others.

            And the conversation you describe? Definitely, to me, counts as casual cruelty. I’m glad you’re trying to speak up – though it seems to be taking a toll on you to have to fight so hard every day.

            Environments like that can break you down, and make you think that the whole world is like this – and get you to where you’re so defensive that you wind up shooting daggers at even the kind people, and assuming that there are crappy people around every corner.

            There are some good posts on AAM about how to identify the red flags for jobs. I hope as you move forward and find new places to be, you keep an eye out for those – I think there might be an environment out there where you don’t feel constantly in danger the way you describe this one to be.

            Reply
            1. namenamename

              Seconding this. You sound to me like you’ve been in tough jobs and your equilibrium is a bit off. I hope you find a better balance in your new role.

              Reply
            2. Tuxedo Cat

              I agree with this. I’ve seen and stood up to casual cruelty as have friends, and we all paid the price. At the same time, we’re glad we stood up to the person doing this.

              We’re still healing from this. It feels dramatic saying that, but that’s what it feels like.

              Reply
          4. BPT

            And your response to that is fine. If it were me I may have softened the delivery a little, (“Yeah I get having to act as a travel agent can be annoying but they’ve been away for 6 weeks, so I can see them wanting to get home in a hurry.”)

            But I think it’s the harsh responses to everything in conjunction with you saying you don’t feel “the need to socialize.” Maybe you were overstating it there, but if I had a coworker who didn’t like talking to me and made it a point not to socialize, except when adversarially correcting me or calling me out whenever I vented/corrected their typo/said something they didn’t agree with, I probably wouldn’t have warm feelings toward that coworker. In my experience, you have more luck commenting on other’s bad behavior when they like and/or respect you. You can’t make everyone like you of course, but you also don’t need to only speak to your coworkers to call them out for something.

            And if someone got huffy with me for correcting a typo, I’d probably be wary about working with them too.

            Reply
            1. Close Bracket

              What about if someone got huffy at you for using a typo as an excuse to talk down to you or make you look incompetent in front of others? Do you have a problem with being called out on that? Why? Why can’t you just tell somebody in a polite, conversational tone, “oh you made a typo on page 25 right here”? If you are going to loudly correct somebody on something that minor so that other people hear it, you have to expect that that person is going to get huffy at you.

              Reply
              1. Tuxedo Cat

                I get the feeling, because I had two coworkers who were gleeful about any minor mistake (like a typo) and would gloat like I had damn near caused catastrophe (I didn’t).

                Getting huffy doesn’t pay in my experience. It’s unfortunate, but I found that being mindful of the office politics and all the hierarchies is quite relevant.

                Reply
          5. JulieBulie

            OK, these people do sound like jerks. But it also sounds as though they might enjoy provoking you, knowing that you will overreact.

            Reply
            1. Not So NewReader

              With some folks being able to laugh at myself has defused the situation and I had no further recurrences. Works sometimes, but not all the time.

              Reply
              1. JulieBulie

                I think that’s a crucial survival skill, even if it doesn’t solve every problem. If I can laugh at myself over something, it means that I can let go of it and it won’t corrode my insides.

                Reply
          6. INTP

            The thing is, people vent at work. And just like your coworkers don’t know how your history of being bullied at work makes you come across as arrogant or hostile, you don’t know whether Coworker has a history of having admin work outside her job description dumped on her or something else that influenced how she reacted to this situation. When you react so confrontationally to people venting in a way that sounds excessive to you, whether it’s objectively excessive or not, you make people feel like they can’t vent around you without being reprimanded. As a result other people will also feel uncomfortable venting around you because they’ve seen you confront their coworker, and they will not want you around for their chats because they don’t feel they can speak freely.

            I’m not making an argument for who is morally in the right or the wrong here, I’m just describing what is most likely going to happen in any work environment, especially when you’re in a customer-serving role (because customer service is stressful and people relieve stress by venting about their annoying customers). I’m not saying you have to laugh along with things that make you uncomfortable and not express your boundaries at all, but there are less confrontational ways to do it that will not scare off everyone from interacting with you. For example, if you don’t think the story is funny, just don’t laugh.

            Reply
          7. TootsNYC

            But you can make the same point using a technique that paints you as an ALLY to the complainers. And it’s more effective.

            You: “Oh, I don’t know–I can see why they’d want to fly instead of drive, and why our boss would ask you to arrange it. They’ve been away from their families for 6 weeks–that’s got to be a little hard. I can’t imagine doing it. Good luck with the flights–I know that’s annoying.”

            Same effect, but maybe more effective. Reach for sympathy, for humanity.

            It’s just more effective.

            I worked with someone once who was smarmy and annoying, but I realized that if I got on her bad side, it was going to be a horrible place to work. She was the office manager, and really gossipy, and wielded some behind-the-scenes power. She affected how people saw you.

            I reacted pretty prickly at first, and then realized the power she had. I sucked up to her bigtime. Stopped in to say hello, etc. I did it VERY cynically, and my knowledge that I was being intentionally manipulative made it possible for me to do so.

            It was very effective. She became a big ally for me. And a time came later when I needed that from her, and I was glad to have it.

            Reply
          8. Fleeb

            “I do try to make small talk, but I get iced out by the women. The men (which outnumber us by 3 times), have no problem with me. I’m not trying to make it a gender thing, but for some reason the women are the only ones who dislike me by association even though I have had nothing but pleasant things to say to them. The men like my work. They like that I do it without complaining.”

            You’ve taken one coworker’s rant and turned it into a weirdly sexist moral judgment about all the women in your office. You are that person.

            Reply
            1. Close Bracket

              Have you considered taking trillions words at face value? Like, maybe most of the people whohappen to be women actually don’t like her? And maybe most of the people who happen to be men really don’t have a problem with her?

              Reply
              1. Quiet lurker

                Yes, I’m an autistic woman and for the most part my experience re gender dynamics has been similar to the OP’s. They knew I wasn’t ‘like the other girls’, and they made sure I knew how different I was as well.

                I am aware my experiences aren’t universal and I don’t generalize about all women from them, but they still happened to me and I’m not going to pretend they didn’t because some people find that narrative inconvenient.

                So I’m prepared to take the OP at their word here.

                (I am not implying the OP is autistic, it was just a factor in my own experience.)

                Reply
          9. Mary

            This really doesn’t strike me as very bad? Like, it just sounds like someone having a bit of a moan before getting on with the job, because she thinks she’s with coworkers where there’s trust on both sides that you can moan a bit but you still do your job and you are pleasant and nice to people’s faces. I’ve been trying n jobs where I travelled a lot and I really wouldn’t care someone back in the office saying that to their immediate colleagues as long as they did actually book my tickets!

            I mean, if she’s *actually* not going to do the task she’s been assigned to do, that’s absolutely something her manager should address. But I can’t see why expressing a bit of frustration with absent colleagues is so terrible that you need to correct it then and there. That could mess across as pretty alienating to me.

            Reply
            1. Blossom

              Agree. So much depends on tone, of course. If it was said in a really spiteful way, that’s different – and to be honest, even a simple “Lucinda’s asked me to book flights for Bob and Wakeen” could come across as spiteful if infused with the necessary inflection, body language and so on. I don’t think what the coworker said was awful, if meant light-heartedly.

              Reply
            2. LBK

              100% agree. I think the OP is being a bit too literal and also reading pretty generic blowing-off-steam comments as actual insults. It sounds to me like you’re interpreting this as gossip or talking about someone behind their back but I don’t think it’s that serious, sounds like some sarcasm to me.

              Reply
          10. Specialk9

            It’s been said before – they may be out of line in what they said, but you are out of line for correcting them (and worse, doing it publicly). You are not their manager. You are not their manager! You are not their manager. In fact you’re the new guy, who’s not their manager, who’s publicly rebuking them. Do you really not get why they would hate you with a fiery passion, even if they weren’t Mean Girls? (Because they are, totally, but you’re also super in the wrong too.)

            Reply
            1. Susanne

              It’s interesting that you (understandably) disliked being corrected publicly over a typo, but you seem to not understand that maybe your coworker disliked being chastised publicly over a vent about arranging flights.

              Whether your coworker was justified or not in saying what she said isn’t the point, so really try to put that aside and focus on the bigger point – people don’t like being shamed publicly, whether it’s an unimportant internal typo or making a crucial mistake on the teapot account that puts the account in jeopardy.

              Is that something you can keep in mind on your next job when you see behavior you don’t like?

              (And sigh, for the uber-literal, yes, there are times when it’s fine to shame people publicly – if a coworker grabs my breast, of course I’m going to react in the moment and if other people overhear, so much the better. I’m talking about normal work situations.)

              Reply
          11. Observer

            As a new worker, with no management authority and no background or context for the specific interaction, that’s rather out of line. I see where you are coming from, but still out of line.

            If you really needed to say something, “Wow. I don’t know these guys, but it seems to me that 6 weeks away from the family would be rough for anyone.” is far more appropriate. It acknowledges what you do NOT know, but still makes the point that the language seems harsher than necessary.

            As for her doing or not doing what a supervisor (hers?) told her to – that is not your concern, really, unless you are the one who is going to have to pick up the slack.

            Reply
          12. Zahra

            Yikes, I get that you’d want to correct that kind of tone!

            However, as in all things, there’s a time and place.

            As a temp or a new person in the office, IF the conversation did not involve me personally, I’d let them say whatever and then talk to my manager about how it was uncomfortable to hear your colleagues talk like they had no compassion. It’s butting in on conversations, which I do way too often and makes me look like a busybody.

            At any point in your career, if you’re involved in the conversation, you can absolutely say that you get venting but that you find it makes you feel bad about the job when you focus too much on the negative. Or “Wow, that’s harsh. Maybe they want to get home because they have a job to get back to/they want to see their family/their house is in an area that had disastrous weather and they want to make sure everything is okay/any other reason including they just want to sleep in their own bed after 6 weeks away.”

            You speak a bit lower about being the change you want to see. You should absolutely do that. But you can’t always be blunt about it. Because being blunt may make people defensive, which is not the goal here. If you’ve heard about “white fragility”, that’s the kind of thing that’s tiring to deal with. But work IS a place where you HAVE to deal with it because that’s the way to have good relationships with colleagues. And because you can’t force people to let go of their white fragility until they’ve done some kind of work on their own racism first. (Change “white fragility” by any other oppression/bad behavior here.)

            Reply
          13. Czhorat

            I’m late here, but this is EXACTLY the kind of thing in which you’re right, but can do better.

            By replying “they are not….” you’re flatly contradicting your coworker. They are going to get their backs up and respond defensively.

            why not this:
            Coworker: “Man, those boys are being a bunch of crybabies. I am NOT arranging any flights, they just need to drive home. I am not a travel agent.” (even though she was TOLD to do this by a superior.

            Other people: *laughter* “yeah, what a bunch of babies”

            Me: I don’t know. I can see their point; if I were away from my family that long I’d want to fly home rather than take the extra time to drive.

            —————————————————–
            See how that’s different? You’re not agreeing, but also not throwing down a gauntlet. It also doesn’t put you in the position of a superior, which you aren’t.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Agreed – much better approach here. I’ve done this with coworkers who were constant whiners and it really undercuts their negativity without making it a confrontation.

              Not everything needs a blunt call out. If they’re being racist, sure. If they’re just whining about work, you’re gonna come off as very aggressive and bordering on mean if you’re that direct.

              Reply
      4. Rainy

        I think that it’s pretty important to remember that the decisions were made for business reasons–the impact of those decisions does happen *to* you, but the decisions were likely not made *at* you, if you get the distinction there.

        And even if decisions were made *at* you, the worst thing you can do is react as though they were, because basically if you are already in the crosshairs, anything you do or say that’s rude or unprofessional is going to be taken as proof that you “deserve” whatever happens.

        Reply
      5. BPT

        But I mean…finding a new job shows exactly how going part time affected you. You made it clear that you wanted to be a permanent employee at Company A, when they cut your hours you found a job at Company B, and gave your notice. There’s no need to go into more detail than that, finding a new job is the exact consequence for them cutting your hours. They get it.

        Obviously you handled your actual resignation well, and I think it will keep a lot of doors open to you in the future. But there aren’t many companies that don’t realize how cutting people’s hours will affect them – either they already know and feel bad about it but can’t change it, or they already know and don’t care. In neither of those situations will bringing it up tell them anything they don’t already know. Finding a new job is the clearest message you can send.

        Reply
      6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I’m very glad you were able to keep your cool—that can be tough to do under normal circumstances, and certainly tough when there’s heightened emotions because a change in work style puts pressure on other parts of life (e.g., financial stress).

        I’m a little worried, though, because it sounds like you think you should get credit for not giving a hint of how much part time upset you? It’s good that you realize it would have been immature and self-damaging. Are you feeling accomplishment because there were times in the past where you wouldn’t have been able to keep it together?

        I’m not asking this to pick on you—I just think it could be helpful to take an emotional step back, when/if you’re able, to consider why this experience was so triggering for you and why it put so much strain on your ability to stay even-keeled. (To be clear, triggering and strain are normal in a situation like this, but the degree to which you were triggered/strained, OP, seems “above average” for you.)

        Reply
  18. Kalkin

    Seconding what Rusty and Dee said above. Alison does a great job of sticking to the basic facts, but I suspect more than a few commenters will agree there’s something unappealing about your tone and presentation here (probably before I even finish typing this). I absolutely believe you’re a good worker with valuable skills, but I’m also sensing that you could use some help with personal interactions in the workplace. You come off as more than a touch self-superior in your letter, and you seem to take for granted that others will share your assessment of yourself, like it’s just objective fact. That makes you sound a little entitled, too.

    Now, it sounds you like have a decent handle on this — you understand intellectually that your employer hasn’t done anything they weren’t allowed to, and you are aware that the best course of action is to control your emotions and be professional about this, despite your anger, which is somewhat justified. But based on how you describe your personal style at work, I wouldn’t be surprised if your co-workers thought you had an attitude. You seem to have a lot of self-regard, and to instinctively place yourself at the center of every scenario. You also seem really invested in judging others’ behavior, describing their “brown-nosing,” “trash-talking,” and “being fake” — which, again, is about placing yourself at the center; you’re presuming that you possess the moral gravity to identify their faults. It’s a real turnoff.

    I think you need to think long and hard about all of this, or else it’s going to dog you throughout your career, no matter where you go. Exceptionally competent people need to appreciate that technical skill and righteous behavior aren’t the end-all, be-all — personal relationships matter a ton. That’s a whole different skill set, and it takes a lot of work to hone, but it’s absolutely worth it, for reasons far beyond professional advancement.

    Reply
    1. Kalkin

      Yeah, the “Congrats but I’m not going to let you act like I’m a dummy” line from your comment above sorta seals it. That kind of defensiveness tends to manifest itself in other unattractive ways. If your colleagues are routinely genuinely trying to publicly embarrass you (which I find hard to believe), that would be something to address politely or discuss with management if it persists. Escalating publicly makes your defensiveness apparent and is not a winning strategy.

      Reply
      1. Trillian

        Oh my goodness. I’ve read the same type of comments over and over. I did not act unprofessional. I do not raise my voice. I do not state things PUBLICLY. She is the one who does this to ME. I am a quiet person. Everything I’ve ever said to her has been quiet and tactful. My co-worker is the one who is rude and unprofessional. I just don’t tolerate it! I don’t like that so many people jumped to this conclusion about me based off of this letter. I’m extremely professional is my demeanor and delivery. From now on, I’ll just let people talk however they want. I received some advice not long ago that we should be the change we want to see. That the best way to combat workplace bullying and hostlity is to say something. That complacency is just as wrong. But most of these comments are telling me these were all lies. Even though I was brought on to share equally in the resposibilities and for my knowledge of the industry, under the impression that I would be a permanent member of this team, you all have gotten the message across that I was too new to open my mouth. I get it now. Maybe I should have waited a year or so. Or is that still too new?

        Reply
        1. Jeanne

          We are supposed to take OP at her word. Except when we don’t and jump all over her. I am sorry for the reactions here today. Take the advice you find valuable. Ignore the mean.

          Reply
          1. Green

            You can take OP “at their word” (assume the facts) without agreeing with their self-characterization of their behaviors as professional and tactful.

            Reply
            1. Laura

              “My co-worker is the one who is rude and unprofessional.”

              The thing is, though, that very few people apart from you are seeing this as a good/evil setup.

              Reply
        2. Green

          Your perception of who you are and who you reveal yourself to be are inconsistent, at times even within the same sentence.

          People here have let you know that you are not as tactful as you think you are. That you are not extremely professional in your demeanor and delivery. The retorts you have told us about are extremely rude and … not tactful. The retorts assume negative intent of other individuals. And you’re now sarcastic and angry at the commenters, while saying “you get it.” Sit. Digest. Come and read these another day. Because right now you are not getting it.

          Reply
            1. Green

              Telling a colleague at a new workplace not to treat you like a dummy for telling you about a typo; correcting new colleagues’ behavior and comments (almost all of the responses suggested more tactful ways of dealing with the things you disliked, which, in your better moments you acknowledged would have been a better response); responding sarcastically to well-meaning people trying to offer you advice on an advice blog.

              I actually read all of your comments in the last hour or so. I know we’re not here to give you personality reviews, but you were super likable in the ones where you were more vulnerable. That may be a side to show more often, because people connect with it. I feel like you were mad, then you sort of came along with the comments and figured there may be things you could do differently, and now you’re annoyed again. Which is completely normal for hearing feedback about yourself that you don’t like.

              You have a wonderful gift though — feedback! From lots of professional people! Without your name being associated with it! I still recommend sitting with it some, especially the comments about you potentially being scarred from a past toxic workplace that make you, potentially, a toxic coworker now because you’re done with assuming positive intent and ready to do battle.

              Reply
              1. Trillian

                Well thank you. It’s been crazy reading all of the feedback and if I had off today, I would have replied to more. (I had the site open at work and resized to the size of my inbox and was replying here and there when I could. I felt super guilty but maybe an argument could be made that it was work related? Haha.) Anyway, I just read all of your comments and can see how sharing my opinion of my coworker’s foibles (for lack of a better word) with her was probably a littttttle too ballsy of me. I definitely would have balked if it were done to me. You’re right, I wasn’t her manager. I have no regrets in defending our coworkers when she’d one-on-one attempt gossip with me though, because that I still believe you have to shut that crap down. But the rest of it, should have just let it be with her. Maybe her skill outweighed her unprofessionalism in their eyes, who knows? That call wasn’t mine.

                Reply
                1. Leenie

                  I’m so happy to read this. The commentariat of AAM definitely isn’t rooting for office bullies to win. They (for the most part) just want you to be happy and effective in your career. After being pretty strident in my 20’s, which had mixed results – sometimes spurring positive change, sometimes alienating people – I became kind of exhausted feeling like I was fighting so much of the time. I spent much of my early 30’s silently reminding myself that I was not the hall monitor of the entire universe. I think I’ve wound up in a good place. I have positive relationships and am able to differentiate what’s important enough for my attention and when and how it’s appropriate and effective for me to speak up. I wish the same for you. I think where you wound up in your comment above is a positive step. Best of luck in your new job!

                2. Woot

                  Op, I haven’t finished reading the comments, but this is a pretty profound response! I really applaud you for getting to this point. Self-reflection is hard. Go you!

                3. Green

                  You have an awesome new chance to start over with a clean slate! I think that it will be great for you. You got screwed here, and you may have screwed yourself over a bit here too. Both can be true.

                  So take what you’re learning and try to be strategic. Advance yourself first, and then you can bring everyone else along or change things about the culture you don’t like. Pick your battles and decide on your line. For me, it’s racist/sexist/homophobic/discriminatory comments that I will respond sharply to. (“I hope you don’t mean that!” or “That’s really not appropriate.”) I let nasty tones and sharp words from others go, when directed towards me or someone similarly empowered. If someone were regularly bullying someone under me, I’d probably stop in somehow, but I’d try to not let my emotions get the best of me and try to strategize. I’ve *strategically* picked what I’m willing to risk things for because they matter more to me than the job. So, yes, there can be things where you just line-in-the-sand-it, but let that be a CHOICE that you make knowing the potential consequences rather than a default reaction.

        3. Kalkin

          I didn’t say anywhere that you should let people talk however they want or be complacent — I said that based on the tone of your letter and comments, maybe you need to work on how you convey your points. I’m sorry for assuming that you responded publicly and loudly to the co-worker in question — I’m not sure where I got that idea, and I totally understand why that mischaracterization would bother you.

          Reply
        4. LBK

          Everything I’ve ever said to her has been quiet and tactful.

          The examples of exact things you’ve said were not tactful, so I don’t understand how you can still insist on this perception. Saying “I’m not going to let you treat me like a dummy” is not tactful, period.

          As many people have pointed out, there’s ways to shut down nasty comments and disengage from negativity without being as blunt as the examples you’ve provided. Why are you so resistant to accepting that there might be a middle ground between what you’ve been saying and doing nothing? It’s not that black and white. You don’t have to tolerate it but you also don’t have to be a jerk back, which is what you’re doing based on the quotes you’ve provided here.

          Reply
          1. Trillian

            I never said those words to her. I made a comment about her volume. Hoping to send the message that I don’t want her to treat me like I’m stupid. It happened one time, like I’ve said in other comments.

            I was never rude to her. Ever. I’ll keep repeating it. She was rude and aggressive to me, even yelling at me. I never matched her tone.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Ok, well forgive me for assuming that if you put something in quotes that meant that’s what you actually said to her…I didn’t pull that line out of thin air, I took it from one of your comments.

              So what did you actually say when you commented about her volume? Just based on how you’re commenting when you’re clearly upset (as you presumably were when she was talking to you) I think there’s room to soften your language. You can be clear and direct without being searing. Practicing humility goes a long way. I know there’s gendered elements to this but I do it as a man and it works wonders in smoothing interactions with difficult coworkers.

              Reply
        5. Observer

          This is actually an interesting example of the problem some of us are seeing. It’s not either the people I heard from are liars or the people here are liars. There are many far more nuanced interpretations. But you are jumping to this black and white interpretation even though people are explicitly saying otherwise, and then throwing out comments that read like they are rhetorical and intended to show how ridiculous people are being.

          Firstly, a lot of the people who insist that people speak up are coming from a place or privilege and / or power. That DOES make a difference in what you can and should do. A year in, as a permanent employee with a good track record has far more standing to say something than a newbie who is at the bottom of the totem pole.

          It also matters HOW you say things. To take the example you gave about the flight vs drive home. I agree that what you describe is ugly. But besides the fact that you have no context for her behavior that might make it a bit less offensive or at least seem so to others, there is also the fact that you chose to respond in an unnecessarily abrasive manner. There are so many other ways you could have made the same point without acting as though you are the only adult in the room. That’s not being fake.

          Reply
    2. Not So NewReader

      Defensively, offensive. The preemptive strike. What that actually telegraphs OP is that you are afraid of getting hurt. Most of us are and that’s a normal human fear.

      The odd thing here is that you protected yourself so vehemently and you still ended up getting hurt.
      Ever listen to “The Rose” by Bette Midler?

      “it’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give…
      it’s the soul afraid of dying that has never learned to live.”

      That’s a pearl right there, OP. Sometimes we can contribute to the very thing we fear happening.

      Reply
  19. kas

    It’s hard to say don’t take it personal because that’s a natural reaction. My position was eliminated once which resulted in a demotion. I was super angry and ready to quit on the spot. I hated everyone but I stuck it out as I was promised a major promotion. Well I’m glad I did as my manager stuck to her word and when a position opened up on her team, I was hired on the spot. There’s no part-time at my company but if they had cut my hours I would not have stuck around.

    Reply
  20. Coldbrewinacup

    Do not, I repeat, do not, give in to your anger here and give them a piece of your mind. I can tell you from personal experience it will come back to bite you on the rear end… just smile, turn in your notice, and don’t give too many details, even if asked.

    Don’t burn your bridges, in other words.

    Best of luck to you.

    Reply
  21. Lorelai Gilmore

    This hits pretty close to home for me. I had a similar experience at my last job. A job at a non-profit that I was extremely passionate about, and that I poured my heart and soul into every day. In the end, my personality rubbed the executive director the wrong way. I was in my mid-twenties, she was in her late-fifties, she thought I shouldn’t have a say in things surrounding the program I was directing (though she would never come out and say that). She thought I was too young, naive, inexperienced to be doing the job I was given (maybe I was, who knows?)… I fought hard. The board divided on the issue (several of them called me directly after my resignation and told me they were gunning for me to replace the existing E.D. Yikes. Super unprofessional.)

    When I gave up and started submitting my resume other places, I would have accepted anything that paid my bills. I ended up getting a job at nearly twice the income level, and with much saner coworkers. And a non-profit with a very strong reputation (resume builder). Phew.

    I was given the advice to write my letter of resignation 5 times. And not submit until the 5th draft. It was good advice. The 5th copy was much more professional, as I’d had the opportunity to get out all of my emotion on the first 4 drafts. I highly recommend this for someone in your situation, because oftentimes logic (like the possibility of actually needing that job in April) takes a back seat to emotions.

    Reply
    1. Lorelai Gilmore

      Oh. I forgot to mention. My hours were also cut in half right before I resigned for “budget reasons”… I scrubbed toilets (seriously) for 2 months to try and make it work. I’ve held jobs in professional offices since I was 15. It was quite humbling, but seriously, never again. Scrubbing toilets is my personal version of hell.

      Reply
    2. Cath

      Five drafts is good advice. When my husband is upset, he types his email or whatever and then I go through and pull out all (most) the emotion.

      Reply
      1. Green

        In my first job, my former boss used to handwrite his response to each email, which I was then to type up for him and send. There were definitely a few I sockdrawered for him until, inevitably:
        “Oh, did you send the e-mail to X yet?”
        “Oh, no I didn’t get to it yet!”
        “Let me take a quick look at it again…”

        I was his “Unsend” button, and, now that I’m thinking of it, I basically need to hire someone to do that for me full-time. :)

        Reply
  22. BeenThere

    I think the OP needs to remember that during the work day, most people don’t care about other people’s feelings enough to change their behavior in a deliberate manner to hurt them. Just remember when someone says something, remind yourself that they are NOT thinking about you. Chances are they are thinking about dealing with the “idiot in accounting” or the customer who just changed the order for the 100th time, or what to make for dinner. Or even the fact that they didn’t notice the typo you made until it affected their work. It’s not about you 99.999% of the time.

    And if someone says something snarky, then call them out on it in a joking manner! For example, if someone says “Oh…I can’t believe you wore that shirt to work today!” in a manner which you don’t like, smile and say “Yeah, I can’t believe it either!” and go on about your business. It does not matter WHY they said what they said and it doesn’t matter at all what they think. You will earn respect through how you respond to others and not solely by the quality of your work.

    Reply
  23. Trillian

    It’s really easy to not take this all personally because nobody here knows me. I wrote this letter at 3am in the middle of a completely 100% sleepless night due to my anxiety over being able to keep pleasant while I was actually very upset. That was the whole point. If I was a nasty person, I wouldn’t have even been conflicted.

    Reply
    1. Susanne

      What do you want from us to help you, then? AAM has already said – yeah, don’t burn the bridges by being unpleasant or showing your anger during your resignation, and you seem to have accepted that. Are you or are you not interested in potential self-examination so you can have a better experience at your next job? Are you or are you not interested in ways that you could come across better and perhaps have better relationships with coworkers, which is not only more pleasant but ultimately more effective and efficient in terms of how you perform your job?

      Reply
      1. a1

        This is assuming that there is bad relationships with coworkers. Being direct and not taking BS doesn’t always lead bad relationships. I like the straight shooters. A couple of off-the-cuff comments relayed in a letter is not something I’m going to extrapolate a whole lot of interpersonal relationship issues out of. I do think a lot of people have been coming down hard on them, much the same way they are accusing OP of acting. And if not being rude, at least being condescending.

        Reply
        1. serenity

          People are not extrapolating from out of thin air, they are evaluating the language OP herself used:

          “…I don’t allow people to use me…”
          “… I will say something.”
          “… brown noses…”
          “…showboat fashion…”
          “…why they are talking so loudly…”
          “do not have any need to socialize or gossip”

          This all sounds like someone who may have some issues with forming amicable relationships with colleagues at work. I’m not sure how you can read the letter and describe this attitude toward coworkers as “being direct”. Really? Actively avoiding socializing and bristling at having spelling errors pointed out to her? I do hope OP learns from this and is a better fit in their next role, and it’s not rude or condescending to offer constructive criticism and feedback. That’s why this site exists, after all.

          Reply
          1. a1

            Or maybe they are accurately describing the situation. Why should we allow people to use us? What’s wrong with speaking up at inappropriate talk/gossip/complaining/whatever? Calling someone a brown-noser in a letter does not mean they do it to their face. Some people do act in a showboat fashion. And so on. Why assume the LW is wrong and assign all sorts of negative connotations to them? And even if true, why assume what they write here is exactly how they’d act in person? They are obviously venting here.

            Reply
            1. Kalkin

              a1: I’m not sure anyone has criticized the content of the OP’s concerns; we’ve just said that she’s consistently articulated them in a way that raises flags for us. All we have to go off of is her words, and the purpose of this site is to get feedback on workplace issues. If we ignore our instincts, we’re not going to offer very useful feedback. But we can criticize politely, and I think the commenters here are pretty good at that. As Susanne says below: “Some of the best interactions on AAM have come when letter-writers have really listened and been open to changing how they felt or behaved about a given work topic.”

              (For the record, I don’t think people’s fundamental personalities change drastically when they’re writing emails, even at 3am while feeling very anxious, or commenting on blogs. Personally, I’ve met a ton of people I knew from internet comments in real life, and they tend to be pretty much the same people online and off, barring cases of deliberate deception. There’s something kind of beautiful and comforting about that.)

              Reply
            2. serenity

              How you describe or talk about the issues you are facing often correlate with how you deal with those issues, and what OP described here struck a lot of folks (including myself) as being somewhat abrasive. And I agree with Kalkin: we don’t fundamentally change our personas in talking with third parties or writing letters to advice sites.

              I think this letter is hitting close to home with folks who have been (or who have felt) isolated or ganged-up on in their own work lives. That’s not what I, or others, absorbed from the contents of OP’s letter, and it honestly felt like she could be a bit of a scold in real life from what she wrote. Again, hoping her new role will be a better fit for her all around.

              Reply
            3. Mary

              >> What’s wrong with speaking up at inappropriate talk/gossip/complaining/whatever?

              When you’re the newbie in the office? I think deciding what’s inappropriate from your peers who’ve got longstanding relationships and starting to challenge it with three months of starting a job is mostly pretty inappropriate, tbh. Like, even if it was racist and sexist or whatever, I’d go to HR to discuss it first. I can’t imagine any situation where walking into an established group and immediately challenging the group norms was going to be *effective*, never mind welcome.

              I did once temp in a team where their idea of office banter absolutely set my teeth on edge. I mostly just gritted my teeth and left as soon as I could.

              Reply
              1. the gold digger

                I can’t imagine any situation where walking into an established group and immediately challenging the group norms was going to be *effective*, never mind welcome.

                See, My Former Boss Who Thought I Walked Across the Street for Coffee because of the Coffee, Who Suggested on My First Day, When I Was Reading in the Conference Room Because I Didn’t Like the Radio That I Just Turn Off the Radio

                (Chapter Two: I tell boss ARE YOU CRAZY? THAT WILL KILL ME WITH EVERYONE! So he turns the radio off himself and tells my new co-workers it’s because I didn’t like it.)

                Reply
    2. Kalkin

      There is a world of difference between “nasty person” and “person who might not come off great,” and seriously, with all due respect: Your absolute certainty that a bunch of different strangers who are picking up the same thing from your letter and comments must be wrong suggests that we are not.

      Reply
      1. Trout 'Waver

        One anxiety-filled 3:00 am anonymous letter and a few internet comments do not give anyone enough information to make such strong statements.

        Reply
        1. Morning Glory

          I did not read this as a particularly strong statement… Kalkin said ‘suggests’ not ‘proves beyond all doubt’

          Reply
        2. Green

          The internet comments are relaying actual things she has said at work to colleagues that she thinks are appropriate…

          Reply
      2. Susanne

        Some of the best interactions on AAM have come when letter-writers have really listened and been open to changing how they felt or behaved about a given work topic. Do you have it in you to do the same — to really listen to the smart people on this message board, honestly reflect about how you may have come across, and think about your capability for change?

        Reply
        1. Green

          As a kid, I changed my views on LGBT people over 20+ years ago because I got absolutely destroyed and picked apart on a Rolling Stone Online message board on AOL after some (harsh) comments which made me realize that I sucked. But of course I couldn’t just say that I sucked, so I had to argue back about how I was totally right and wasn’t awful. Which obviously failed.

          So then I disappeared and tried to come back with a new handle and just not be so terrible, but people recognized my writing “voice” (and specifically how I used ellipses).

          Anyway, even after having been first exiled from a message board at age 12, my life is much better today because I got some harsh truths on the interwebs decades ago…

          Reply
    3. Michelle

      I understand how you are/were feeling. The original job you applied for was basically taken away from you because someone else liked your skills. Then you cut to part time hours and the person who got the job you applied for is made full time. Sometimes, just getting it all out helps and I think that is what you did with your letter to Alison. It seems as hard as it was, you kept it professional and you are now moving on to better things.

      Best of luck with your new job! I hope this is the start of many good things for you!

      Reply
    4. Malibu Stacey

      I’m not saying this to pile-on, but I noticed it in the original letter that you seem to want credit for staying pleasant at work when you felt like you were wronged. That’s . . . not how this works. You are expected to stay pleasant regardless of how you unfair you are think you were treated.

      Reply
      1. Sigrid

        This is a really key point. Staying pleasant at work even when you’re feeling terrible (angry, sad, upset for whatever reason) is not something you get extra points for, it’s the very basics of professionalism. It’s what is expected of every adult in the working world. And yes, often people don’t measure up to that — which they get *censure* for. It’s one of those many unfair parts of being an adult where doing something difficult gets you no praise, but not doing it gets you in trouble.

        Reply
      2. Trillian

        That wasn’t for their benefit, it was for mine. I didn’t want to go to work moping around. I didn’t expect any praise for it. The point was for them to not even know that I was forcing myself to be pleasant.

        What I meant in the letter was just some sort of acknowledgement that I didn’t just up and quit. If I owned a business and had to cut one of my employees down in hours, I’d periodically let them know that I would understand if/when they leave but that I appreciate them being there in the mean time. What is so horrible about that?

        Reply
        1. fposte

          That would definitely not be a horrible thing for them to do. On the other hand, I think most people who cut back somebody’s hours would understand that that person is highly likely to go elsewhere, and they might not feel it necessary to articulate that because it seems so obvious.

          (I don’t think I’d likely articulate my appreciation for them staying, though; I appreciate all my staff, and they’re not staying as a favor–or if they are, they shouldn’t.)

          Reply
          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Agreed, although I think folks who cut someone’s hours are less likely to say they would understand if someone leaves—certainly not more than once—because of concerns about constructive termination. It’s not really normal / done to thank someone for continuing their employment when their hours are cut.

            (I’m not saying constructive termination is an issue, but as we’ve often seen, people are often scared of legal repercussions even when their assumptions about repercussions are inaccurate.)

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Good point–another reason why that is somewhat out of the norm, and its absence doesn’t necessarily mean your manager is a bad person.

              Reply
    5. fposte

      We’re here to talk you down–except it looks like we weren’t needed and you handled it beautifully anyway :-).

      I don’t think anybody is saying that this wouldn’t be upsetting. Wow, it would absolutely be upsetting; if this had happened to me, it would have really hurt my feelings, and I totally understand if it hurt yours. The question is what letting them know you’re upset would get you, and whether it would change anything.

      As has come up here a few times before, people who have been under the impression that their emotions aren’t valid or they can push back against unfair treatment sometimes struggle a little with recalibration about sharing or standing ground when they realize that’s not true, and I wonder if that’s where you were.

      Reply
    6. NW Mossy

      Someone once told me that when you’re receiving feedback, why you did X doesn’t matter – what matters is that X happened, Y resulted, and the goal is using the feedback to influence your future behavior for Y to either continue (because Y was good) or cease (because Y was bad).

      We all set out with good intentions at work. Vanishingly few people show up every day and think “I’m going to do the worst possible job today and generally be terrible.” So we can assume with you, as we’d do with anyone, that you’re well-intentioned. But you know what they say about good intentions as paving material – they don’t do anything to change the endpoint of your route.

      What folks are picking up on here is a sense that you’re viewing those you work with as adversaries or obstacles to overcome, rather than sometimes-fallible-but-generally-decent partners in a shared enterprise. Whether that point of view is different now that you’ve moved on to a new company is knowable only to you, but in my experience, putting effort into assuming that colleagues’ motives are neutral at worst is incredibly valuable in reducing your frustration with others’ faults and failings.

      Reply
        1. NW Mossy

          It took me about 12 years of professional work before I finally twigged to that concept (I apparently learn slowly), and I kid you not that the improvement in my quality of life once I started looking at others this way was dramatic.

          Now, instead of stewing in my own braise of resentment over this or that thing someone did, I have a tool that lets me short-circuit that thought pattern and replace it with more constructive things like picking up the phone and asking questions to understand the other person’s thinking. Those conversations then help me build up a deeper picture of that colleague as a human, which in turn makes it more likely that my first association with that person’s name in my email or on my caller ID is “Hey, it’s Fergus, this guy I get along with!” rather than “Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish.”

          Reply
    7. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws

      “Nobody here knows me” is a good thing to remind yourself. You know it wasn’t written when you were clear-minded and calm. But it’s all readers have to go on. I get that it’s a raw expression of some really ugly feelings of hurt and sadness, and it doesn’t show your best self, and you handled the actual resignation beautifully. But that’s not what commenters have to respond to in the original post. If it feels really personal and that’s hard to cope with, remind yourself that nobody here knows you and the reactions here aren’t a judgment of who you are as a person. But I encourage you to keep an open mind about the impressions your unfiltered thoughts are leaving on people who are completely removed from your situation.

      With that said, it sounds like you have difficulty acting professionally when you want to flip tables. It’s not easy for anyone, honestly. But if it’s keeping you up at night that you have to behave professionally when you’re upset, that might be a problem that’s above AAM’s pay grade and more in the realm of therapy.

      Congrats on the new job and good luck.

      Reply
      1. Trillian

        Sorry, it was written in response to another comment but somehow got posted to the main thread… I really don’t know how that happened, but it was not my intention. The only comment that I started from scratch started with, “OP here.” I can see how it looks really bad.

        Reply
        1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws

          There’s no need to apologize, the comments are wonky sometimes. Your comment doesn’t look really bad, it just looks like you’re taking the comments hard. That’s understandable, especially when emotions are raw from the situation that prompted you to write in the first place. I hope my comment didn’t sound judgmental or mean, and I hope the therapy comment didn’t sound flippant. I meant it sincerely. You mentioned anxiety, and while on second read I’m not sure if you mean it in the clinical sense, having serious difficulty behaving one way while feeling another way can hurt you in the long run. Which isn’t to say you should never push back, just that there’s nothing wrong with choosing your battles, and knowing how to do that is a skill worth cultivating.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            Yes, therapy is a delightful wonderful life transforming thing. I second the value for OP in working through the past experiences, and how to process them without punishing the innocent for the crimes of the past guilty.

            Reply
    8. A. Non

      I think what we’re all trying to say (some of us more kindly than others) is that it seems like you’re reacting a lot as if you’re living in your past, when you should be looking toward/acting toward the future. I came from a dysfunctional workplace to a relatively normal one, and there are some things that still make my shoulders go up around my ears– but I know that it’s leftover habits and I’m working on changing that.

      Reply
    9. Katherine

      We don’t have to know you in order to let you know how you come across, based on the information we have. There are a lot of situations in life where we’re judged on partial information (like job interviews). When you don’t have a lot of information about someone, the information you do have carries more weight. It can be useful to consider how you come across to a group of strangers.

      Reply
    10. New-ish Manager

      All of your responses have been very reasonable and have given some context that was missing from the letter (e.g. examples of your co-workers being awful). I still think you 100% made the right call by resigning the way that you did. Good luck with the new job!

      Reply
    11. Laura

      OK, you know this isn’t true:

      “It’s really easy to not take this all personally because nobody here knows me.”

      You know how many people are saying that you sound defensive? *Anyone* would take this personally. I have a hide of steel and I’d take this personally. Please be honest with yourself and you will find many better things flowing from that place as a consequence. You could even admit you were a nasty person – sometimes! Because we all are.

      Reply
  24. SS

    I don’t find any of this in the original story as something personal. You initially interviewed for a position and were offered and accepted a different position in a different department, so the first department still needed to hire someone for the first position. Now each of you are working in your own departments on your own duties. There is NOTHING that would link your positions together. The temp was hired for the original position and did a good enough job that they decided make that temp permanent. You mention that your hours were cut because of departmental finances. The other department finances now allow the first position to have more hours but that has nothing to do with you or your position or your department. Why would they choose to get rid of someone in a different position in a different department that was doing so well that they want to keep them in order to transfer you — a person in another position with other duties in another department — to a position you chose not to take initially when you agreed to your current position? It is also very possible that they’d already made an agreement with the temp to turn their position into a permanent position before your department had their funding cut. What I find odd in the whole letter is that you’re describing things you saw and then you give us your interpretation of how they chose to harm you but never mention actually talking to your boss about picking up hours in other departments or the possibility of moving to another role that has more hours or any of your concerns.
    Your comment of “hey, don’t for one second think that I’m not on to this BS, so don’t patronize me” definitely reeks of assuming malice based completely on assumptions without ever once asking for a reason.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      However, I can see our OP as having some resentment–she didn’t apply for Job 2 That Got Restructured. She applied for Job 1 That Lasted.

      The Job 2 folks came and “poached” her. Now, she didn’t have to take that job; perhaps she could have said, “how flattering! But it seems to me that Job 1 is not as risky, and so I don’t want to take Job 2.” (If she thought that was likely.) But she might not have gotten Job 1 if she’d done so, actually; it might have turned the company off of her as an employee.

      But the folks at Job 2 kept talking about how it would turn permanent, too, etc., so now she feels a little lied to. And she sees that Job 1 did indeed become a real job, so she sees now that there was a significant difference in the two jobs in terms of security.

      So I can see that she feels badly done by. But letting it become personal is just not helpful to her.

      Reply
      1. JulieBulie

        I’ve commented a few times above, but have failed to mention that in Trillian’s shoes, I would be extremely upset. However, this was just bad luck. There was no way for either Trillian or the employer to know at the beginning how things would turn out.

        One of the worst kinds of anger is the anger that you can’t validly pin on any specific person or entity. I’m afraid that’s what we have here. There’s no crime as such, so there’s no one you can legitimately punish, and no path to justice. The only way to get past it is to move on, which you’re doing, but I hope you’ll consider some of the other points that people have discussed here.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          “One of the worst kinds of anger is the anger that you can’t validly pin on any specific person or entity.”

          Oh, this is so true.

          Reply
          1. tigerlily

            My favorite is the anger when you think someone is going to forget to do something or they’re going to do something wrong and you get all worked up and angry over the upcoming reveal of their wrongness, but then they actually did everything right and you now have all this anger you don’t know what to do with.

            Or the anger where someone wrongs you in a dream and you wake up and clearly that person didn’t sell all your clothes to George Clooney but you’re still kinda mad about it anyway.

            Reply
            1. JulieBulie

              OMG, tell me about it. I have had some really horrible arguments with people in my imagination because I was worried about something they might say or do.

              I hope you got a good deal from George on the sale of your clothing.

              Reply
        2. Relly

          Okay, your comment here about anger with no legit target being the worst just gave me a huge epiphany, so, um, thank you for that.

          Reply
          1. JulieBulie

            I watched “Ordinary People” last night (30 years after someone recommended it to me, LOL), and I felt that this was one of the big messages of the film. Or maybe that was just me projecting my own issues…

            When something bad happens to us and there’s no one to punish, our craving for justice can mess with us. Once we’re aware of this instinct, we can control it; but until then, we can do a lot of damage, punishing ourselves and/or other people for years without even realizing it.

            Reply
      2. Executive Assistant Barbie

        “But she might not have gotten Job 1 if she’d done so, actually”

        I’ve been scrolling and scrolling to see if someone had already said this. And it’s nothing to do with OP’s behaviour, but if OP was poached by the other team, she was probably a better fit for that job. What’s to say the fit for Job 1 was lacking, and she wouldn’t have been hired anyway?

        It’s a minor point, but it sounds from the letter like there is some resentment that OP’s original job is permanent for someone else, when in reality it was never theirs.

        Reply
        1. Trillian

          I can clear up some speculation here. Job 1 was basically data entry and I would have used it to get my foot in the door. The job they poached me for wasn’t even posted and had been created that day. I could get into the story behind that which I have learned recently, but it doesn’t matter. They wanted my industry knowledge and knowledge of the competitor. (Not in a gross way.) My skills were better suited for the more complicated role.

          Reply
  25. CatCat

    OP, I encourage you to write a fantasy resignation letter that you will never send. This is an exercise that I have found as a good release valve for pent-up emotions. Really let ’em have it in there.

    But be professional and polite with your real resignation.

    Reply
    1. JulieBulie

      Oh my, yes. I’ve written a few fantasy resignation letters before. I really wish I’d saved them. It’d make for a nice Friday thread.

      Reply
  26. Rocky the Lemur

    Something that has always stuck with me is the research into relationships (with romantic partners) that shows the #1 predictor of a relationship not lasting is contempt for the other. I hear and understand the feelings of frustration, anger, betrayal etc. But what I also read is contempt for others and contempt of the organization and contempt for the job.

    Is is possible that contempt is also a predictor of person-job breakups?

    Reply
    1. Rocky the Lemur

      And in the spirit of being constructive . . . I’ve used contempt as a red flag in my own life. I can be all the other things, but once I spill into contempt at work or with a boss, I know I need a legitimate break and/or a change. So maybe this wasn’t the right relationship and perhaps irreparably broken.

      I experienced contempt for a CEO that I worked directly for, and I realized that he deserved it, and so I quit.

      I sometimes feel it in my personal life, and it’s a “no go” – I don’t feed it, or talk about it, and I take legitimate steps to eliminate it.

      Reply
  27. Tuesday Next

    Hi OP. In my experience, the best way to tackle (for example) the showboating colleague is to simply deflate them by offering a warm “Thanks! I appreciate you telling me”. Generally they aren’t expecting that and it takes the fun out of correcting you in public. On the other hand, when you rise to the bait, it provides a lot of entertainment value.

    Generally, it sounds as though you are reacting very strongly to almost everything. While having your hours cut is horrible, it’s probably not personal, and your expectation that you’d be notified that someone else in a different department, in an unrelated role, was made permanent seems a bit off to me.

    The other thing that strikes me about your letter is that when someone can’t imagine themselves at fault in any way, that generally indicates a lack of self awareness. Not saying that you are at fault, but the fact that you aren’t even considering the possibility makes me wonder.

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      At the risk of sounding out of touch here… at fault for what? If I’m at fault for having to go part time, I would have really loved to hear that. Honestly. Being told it was about money put me in a powerless position and how would it have looked if I had said, “are you sure that this isn’t because Meanie doesn’t like me?” I really just had to accept it.

      If you mean at fault for the ostracism from a small group of people, I don’t think there is anyone else it could be blamed on. They didn’t randomly choose me. I said things (albeit quietly and respectfully) that one person didn’t like and suffered the social consequences. What I would really like to know is if my employment status was also effected. I’ve received zero confirmation that that’s the case and would have appreciated it if my boss just came right out and said it if it was. I’ve never been fired or cut down in hours, ever. So I’m not even sure if honest/ candid feedback is something that’s done in this scenario. On the flip side, maybe it really was just about money and that’s it.

      Reply
      1. Shayl

        I doubt you’ll ever get the full answer as to why.

        However, since this is a new beginning for you, you have a chance to reflect and try again at your new gig.

        My advice in this situation is to try and spend your first few months at this new job in a very watch and listen sort of mode, and reject ALL impulses you have to stand up to what you perceive to be bad behavior. This may not feel ethical to you, but it will give you time to assess the culture and get to know peoplemore objectively before you push back. You could learn, for instance, that the lady who seems super awful is actually lovely but is going througha divorce. It takes time to know which battles to fight.

        Reply
      2. Tuesday Next

        Whatever situation I find myself in, I try to figure out whether I might have handled things differently, and influenced the outcome for the better. Sometimes I can’t think of anything, but often I do. Even if it’s how I responded to someone else’s bad behaviour or lack of professionalism, or the feeling that I had made an enemy or created a bad impression.

        Reply
      3. Observer

        It’s quite possible that the cut in hours had nothing to do with you in particular. Which is upsetting. But treating it as someone being “mean” to you, for lack of a better word, and deciding that you would never work for them again doesn’t reflect maturity or understanding of professional norms. It’s also possible that the budget issue was genuine, but that your boss didn’t fight as hard for you as he might have because of your negative interactions with people.

        And, there from everything you say, I think you really DO bear some of the responsibility. No, I’m not saying that everyone was great and you were horrid. But, although some of what you mention is genuinely problematic a lot of how you describe your reactions, as well as the way you describe yourself overall and the way you reacted to people, indicates that you didn’t handle a lot of things well or appropriately. And that’s the thing you need to take responsibility for. That, and ONLY that – it’s not your fault that budgets fell short, etc. is something you need to think about.

        Of course, it’s also possible that the whole thing about budgets is an excuse to cover for the other issues, but I’d be surprised. It’s not uncommon for people to make excuses like this, but it IS uncommon for them to be so specific about timelines for possible call backs.

        Reply
  28. TootsNYC

    Our OP, Trillian, wrote in a reply-to-comment above:

    I guess my point was that I haven’t even given a hint of how much going to part time really upset me. Even through my resignation discussion, I didn’t let on.

    I wanted to say this: A person *CAN* bring this sort of thing up. The way to get the mindset right so that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot by letting the sense of betrayal sneak out, is to think of your comments as something you are saying in order to be helpful to the company/your boss.

    Think of yourself as an ally who has some previously unknown intel about the situation.
    “I wanted to let you know that this huge cut in my hours was a major factor in my decision to leave. Not having any warning before it happened took me aback by quite a bit. It made me stop and think about whether my high opinion of the company was warranted. Of course business needs might dictate such a cut, but hearing the news with no warning was a major factor. I thought you might want to think about how that looked from my perspective, in case that’s useful should a similar situation come up.”

    Reply
    1. Kalkin

      Exactly — this is key to what I was getting at in some of my comments above. Trillian doesn’t seem comfortable with modes between “visibly angry about this” and “not saying anything at all.”

      You are allowed to express unhappiness to your boss — right when you get bad news, later on after giving it some thought, or when you hand in your resignation. It is perfectly fine to politely shut someone down if they are trying to publicly embarrass you or are making fun of co-workers they’re supposed to be booking flights for. And there are ways to do all of these things, and much more, while remaining professional and approachable and friendly. In fact, doing these things well makes you more professional, approachable, and friendly — not just because of the optics, but because you’re giving vent to your real and valid feelings in a mindful way. Keeping that anger or frustration bottled up inside does no one any favors — not you, not your boss, not your co-workers. But just letting it out isn’t feasible either. You have to learn to modulate. Be the Obi-Wan Kenobi you want to see in the world, is what I always say.

      Reply
    2. Tuesday Next

      Great script, but I’d leave out this bit: “It made me stop and think about whether my high opinion of the company was warranted.”

      It strikes me somehow as petulant or passive aggressive.

      Reply
    3. Malibu Stacey

      I don’t think I’d bother with the whole speech? It seems like it’d be apparent to all parties involved why your employee who you cut from full time to part time found another job.

      Reply
    4. LQ

      I think this is a really good point. There is absolutely a professional way to bring something like this up. And I think that it could have even been brought up earlier when it was announced too. You can (and should have in your tool box) a way to express disappointment over something like this in a professional way.

      I struggled earlier this year (and still am a bit) in being moved to a new project in saying basically, “If you assign me to work for that person I will start looking for a new job.” I think I managed to express it and someone else expressed it for me (by leaving when she was assigned to work for that person), but being able to know when/where/how to professionally express concern, dismay, or disagreement is a really important thing.

      Reply
    5. Not So NewReader

      This is why we can’t ignore the rumor mill. Sometimes you can get the heads up that something is awry, OP. The hints often times do not come from our bosses, the hints come from our peers.

      Reply
  29. I'll say it

    I get the sense that OP maybe just didn’t communicate well in her original letter (which I see she said she sent at 3a the night before resigning from a job she really did have strong emotions about). I am guessing she means that she’s not the kind of person who will chime in when people are acting unprofessionally, and may even call them out. and she won’t let someone belittle her, since she’s had that done to her before. I really think that this might be just a bad choice of phrasing. of course, it’s not all black and white, but I can see where maybe OP is being a bit misunderstood.

    that said, it’s OP and only OP that can figure that out for sure. hopefully if anything DOES resonate, she’ll be more aware next time. if only in the way she writes her 3a sleepless anxiety ridden emails. ;)

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      I wish this site had a “like” button, which I’m sure has been said a million times before.

      I ended the letter by thanks for “listening” because I never thought Alison would publish this. It’s like.. maniacal sounded and very long. When I saw her email this morning, I called my mom to let her know the internet was about to tear me apart. Thank goodness it’s anonymous though. I’d rather have comments to read from strangers (some comments have been amazing!) than have my job suffer from acting on my feelings in real life because I didn’t have an outlet/feedback. So thank you everybody and Alison!!

      Reply
      1. TL -

        One thing that I do think is coming through is that you’re maybe having a hard time ascribing good intentions to someone when you’re feeling defensive.
        Normally the comments section here is pretty nice and I haven’t read all of them but the ones that I have read do feel like they’re rooting for you, not trying to tear you apart, which is what AAM strives for here and what I would expect if I wrote in a letter.
        And it sounds like in your reactions to coworkers there’s no room on their end for *them* speaking off the cuff in a moment of frustration. The typo thing happened once at the new place but I think in your head you made it out to be all about shaming you, when in reality your coworker was probably just taking the quickest way to fix something.

        It might be good to frame things as coming from a positive intention before you respond: Thanks for the feedback! I definitely want this project to be the best it can be and appreciate your help to get it there! Or, Must be really frustrating to have book a whole bunch of flights last minute – what a drag to have it dumped on you like this. I bet the employees really miss their families, though, and want to spend as much time with them as possible.
        Then when you do respond, you can both address the problem if needed and give the other person the benefit of the doubt: Mom, I got a letter published and I know the commentors usually try to be kind, but I’m worried because I definitely wrote this as a 3 am ball of anxiety.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Exactly. We’re generally a pretty nice group, but we’re also going to call out behavior that’s not helpful to your career. Especially when a letter writer doubles down on defending negative behavior.

          I don’t understand people who say they thought Alison wouldn’t publish their emails. Did you secretly want an unpaid counseling session by email with Alison, even though this is literally the only thing this blog is for?

          Reply
          1. Trillian

            No, I thought it would be lost in the sheer volume of letters she gets and I’d be lucky if she even read it. And I also thought it sounded a little crazy and also way too long. That is why I didn’t think it would be published.

            Reply
            1. LJL

              Trillian, I’ve always respected and admired you from the comments section, and now I do even more. You’re handling this feedback masterfully.

              When I was in a similar position (let go while the drama queen was kept), I kept my head up and acted as professionally as I could, hard as it was. Eventually, drama queen was let go and her reputation (deservedly) was shot. I, on the other hand, have a great job that I love now and a decent professional reputation. It was worth it, and I’m in a much better place now. May it be the same for you.

              Reply
              1. Trillian

                Thank you! I’m nervous that I’m heading into a job role which is not my “niche” and it will be a challenge. But it is a step up so we will see if I can handle it. I’ll be working directly for two owners of a small construction business, plus a PM or two, so it will really be a change of pace.

                Reply
      2. Observer

        I’d rather have comments to read from strangers (some comments have been amazing!) than have my job suffer from acting on my feelings in real life because I didn’t have an outlet/feedback. So thank you everybody and Alison!!
        =======================================================================

        That is an extremely useful insight.

        Reply
  30. Beancounter Eric

    LW, it’s been said multiple times to be professional and polite with your resignation – agreed!!

    I’m going to throw in this – remove emotion from the equation, hard as it may be. Make your resignation ultra-professional, and frankly, coldly unemotional.

    Success is the best revenge. Good luck.

    Reply
  31. Security

    The tone of this question leads me to believe that it may be personal, as someone else said you’re clearly dripping with disdain for your coworkers. Being “that person” isn’t a badge of honor and doesn’t work for a lot of employers.

    Reply
    1. New-ish Manager

      Yah…I would never hire someone who seems so proud of being so unpleasant – hopefully it was just the emotion of the situation taking over a bit in this case.

      Reply
  32. Murphy

    I completely understand the impulse to want to go “TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVEL IT!” but I think we all know that it’s generally not OK to do that. (I have certainly been there, but frankly nobody asked me why I was leaving, because they knew.) You can professionally provide some reasons for leaving if you choose, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that in many cases, but you don’t owe them an explanation and you have to ask yourself what you hope to gain by doing that. Usually it’s nothing.

    Reply
  33. Aphrodite

    OP, take the (very) high road. Be effusive in your thanks without going overboard, of course. You want to leave them wanting you. Plus, you will feel so good because the anger you are feeling now will not last–but your actions will. You’ll love yourself; remember, this temporary discomfort is unimportant.

    Reply
  34. Falling Diphthong

    Probably should just give him the two weeks, smile and nod, and tell him only that the new job is not with a competitor, and move on, huh?

    Yup.
    As great as these things sound in your head, they play a lot better in fiction, where you get to write the other people’s lines and coach their reactions to express an appropriate level of devastation, like rending of garments or primal screams as they wrap themselves around your ankles.

    Leaving for a better opportunity elsewhere is its own kiss-off.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      I hope that you, OP, discover that you have found new parts of yourself by taking the higher road. Something about yelling and anger that causes us to actually lose parts of ourselves.

      Reply
  35. imaskingamanager

    you never know when your paths will cross again with this person or with this company. Your feelings won’t last, but your behavior will be long remembered.

    Reply
  36. Mallory

    umm…i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems like this could have been personal, based on the insinuations you make regarding your attitude towards your coworkers.

    also, referring to your spouse as a “spousal unit” is super odd.

    i would seriously think about how you present yourself–you seem incredibly prideful (in your own words) and you may be painfully unaware of how that “pride” is manifesting itself in your outward personality.

    good luck in your new gig.

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      My spousal unit is an amazing human being. He only wants what is best for me and questioned me every time I entertained the idea of staying here part time to weather out the storm. I resisted him, which resulted in petty fights due to my continued conflicted feelings. If this company really does grow like they told me it was going to, this could have been an absolutely amazing opportunity for me. Seeing Temp B getting hired to permanent was like getting smacked out of a drunken stupor, though. So I apologized to my spousal unit that night for being stubborn and he was my cheerleader while I applied to other jobs. I love my spousal unit. And if you think that’s odd, my two year old calls him “hon”.

      Reply
      1. Mallory

        that is hilarious. apologies for the judgement on “spousal unit”–to be honest, based on the other comments in your letter, it made you sound…robotic/calculated? but it’s hard to capture your own spirit in a short letter regarding work crap. based on further evidence you sound warm, and sweet, and just kinda pissed.

        as someone who has a long history of coming off as aloof, cold, and calculated, i encourage you to really dig deep (not like therapist-level deep but like work-appropriate deep) and see if there are some slight tweaks you can make to your tone that will help your relationships with your coworkers. like, i legit fake small talk because i know it helps with the overall coworker harmony in my office. just a suggestion :)

        Reply
        1. H.C.

          I just took spousal unit as a way to keep it gender & maybe even relationship-level ambiguous (akin to “significant other”), which is fine by me.

          Reply
      2. Elizabeth H.

        It’s so common – but unfortunate – to get in fights with others (especially loved ones) due to our *own* conflicted feelings! And really valuable to recognize this about yourself. I feel like I am especially susceptible to doing this.

        Reply
    2. Sara without an H

      I think it’s based on an old Saturday Night Live skit, involving The Coneheads. My brother and I still refer to our Dad as The Paternal Unit.

      Reply
  37. Ireney

    Not gonna lie, this triggered me a bit. I haven’t worked at my old toxic job is years, but I remember the feeling of quitting and it literally felt like I had unloaded a sheer metric ton of bulls***. Which is great. Except, I’m still angry about the fact that I had to deal with a sheer metric ton of bulls***. When I quit I refused to tell anyone in my department where I was going, and just told people I needed a change. Which for better or worse was awkward, but I didn’t get too much push back. But, dear me I wanted to do more. Because despite four years of documented good work – I was essentially sent up Schitt’s Creek without a paddle my last 6 months without any reason why, despite my attempts to find out what I needed to fix – which was both everything and nothing. Dear me, I tried to do my job in the face of my bosses who clearly didn’t want me to do my job. I was suddenly the dumbest person in the room. My attempts to find training or workshops that would better the “skills” that I was now suddenly lacking were ignored. They honestly didn’t want me to get better. They wanted me gone. There was literally nothing I could have done to salvage the train wreck that was this job; I wanted to slam the door on my way out.

    Sorry, I made this all about me. Some wounds are deep. Some jobs get personal, because they are. But regardless – I honestly wish, I could have shut the door all the years ago and moved on. That is without a doubt the best revenge.

    Reply
    1. Old Admin

      I know the feeling.
      I am struggling with flaky accusations at my current job just now. Stuff like “bad behavior” (but no description of what I did wrong). I asked what behavior or actions I could change, said I wanted to improve, to please tell me what I had done wrong. Crickets.
      The only answer was I will not advance because of my behavior.
      I am getting one of the company conflict resolution people involved. We will see. *sigh*

      Reply
  38. New-ish Manager

    OP has the right to feel annoyed by having her hours cut back.

    With that being said, if an employee left while saying any of the things OP suggested, my only takeaway would be, “whoa, we dodged a bullet by not hiring that person on permanently.”

    Reply
  39. AKchic

    I’ve read the letter and the comments (including the ones from the LW), and I am actually glad to get the interaction from the LW, because it does help to get the additional information and context.

    LW, I can understand your pride, and your frustration with dealing with showboating and gossip and drama, but at the same time, I think that (and this is *my* opinion, so take it with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila if you’re so inclined) there might be some overcompensation on your end. You want to prove yourself as no-nonsense, drama-free, and a straight-shooter, that you seem to have blurred the lines between “honesty”, “brutal honesty”/”rudeness”, and “tact”. A person can be tactful and honest, even brutally honest and tactful. Respectful, kind, and honest. All within professional office settings. One of the examples you gave about someone pointing out a typo is a great rude behavior example that you called out. The question I would have is: Do you meet all interactions with the same force/vigor? Do you outright call these behaviors out as showboating and rude, or do you subtly call it out as “hey, I’m right here, there’s no need to yell” kind of things? One is overt, the other is more passive, and allows ambiguity and gives the so-called “queen bee” a chance to retreat and rethink her strategies and power plays.

    Nobody likes playing office games like this, but knowing how to play them can be invaluable because they can translate to other facets of your life.

    You are always going to deal with a queen bee, whether it’s in the office, in the neighborhood you live in, a family function, friend group, social event, whatever.

    I do wish you luck in the next job. I’m glad you handled the resignation like you did. Stay professional during your last two weeks. You never know when you might need a reference.

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      Thank you!

      One thing though, I may come across as being that way in my letter, but when I’m dealing with someone in person, I’m very quiet and subtle. The coming to my desk and broadcasting her correction of my mistake to the whole office happened once. At this job, at least. I had a previous job where my boss would do that to me all of the time. I’d get IMs or comments from coworkers like “OMG what did you DO??” It was really embarrassing. I didn’t see her ever coming over and saying “Good Job!” in a loud voice. Lol. So yes, I get “triggered” when I feel like someone is putting on a show by correcting me in such a way. I would have been able to comprehend it in a comment across desks just as easily. Blah.

      If it ever happens at a future job, I’ll do my best to ignore it.

      Reply
      1. AKchic

        And I think that’s where you might be overcompensating now. You are trying so hard to shut down drama before it starts, that you might be either overly sensitive to the idea of drama, or even being too cold and coming off as standoffish when that might not be the case. And I could be completely wrong. It just feels like, to me, that you had come from a place where drama was the normative action, so you’re doing everything in your power to avoid drama now, and it might actually be causing friction, which could actually be detrimental if you have to play a little bit of office politics.

        But, you know what they say, right? “A new broom sweeps clean”. It also applies to new jobs. This is a clean slate. A chance to let your past queen bees and drama llamas stay in their former pens and start anew. Will you meet new queen bees and drama llamas at the new menagerie? Sure! But these are new critters with new quirks, and you’re a horse of a different color, a bird of a different feather, and now is your time to ease yourself into things and adapt to the new barnyard.

        Why am I using terrible animal analogies? I apologize for the animal references. Apparently the fog outside my window has hit my brain.

        Reply
      2. Observer

        Your former boss sounds like a winner, and so does the workplace, to be honest. So, I get why you really don’t want a repeat of that. But I think that the others are right that you are over-compensating.

        I certainly hope that you don’t have to deal with that again in a new workplace, but if you do, there are better ways to deal with it that have less negative impact.

        Reply
    2. LBK

      Nobody likes playing office games like this, but knowing how to play them can be invaluable because they can translate to other facets of your life.

      You are always going to deal with a queen bee, whether it’s in the office, in the neighborhood you live in, a family function, friend group, social event, whatever.

      I think part of the problem that leads to people like the OP coming off as abrasive is because this skill gets characterized as “playing games”. 99% of the time what people think of as playing games or office politics are just the reality of working with imperfect humans. It’s not a game to have to interact with someone in a particular way because of their personality, that’s life.

      This is a popular fallacy in the tech world these days, that navigating challenging human interactions is a distraction or is secondary to technical skills, and that if you’re really good at the technical stuff you can just brush the rest aside. But that’s not how the world works, and that’s how you end up as the brilliant jerk nobody wants to work with despite the quality of their work product.

      Reply
  40. Anonymous Educator

    About two weeks ago, the OM notified me that department finances were tight and that they would have to cut my hours from full-time to 20 per week.

    On the Monday of my second part-time week, I overheard people teasing the temp who applied for the same job I originally applied for. It was apparently her first day of being a *permanent employee*. The same job. That I originally applied for. But my “better job” is now part-time??

    I don’t think anyone’s brought this up yet, but if the finances were tight, I would imagine it actually makes perfect sense for the “better job” to be part-time, because in theory the “better job” probably pays more per hour. 20 hours for a high-wage job and 40 hours for a lower-wage job is much cheaper than 40 hours for a high-wage job and 20 hours for a lower-wage job.

    Reply
  41. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    I wouldn’t be angry in my departure – but I would be HONEST – your hours were reduced from full-time to part-time, and that is the main reason for your resignation.

    IMHO it is OK (and some will disagree, but… eh) to state, professionally —

    1) if it was money – it’s OK to say that.
    2) if you were passed over for a promotional opportunity that you had worked toward for a number of years
    3) if your hours were reduced
    4) if you feel you’ve reached a professional ceiling.

    #1 and #3 usually are obvious.

    #2 – some will come back and say “oh you only had nine of the ten things we needed, the external applicant had all ten (on paper, of course)” – “yeah how long would it have taken be to come up with the appropriate expertise in issue #10?” — valid criticism.

    #4 – it happens. Some firms hold people back, and in some places, there just may not be the opportunities to go forward.

    Be prepared. They may counter-offer. Do not reject it out of hand — there *SOMETIMES* are valid reasons to accept a counter, sometimes not. It depends on the circumstances, but – it might happen. Be cautious – but – does the counter-offer resolve your issues, or doesn’t it?

    Reply
    1. Ernie

      I don’t think that any counter offer will keep the OP. The OM misled the OP about his/her future prospects with the company.
      1) The OM changed the nature of the positon at the interview stage, which the OP accepted.
      2) The OM gave a newer temp (who works in the positon OP applied for) a full time positon while downgrading the OP part time (till 2018, if at all).
      The worst thing for management to do to employees is to show they do not care. And the OM has done just that.

      Reply
  42. Former Hoosier

    While I agree that you don’t have to be friends with your co-workers, spending time talking around the “water cooler” can be very important to your career. It may seem fake or a time waster and you absolutely have the right to feel that way but an emplyer has the right to have that expectation. And good natured bantering is not automatically unprofessional and many people value this.

    And the truth is that while may of us have (at one point or another) fantasized about leaving in a huff and having our employer beg us to come back or tell us that we were the best employee ever and everything has gone to h**l since we left, it hardly ever happens. Workplaces move on. All of us are replaceable.

    Reply
  43. Lissa

    This part that Alison wrote really struck a chord with me – “(a) it’s likely to leave them more bewildered than humbled or dressed down” Exactly. I think there’s a narrative that we see a lot where we Stand Up For What’s Right! and the jerks are so abashed they just take it and then either realize their evil ways or are gratifyingly mortified. Unfortunately it pretty much never actually works that way in real life, so I think the question should be “what do you want to get out of telling people how you really feel?” Catharsis for you? Probably not worth it compared to the potential bridges you’ll burn, though understandable. Anyone to realize what they’ve done wrong? Probably won’t happen – while people can change, especially if you come off as aggressive or angry they are just likely to think you’re the unreasonable one and they’re completely fine

    (Though I am an overanalyser who constantly wonders if the jerk is actually me when I’m feeling hard done by. This can be frustrating as I rarely get to feel righteous, but it’s also pretty useful too.)

    Reply
  44. Annie

    That’s great that you found a new full time job so quickly. I think when the dust has settled, you’ll be thankful that things turned out the way they did, and I hope you enjoy your new job. In the meantime, write the angry ranting letter, but only for yourself to get the anger out, and write them a polite letter of resignation. You never know, they could have been serious about contacting you in 2018, or you may need some of those connections in a few years.

    Reply
  45. MommyMD

    Never burn your bridges. Exit gracefully. Maybe a bit of arrogance was showing through and your colleagues didn’t appreciate it. Sometimes skills cannot compensate for getting along with people.

    Reply
  46. consultant

    I find most of the comments above quite shocking. I’ve been reading Ask a Manager for some time now but have never come across such negative replies. And in this case we don’t even know what the author meant precisely when describing their behaviour since the letter was obviously written in frustration.

    I think sexism can be at stake here. It’s quite clear that the letter writer is a women and she gets punished for self-confidence. Research shows that happens a lot.

    Reply
    1. Trillian

      I can also say that they way my male coworkers responded to my unprofessional coworker was even more candid and outspoken than the ways I did. Yes, they have obviously been there longer and they do outrank us, but it still appears to be a double standard. One time she was annoyed at a fan a male co-worker had under his desk. She unplugged it and put it on his chair. He came back and said to her directly, “don’t ever touch my fan again.” (To which she whined about electricity or something.) If *I* had responded that way, I bet ten people would comment here on how it of line I was.

      Reply
      1. misspiggy

        They probably would – but AAM’s purpose is for people to improve their careers, which is where most commenters are coming from. This type of sexism is ingrained and does affect women’s interactions with each other. So as a new female temp, what’s the best way of dealing with a toxic woman colleague? It probably is the killing with kindness approach suggested. It’s not fair, but it will get you through.

        If you want to avoid ‘Queen Bee’ type people in future, you can factor that into your job choices. At the start of my career I wanted to avoid outright sexism, which was one reason I went for nonprofits rather than corporates. Nonprofits being often female-dominated meant more ‘queen bee’ dynamics, but I found that well-respected, highly skilled colleagues were less like that. Now I tend to work with mostly women at the top of their game, in a sector where collaboration is rewarded, and it’s pretty nice. There are always flipsides, but on balance I’m happy with where I ended up.

        Reply
        1. consultant

          So your second paragraph can be summarised as: “choose your industry wisely – go for an NGO instead of corporate settings – in order to avoid sexism”.

          You don’t mean it seriously do you?

          Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            I took misspiggy’s comment to mean that there are different kinds of gender dynamics in different industries… and that there are more queen bee dynamics in nonprofits.

            Because this was a major problem for Trillian, it sounded to me like misspiggy was advising Trillian the opposite way, toward a more corporate setting.

            Reply
      2. Scarlet

        There’s definitely a double standard in the way people react to brutal honesty coming from a man vs a woman. The problem is that we have to take it into account (and believe me, I know it’s hard, I’m a rather blunt woman myself) when dealing with people we NEED to interact with, such as work colleagues. It’s about picking your battles, really. There are things I definitely call out when they come from friends, family members, etc. that I just let slip when coming from colleagues because it’s actually creating the drama you seem to (justly) want to avoid.

        But there’s also an aspect that several other commenters have mentioned and I don’t think you ever responded to (unless I missed it): The crucial issue here is that you had been in the company for less than 3 months and you were a temp. Which means you were basically at the bottom of the food chain. Any criticism you made towards your colleagues, no matter how well-intentioned, would come across badly and make you appear arrogant and judgemental. Actually, it would be considered out of line in most workplaces.

        So I know you’ve been piled on and I understand it makes you feel defensive, but it’s quite crucial to understand how your attitude might impede your career in the future. Don’t correct people when you’ve just been hired, unless you were hired as their manager.

        Reply
        1. consultant

          I don’t think you can draw this conclusion.

          I’m actually quite careful with criticism at the beginning of my jobs and projects (I’m a consultant, I spend several months working for a company in its headquarters, then go to another company).

          The feedback from one of my clients (“bosses”) after my first week on a new project, when I tried just to observe, be friendly and not to criticise from the beginning, was: “Why are you so reserved? I expect you to be more confident and act now”. Being polite is always a good thing. But it doesn’t mean you need to accept people pushing you around or that you can’t propose anything. Unless you’re in a toxic environment of course.

          To be honest, when looking back I regret those occasions when I didn’t say anything while being treated badly than those I did. They brought me much further professionally too. The greatest success I experienced in my last job was when I went to my then client and told him: We can’t work like this anymore, the situation is unsustainable.

          Girls are often taught to avoid confrontations, which however, is not always a good strategy.

          Reply
          1. serenity

            Ok, but that doesn’t relate to OP’s situation and Scarlet’s excellent point is more important to this particular instance:

            But there’s also an aspect that several other commenters have mentioned and I don’t think you ever responded to (unless I missed it): The crucial issue here is that you had been in the company for less than 3 months and you were a temp. Which means you were basically at the bottom of the food chain. Any criticism you made towards your colleagues, no matter how well-intentioned, would come across badly and make you appear arrogant and judgemental. Actually, it would be considered out of line in most workplaces.

            Reply
          2. Scarlet

            Yes, but if you’re hired as a consultant, providing recommendations is part of your job description, isn’t it? That’s a totally different situation.
            Have you ever been in a work situation where people would welcome criticism coming from a temp who’s been on the job for 3 months (and who hasn’t been hired in a consulting or management position as far as we can tell)?

            Reply
            1. consultant

              It’s not a totally different situation, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up. At least not in the consulting where you support an organisation during a longer period of time. In both situations it’s crucial to fit in and be respectful, which however doesn’t mean needing to accept every unfair criticism and bullying behavior. That’s precisely my point.

              Reply
      3. No Longer Lurking

        OP, I actually think this illustrates an important point that has been brought up by other commenters. I do believe you that your co-worker was unprofessional, however I also believe that your reactions to her might make you seem unprofessional too. As you stated, the person whose fan was moved had both been there longer AND outranked the two of you. You had just started there, also even though you were on the same level, you were a temp, which in practical terms meant that she outranked you. In that scenario, your bluntness with her and correcting her about ‘not treating customers that way’ is not going to come off very well. It would be a different issue if you had been hired to manage or supervise her, in which case it would have been very much your job to correct how she speaks to customers. In your position however, I think the more tactful approach suggested by most comments might not only have been more effective with neutralizing the co-worker, it may well have led to better relationships with the other coworkers too.

        However, I think the important thing to focus on for now is that you absolutely did the right thing with your resignation – best of luck with the new job!

        Reply
      4. Redux

        Hey, OP, I just wanted to let you know that I thought some of the comments clung a bit too much to their initial reading even when you gave some very good clarifying examples. And also, not that it’s worth much coming from a random internet person, but I gotta say thanks for expressing your sentiment about calling out unprofessional behavior (with clients or otherwise).

        I appreciate the position some commenters took, about keeping your head down because you’re still new, and there’s some truth to that, but I also think it needs to be acknowledged how important it is to not stand idly by when abhorrent remarks are being made. I understand that fear of social repercussions is exactly why people tolerate sometimes truly awful stuff being said in the workplace, and I also understand if people don’t want to take on the personal risk because it would be too high, but I commend you for saying something and not just let bullies say what they say and act like it’s socially appropriate.

        I’m also trying to do the same thing more (I used to always deem it a waste of breath if I weren’t in a position of authority over the person being awful, and then when I did start vocalising opposition, I went about it in the most cumbersome, ham-fisted way, which wasn’t particularly helpful. Baby steps…). And yeah, in some situations, I’m shooting myself in the foot because I’m not changing any minds nor winning any friends, but I can afford to bear the fallout so might as well say something. Sometimes it makes a difference.

        Personally I wouldn’t say anything in the case of someone loudly announcing I made a mistake, but that’s my own thing. I think you made a difference as well, since some of your clients asked to only work with you, and the quality of your work spoke for itself even if your former colleague was trying to make you look bad – your other coworkers appreciated it.

        Best of luck in your new job!

        Reply
        1. Scarlet

          I’m not sure “abhorrent” remarks were made by her colleagues though. They sound cliquey and possibly mean-spirited, but I didn’t see anything truly egregious. I didn’t really see anything that indicated they were “bullies” either.
          But generally, it depends whether you want to “make a difference” or just feel good about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff because they feel good, but if you confront someone head-on when you’re new to the job, the only thing you will accomplish is antagonize people. You can be the rightest person in the history of right vs wrong, your colleagues’ knee-jerk reaction will be “Who does that person think they are???”.

          If people do truly abhorrent things, the best thing to do when you don’t have the authority to directly intervene is to document it and bring it to HR or your manager…

          Reply
      5. Love is love is love is love...

        And if your colleague was the one asking for advice, the comments would be entirely different. But we have to respond to the person who sends in the letter. And people are responding to you, to your question and your tone and the attitude that comes across from your posts. You would do well to reflect on the feedback you have received and consider the impact that these issue will have on your career in the long term.

        Reply
      6. serenity

        Trillian, you seem awfully focused on deeming co-workers unprofessional and correcting or judging their behavior. I’m not sure that, in this case, gender comes into play. I’ve mentioned it several times already, but you were in a temp role for less than three months. Chiding or taking to task colleagues who you do not manage when you have been in this workplace for that short amount of time would I’m pretty sure be problematic regardless of your gender.

        Reply
      7. Elizabeth H.

        A few things: I don’t think this is necessarily a gender thing. You seem extremely focused on categorizing men and women in your office differently. A couple times you’ve referred to “they” and “us” which I think sounds strange, and described the men in your office as having across the board similar working style, workplace temperament, approach to issues/approaches to your work while categorizing other women in your office differently. This comes off as sexist to me. I realize that you said it’s a pretty male-dominated work place, and is perhaps cliquey, but it just seems like you are stereotyping when you say things like the men like your direct and candid style and that you do your work without complaining, but women are catty and whine about stuff.

        It sounds like this particular coworker you didn’t get along with is legitimately incredibly unpleasant and I respect the fact that you didn’t let her say the thing about your colleague not being a “real” project manager and just let it slide. (Other people have said “Oh, I could easily have let that go and said nothing” but I feel that what your coworker said is really disrespectful to the point where it’s appropriate to comment specifically on her baseless assumptions.) But it ALSO sounds like maybe you are generalizing discrete examples to a general rule (“women in this office are catty and unprofessional, men are sensible like me”) and I think generalizing like that is really harmful especially if it affects your behavior at different offices in the future. It seems like you are taking all of this so personally and are really focused on the social strata and social interactions at work, even though you say you’re not interested in being social at work, and I think that could be a problem in and of itself.

        Finally, yes saying don’t ever touch my fan again is rude, unprofessional, and frankly pretty ridiculous, but that’s not the point here. That’s an example of a man engaging in interpersonal drama and you probably have others – so it’s not just women.

        Reply
    2. Blossom

      Do you think it was clear from the letter that she’s a woman, or just from the comments?

      I assumed the letter writer was a man, though once I’d come to the end, I did ask myself whether there were any grounds for that assumption. But more like “wouldn’t it be interesting if this was actually a woman? Though it’s surely a man…”.

      I only realised she was an woman from reading her comments, where she refers explicitly to her gender.

      So, clearly, I fell into the usual cultural trap of assuming that a forceful and kind-of-aggressive sounding, “not here to make friends” narrator had to be a man… But I can’t be the only one?

      Reply
      1. Redux

        Interesting that you say that! My personal reading started out as non-gendered, then when I came across the phrase “right hand man” in the letter, I started thinking of OP as a man. Then I thought that it wasn’t an exact quote but a paraphrase, so perhaps it was just shorthand for a hierarchical position and not saying anything about OP’s gender, but nevertheless I subconsciously continued with assuming they were a man.

        (Then at the section that rubbed many of the commenters the wrong way, I actually thought it was a good thing if OP were a man because in my experience, statements like that would incense people more if they perceived them as coming from a woman. -in my general experience, people would still voice disagreement but would be less harsh about it and perhaps even give a bit more of a benefit of the doubt if dealing with a man)

        Reply
      2. consultant

        It was clear to me from the letter :)

        The author tries to justify most of her statements. She elaborates on why she thinks she’s good at what she does and why she behaves the way she does. It’s as if her stating the fact wasn’t enough, the reasons why she thinks so need to be given.

        Few men do that :) They more frequently just state the fact: “I’m great at what I’m doing”, not feeling the need to justify their claims.

        It’s hard to describe, but it was super clear for me, the author was a woman.

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        1. serenity

          Hmm, I don’t think it was clear at all from the letter. And you know what, I don’t think it matters what her gender is. I think the behavior she described, coming less than three months into her tenure in a temp role, was problematic and I think giving the OP the impression that her actions were totally normal and ok is not the best advice to give her.

          Reply