How Can I Deal with Coworkers Who Don’t Take Me Seriously?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about: How can I deal with coworkers who don’t take me seriously?

I’m working in a pharmacy with 12 staff. All of them are teenagers and locals but I’m a 32 year old immigrant who can’t speak English fluently. Since I started working there, the 19- year old dispensary manager, who does whatever she wants thanks to the lack of management skills in the owner/ pharmacist, was not friendly towards me. The examples are: she never initiated a conversation. Whenever I did, she was short and seems disinterested. She makes no any eye contact during a conversation; so, I stopped trying after a while. She used to roll her eyes when I talked to her (work related subjects) to which I told her I took offence. She has stopped that. Now she doesn’t even say good morning anymore. But I have to say that she is slightly friendly in front of the boss.

The other staff member, who does whatever she wants, is the 19-year old customer manager. She who does absolutely nothing productive, but she gets everything because the owner/pharmacist loves her. This so called customer manager comes 10 minutes late in her gym clothes and she stays in dispensary talking to the other staff without even changing!

These two girls are close to the other girls in the shop and they underestimate my power as a POS manager over the other staff. When I give them a job to do, they do something else. They act as if what I asked them to do is not important. They give the staff their security codes so I won’t be needed anymore! They boss me around although they are not supposed to.

I have complained to the boss but he hasn’t done anything. It may seem unreal but I feel the owner is having too much fun in the dispensary so he doesn’t want to make them upset by teaching them some discipline. He keeps telling me with my position no one will like me. He doesn’t backing me. It seems everyone hates me and they give me attitude so I decided to step down as a POS manager and to just do my job and not worry about what is not getting done. Is it a good idea?

More detail supplied by our request: I have been working here since last May. POS manager is point of sales manager. I started as a pharmacy assistant with no experience which I was really struggling at the beginning since I was new in the country (Australia) and I couldn’t understand people.

The staff can understand me but they are just reluctant to do what I asked them to do. They don’t use my language as an excuse but they make other excuses. Once I complained to my boss and he said dispensary staff are under pressure and I shouldn’t take it personally and I should tell them back off myself and don’t involve him because he doesn’t want to get involved.
I have talked to some but not all, they deny that they have any problems with me. Once I told one of them I take offense when I talk to her she rolls her eyes. She hasn’t done it since.
Yes I’m thinking to quit my job since I found it so unbearable.
I do appreciate your time and effort to give me some advice.

Signed Everyone Hates Me

Dear Everyone Hates Me:

While waiting for answers to the questions I posed in reply to your submitted question, I hammered out my analysis of your unhappy situation. I’ve slightly edited what you sent and trust in doing that I have correctly sensed what you have meant to say. You feel excluded and that your coworkers, who are supposed to respond to requests that are important to doing your job, fail to do so. Your boss, to whom you have complained about them not doing what you ask, has dumped the problem back in your lap, saying the dispensary people are busy, so you’ll have to speak up for yourself. You say the pharmacist doesn’t want to upset the young women and allows them to do as they please, and sometimes they do little.

Toward the end of your email, if I understand what you meant to say, you ask if it is a good idea to step down from your POS manager position, and in the additional detail, you say, “I’m thinking to quit my job since I found it so unbearable.”

You have been employed at this pharmacy for approximately ten months and say that you are new to this kind of work and to Australia. It is clear to me that you have come you feel unwanted and are considering what to do because your pharmacist has allowed the staff to ignore you and he has seemed unaware of how distressed you feel. I don’t know what transpired in your conversation in which you complained, but it is obvious he has not taken your complaint seriously, when he said, “[T]he dispensary staff are under pressure and I shouldn’t take it personally and I should tell them back off myself, and don’t involve him because he doesn’t want to get involved.” Rather than taking responsibility as a boss should to encounter problems, his response to your complaint comes across as a parent saying, “You children must work out your difficulties your selves.”

One option is to unofficially withdraw from your position as Point of Sales manager and as you say just “to do my job and not worry about what is not getting done.” You can do that while quietly hunting a job elsewhere.

However before you make that decision, I suggest you think through what you think needs to be done to make your job and the pharmacy function effectively. In short, list 1. 2. 3. what you would do if you were in charge in a few short sentences, not in a lengthy paragraph. Then request a private meeting with the boss. Don’t start out this meeting with that list. Rather ask for an evaluation of your work—how well he thinks you are fitting in? Listen. Don’t defend yourself. Simply listen to learn first-hand if staying as a POS while feeling miserable is worth the struggle. I predict the conversation will evolve to you acknowledging you are finding it very difficult and why. You can then frankly spell out that you feel you are not being effective and why—that is that several of the young women fail to cooperate with your job requests. What have you got to lose by spilling your gut?

Second option. In light of how your one-on-one with the boss evolves, you can decide if you want to work on seeing if you can help make the pharmacy a success. I often say that workplace effectiveness hinges on attitude and process. By that I mean that to be effective, those involved had best exude spirited cooperation—an eagerness to assist one another and expressions of gratefulness for that to each other. By process, I mean the system defines who does what, when and why, and it cross-trains. Spelling out what works best to get jobs done efficiently is a continuing process. Are there places that exemplify such? Places conceive of a workplace not as a group of individuals, but as a team—a team that has regular skull sessions and from time to time huddles. Bench-marking is a practice of studying and doing on-site visits to good workplaces.

The Internet has numerous sources, such as:
–Benefits of Great Workplace Culture – Great Place to Work http://www.greatplacetowork.com/our-trust-approach/what-are-the-benefits-great-workplaces Employers on Best Companies Lists see higher stock market returns, … 30 years of research, in over 40 countries around the world, has shown us time and they are employee friendly.
–What’s Good for People? | Workplace Research | Resources | Knoll
http://www.knoll.com/knollnewsdetail/whats-good-for-people-moving-from-wellness-to-well-being Workplace strategies that address employees’ physical, emotional, and social well-being can … In fact, good talent is becoming less abundant all the time. In the …

It is unusual but Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle is known as a fun place to work. Look it up and you will see both attitude and process that has made it known worldwide.
–Home | Pike Place Fish Market · Fresh, Sustainable Seafood … https://www.pikeplacefish.com/ Located in Pike Place Market in Seattle, they have a crew of fish mongers who throw fish to entertain customers. Seafood is available for shipping anywhere in … An example of the Pike Place spirit is how they are celebrate the first day of spring. You will read “Pike Place Market volunteers and community members are brightening up corners of downtown Seattle with distribution of 10,000 locally grown daffodils from four Pike Place Market farmers to passerby at 15 central downtown locations.”

Why do I suggest you visit such sources? Simply because they inspire and might cause you to aspire to help generate that kind of place to work in your pharmacy. Can you do it alone? No. But you could print out the Pike Place story or buy your boss one of the books such as Fish Tales that tell its story. Fish! Tales: Real-Life Stories to Help You Transform … – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Tales-Real-Life-Transform-Workplace/dp/0786868686 Fish! told the story of a fictional company which transformed itself by applying lessons learned from Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish market. Now, with Fish! Sure you can’t do it alone, but might you convey that kind of playful spirit? Work is hard and harder when you feel coworkers hate you. Rather than bite your tongue and continue as a victim, you can dare to admit how you feel and get help from your boss. It’s his job to help his workers feel good about working there and with one another.

Will you let me know if anything I suggest rings true and, if so, what you decide to do.? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

FOLLOW UP: Hi,
Thanks for your advice. I just talked to my boss, actually he did not let me talk. I said I have some issues and without letting me talk about my issues, he started saying that he knows about the issues and he thinks I am the problem, the other staff are fine and I am the horrible person. He said everyone hates me and he is happy that I leave because I don’t fit in. He said “who are you with less than a year experience in pharmacy to tell people what to do?” (we were talking about shop staff and managing their punctuality. He was the one who had told me several times that I have to monitor other people’s jobs and behaviour at work and get them to do their jobs properly).

I asked him if he is dismissing me and he said “it’s up to you, come to do your POS work and don’t manage the other people! So I decided to leave, although I don’t have any other jobs!
I guess the problem is that I have a problem with the favourite one. This morning by accident I saw my boss and her texting at 7:50am! It wasn’t about work. So it seems she is more than a staff member who can do whatever she wants and I have to leave.

Reply: It’s good to learn how your boss evaluates you. Before quitting without another job, consider staying on and following his prescription of “don’t manage other people” while you look for another job. That way you have a paycheck and it’s usually easier to find another job while being employed. Sorry about all this.
Dr. G
FOLLOW UP 2:Yes, not managing other people as was asked to before, was my plan too.
It seems a little bit crazy but I am deeply hurt by the comments that he made today, I didn’t expect pity party but it didn’t seem you care too much about the fact he was unprofessional and disrespectful. Why is that?
Cheers 😊

Reply: It’s good to learn how your boss evaluates you. Before quitting without another job, consider staying on and following his prescription of “don’t manage other people” while you look for another job. That way you have a paycheck and it’s usually easier to find another job while being employed. Sorry about all this.

Dr. G