I recently just came over a problem at work. I work in a small growing business so our shift is only about 5 employees. Oh, did I mention 90% are female, as myself am. I have 2 close work companions. They are Latin and do not speak English fluently. I’m half Latin. I am also bilingual. I speak English fluently and my Spanish is great. The work we do is injection molding. We all mainly work on one machine that requires 3 employees to run it: One sitting at the table to inspect the parts that we are making. There are many other machines that run on their own which the supervisor always maintains. Since the business is growing and more parts are being ordered they are starting to slowly make changes and one of their goals is to get more employees on each shift to learn more about the machines. Now I am being taken out of my normal job duties to learn and train more. I like the change and I don’t have a problem learning. When I return to my normal job duties I feel like I’m being snubbed. They ignore me. When I walk up they all stop talking. Which I am more than sure the conversation is about me. What I don’t understand is that this is not a competition and I am not trying to take over or be on top. I am not trying to be better than anyone. I didn’t even ask to be trained. I now always feel like the outcast of the group. The language barrier between them and the owners is very difficult. They understand common hello and good-bye conversations but they do not know much if work related conversations. It does not make me feel great when I am being taught something and I feel like they are burning a hole in my back. I have always been helpful to their needs. Anything they ask me or don’t understand I help them. They even bring me paper work from home to help them fill out, and I help them in an instant. Why am I being treated like this now? Can you please help me make an understanding of all this?
Dear Rejected Dejected:
These situations are more common than they should be! It seems that there are two tracks to this situation. One is your career development and advancement. The other is how others respect and/or treat you. What seems to be happening is that these two things are at odds, although they shouldn’t be?Let’s look at the situation. Managers apparently see you as someone with growth potential and advancement, which is great. Your managers appear to feel that you can learn and expand your responsibilities. Regarding your new training, did management put out a memo explaining their plans for the company’s growth? Or have you explained it to your co-workers? Maybe they don’t understand what’s going on. They do seem to be disrespecting you, even though you have been great to them! Perhaps they feel left out. Communicating the ongoing changes might help them feel better.At the same time, they do seem to be going behind your back. Have you thought about asking why? This may lead to a mutual understanding. What if you asked them, “Is there a problem in out relationship? If so, I’d like to talk about it with you.” or, I’m wondering if you have some concerns about my new training. I hope we can still be friends and I’d like to hear your feelings.” Questions/comments like those could help open a discussion. Perhaps they feel that you will leave them and they will loose your friendship or contact.At the same time, their backstabbing shouldn’t prevent you from going forward. It sounds like you have done nice things for them and that they aren’t returning the favor. Perhaps they are fair-weather friends/co-workers who only like you when things are going their way. Are there other people that you can bond with there? If these co-workers are unresponsive to communication with you, perhaps it’s time to move on and focus on new relationships. I hope these suggestions are helpful! EGO is using communication to clear the air and move forward!
Steven H. Carney