My coworker and I run a rotating night/day shift. We work the night shift with two other individuals, but we are the only ones that are bad-mouthed and constantly put down to the boss and by individuals who know nothing of our work or even how to do our job. Yet they constantly say they could have done more. They aren’t working it but we get a constant barrage of insults. Could this be considered harassment since it never quits and management doesn’t do anything about it? Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Night Workers


Dear Night Workers:

Unfortunately you are not alone. We have received questions from many others who also are annoyed and angered because of being treated like dirt by a boss or coworkers. Your brief description tells me how discouraged you are. But is that harassment? No. As I wrote just two days ago to a similar query: “Workplace harassment pertains to discrimination, coercion or a hostile environment based on race, national origin, sex, religion, age, or physical disability. Charging harassment can’t be brought for such reasons as bullying, verbal abuse, assigning too much work or nasty bosses.” http://workplacedoctors.com/wpdocs/qdetail.asp?id=2371 Do read my long answer to the above listed question because it details how one might confront and cope with a frequent badmouthing and discounting of what you do. Transforming a stormy workplace climate to sunny hinges both on assertive/supportive interaction between coworkers and on management that encourages workplace-wide quality mindedness. The sad facts are that some individuals put down of others makes them feel superior; it’s a you-down/me me-up game. In your case, the two of you have several overlapping options: · Compile a dated list of the work you do; time expended on each task. · Request a time-out meeting with your boss. In that meeting frankly tell him how you feel about badmouthing and discounting what you do. Ask his/her advice. Say you want advice more frequently. Have a mindset of wanting to make the boss look good, rather than one of suppressing your displeasure with him/her. It is a boss’s responsibility to correct discord among those under her/his charge. So tell him that you want to do your part and you hope/expect the same from her/him.

· Invite your boss to shadow you for several nights. Ask him/her to log each project.

· How do you leave the workplace to the next shift? Clean, cluttered, made easy, or difficult for those who replace you? Is there any way you might improve on that? · Put on your thinking caps and make a list of suggestions of ways to save the company money: cutting wasted supplies, time, energy and of new ways to make your night shift really add value. You no doubt have internal and/or external customers. What might your night shift do to make those customers more pleased? · What is it that can only be achieved if your day and night shifts cooperate? If for example, what would happen if the next raise hinged on the productivity of your unit and not on anyone individually? Or what if your units sent out were lumped together for day and night? What if you had day and night people on the same team and got a day off each three months if total rejects/defects were 10% lower than last quarter? This is to suggest that if you could agree on an over-arching goal for your work unit, the chances are that rather than badmouthing there would be some cheer leading and applause. There is no quick fix to patterns of putting others down. The grim fact is that unless you and your superior candidly confront it, it will continue. You will continue to “take it” until and if you make your voice heard for civility, respect, and doing what you can to make your workplace a good place to come to work. Tell me how these thoughts might apply to you and your coworkers and let me know what my signature sentence means for you all: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden