Humiliated By Young Associates

Question:

I work retail, and I am humiliated, threatened by young associates. I have no pleasure in being at work. I do not want to be in the same environment with them. I will talk to HR manager today,but I don’t know what to say. I have no plans on remaining employed with this company. Can you help me? What should I say to HR?

Signed,

Threatened By Young


Answer:

Dear Threatened By Young:

You are definite? You plan to quit. You plan to talk with your HR manager today. What should you say? That depends on why you want to talk. I assume you want to learn what are the proper steps to take to quit. Usually an employee gives two weeks notice in writing that she/he is leaving.

It is wise to exit in good standing. If the HR manager has positive evaluations of you on file, you might ask for copies. It usually is easier to find a new job while still employed at one, so you might talk with HR, saying that you want to take a few days leave (possibly without pay) so that you can hunt for another job, and if you do not find one in that time, you will resume work in your present position until you find one. I don’t know if it would be possible, but perhaps the HR manager could arrange a transfer for you to another store while you are job hunting. Possibly you also want to vent why you are leaving; that the young associates have threatened and humiliated you. If your goal is to express anger against certain “young associates”, be specific with examples and guard against making unsupported accusations. If your goal is to help this business to be successful, provide ideas that will help it better serve customers and develop good working relationships.

Is not the important thing for you is to learn from this unhappy situation? Sometimes we learn best from things that hurt; when we are burned, we learn not to grab hot handles. So what might have escalated between those young associates and you that humiliated and threatened? Is there anything that you might have done to cause and/or stop that? What might be done to prevent such to happen in your next place of work? Do keep us posted on what transpires during this time of leaving and finding new employment. Hopefully you can leave without allowing this unhappy experience sour you. There are times when we had best put the past out of our mind and replace that with a “can-do” attitude, the kind of spirit a new employer will look for. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Look for that kind of workplace. Follow Up: Thank you for the reply. I’m still having problems with one young associate who makes unbelievable remarks. They are very childish, and he even follows me from his department into the aisles to be a disrespectful brat. I’m 53 years old. I have tried for four months to ignore him, and not stoop to his level. Even filing harassment doesn’t work. Everything you say makes sense, and I have never experienced this kind of situation in my employment career. Of course, I’m looking for a job elsewhere and I would probably give only a one weeks notice, which would be my wrongdoing. Would this not be advisable? If this were my child, I would slap it across the chops once and move to Canada…sorry I said this. I have never been abusive to my child. Hope you will write back. Thanks. Can’t Ignore Him Follow Up Reply: Hang in there until you find another job offer. Frankly, a 53 year-year old should not allow a young associate to drive him from his job! You should have met with your manager to describe this associate’s behavior that was uncooperative or disrespectful. You are employed to sell, to attend to retail customers. Make that your goal and don’t allow a coworker to distract you from that. If your manager has not believed you, you will need to be specific and take your complaints above. And until something is done, avoid this coworker as much as possible.

You are an adult and if you need your job as most of us do, you should keep it. When this associate purposely irritates or distracts you from your work, you should be able to say, “Stop!” Or “We both work here. Keep out of my face.” Or “If I can be of help to you, let me know. I can be more helpful if you speak to me respectfully.” Be firm. And then move away from him. Your manager should be apprised of what this associate has done or said that is not appropriate and civil. He should bring you two together to hear from each of you what is going on. You say, “Filing harassment doesn’t work.” Did you present a written description of the specific acts of this associate that harassed you? Did you keep a log of what he said that was meant to annoy you, when he said it, where, and what seemed to prompt his remarks? Also did you note if others persons were present and if customers could have overheard? Did you meet with your manager to present this and ask his/her assistance in filing the complaint properly? What was the response? Apparently the behaviors did not stop. Correcting snide remarks are not easily detectable for a manager, so specifics matter.

It is obvious that you have become obsessed with this associate. Customers should be your obsession. Selling should be your obsession. Displays should be your obsession. Take this current irritation as just that. See it as learning how to cope with a difficult person until it is resolved, or simply something with which you can cope.

These thoughts are meant to assist you in both confronting and reporting the problem you are experiencing with this coworker until and if you find another job. Once you have another job offer, you can confer with your manager about the proper length of time to give notice.

William Gorden