I Feel Like All Are Against Me!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a team that is in trouble: My job is fun but due to rumors I feel people don’t like me. Should I seek help for EPA or seek work elsewhere?

Thanks for letting me use this forum. I am experiencing a workplace dilemma. I have been working at this place four almost four years now. The job is fun and I have a lot of friendly coworkers who I talk to frequently. However, my work center or team has been falling apart.

There are two employees that have been problems on other shifts and to me as well. No one employee ever has anything good to say about the one. The other has been on this shift and not exposed to the other shifts. I have been welcomed on all three shifts. I have people who stop to say hi and talk and I feel comfortable at them all. Except for lately. A series of new employees came within this year. Their reluctance to befriend me or accept my extenuation of friendship made me feel as though they were misinformed by one to both of the troublesome coworkers.

One of the new workers went to another shift now seeks me out and says Hi and is very friendly to me. I never bothered to ask him if he treated me badly from a misconceived rumor or what. I went to a new shift 7 days ago. I feel I get the cold shoulder from the arriving shift (my previous shift) almost as though everyone has been put against me. They won’t even look in my eyes. Prior to the shift change. There were a series of Parties that a lot of coworkers went to. It was obvious that I wasn’t invited. I dismissed the notion that there were rumors about me and that they were out to get me.

Although that feeling keeps coming up as much as I try to squelch it. My Boss or pusher. He talks bad about everyone. It seems lately he has been pushing me as soon as he gets on the job. Which is an hour earlier. It has made me rush out. Usually we have fifteen minutes to inventory our tools and wash our hands and sign out. Lately he has been broadcasting small discrepancies and hurrying me not giving me the regular sign out time. I keep going over by five minutes and when I told him hey I am going over. He said not by my watch and showed me his.

However, I came in on mine and wish to leave on mine. I don’t mind staying over for a job that is critical to what we do and customer support. But the arriving shift and the time schedule there has hours to complete what he wants me to do, overwhelming me. Or it at least feels that way. I tried to dismiss it as lack of sleep from trying to adjust to the new time schedules and sleep pattern.

Anyway what provoked me to write this is there are many more problems at work. The two problem people have now made the number of people on that shift giving me the cold shoulder eight. The new shift coworker whom I work with also came from another shift. Noticed right away they don’t like me. He said man they don’t like you do they. I said I was thinking it was me, but I guess now I know they don’t. He asked me why and I couldn’t put a finger on any one instance with the other six. But the two that have been there awhile I could. But the other six haven’t been here that long and haven’t been exposed to me. When they have it’s been real distant. I thought that once they got to know me they would soften up. I am getting scared for my job.

Now it seems that people that don’t even know me or take the time to get to know me are not liking me. I am being the recipient of some type of rumors or some politics that is making it hard. As much as I try to remain happy and say hi and talk to the people at work in other shops. I still see these glances and deliberate head moves to avoid even eye contact from this group. I am afraid it may grow before I can dwindle it back to the two. Should I seek out the company EAP? I do know in my own life my problems with dealing with the loss of a child a year and a half ago has led to the dismantling of the relationships with family members. I am wondering if this is carrying into work too. Is this fixable? Have you seen this before? Should I seek work elsewhere?

Signed, Shunned

Dear Shunned:

It’s unfortunate when rumors and gossip influence workplace relationships. It also sounds like you’re having problems with your boss. It must be pretty frustrating and unhappy to be there so I hope I can offer some ideas to help. The best strategy is probably to separate these problems and tackle them separately. For example, it sounds like your co-workers might have spread some rumors or gossip about you. Have you asked any of them what was said or why they are giving you the cold shoulder? Sometimes, by raising the issue tactfully, you can get to the bottom of it. You could focus on the co-workers that are new and more friendly with you. You could talk to them separately or maybe go to lunch some time and ask something like, “Are you uncomfortable with my work or something you have heard about me? I would like to hear your perspective because I think there might be a misunderstanding and I would like us to have good relationships.”

That way, you are not blaming them for what’s happened but opening a discussion and showing a willingness to hear their viewpoint. It’s hard to say what’s behind their behavior but hopefully, they will open up and tell you. If they do raise a problem and it’s one you weren’t aware of, you can tell them that. You can suggest that you would like to have more open communication in the future.

The situation with your boss sounds difficult as well, but in that case, it sounds like he goes after other employees too. Although I don’t think a bullying or bossy style is a very effective one, there are bosses who try to manage employees that way. Maybe you can talk to him and suggest that you work out a better and more effective way to communicate and plan the work so things go more smoothly. You can tell him that you want to do a great job but you need enough time to get everything accomplished. See how he responds. Maybe you can offer some suggestions for better efficiency–that will make you look like a problem solver, not just someone who is complaining.

If you have an EAP, it doesn’t hurt to get some perspective that way as well. Use the resources that are open to you and you will feel less isolated in dealing with these problems.I do feel badly about the family tragedy you mentioned. Things like that will often cause great stress for families and family relationships. Have any of you gone to a counselor or therapist? They can be helpful and supportive in situations like those. It can take years for families to heal problems like that. I hope things go better for you. Let us know if any of these ideas are helpful. WEGO is using communication to clear the air and resolve problems.

Steven H. Carney, Guest Respondent