Workplace Hatred By Coworker

Question:

There is a co-worker who hates me. We all started as temp employees but I was hired by the company before him. We used to talk, but as soon as he was hired he stopped talking to me. When we meet face to face, he turns around and goes back or looks at the wall until I pass by. We are in the same group at work, do the same job.

I raised my concern with the boss and he told him there is nothing I did. Of all the people in the company it’s only me he does not talk to. I’m not looking for friendship but being in the same group and doing the same job it looks unprofessional. After one year of me being hired then this guy was also hired and when I learnt about it I said congratulations to him but he did not answer. I thought that the situation would change after he got hired but nothing. This situation is stressing me a lot up to the extent of thinking about leaving the job.

I’m also scared for my life. If some one can hate you like that, then he can also do something bad to you. If not hatred then it is discrimination because I’m also an immigrant from Africa.

Signed,

Hates Me


Answer:

Dear Hates Me:

You describe a hostile coworker. You don’t understand why he is this way, but it might help resolve his incivility if you learned why. Your no-talking coworker apparently doesn’t want to be linked to you, possibly because others will think there is a relationship going on. This might be due to his prejudice or simply that he doesn’t want you or others to think you have a sexual relationship. Obviously from this distance, there is no way of knowing. So what should you do? My advice: · Don’t allow anyone to make you quit your job by treating you as if you don’t exist or making you feel he/she hates you. You deserve to work and were hired because your employer determined you could do the job. · Don’t do more than say hello to this individual. Don’t cause him to think you want to talk as you once did as friends. · Again meet with your superior. Explain what you’ve described and add that you feel this coworker must hate you to not communicate. Ask that your boss investigate why this coworker behaves this way and that rules of civility be made clear. One such rule is to greet coworkers with a pleasant hello and to occasionally say a kind word, about the weather if nothing else. · Propose to your boss that your work group meet regularly and talk about how it might function as a team; a team that seeks to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted money. And more, suggest that you think it would be helpful for you work group to talk about how to make each others job more effective and easier. In short, suggest that you want to work cooperatively and to make each others work pleasant. One of the suggestions I often make is that a boss should act as a coach and that he/she has regular skull sessions and occasional huddles. One of the most valuable actions that a coach can do for a team is to have them invest a few minutes listing do and don’t rules; rules about how they should and shouldn’t communicate as a team. Don’t allow this unhappy, even hateful, experience with a coworker to obsess you. You are a person worthy of a job without him and in spite of him. Find the kind of self-esteem that bolsters you by doing good work and having a happy life outside of work. Hopefully you will not just have a job, but will increasingly see your job as a career path; that provides both a living and a loving of helping make this world more civil. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that is what you want for your self, your coworkers and your boss.

William Gorden