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Dealing With Problems at Work

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 18 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Work Office Manager Problem Gossip Bully

Most of us have to work for a living, and spend time in an office (or workplace) with people that we don’t really like and wouldn’t choose to spend time with unless we were being paid for it. But when the people in the office are causing you a problem it can be hard to know what to do.

The Boss From Hell

Unfortunately, at one time or another, most of us will come across a boss who is less than cooperative. If you have a bad relationship with your manager at work it can impact on everybody, and can feel very personal. If you feel as though you’re being treated unfairly, over worked, or given the less responsible projects regularly while a colleague is given all the interesting work, you have to speak out before it drives you mad.

The first thing to do is take the offending manager to one side and ask him or her whether they have an issue with your work. They may not even realise that they have been treating you unfairly, and could well respect your direct approach. If you have too much work on – simply explain that you need some help because you feel you won’t be able to give the tasks your best if you have too much on. Ask to shift a deadline or give something to a colleague.

If your manager is being hostile, bullying you or making your work life difficult, and a chat with her doesn’t help, consider taking the matter up with a senior manager or even your union if you’re a member. Don’t suffer in silence.

Being Bullied at Work

Bullies never seem to grow up, and many of them seem to carry on their antics from the school playground to the workplace. If you become a victim of bullying, remember it’s not your fault, you don’t deserve it, and you should never have to tolerate bullying at any age.

If there’s no way that you can keep away from them, you’ll just have to face up to the issue and tell someone in authority that this person (or in some cases, group of people) is making your life a misery. If the person bullying you is a manager, go to his or her superior and/or your union. Most employers now have strict anti-bullying policies, as workplace bullying has been highlighted in the media over recent years.

Keep a note of incidents that upset you, and any communications such as abusive e-mails or text messages you might have received from the bully. Take up your company’s anti-bullying procedures and don’t let the bullies break you down. They are the people in the wrong, not you.

Being A Target Of Office Gossip

There are always people in any workplace who make it their business to know everyone else’s. You’ll know who they are within days of starting any new job, as they will be sidling up to you, full of information on who is sleeping with who, who was caught stealing stationery, and who is ‘definitely gay’.

It might feel flattering to be in with the office gossip, but remember that if they talk to you – they will also be talking about you. Be very careful what you say around anyone who gossips, whether it’s about you or a colleague. You don’t want to get a name for spreading gossip yourself.

If someone is spreading malicious and/or untrue gossip about you, you have every right to be upset. Either speak to a manager about the problem, or confront the gossip yourself and ask them not to spread this kind of rumour.

The Office Perv

Unfortunately, offices are prone to having sleazy people in too, and some men (and women) find it highly amusing to make colleagues feel uncomfortable by making lewd comments, being sexist or telling inappropriate jokes. If this kind of talk makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them you would rather not hear their jokes or receive their dodgy e-mails any more. Don’t let on that you’re uncomfortable with it, as sometimes they can thrive on that. Just be assertive and say you don’t really find that sort of thing amusing.

If it doesn’t stop at smutty comments, and you’re actually being harassed by someone at work, this is unacceptable and you should report it to someone in authority as soon as possible. Don’t just sweep it under the carpet, however uncomfortable you feel...they could be harassing other people too and the longer they get away with it, the worse it could get.

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