Friday, August 14, 2015

Delta Perspective: Don’t put up with it (part 2)


Student in Blue asked: “Delta Man, do you consider this post to be applicable to female coworkers as well? If not, why not?”

Yes. It is because you shouldn’t take crap from anyone as a general rule. Let me get two things out of the way first. Please be advised that none of this is legal advice.

First, I’m answering as a Delta, not an Alpha. Second, there are extreme cases where you might have to take verbal abuse for a short period (like you lose insurance if you are let go and your child has a serious illness) and in that instance you are sacrificing yourself for a greater good. Don’t let this second be an excuse though and always, always, document abuse.

That being said this is a large and complicated subject but here’s my opinion:

If it is a “friendly” shit test or you feel confident with some game you can respond in kind. I can’t advise you when this is a good idea because every situation is unique. I’m not talking about belittling, spiteful abuse here, I’m referring to a small put down as she’s gauging if you are strong enough for her. I’ve responded in kind more than once in this situation and it’s always gone well for me, but I pick and choose them carefully. What I’ve found is that once word gets around the workplace you don’t take shit from anyone, then the women who are prone to verbal abuse will simply turn their attentions elsewhere and also have respect for you.

If it is seriously abusive and especially from a superior you need to confront her after the first instance and stand up for yourself. You need to make it clear that you don’t appreciate it and it makes for a hostile work environment. If it doesn’t stop then first thing to do is to very carefully read your company’s HR policy on harassment. You need to know it as well as the company’s lawyer and be able to recite it on notice. Second, you need to detail every instance thoroughly right after it happens. Send an email to yourself with time, date, and witnesses present. What you are doing is building a case which the HR department would be derelict in their duty to ignore.

You might be in for a nasty fight, but thorough documentation is extremely powerful in these situations and it’s been my experience bullies do not document their actions at all and don’t like it when other people do. At this point I’m going to request anyone reading this post with greater experience than I have to go ahead an offer some advice here. I don’t want to lead anyone down the wrong path, but regardless you shouldn’t take abuse from anyone if you can avoid it.

12 comments:

sconzey said...

An important thing to remember in any dealings with HR is that the HR department are not your friends. They work for your employer, not for you. In priority order they will protect: 1. The company and it's reputation, 2. Your boss's boss, 3. Your boss, 4. You.

When moving against a superior be very damned careful. "You come at the King; you best not miss." Find a sponsor of equal or greater rank than the bully who will support your greviance, or at least rally the support of sufficient of your peers. If you have a better relationship with HR than the bully, that can also be helpful.

liberranter said...

An important thing to remember in any dealings with HR is that the HR department are not your friends.

Damned straight they're not, especially if you're a man. HR departments are the most estrogen saturated of any organization.

tweell said...

If it's that kind of work environment, a dedicated voice recorder is handy, second would be a recording app on your fondleslab. A few taps, "just muting my phone" and your ass is considerably more covered. As sconzey noted, HR's highest priority is protecting the company, so make that work for you. If HR figures you can sue and win, they will throw whoever it is under the bus. Documentation and witnesses are nice, but a recording pushes it into slam-dunk territory.

Jeff said...

Assuming that asserting oneself and calling out the bad behavior doesn't fix the solution...

These ideas of protecting oneself with recordings, emails, etc. all sound like a good idea. Has anybody ever actually used them with success? From my own personal experience, it's easier to just find another job. I don't say that lightly either, as my relocations (for both good and bad reasons) often times meant relocation which more often than not meant selling and subsequently buying a home.

I now work remotely and the amount of office BS to deal with is about 5% of what it used to be. I know how fortunate I am to be in such a position, but it was roughly 20 years in the making.

Brad Andrews said...

This is a good reason to always be working on professional connections so you have more options if something does happen. Jobs don't always come on exact demand, even in a hot market, but connecting with others and doing favors can increase your odds significantly.

AmyJ said...

"What I’ve found is that once word gets around the workplace you don’t take shit from anyone, then the women who are prone to verbal abuse will simply turn their attentions elsewhere and also have respect for you."

A word of caution, though. Women can be particularly evil in an office environment; I have personally witnessed a group of women gang up on and eventually ruin a man that was known for not taking crap from anyone. They did this all behind the scenes, all the while poisoning the ears of the higher ups against him.

I'm not saying kowtow before witches; just understand it may become a war.

liberranter said...

Women can be particularly evil in an office environment; I have personally witnessed a group of women gang up on and eventually ruin a man that was known for not taking crap from anyone. They did this all behind the scenes, all the while poisoning the ears of the higher ups against him.

I'm not saying kowtow before witches; just understand it may become a war.


Yup. Spot on.

If women in the workplace (all the ones I've ever worked in, anyway) would put even a fraction of the effort, energy, and time into becoming even minimally competent at their jobs and getting work delivered to customers as they put into perpetuating high school drama, I would have at least a modicum of respect for them. As it is, the rest of us (read: men) do all of their work for them, plus our own, then spend even more MAN hours mopping up the messes that are the inevitable result of their juvenile idiocy.

permanentguest said...

These ideas of protecting oneself with recordings, emails, etc. all sound like a good idea. Has anybody ever actually used them with success? From my own personal experience, it's easier to just find another job.
It's the threat that is better than the execution here. If HR doesn't warn your supervisor, and you have to mire yourself in a legal battle, then finding work subsequently may be an issue as you'd be marked as a troublemaker.

This is why it's imperative to stand up for yourself at the FIRST sign of disrespect. If you don't, it will slowly build and compound to the point that you're in too deep. When you show that you won't tolerate it, you have sent a clear message, and someone of a bullying nature is unlikely to call your bluff and challenge you.

Brad Andrews said...

Get solid in demand skills and don't stay at toxic places longer than absolutely necessary.

Aeoli Pera said...

Speaking for the lower classes, women tend to be better workers in general but they still do the drama whenever there's a free moment. The men don't do drama unless someone is calling them out for slacking off, then they'll start shit to cause a distraction.

rumpole5 said...

I used to save all e-mail from higher ups in a "double secret policy and procedure" file. More than once I sent replies to new contradicting E-mails, attaching copies of the old e-mail and asking if the prior pronouncement was now void. Not only did that work, but it instilled fear of what else I might have. I am now, blessedly, retired. After 30 years in a bureaucracy, my advice is keep everything in a place they can't get to.

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