I received this message, seeking help because officemates are harassing her. I posted her story anonymously so the community can help.
I am a newbie in our office now and I am still under proby. I belong to an HR-Shared Services. I was so excited when I was hired after months of waiting after I got eliminated from my previous one due to “company change”.
As a newbie, I never hesitated to greet, smile at everyone, offer my snacks to them and even have a cigarette break with those who are also smoking in the group. Never did I realize, until one concerned colleague of mine told me that I should take precautions when it comes to interacting with those people.
To cut the daily struggles I had in the office, I received a couple of screenshots of the group chat these people created in Viber. I saw there photos of me, sadly, posted by a colleague. After posting it, there came some comments that are obviously harassing and making fun of me. A photo of a “muddy beki” with sunglasses was even posted with a caption “xxxxx after Bora”.
I am so upset and demotivated now. I would always drag myself to work and stressed in the office, somehow paranoid that somebody might be taking photos of me again or whatnot. I am still in my learning curve and my boss would want me to perform a major task/process in our office on my own and then she told me that she would just check it if there’s a need to. I was so bluntly honest and transparent during my pre-employment interview that I know nothing about the process and she told me that there will be a one-on-one training for each.
To be honest, there’s still a lot to this. I am 37 years of age and the tenured ones in the office are just in their mid-20’s. To most of them, it’s their first job.
So like, I want to file my immediate resignation once I made them aware that I know what they have been doing. But of course, it won’t and should not stop there! I definitely want to file a case against them, not only to defend myself and bring back the dignity I earned for my 21 years of working, but also for them to realize that what they’re doing is awfully wrong and unjust. I am not the only victim here, the person I replaced for the position also resigned because of the same situation.
I deeply appreciate your time reading my sentiments/issue in my workplace. I hope and pray that I may be guided accordingly as to what I should do. I already have plans to address this issue in our higher management based in the US for the reason that our Manila HR is so close to my supervisors and colleagues so it seems to give me hesitations of bringing this matter to their plate.
I think you should still report it directly to your boss that these things might be happening under her nose. You give her some benefit of the doubt because your colleagues might be acting “angels” and “all that” in front of her. One of the possible consequences if ever you by-pass her is that your making her look as an incompetent leader/manager and that might cause strain in your working relationship. Better if u make a formal incident report. These colleagues of yours are professional bullies and insecure. that they are harassing team members every time there’s a newbie because you might know something that they don’t. I think you shouldn’t resign until this incident is closed. Just take it as part of your learnings
1st: Confront your workmates. Tell them how their jokes and treatment are unvaluable in the workplace and it is not helping. Have the guts & confidence to tell everything straight in their faces. Say for example, that it is only their way for you to get out of your shell and mingle with them, that they think you are being too serious. Try to blend in and at the same time tell them that you are being offended by their harassing activities.
2nd: Don’t stop being that jolly person.
3rd: I agree with raising it to the L&R but then again let you boss know about your sentiment first. Do not bypass your boss. It is still proper to show respect to others even if people already took it away from you. Tell your boss about your plans. If your boss, is one of a kind, and insensitive, at least you gave him your insight and right there & then, start doing your thing.
4th: You’ll be more affected by this situation but it is a matter of how you stand up again and be confident. Besides, its not about those in mid 20’s that they already achieve something but the attitude is still …. (yah know!)
It is time for you to show that, that you are matured enough to face them and the consequences of their actions are severe.
You’ll get through this.
never thought that this happens within hr group. i feel you. were of the same age. and we somehow experienced the same.
bit of advice:
take the courage to bring this matter to your local boss and ask for a conference with the concerned hr people. i would expect they will give you time.
open up and tell them what you think, what you feel. you may never know, it was just some misunderstandings. open communication is still the best way to deal with this kind of situations. as this is what i did.
right now we are working as a team. i wish you best.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, this I am a firm believer of. In our profession, whether front liner HR or team member of HRO, we have the option and always have the choice to address concerns head on. In my opinion, at our age, we choose whose opinion we take to heart. I am sure this is not the first time you have encountered such situation, maybe at a different perspective or aspect or situation. Sometimes doing something new is scary especially if you are surrounded with a young group. They tend to be very ambitious and never minding of stepping on other people’s toes (for some, could be to many as well). Im sure your post reports to someone and that someone might be one you can seek guidance on how to be better at what you are to do (unless that someone is leading the whole harassing or bullying rally against you then thats a different story). Don’t let these mindless bullying folks (mind the term i use, LOL) affect you because at least we now know the kind of character they want to display. How we react to it defines who we are as a person. Sometimes, the war for skill becomes a war of character. If i were in your shoes, I WILL IGNORE THOSE BITCHES (forgive my french) because at the end of the day He or She is not my boss. Remember, you are not there to look for friends. You are there to work. Gaining friends in the workplace is a Bonus.
I hope i made sense. Hehe. Nightynight.
Regarding the pictures, that can you thought was harassing you, there are different procedures on how to address this depending on the company, but the common process is to forward the concern to the immediate supervisor, and then to your HR rep as necessary.
As for the work expectations, personally I have been through worse. This isn’t the first time an employee is ask to do a task without proper training and preparation given, and it wont be the last. The key here is communication, have the goals and expectations clearly been defined? Was there any discussion on the requirements to allow those goals to be met? Or this could be just a way to see how resourceful or independent the employee can be. Nothing really enough reason to resign.
Although not getting along with your colleagues can make work life difficult, regardless on how easy or hard your job is. I for one have left jobs that I enjoyed doing simply because I didn’t connect with the people and or accepted the corporate culture, on the flip side I worked in jobs that were not as good but I felt at home there and felt proud to be part of the organization.
So here are the things that I think you should do:
1. Talk to your manager – he is the best person to ask about these sensitive matters.
2. If your direct manager is a part of this mess – talk to someone higher than him. Someone whom you think can address this harassing issue. I don’t know how but I feel like we need to address this kind of act or behaviour in the office setting. This is VERY unprofessional and whether that HIGHER person likes it or not, it also tarnishes the name of the organization.
3. If number 2 fails, I suggest that you start looking or scouting for another opportunity. Do not resign yet as this will be a lose-lose scenario on your end – you won’t be able to escalate this issue and you will lose your job/earning.
4. If all else fail – I guess the best decision is to just leave. YOU WILL NOT LIKE WORKING IN AN ENVIRONMENT WITH A CULTURE AS BAD AS THAT. And culture takes time to be changed or remoulded, you can be an agent of change but I believe you came there to work not to do things you are not supposed to do such as changing someone else’s behaviour.
My point of view: 1. If you confront these people, things will only get worse. and 2. If you don’t talk to them, it could continue. Best solution, would be to talk to you immediate supervisor, or better yet send an e-mail addressed to him/her, cc the HR head, attach the proof of harassment, and make sure to mention that this is already pushing you to quit because you feel that the office is no longer a healthy working environment for anyone. Make sure to mention that as members of the HR department, it is their sole responsibility to adhere by all labor laws, and this is a violation of such. Mention that you may and will exercise your right as an employee to file a complaint against the company for what these people are doing to you, since they are employed by the company, the company is answerable to the NLRC concerning these cases. Make sure everything is documented, otherwise they can all deny these allegations and you may lose your job in the process.
What about you, what advice can you give?