Friday, October 3, 2008

Advice #1

Let's help her out! What would you do??

I work full time for a company that is mostly dominated by men. My boss and I are great friends and we have an awesome working relationship. I am good friends with his cute wife and have really enjoyed getting to know them. We each have an office right next to each other and are in a separate part of the building near the HR director (Scott) and some other head company guys.

Since I am the only girl around the guys like to give me a hard time, in a fun way, but every so often Scott will get out of hand and make “female bashing” comments to try and get me to react.

A little while we (my boss, Scott and I) were talking about a problem Scott knows of about a mom who didn’t like her son dating his girlfriend and how she had insulted his girlfriend in front of a bunch of girls and got emotions all involved. I related a story from when I was younger about how the mom of the guy I was dating didn’t like me and tried to get us to break up and eventually was successful.

The boy I dated went off to college and got into some trouble. The next year I attended the same college and we started dating once again. I told him that I found it funny that during that time, his mom called me and encouraged our relationship and wanted me to “help” her son. Her son ended up making even worse decisions and we eventually broke up for good. The main reason was because I had walked in on him “being intimate” with some girl. Being a good Christian girl, I was devastated. However, I did think it was funny since his mom thought that I had been so "bad" and was I really a saint compared to him... and I am no where near perfect.

I told Scott that things aren’t always what they seem and that when I ran into him a couple years later I asked him why he did that to me and he simply answered “because I respected you and knew you wouldn’t give it up.” I told them that made me feel good about myself and my morals. Scott once again started giving me crap about how girls are emotional and that I was dumb to try to help him. I finally just stopped talking to them and Scott eventually left and went back to work.

At the end of the day, my bosses ride came downstairs to pick him up. I went to school with his sister and he knows me pretty well since we work together. The minute he walked in, Scott immediately said “You should have heard the story Ann told us today about her past. She was telling us how she was giving it up for free…”

I was in my office and heard him so I immediately jumped from my desk to defend myself and said “Excuse me, I didn’t “give it up” that was the problem… quit changing the story,” and went back into my office. Then he yells, “Well if you didn’t give it up for free, how much did it cost him?”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. He was making me out to be something I totally am not and at work in front of people who didn’t even hear the story, which to me is worse. I was upset but just sat there quietly.

My boss was shocked the Scott would say that and said “hey now, that’s not very nice,” and then everyone just sort of walked away and went home.

All of this happened on a Friday and on Monday I was still hurt by it and didn’t go to work until Tuesday afternoon. Since then I have just been in my office and haven't been interacting with the others at work. When Scott comes and stands between out offices and tries to rile me up, I will ignore him or give him a weak smile and not really even look up from my computer. It is awkward for me now and I am not sure what to do.

I loved my job before all of this. Sometimes I would get tired of being picked on, but it wasn’t too bad. Now, each night I dread the next morning and hate the drive to work. I like what I do and I like the rest of the people, but I dread seeing him… and the worst part… remember I said he is HR- Human Resources.

I related the story to my husband and he said “How do you think he would feel if I referred to his wife the way he referred to you?” I could tell he was upset too and he knows that I am hating my work right now even though I love what I do.

Am I making a big deal out of this?

Should I put on my big girl pants and just get over it?

How do you just get over it?

What would you do?

*All names have been changed


Mamarazzi said...

tough one.

my first reaction was to tell you to just get over it. i guess i am thick skinned though so that might be easier said than done.

i would just avoid him all together. see if anything changes. if he asks why tell him. let him know you are offended. that you are sure he didn't mean to are.

then drop it.

that's just my two cents. i am interested in reading other people's thoughts!

Felicia Eis said...

Hmm...have you talked to your boss?

Jennifer Eoff said...

My advice is to speak up. If his comments bother you then that is harassment. Talk to him first & let him know that he stepped over the line. If that doesn't resolve the situation, I would involve your boss. He may be HR but he has no right to make you feel uncomfortable at your job.

gingela5 said...

I would go talk to him and tell him how much it hurts your feelings and how uncomfortable it's made you feel at work. If that doesn't work find his superior and tell him how it's made you feel. He might be used to joking around like that with other women that he knows and it doesn't bother them. And when he's in your office joking just keep ignoring him or tell him flat out that it's not funny.

Lavender n Latt├ęs said...

The thing that struck me the most is that "he is HR". Hmmm...I know he is your friend, but that is YOUR workplace as well - not just his.

But really, what he did could very well be considered sexual harrassment - simply because it made you uncomfortable. (I worked in HR for many years).

He needs to know that he has to abide by the same rules as every other employee. Being in that position does not make you exempt from the law.

I'm not one for confrontation, and I know it's difficult, but you should to talk to him. If you do it in a calm way, he may listen just a little "longer". Just let him know that you value the frienship and that this time it went a little to far and that you are uncomfortable with it.

(He probably already knows this but is too embarrased to bring it up with you.)

Good Luck :)

Ronnica said...

What he said was not okay. I would confront him first. If he apologizes, I'd accept it, forgive him, and seek to move on. If something happens again, then I would speak to the boss about it.

Elizabeth said...

I, too find it strange that the HR guy harrasses people. He probably thinks he is funny, and some women would just brush him off. But what will he scream out next time? And how could it effect someone's career, depending on how the word gets around?
Taking the high road and staying calm is the best way to go. I'd talk to him at the end of a work day so he has time to go home and think, but not run around the office gossipping about the situation, looking for people to tell him that what he did was OK. You also want those that heard his foolishness to see that while it bothered you, you handled it professionally, not ignoring the situation or crying, just making sure he knows your position on what he said/did, and what the repercussions could be ine future.
I hope you'll come back and post how things turned out.

Tami said...

Wow! Scott is definitely abusing his authority.

I read an article not to long ago about what kinds of comments are sexual harassment and this is very close to one of the examples. Several examples were very surprising to me. One statement that stood out to me was if someone else could say the exact same thing to you and it would offend you, then it's sexual harassment and can lead to a hostile work enviornment.

I would suggest you speak with Scott with another person present. It be nice if you had another women who had a supervisory position. Be firm and do not let anyone "dismiss" your feelings.

If Scott continues this, I would start writing down things he says to you as well as making sure you keep letting him know that he is offending you.

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