I need help. I don't know how to stand up for myself at work.

Do the job crappily. Then put their name on it. And never ever do it on time. If they ask where it is, tell them you’ll get right on it and put it off for another week. Half-ass it to them a week late. That should get them to stop asking you

Start looking for a new job. The job you had and place you loved are gone, and it sounds like they’re deliberately gaslighting you. When a long-time employee’s issues are dismissed as whining, it’s as good as over.

Heh - that reminds me of the time my supervisor was giving me a list of all the things I had to get done before I finished working out my two-week notice when I quit the job. I smiled and nodded and only did the things I wanted to do. What are they going to do - fire me?

^^^This. Say it loud and proud.

Omigod, I would never be able to do that. I’m such a fucking Girl Scout at work. A pissed off Girl Scout, but a Girl Scout nonetheless.

Buy some goddamn Thin Mints and leave me the hell alone!!

Thanks for all the good advice so far, but:

Whoa, whoa. First, in my 8 years there, this is only the second time I have ever complained about anything. In the past I have always got along well with everyone at work, and gone above and beyond the call of duty (the reason for the better than average reviews). I was the sole manager, buyer, and employee of a small art store there for 6 of my 8 years, which is gone only because the art department could no longer afford to fund it. So “annoying crybaby” is something I am not.

I have said no to these bullies -which is what they are being- before, but when I do, they’re nastier to me. Who would want to make their unpleasant workplace even more unpleasant? That’s why I’ve been taking a spoonful of bullshit, so I won’t have to deal with a bucket. What I’m basically asking is how I can, if there’s even a way, to avoid the spoonful or deal with it so it doesn’t happen again. You’re not giving any advice so much as you’re being insulting and judgmental.

Thanks to all others for the constructive advice though. I have been looking for another job for over a year already, even just a receptionist position.

Come out to Calgary like everyone else - we have tons of receptionist positions. We even have graphic designer positions. :slight_smile:

If you want them to stop being nasty then call them out on their BS. Bullies won’t change unless you stomp on their necks. It’s not your fault that they’re nasty, and you don’t deserve any of their shit. They are responsible for their own work and if they are too unhappy to deal with it then they should quit. They shouldn’t rely on you to do the work for them.

I know you’re looking for a non-confrontational way to deal with this, but you’ve tried going to your boss and that didn’t work. You could try some of the office jujitsu suggested by Cat Whisperer, but if that doesn’t work then start being tough.

Here is what I have heard said (by me and others) when people get nasty about others not doing their work for them:

Sure I’ll do the work, just give me your paycheck and I’ll do it.

I have less work only because I can do my work a lot better and faster than you can. You need more practice so I won’t take any work from you.

It’s not my problem you’re worthless Jim.

Fine, I’ll do X, but only if you do Y. (Once they say they don’t want to do Y then they can’t really complain about you not doing X).

Stop bitching Jim and do your work.
It’s always possible that if you confront them then you’ll have to deal with their nastiness forever. That could happen, which is why being non-confrontational is always the first option. But sometimes problems just don’t go away without confrontation. Bullying is notoriously among the top of the list of such problems.

When I hate coworkers I just try to get them fired. The better I am at my job the easier this is because they can’t use this tactic against me.

It really wasn’t that hard - I just kept putting stuff off until I didn’t come to work any longer. :slight_smile:

Generally being non-assertive to bullies only makes them push you more it seems. Sometimes you’ve got to say no a few times and if that doesn’t work, push back hard if you want them to stop being rude.

I’ll add a +1 to the “just say no”

I like a lot of what has been offered (although I confess I only skimmed the thread), but here is what I tell everyone (and am usually ignored.)

Buy a Compositionnotebook and keep a journal of all activity. Use this kind of notebook as it will show that you have not ripped out any pages.

Once you have a good log, go to your boss and ask for help. Have a list of incidents and bullet points. Don’t leave until you have made all the points you want to make. The list allows you to not forget points and helps keep it less emotional. Ask him for help in guiding you on how to fix your issues.

I have found that people tend to take me much more seriously when they know I have an accurate account of what happens day to day.

If you don’t get help from you boss, go to HR.

Give serious thought to how you can change jobs. Sometimes you aren’t meant to be at a certain place. You spend almost 1/3 of you life at work (if it is a full time job.) Life it too short to be miserable 1/3 of the time.

I think it’s very hard to change the type of person you are within a workplace where you are known for being a pushover. So I would suggest looking for a new job to give yourself a fresh start. However, you need to start preparing yourself to make changes in the way you deal with and approach people.

I’m not sure how old you are, but you remind me a lot of myself when I was first starting out in the working world. What I can tell you, after many more years’ experience, is that your manager is not going to be that interested in hearing you whine, which is what you have described in your OP:

When you’re talking to a manager, always frame your problems in business terms. So say:

With regards what you’ve said about yourself:

I think you’re falling into the trap of being passive, because you think the only other option is being aggressive.

There’s a middle ground option, which is to be assertive. Arguments are not always about two people shouting at each other, people can civilly discuss their own points of view and come to a mutual compromise that they’re both satisfied with. Drama isn’t always about crying and shouting, people can express a problem they are having in a calm manner and find a solution that works for them.

Okay, you can’t control how other people behave, and you will find people that think the only way to argue is to raise your voice and be threatening, and you will find people who think that having a temper tantrum in the office is the way to get their problems solved, but that’s them, not you.

You can control how you react to that, and the best way to react is assertively, by keeping calm, not losing your own cool, and letting that person take ownership of their own behaviour. It is not your job to calm people down, to make them happy, to do their work for them. But the kinds of people that get themselves all worked up and angry and stressed are the kinds of people that will try and fob things off on you if you look like a ‘soft touch.’

It’s not about being a bitch, it’s about letting them own their own problems and letting them be responsible for solving them. That doesn’t mean you can’t contribute, or offer solutions, or occassionally help them out by doing some work for them, but the onus is on them to sort themselves out, not on you.

A friendly work environment is nice to have, but the main aim is to have a work environment that is conducive to getting work done.

When you want everything to be nicey-nice all the time, you are inevitably going to be disappointed and that brings you stress. Life isn’t nice all the time. Most of the time we’re neutral, and every now and then something nice happens and other times something bad happens.

Both me and my husband were really helped by a couple of selfhelp books. One is called 'Don’t Say Yes When You Want To Say No.’ I think it’s out of print now but I’d imagine your local library might hae a copy. The other is ‘The Disease to Please - How to Cure the People-Pleasing Syndrome.’ I’ve written those titles from memory, so they may not be exactly right. In reading those books, I came to realise how the way I behaved dictated how other people treated me. So the problem wasn’t ‘all these people are mean and horrible,’ but was ‘I need to change the way I present myself to these people.’

I realise this has been a bit of a rambling post, I hope it’s coherent enough to understand!

Another idea: lose their work

Say Bob drops off a memo he needs you to do on your desk. Tell him you’ll get to it in a few days. If that doesn’t deter him, throw the memo away. In a few days when he comes asking for it, tell him you don’t remember getting it. How’s he going to prove it? If he smartens up and starts emailing it to you, delete the email, then blame the server for not getting it. In my office, they give your email a maximum size limit that you can hold. Anymore than that and the server will send you a message saying you can’t get any more mail. Just keep your email box full

Eurgh. The ultimate passive-aggressive approach.

Please don’t do this (not that I think you would). You need to learn how to stand up for yourself in a positive way. You don’t need to learn how to be an asshole.

Ah, the passive-agressive approach.

Hiya Amazon Floozy Goddess. I’m a little confused by your role - you say you’re a buyer and then say you’re a graphic designer. I’m a Graphic Design Creative Director who has helped plenty designers to prevent being dumped on by others and improve their work management skills. If you can give a little more detail about the work you’re doing and how it allows others to pass stuff on, I may have some relevant experience to help you.

I think she’s saying she’s a buyer, but that her educational background is in graphic design.

Or just mutter, “Okay… I’m going to set the building on fire.”

Just trying to give her advice based on her criteria that she doesn’t want a confrontation :wink:

Lots of people have great advice like “Stand up for yourself” or “Learn to say no” but if she can’t do it, well, that advice won’t add up to a hill of beans. Being passive aggressive works in her favor because it’s something she can do without having to confront anyone.

When Joe Slacker comes to your desk you say, “Joe! Just the guy I wanted to see! I’m swamped right now and wondered if you could help me with my TPS reports. Here you go. Thanks so much for all your help!” He’ll start avoiding you like the plague.