Work situation advice (sorry, very long)

I’m looking for advice or suggestions on how to let this go and to stop feeling hurt about it.

I work in an office setting at a job I like with people I like. I’ve made a real effort to be nice and friendly, work as a team and have their backs. So I do things like always have chocolate (that I purchase) at my desk, bring in occasional treats for all the admins, like Bubble Tea. Just one round for the 5 admins is $30. Whenever there is a day where we can all leave early, someone has to stay behind because it’s a government office and it has to stay open till 4:30. In the 8 months that I’ve been there, there have been about half a dozen of these days and I have always offered to stay so the others can go home early. Two times it’s been from noon on that I’ve been there by myself. They have families and I don’t so it makes sense for them to go home more than it does for me. If I ever have a time where I don’t have any work to do, I right away start sending out emails asking if anyone needs any help.

What I’m trying to say is that this job is very important to me and I’ve made a real effort to be reliable, friendly and hard working.

So the other day I’m sitting at my desk working on something and one of the admins (let’s call her Sally) went over to the fax machine then came over to my desk, shook a piece of paper at me and said “see this is why you need to check the fax machine!” then sort of put it down on my desk a bit hard. I was quite taken aback because we’ve never had any sort of conversation about me not checking the fax machine. Sally gets in about an hour before I do and one of the things she does is check the fax machine for junk mail and chucks it out. The next admin (I’ll call her Judy) gets in about half an hour before me, and she checks it as well. When I get in I occasionally glance at it but I’ve yet to see anything there, even once by the time I look.

We do get faxes during the day but what normally happens is either the person who is expecting the fax comes and collects it or they tell me they are expecting a fax and when it comes in I get it and take it to their office. Sally and Judy work in the same area as I do but they are in a different department than I am. In the 8 months that I’ve been there, 2 faxes have come for someone in my department that I did not grab right away, one was junk and one was for “John”. The one for John came the other day and started the whole brouhaha.

So Sally plops the paper on my desk and I admit I was quite annoyed about how she acted but I didn’t say anything about it. What I did say was “it’s probably junk mail but if it isn’t I’ll leave it here on my desk and if John comes for it I’ll know where it is”. So Sally calls over to Judy “Judy, aren’t we responsible for checking the fax machine?” Judy says “yes, we are”. So Sally tells her that there is this fax for John and I’m just leaving it on my desk (remember that they do not work for my department) so Judy gets up, comes over to my desk, grabs the fax and says “if it says it’s for John, it goes to John!” and storms down the hall to my department to give it to John.

This whole time I’m not saying anything because this is all so out of left field I am kind of speechless. In 8 months we’ve never had a single bad word between us and spend the day chatting and working and having a pretty good time.

So I just turned around and sat down, didn’t say another thing and left when it was time to go home. The next morning I came in, said “good morning” and sat down and kept to myself and they didn’t talk to me for the entire day. I debated going to my boss but I just don’t want to come across as a baby who needs her boss to handle her problems. So I didn’t talk to her (she’s totally awesome btw).

So today I just did the same thing when I came in, said “good morning” and got to work. At about midday my boss calls me and asks me to come down to see her. When I got there she told me that Judy had some to her and said that I refused to deliver the fax and chucked it in the garbage and she fished it out and delivered it to John. I told my boss that never happen and told her what did. She said she believed me and that she would talk to Judy. I saw Judy head down towards my boss’s office so I knew she’d gone down to talk. She came back and again, the two of them didn’t say a word to me.

I’m so surprised at all this, it’s just bizarre to me. I feel betrayed and extremely hurt that they would lie about me to my boss. I have been on the verge of tears for two days now, but I’ve managed to keep it together.

I need to let this go but I don’t know how. The way I would deal with something like this in the past is to just quit my job. I’m not going to do that this time. I really like my job and I even like these two ladies, we’ve always had a great working relationship, though I will never trust them again.

Please, does anyone have any advice on just letting it go and not feel hurt about it? I know some people love to thread shit on anyone who asks for advice, I am asking if you don’t have something constructive to say, please stay out of the thread. I don’t mind someone saying “you need to let it go and forget about it” but please no “don’t be such a fucking pussy you stupid bitch”

If you have read all this, you rock.

I rock! And so do you, for not perpetuating the ridiculous cattiness that Sally and Judy are bringing to work.

I have no advice. Sorry.

Wow, that sucks. Regardless of how you deal with this, the relationships in the office have now changed because of their (petty) actions. I guess going forward, you will have to maintain a more professional relationship with them - no more buying them treats, etc. Do your job and be nice, but don’t do anyone any more favours.

When things like this happen to me, I remind myself that it’s just a short time period in what I hope is a very long life, and it won’t matter a year from now. Just shake it off. Never give other people enough power over you to make you feel bad.

Not sure if any of that helps, but wanted to let you know that I can sympathize. Tension in the workplace is hard to deal with.

Thank you for your replies, I really appreciate them. Some times when I’m in a situation I can’t tell if I’m to blame or what. I’ve asked myself what I did wrong in the whole thing and I do think I shouldn’t have been so annoyed by what Sally said at first about me checking the fax machine.

I agree about having a more professional relationship with them, it does make me sad though. This is the best place I’ve ever worked and the main reason is because of the people there.

Those bitches. I don’t really have any advice other than to keep your head down and let it blow over, but this is why I love working by myself now. This sort of thing gets tiresome.

Women are such bitches sometimes, ffs. They probably expected you to read their minds to know that you’re supposed to check the fax machine every 10 minutes.

You could start by putting out Chocolate Ex-Lax instead of the good Belgian stuff.

Have you talked to Judy and Sally about it? I know it’s hard, but it’s really the best place to start. Remember your “I” statements, and telling them how their actions make you feel or affect your work, rather than calling them (some rightfully deserved) names.

“When you told the boss I threw the FAX in the trash, it shocked me and undermined my position here. That must not happen again. We all need to work together as professionals here. If you have a problem with something I’ve done, I know I can count on you to address it directly with me in the future.”

Will this work? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ve got to try. If they’re bullies at heart (which it sounds like maybe they are, in that sneaky bitchy way) then calmly but firmly standing your ground and letting them know that you’re not willing to take it may certainly stop their bitchiness.

Then again, it may not. But if it doesn’t, at least you can go to your boss then, and honestly tell her that you attempted to address the problem yourself, and the lack of acceptable response means you need to bring it up the chain of command (i.e. her).

And I’d cut it out with the treats. Your heart was absolutely in the right place, but that’s the sort of thing people do to curry favor or suck up to people they feel are above them, either in actual rank/seniority or socially. In other words, nice though it is, it’s not professional behavior if it’s not done routinely by everyone in the office. You need to behave uber-professionally if you want them to treat you as a professional.

I’d say do your job, don’t try so hard to make everyone like you. It can make you seem like a doormat. Take your share of short days, you deserve it! Be grateful your boss seems to support you.

Make sure you understand what your job responsibilities are. You might want to clarify with your boss to make sure you aren’t missing something you should be doing. And understand that not everyone is going to like you, and that everyone has a bad day now and again. I had a cow-orker say something mean and out of left field to me one day recently. I figured she took out on me something she really meant for someone else, and I just ignored her the rest of the day. And the next day it was like nothing had happened.

I’m sorry the day was sucky. Hopefully it’ll be better going forward.


I put out the good stuff. People from all over the building come to my desk for candy and games. I always have the daily puzzle and people are hooked on it. Right now I have rush hour at my desk. People call my desk the fun zone.

I agree with you that talking directly to them is the best course of action. I need to wait a couple of days till I’m absolutely sure that I won’t be emotional in the least and only matter of fact.

As for the chocolate, I seem to have started a trend and I see candy dishes on other peoples desks now as well. But they always have crappy mints or something.

Those chocolates actually got me this job. I started as just a temp in a two week assignment there. I heard through the grape vine that they were looking to hire someone permanently in that position but there was a hiring freeze and they weren’t supposed to hire anyone from the outside. So I decided I really REALLY wanted the job and found a way to get everyone to come to me so I could get to know them, by putting out the chocolates and candies. The big head honcho would come by a couple of times a day and every day I’d smile my friendlies smile and he’d get a chocolate. I figured out what his favourites were and always had them. Unfortunately he liked Purdy’s the best so it cost me an arm and a leg but they just kept extending my assignment every week till 3 months had gone by. And every day the big boss would be happy to come by, say hello and have a chocolate.

In the end everyone wanted to keep me, so they had to jump through hoops to be able to hire me and they even had to buy me from the temp agency.

This might be the issue. Sally and Judy are jealous.

I just had another thought. I wonder if, when Judy went off to give John the fax, she told him that I tossed it in the trash. John is my boss’s boss so this would be very bad if she did say that to him.

I was starting to feel like I could maybe try to just let it go but now I’m really angry.

Retracted. Don’t be a silent doormat.

This. A million times this.

When a workplace bully is looking for a victim, who do you think they head for? The person who sticks up for themselves, values their own time equally to others and does their share of the work? Or the person who is always trying to be everyone’s friend, brings stuff to work for others so often that they take it for granted, and who always offers to do extra hours?

You’ve gotta show the world that you respect yourself, if you want people to respect you.

This is the only part of your post where I feel I can offer any specific advice, and it is this:

Stop staying late. I bet you anything that now, when this situation arises no one considers the possibilty that you might not raise your hand. So next time, don’t. You can either not volunteer, which is the totally big-girl-pants thing to do, or you can invent a reason: ‘Early finish? Fantastic, I’ll be able to go to my friend’s babyshower/ finish that project/ drink myself blind now.’ Grab your bag and waltz out the door.

I used to volunteer for overtime all the time, and for similar reasons to yours. And then I realised that everyone had started assuming that I’d stay late or work through my lunch to fix whatever mess had occurred. So I started having to meet friends for dinner, or whatever, and soon enough people stoped just assuming I’d be happy to pick up the slack. With enough little lies, I was able to build up enough self-confidence to be able to offer up a straight ‘no’.

Tension in the workplace is awful, especially considering you spend so many of your waking hours there. Ideally it would always be a happy, friendly, supportive environment but rarely is this the case.

I will echo some other posters responses.

Usually when women are bitches in the workplace, they are jealous. Are you younger &/or prettier than them? Are you a threat? If so, there could be your answer.

Don’t let people walk all over you! Don’t bring in treats anymore or do anyone any favors. Just go in, do your job, and go home. I have found putting in extra hours or effort outside of my job description generally goes unnoticed and unappreciated anyway. In fact it becomes expected and taken for granted and when you don’t perform above and beyond, that’s when they pounce.

Jump on that bandwagon that so many others are on – turn up, do what you’re paid to do and leave. At the end of the day, these people are co-workers - not friends or family. Save your kind-hearted generosity for those who care about you, and those you care about the most, not the people you work with.

Good luck! Worst case scenario you could go to the H.R. department or just leave. I know this is usually the last resort as we all have bills to pay, but your sanity and happiness is more important than anything.

I will say this - if it makes you happy to have a candy dish on your desk, don’t take away the candy dish. If everyone including bosses, managers and various big-wigs come by to grab candy and it gets you face time with them, that can be a good thing in the long run. Especially if it comes down to “Judy said XYZ”. If the bosses are reguarly near your desk and see you working and handling things, and not shoving them aside, it’ll take a lot of the credibility out of Judy’s tales.

Otherwise, I will just +1 everyone else. Don’t stay back late unless you have something you want to do. Don’t go on coffee runs any more with your own money. Go in, do your work and just keep on doing what you do well and don’t give the bitches any ammunition. If that means checking the fax machine after they come in regardless, do it.

Petty office bitches suck. I would confront them directly about the issue, otherwise they will continue to see you as someone to screw with who won’t stand up for themselves. So I would find a tactful way to say to them that yes, you know what they said, you don’t appreciate them lying, if they have an issue with something you do they need to consult with you directly, and that you shouldn’t expect that another situation like this to occur.

I’m going to keep the candy dish for now because I really enjoy having people come for their daily chocolate and chit chat. Also my boss has been promoted and her position is going to need to be filled and I’ve been asked a few questions which lead me to think they are considering me to fill it. So I’ve got to keep stuffing them full of chocolate till they decide!

In the short time I’ve been there, I know more people than others who have been there for years. Not just because of the chocolate but because I consistently put myself out there as someone who never slacks off, has a good attitude, is reliable and dependable.

Easter weekend is coming up next week and I know we will be allowed to leave early for the long weekend. I am going to go home early this time. I’m comfortable saying “no, I’m going to take my turn this time and go home early”.

I am going to find out if Judy told John that I threw his fax in the trash. If she did, that would totally undermine everything I’m trying to do in establishing myself as a good worker. I don’t really know how I’m going to find that out but I’ve decided that, since Judy went to my boss and involved her, I’m going to do what I need to do to defend myself.