Author Topic: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor  (Read 7310 times)

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songbird

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Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« on: August 12, 2014, 01:02:48 PM »
Background:  I've been working in my field for 30 years.  Ism, or at least I hope I am,  polished and professional in the workplace.  I started a new job at the end of June.  We are consultants, hired to solve a client's significant problem.  There are five of us on the team -- a team leader and four examiners.  We are all very experienced, the youngest member of the team is just a couple of years younger than I am. I'm the only woman in the group, which surprises me, since my field tends to be evenly divided between men and women.

The team leader is about 10-15 years older than I am. 

Here's the problem.  The way he treats me is...annoying.  Upsetting. 

He sometimes calls me "young lady".  I could overlook that -- he calls a coworker "young man". 

But the way he teased me ...

The first time, he came over to my cube, spotted my cell phone, picked it up and pretended to put it in his pocket. The incident lasted about 30 seconds, then he put the phone down.

But today...

Our ID badges are generic, plain white cards with no writing on them.  I need my card to enter the building, access my floor and to unlock the ladies room.i keep my card in a plastic case on a lanyard.  My desk key is also attached to the lanyard.  If I lose that lanyard I have real headaches.  I usually wear it around my neck, but sometimes I leave it on my desk.

So this morning I was at my desk, working on my computer.  I heard the team leader at my colleague's cube.  Then he came over to mine.  When I turned around he said something about wearing his ID card.  Took me a few seconds to realize it, but the badge he was wearing wasn't his.  It was mine.  He had picked it up from my desk.  He made a great production out of telling me that he wouldn't return the badge unless the key unlocked my desk, and then pretended that the key didn't work.  Eventually he gave the lanyard back to me.  I don't think he picked up on how upset I was.

I don't like this kind of game in a social setting.  I think it was totally unprofessional.

I've heard him verbally tease the men in our group in a way I thought was unprofessional, but he never took any of their possessions as far as I know.

Suggestions?

Zizi-K

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2014, 01:31:51 PM »
From your description, it doesn't sounds like he's picking on you more than other people, nor does he seem to be targeting people by gender. It sounds like this is his way of (very very awkwardly) trying to relate to his coworkers in a social way. None of it sounds terribly insulting or upsetting, just weird, awkward and annoying. I would advise against smiling, playing along, or encouraging him in any way. Just keep your face neutral and look away from him until he is done with his "joke." This is not rude, but it will communicate your disinterest. The "young lady" thing I would just probably ignore. But if you need to address it, you could just cringe next time he says it, and say "Jim, I'm over 50 years old. My "young lady" days are long past. Can you just address me as Songbird? I would really appreciate it."

Lynn2000

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2014, 01:51:14 PM »
That does sound annoying, but the vibe I get from your description is that he's awkwardly trying to establish camaraderie with you. Maybe just kind of stare at him with a puzzled expression and the tiny, tiny smile you would give someone doing something weird and embarrassing, until you get your stuff back. Also I would start putting any stuff I didn't want other people using away--in my pocket, drawer, etc.--just to make it more difficult for him.

On the positive side, maybe you could introduce him to something that you would find amusing--maybe give him a greeting card with a silly pun, or show him the goofy bobblehead collection you're starting on your desk, or whatever. Kind of redirect him towards safe areas to practice camaraderie with you.
~Lynn2000

Cannonade

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2014, 02:19:12 PM »
I think in fact he noticed how upset it made you.  He wants to get a reaction, I think your best bet is to ignore it or act like it's not a big deal.

Example if he takes your badge and points it out:

"Huh." Then turn around and keep working.
"I have your badge!"
"I noticed.  Be sure to return it when you're done playing with it."

cicero

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 02:29:11 PM »
 I agree that it doesn't seem like he is singling you out (for age/gender) but I would not like this. at all. I don't like it when people forget to return my *work* possessions (like stapler or pen) but my *personal* stuff? no.

I'm not saying to go all Joey Tribianni on him ("Joey doesn't share food!") but you can say:
Jim - I don't like when people touch my personal stuff.
Jim - please don't touch that, it's my personal [whatever it is].
JIm - please don't wear that. It goes around my neck!
All the while you are holding out your hand.


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Bees

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2014, 02:40:25 PM »
Is he trying to establish some kind of rules?
Like security rules say you have to be in control of your badge/key?
or No cell phones/camera in secure areas?
 He doesn't sound awkward to me; more controlling and fear mongering. He wants to make you sweat.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 02:53:02 PM »
"I have your badge!"
"I noticed.  Be sure to return it when you're done playing with it."

I like this one.  Kind of emphasizes that he's being childish without emphasizing he's being childish.  If that makes sense.   :P
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Ontario

SamiHami

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2014, 03:35:07 PM »
"I have your badge!"
"I noticed.  Be sure to return it when you're done playing with it."

I like this one.  Kind of emphasizes that he's being childish without emphasizing he's being childish.  If that makes sense.   :P

Yeah, POD. I like this too.

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LadyClaire

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 03:43:14 PM »
Is he trying to establish some kind of rules?
Like security rules say you have to be in control of your badge/key?
or No cell phones/camera in secure areas?
 He doesn't sound awkward to me; more controlling and fear mongering. He wants to make you sweat.

I wouldn't jump to "controlling and fear mongering". Usually with those you can tell right away that they're doing something to instill fear into their employees. I really do think this guy just has a goofy sense of humor and hasn't picked up that some people don't like it.

shhh its me

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2014, 03:54:59 PM »
"I have your badge!"
"I noticed.  Be sure to return it when you're done playing with it."

I like this one.  Kind of emphasizes that he's being childish without emphasizing he's being childish.  If that makes sense.   :P

I like this one too, use a neutral tone.

JenJay

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 05:10:54 PM »
"I have your badge!"
"I noticed.  Be sure to return it when you're done playing with it."

I like this one.  Kind of emphasizes that he's being childish without emphasizing he's being childish.  If that makes sense.   :P

Yeah, POD. I like this too.

Me too!

BeagleMommy

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 03:20:18 PM »
He sounds like the pre-adolescent boys in school who used to poke you to get a reaction because they "liked" you.

I would try the reaction my dog gives me when he's confused.  Using a flat expression, tilt your head to the left and say nothing. 

Roe

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 06:34:26 PM »
It sounds as if he is awkwardly trying to tell you not to leave your badge unattended.

KaosP

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2014, 04:35:00 PM »
Ugh, I can't stand people like this. They're the type who jokingly get in your way and move back and forth when you're trying to get by them, laughing.

Unfortunately I usually end up saying something rude like "I know you think this is funny, but it really isn't. Please stop."

Then I feel really bad, because I know they're just trying to be fun and silly, but it really just rubs me the wrong way.

jpcher

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Re: Help needed re how to handle my supervisor
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 06:59:03 PM »
The first time, he came over to my cube, spotted my cell phone, picked it up and pretended to put it in his pocket. The incident lasted about 30 seconds, then he put the phone down.

I'm curious as to why this incident lasted only 30 seconds. Did you give him an "I am not amused" look? Did you say something to him? Even an exasperated sigh with body language (crossing your arms) did the trick.

With the badge, yeah, please don't leave it unattended. You saw how easily he picked it up without your knowing. It's a security thing. If that's what he was trying to get across to you then he awkwardly made a point.


I agree with what LadyClaire said: "I really do think this guy just has a goofy sense of humor and hasn't picked up that some people don't like it."

I also agree with others that said it doesn't sound like he's picking on you, specifically.


How is he as a team lead? Other than his social faux pas, when it comes down to the job is he a competent/able team leader?