colleague problems

(22 Posts)
HelloBoys Mon 20-Jan-14 13:24:30

Right. I've tried to type this once before but never got far.

Been working as legal PA in small office for 3.5 years now. small company under 10 employees. there is 1 other legal PA (L) she works for same partner as do I.

Everyone is quite close but my boss (the partner) is best mates with L and has been for 20 years. L's cousin is our outsourced IT man.

About 2.5 years ago E (personal friend of both L and boss) came to work for us as a temp. She is the wife of my mum's ex close male friend.

at first all was well, we all worked nicely, got on well. then E started to get nasty with me. I also saw something I shouldn't have seen with personal attacks on me and mother but it was left in a way where I could not have not seen it. I ignored this but E then ranted at me about my work, taking time off sick etc in front of my boss. shouting at me but to my boss with me in next room. I then got nasty comments from L too. I eventually brought a bullying claim against them both but it turned sour. The reason I am not putting the rest on here is because I know a poster here goes on another forum I post on.

I didn't want to communicate with E, so asked L (now made HR manager!) to communicate with her to book holiday. reason being was that if I contacted E to book holiday she would never get back to me. Asking L to go via E to book holiday worked fine. Now I've been asked to ring E again (did this the other week rang twice no reply/response). to book holiday, L's main excuse was she was too busy yet I overheard her when in kitchen on phone to E.

There was also an occasion re passwords for my PC which E thought I had no written down and she thought I'd done this on purpose.

I also didn't get a cash bonus last Xmas after getting one for all previous years (my colleague got one).

I'm now wondering what to do next? if it all starts again should I go off sick (signed off by GP).

I did write an email detailing passwords and stating I wasn't prepared to go through E to book holiday and L should do as she had done and book it for me.

I know all this sounds very petty - I am doing a course so I can get out of there, have tried and failed to get work elsewhere (either wrong role or got down to final 2 candidates).

HELP!

pussycatdoll Mon 20-Jan-14 13:28:12

The names & relationships have confused me a little but I feel you are being bullied
I'd try to get a new job or if you can afford it just leave
You've already reported them for bullying so I can't see the relationships improving from here

HelloBoys Mon 20-Jan-14 13:42:22

oh I am certainly being bullied pussycatdoll.

yes it is not a clear cut situation.

I just wanted to know how/why etc if anyone else had any other ideas?

already had CBT counselling for about 6 months for this and another relationship problem.

atmywitsend13 Mon 20-Jan-14 14:40:45

Life is far too short. Get to your gp and get signed off for a couple of weeks - and get job hunting! - don't stay somewhere toxic! x

HelloBoys Mon 20-Jan-14 16:17:45

atmywitsend - I am sorely tempted to do that!

it seems now as if I can't do wrong for doing right.

I then found out last week from our IT man who'll be in 2 days a week for next 2 months that I could run the legal database and I could get sent to Hull for a course in this. I told him only if I get a payrise for running this database. Haven't had a payrise in all my time here mostly because my boss is tighter than a knat's arse.

But seeing the latter - I wouldn't get a payrise so I wouldn't have the database stuff.

I sort of think if I do go off sick it'll be one more excuse for them to bitch and whine but then I think FUCK THEM!

thanks both will have a good think.

mistlethrush Mon 20-Jan-14 16:27:02

I would offer to do it and get the training and then ask for a payrise or leave or both!

HelloBoys Mon 20-Jan-14 16:46:15

exactly mistlethrush!

that's sort of my idea.

screw the bastards! LOL

mistlethrush Mon 20-Jan-14 16:47:06

It could give you that extra skill that helps to get you your next job.

SnowBells Mon 20-Jan-14 19:47:55

I am assuming this is a tiny firm. I used to like working for small firms - but I think that only works when the chemistry between everyone is right...

HelloBoys Tue 21-Jan-14 09:44:34

mistlethrush - yes you are right re that extra skill re the database.

and snowbells - yes there are approx 8-9 of us here (9 including the temp) - everyone knows everyone else. The retired PA (who I replaced) is or was best friends with my boss and the other PA is best friends or close friends with the temp, the bookkeeper (external lady) etc...

It is all very incestuous and I am the newest support member of staff there as the rest are solicitors.

I've been asked by another solicitor if he could train me to be a paralegal here but I really feel that another year here would kill me.

Things were great the first 2 or 2.5 years as I was very much one of the family - I even stayed over twice at the other PA's house after a night out occasionally. They tried to set me up with a former colleague of theirs (man) and it was all fun and laughter.

The lady who is the temp (it gets worse) has been told that my mother was the girlfriend of her husband (an ex family friend) which is untrue. Sadly the temp is a very jealous lady and has said things about my mother "being a beauty in her day" (temp didn't know her then). Also her husband is a flirt and enjoys the drama. My mother and him were only ever best friends, he loved her, wanted to date/marry her but my mum said no.

This temp is now bitter to me and hates me with a passion. I won't deny that on one occasion I stood up to her, but this only made her angrier. The temp and my boss are best friends. My boss tends to only employ people he knows well or are recommended.

The last PA (Y) in a big firm my boss owned was also treated like me so I've heard. she is now "persona non grata" and has fled to her home country (Ireland) yet the ladies here have tried to find her/contact her but she (naturally) does not want anything more to do with them.

I haven't been on the firm's Xmas lunch/dinner for the past 2 years as she is invited. Yet I hear from others that she wanted to meet my ex-boyfriend when I was due to move in with him last spring and they thought he was mad to move in with me (this is told by another gossipy solicitor).

I think I will get a book (recommended here) re bullying and how to deal with them.

Leverette Tue 21-Jan-14 10:38:53

God that sounds totally toxic, insular, incestuous and cult-like and to be walked away from sharpish!

HelloBoys Tue 21-Jan-14 17:20:43

Leverette - yes, yes yes and yes.

I wish I hadn't joined sometimes.

SnowBells Tue 21-Jan-14 17:30:41

Ridiculous... what petty people at that small firm of yours. Give me a magic circle firm at any time!

My firm is big enough for that to not happen (there's still politics, but not like that). And thank God, the majority of people do have a life...

atmywitsend13 Tue 21-Jan-14 18:23:49

I would look for something else. You would be so much happier and actually want to develop your career with a company & colleagues that like you. Pain in the arse isn't it. Just make sure in your notice you say exactly why you are leaving. I cannot wait for my exit interview;) some home truths will come out!!!!

I would stick it out for a year, get the paralegal training, them tell the solicitor whose paralegal you would be to either get the bullying sorted or you'll leave. I've been in a position where I was bullied at work, but spotted an opportunity to get trained up for a better position. I took the training, doubled my salary, and the people who once bullied me came crawling back to suck up to me - it was GREAT! Maybe you can be tough, stick it out, and do something similar?

If you don't want to wait a year then at least get the database training, then work really hard at finding a new job.

SnowBells Tue 21-Jan-14 19:51:58

NotJustACigar That is fantastic.

HelloBoys Wed 22-Jan-14 09:39:11

Hi all thank you so much for your help and advice. I really appreciate others sharing their stories.

friends etc are great but if you are NOT in this situation you don't know how much it can eat away at you!

I will consider all options carefully and create a cunning plan! smile

HelloBoys Wed 22-Jan-14 09:45:37

SnowBells - yes, it is about people having a life.

when I joined I was what - late 30's - I've been married before (in 20s) divorced etc and was single then. First they were onto me about why are you single, can we set you up? then I heard through the grapevine etc reasons why I was single... all toxic stuff. this all happened when I was with/dating before etc - but all stuff which was none of their business.

I even heard them having a go at me about my age, what I'm up to etc. I had thought of moving back with parents about 3 years ago (don't need to do that now) due to finance pressure due to low salary as soon as that got out I heard various nasty comments about me thinking of living at home then. And advice from them re not to do it! I didn't need to resort to that but I mean come on! and I do have a friend of my age who moved back with her mother due to being bullied out of her job (diocese job) but is also helping to care for her mother who's not frail but in her 70's.

I would never dream about telling my colleague or the temp about their marriages or what to do. In fact I've listened to various boring convos they have with me on how to spice up their love lives.... UGH.

anyway onwards and upwards and out.

HelloBoys Wed 22-Jan-14 09:51:10

Notjustacigar - I am so tempted but with this temp (see big main para!) - when she comes to work for our company (when the other PA is on holiday or off sick) she deliberately tries to antagonise or cause trouble.

she will literally now hunt down trouble for me - and she knows exactly what she is doing. she will cause trouble or find mistakes or supposed slights against her by me where there are none.

This solicitor in our firm told me (who I try not to talk to now) when I was thinking of training to be an office manager that he mentioned this to the temp, she of course basically ripped into me (at him) said how bad I'd be at that etc. She works for a small but well known solicitors in London and sadly people talk so I don't want her to talk about me (if she hasn't done so to other cronies in various firms already).

that is why if I were to train as a paralegal it would have to be clean breaks and all that. so tempted though.

HelloBoys Wed 22-Jan-14 09:59:20

Notjustacigar - also the bullying was addressed last April but both bullies denied this and the main protagonist actually went against protocol (office procedure for this) and copied me into her statement etc - all lies of course.

and there was fall out from it (won't go into it here).

suffice to say I got blame and bullying was sort of dealt with but not really. My boss still employs both bullies and is close friends with both and disbelieves everything I say. He's been slated by one bully for something else (don't want to mention here in case I out myself). yet he believes them and is loyal to them above me. tragic really.

I think if you don't have the support of our boss then you need to find a new boss. Can you do that within your current organisation? If not then devise a plan and a strategic move to another company. If so then a lateral move within your company to take advantage of training opportunities could suffice.

Also try not to worry too much about the temp. For example of she tries talking bad about you to people in other companies who don't know you she will end up looking crazy herself. There is a limit to what she can do.

Finally, you have to stop talking about your personal life at all at work because they have proven they will use it against you. They shouldn't know whether you're thinking of living at home, whether you're dating anyone, etc. if they try to ask you just respond asking why they need to know, or tell them that you don't discuss your personal life at work and change the subject.

These people are not your friends. They are simply pawns in your game - that game is getting ahead at work. Try not to care about them as anything more than characters in a video game playing against you because beyond that they don't matter at all in your life. Good luck.

HelloBoys Thu 23-Jan-14 15:29:57

Thanks for this notjustacigar.

That's the thing - potentially I would be working for the other partner and being trained as a paralegal but then the temp would most likely be working alongside me as I could not devote 5 days a week to being a PA/Sec.

It is hard because the Temp always digs and asks about personal life (I don't tell the perm member of staff anything now). and the Temp sort of makes it her business to be nasty or takes offence if I'm civil to her or blank her. and then there's the bookkeeper who has been absolutely lovely to me but she's known them all several years and I'm sure she talks - though means well.

You're right I should do as I did before and shoot my magic game stars at them (as in video game) - which was IGNORE them. It's hard though because I get frozen out and my boss will often make excuses for them.

I think I will just try to leave sooner rather than later.

thanks again though.

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