Enterprise Software

Dealing with cliques at work

An employee at an IT call center finds that his co-workers are in a clique and are not forthcoming with information that could help him do his job. What is the best way to deal with childish co-workers?

Here's an excerpt from an e-mail we received:

"I work in a IT Call Center for a hospital. I am the only person in the call center with a college education, and this seems to threaten my coworkers. My education is not in IT. Everything I have learned about IT has been either self taught, or learned from others. But these days the other call center analysts have formed some sort of alliance with several engineers, and as they learn things the information stops. On the other hand, when I learn something new I share with everyone. I obviously have not found my way into these cliques, and appear to be an outsider in the department. I know at the heart of the matter is probably a touch of insecurity on their part, and possibly old fashioned competitive spirit, but do you have any thoughts or hints on how to work through this?"

In my opinion, insecurity, not money, is the root of all evil. More often than not, when an insecure person is faced with someone they think is more proficient, better looking, or smarter than he is, that person internalizes it as a threat to his well-being. The insecure person then fights back the only way he can with childish passive-aggressive games like the ones your co-workers are displaying. The problem is sometimes these games are successful in that they bother the intended victim. They can also significantly curb productivity.

Have you tried talking to your boss? Not in a complaining way, but as in suggesting that the routes of communication be better. Use an example of some piece of information that you missed out on that could have saved some time and money. Suggest that any new information the engineers come across should be shared universally, preferably through e-mail. To minimize the appearance of "ratting," you may even bring the issue up at a team meeting. Again, don't point the finger of blame, just nicely point out that maybe there could be a central repository of information that the whole group can share in. That way, the group knows that the manager is aware of the issue, and it may curtail some of the clique-ish behavior.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

247 comments
wbeddoe
wbeddoe

As said, when people leave a company, it's most often because of who they work for. Real leaders are direct, fair, good communicators, and will not allow cliques to interfere with team contribution. The manager in this case, if he's even slightly aware of the issue, has no backbone.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

"Have you tried talking to your boss? Not in a complaining way, but as in suggesting that the routes of communication be better." Great idea, except when "your boss" is the leader of the clique and worst offender in the nonsense. "The insecure person then fights back the only way he can with childish passive-aggressive games like the ones your co-workers are displaying." AMEN!

Bizzo
Bizzo

It might just be a case of new boy/girl syndrome. It happens all the time when people established in a role become insecure about the knowledge/intentions of a new person. Although saying that, the tone of the mail excerpt seems to come from someone quite arrogant in their demeanor. "I am the only person ... with a college education" So? The people you work with have been there a lot longer than you have. It might be your lack of respect that offends them. I have a university honours degree, but I have no idea if my colleague sitting next to me does. It doesn't matter, we both do the same job. Sometimes he does it better than me, sometimes vice versa. "When I learn something new I share with everyone" Do they need to know it? Do they already know it? Sharing information is a good thing, but no-one wants to hear "Listen to me!! I know something new that you don't!!" several times a day, it can grind a little. And depending how you do/say it, it may come across a bragging. How do you work around this? I think you've already answered your question with: "I know at the heart of the matter is probably a touch of insecurity on their part". It seems that you have the problem but it's their fault, and seeing as you can't change other peoples' attitude, there's not much that you can do. I hope this hasn't been going on for too long, and that you can get it sorted. Good luck.

helliox
helliox

We had a similar problem a year back. What we implemented was a point system for each update/learning and update the central repository with the information. Each point relates to monetary benefits. Here, we achieved three goals - people sharing knowledge, increased earning potential and making it a mandate to share whatever knowledge they have. Hope this helps!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Break them up, move them, fire them.

saad
saad

I think it is also useful to just talk to them directly. Tell them how you feel and how you interpret their behaviour.

tscal
tscal

This example is less about cliques, and more about job security and team-play. At my last job, I was the one that always shared knowledge, and there were those that always would horde it. At one point, an info-horde had uncharacteristically given me a great process to help to monitor system changes, but asked me not to tell anyone because they may take credit for the knowledge. I passed on the knowledge, and thus, that information gate closed. This person would horde information (and never document anything clearly) so management felt they were a infinite source of knowledge. Keep sharing your findings with others since you may get some in return one day. The info-horders will eventually have their jobs replaced by automation that you discover by sharing with others.

Claptrap1
Claptrap1

When I was in university, I was the only one wearing the T-shirt (because I was about twice as old, though nobody could guess at first) but I didn't brag or bring myself forward. When everyone was talking about his or her previous experience and education I didn?t lie but played it down: I told I hardly knew anything, which is why I was there? So, I didn?t have any qualifications (I didn?t tell about the other ones, because they weren?t relevant) and as I didn?t know anything, so I was no value to them. I was working flat out evenings and weekends so I couldn?t even join in for a social drink? Then one day I was talking on my mobile during lunch break and wished my friend happy birthday. Somebody asked how old my friend was and being stupid and naive, I told my friend was 70. Seeing their faces I made it worse by telling that I did have friends as young as 18... As if that wasn?t bad enough, when we taken to different campus for part of our study, the *parent's consent*/health and safety form demanded everyone put their age, where everyone else saw it! Good grief, why did the ages had to be there, I don?t know, as by the time you'll start university you will be legally adult and *wont* need parent's permission! After that I was lied about the times or places of the study group (although at the lecturer's presence it was all nods and smiles) and whenever I opened my mouth during class discussion, everyone started to sighing as in pain. During lunch breaks, if I ever tried to join conversation people either ignored me or changed the subject. I tolerated the situation because at least as long as teacher (sorry, lecturer) was present, no daggers were drawn during group work. I had gone to the university not looking for friends but expecting decency and being sociable during lunch breaks. After the nice guy in my course changed his major I gave up trying to fit in: I kept myself to myself and sat in the library as soon as I had eaten. Although I always behaved civilly I had no desire to make friends any more, not with that lot. The core group of this clique consisted the ambitious students who wanted to get higher grades than everyone else and did not want competition. I always said my aim was just to pass the course, so I was no threat to anyone but maybe the girls didn't believe that. It wasn't the only time I've been the target, though that time I wasn't the only target, neither it had much effect on me, apart from minor annoyance. I was in a college studying IT, when clique of young males in my course were causing misery to anyone they didn't approve (mainly girls and some males). They were sniggering at students when they asked a question or gave a presentation. As it happened, I had to take a year off for financial reasons and when I came back I had a different group - and voila, no more problems but students supporting each other! :D Sadly, all the girls on my class had quit the course and the story about those lads behavior had gone round so the following year there were no other females apart from me. Sometimes the best thing you can do in a situation is to walk away. Luckily I have also very positive experiences from study and work places and the bad situations have been minority. :)

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

And on the "insecure displaying passive-aggressive behavior" to quote Toni. Much of what I'm reading and replying to certainly justifies that statement!

melekali
melekali

People like whom they like and dislike in the same manner. There really isn't a bit of logic to any of it when they choose to not like someone who is very capable.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

You can't win the clique game through elimination, unless of course the elimination you're flinging at the clique is feces... Or as Tom Servo put it, "no matter how advanced you get it's still pretty darn funny." Flinging feces is also direct and not nearly as hurtful as verbally denigrating people under the label of 'humor'. Feces are quite visible, smelly and easy to wipe off. Whilst making a pungent "statement" it doesn't go more than skin deep. You know when the last bit has been cleaned off. Unfortunately the same can not be said for words which flung carelessly can soil a soul that might be worth something. Maybe dealing with cliques as defined so far is dealing with each other honestly, fairly and on merit.

Jack.L.Swayze.Sr
Jack.L.Swayze.Sr

"Everything I have learned about IT has been either self taught, or learned from others. But these days the other call center analysts have formed some sort of alliance with several engineers, and as they learn things the information stops." Contradictory and paranoid. Credibility loss = 50 points. "On the other hand, when I learn something new I share with everyone." Bragging. Credibility loss = 50 points. "I obviously have not found my way into these cliques, and appear to be an outsider in the department." Obscuring facts. You offended people, didn't you? You came off as being arrogant and snooty. Distorting the truth. Credibility loss = 50 points. "I know at the heart of the matter is probably a touch of insecurity on their part, and possibly old fashioned competitive spirit" Compettition, yes maybe. Insecurity? maybe, but it is more likely that you offended them, first. Credibility loss = 20 points. You started with 200 credibility points, and are now down to just 30. Perhaps you do the same thing to your co-workers too,

ordphx
ordphx

I laugh when I see the author's methods of dealing with cliques. The textbook world(the author's suggestions) and the real world (my suggestions) are contrasting. I've been in the IT workforce for many years, and here are some REAL WORLD techniques. Get on their good side. How do you do that? 1. Work for your partner(s) when they need days off. 2. Cut them slack when they screw up. 3. Go out after work and buy them a beer. 4. Order pizza in to the office on your birthday and pay for everything. 5. Crack a few jokes once in a while. 6. Don't try so hard trying to be accepted. 7. Take them golfing with you. 8. Take them fishing with you. 9 Take them to a baseball game and just have fun. These are all REAL world techniques of tearing down the "clique" walls, and they will eventually welcome you into their world. They feel threatened by you because they are in fact insecure. You are right. You just need to break down the walls. Don't try all that corporate bs you learn in corporate classes. The solution is simple... Just try the techniques above. Making suggestions at meetings, writing SOPs, and doing things in the corporate way never work. It's all just a bunch of BS. In theory, we'd all like to think they work, but they don't work with people immature enough to be in a clique. The real way to get on their good side is to try the suggestions I have provided above free of charge. If the above techniques dont work then find something legal to get them fired, or just leave the group yourself. It's just not meant to be.

g.patz
g.patz

Just share some stories with them about your relationships with your former co-workers. Before that place burned down.

chiposaur
chiposaur

Many years ago i saw a movie with Peter Weller and Shannon Tweed... of c Ms Tweed was just for draw factor, but anyway . . . Robocop (peter weller) was having a rodent problem. a mother rat. His good friend explained to him . . . friend "the rat is smarter than you." robocop "oh come ON" friend "no seriously... you spend what... 30 mins a day thinking about the rat? the rat spends every waking moment thinking about you. one on one you are incomparably smarter than the rat, but right now, it is smarter than you." if you want to better the idiots at work, you have to spend more brain time -- make the time -- thinking about shutting them down than they do thinking of ways to be insecure about you. You (the original email writer) have already started down that road by asking for help here. . . judging from the comments, you have WAAAY more brain cycles on the problem than they do. to combat a similar problem in my past, i tried to figure out ways to consistently give everyone advantage. If that meant something different every week, then so be it. that way, when the idiots selfish insecurities manifested, i had the upper hand. what i did was make a newsletter for the team that was little more than information compiled to a weekly printout. made however many copies, put one on everyones desk monday morning and told the boss "hey pockets of info aren't getting spread out well." the entire thing never took more than an hr (typed simply in word), and it was the PERFECT thing to start working on at 3pm on friday. the key here is that you put "i'm going to do this every week. IF YOU HAVE INFO THAT COULD BENEFIT THE TEAM LET ME KNOW AND I'LL INCLUDE IT."

Ben
Ben

Hi Toni, Thanks for the post. I see cliques and junior high school type cutting out in almost every area of every company I?ve worked at or consulted for. You?ve suggested a great start. If that doesn?t work (as it never does against bullies), you?ll have to get more assertive and public. Use the 5-step process I show in figure 3 (page 138) of my book, ?How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks), as you climb the staircase to being more and more public and firm. Tactics must be designed to fit the specific situation. If you think of the many suggestion offered in the comments as steps to try as you move up the staircase, you?ll have the perseverance and resilience you need. As you suggest, always use examples that make a business case for including everyone in the loop. Document, document, document. Please check out my website and blog at BulliesBeGone (http://www.BulliesBeGone.com) for more specific suggestions. Best wishes, Ben

nottheusual1
nottheusual1

It's just like any other problem - understand why then work to unravel it. Insecurities at the clique level in an organization are learned behaviors - try to see what has bred the environment that tolerates this and then you will have a better idea of why you are excluded. I've seen it happen before where people with backgrounds similar to your are moved into departments as stepping stones to other positions withing a business - and the composition of those "stones" are "less educated" coworkers. Whether or not the case, they see your path to success leaving footprints on their backs. Worked at a place for years that used the management team in the corporate QA function as a stepping stone in the growth path of engineers - but never as a permanent posting, thus reducing the ability of the people who actually did all the hard work to move up. The newbies were always viewed as interlopers even though not a one was a bad person and most were very good engineers.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Don't trust this... The whole tone of the small portion of the e-mail you quoted makes me wonder what the employee who is complaining is doing to propogate this. In particular, "I am the only person in the call center with a college education, and this seems to threaten my coworkers. My education is not in IT. Everything I have learned about IT has been either self taught, or learned from others." Most IT workers understand that EXPERIENCE and talent are at LEAST as important, and possibly more important, than a College education. I've very rarely felt threatened by a peer with a college education, although I've often felt pity for them, having invested all that time amd money into a degree they don't use or to learn an industry they have no passion for. (Depending - sometimes you see the IT guy who has a degree in archeology - other times, you see the guy who got the IS degree and wishes they WERE an archeologist - either way, they're inevitably a sub-par IT employee, degree or not). It also sounds less like a clique and more like a group of people have banded together *against* this one prticular person. I'm not saying that these things ARE the case, but there is an undercurrent to the snippet that makes me think that things go deeper than they seem. Perhaps the person needs to take an honest, introspective look at themselves, their attitudes, and see if they might not be the root of their own problem.

dfarrich
dfarrich

Smoke 'em, GET WAY BETTER THAN THEY ARE. Don't let them intimidate you, don't let them know you or your strengths or weaknesses, don't fall into their childish traps or be coerced by their facade and just smile. - As a rule, I dont' have close friends nor do I want them anyway for this very reason so this has never been a problem for me. - I always felt that if I had come this far in life without them, I could easily go another stretch. Sorry if I offend anyone out there with my non-I'm OK You're OK (actually I'm not sorry-get over it). Answers not excuses. Yeah, I'm retired military. Next!! ;>)

mcats
mcats

I think Toni Bowers' advice is excellent. I should be interested to see her comments on dealing with incompetent, politically correct line managers. Mike James

meridian
meridian

You wrote, "In my opinion, insecurity, not money, is the root of all evil." 1 Timothy 6:10 says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Maybe your co-workers are afraid of losing their jobs?

GrizzledGeezer
GrizzledGeezer

... "cleek" -- not "click". A click is a high-pitched transient sound.

rider71
rider71

I had the same issue and what I did was send out group emails letting everyone know what I wanted within the company guidelines. I CC'd the general manager after I informed her that this kind of behavior was costing the department and the company and that I was going to address it before making an issue. There were a few incidents after that and I addressed them with the individual people causing the imbroglio and soon the incidents stopped. It's amazing what happens when you work with transparency so that upper management can see everything that's going on. It's important that you use tact and be very polite, professional and congenial in all of your communication. If you don't you will lose respect of upper management and your co-workers, then, your problem will get worse.

sudocoaching
sudocoaching

What if your boss is part of the clique? I have seen this situation and it is very difficult to deal with. Sue Dorward Tech Leadership Coach sudocoaching.com

dbecker
dbecker

One of the more subtle dysfunctions is that of inadequate vocabulary. It would be interesting to have everyone go through the Johnson O'Conner Research Foundation tests and have the scores posted on the bulletin board, particularly emphasizing the vocabulary evaluation. A group with low vocabularies are going to sense someone different if the person has a relatively high vocabulary. That's their problem. Don't let them make it yours. Don't even bother to suggest that they could eradicate their deficiencies on their own. It would be like trying to explain rainbows to earthworms. Embrace your own diversity without letting on to others you realize your own superiority. And above all... Eschew Obfuscation.

ldenny
ldenny

I am the tech person along with another teacher/tech in a school district. I have no degree, but 23 years experience. Try dealing with the fact that EVERYONE wants to tell me that they have a degree and basically just how wonderful they are because of that piece of paper. But, by GOD, I'd better not miss a single day because 75% of this district couldn't function if I wasn't there to correct there every little problem that arises because they believe they should only focus on their classroom. Technology is not going away so they better put some focus in that area as well! Now, not that the classroom should not be their main focus, but it does get frustrating that I MUST be well-rounded in many area (including curriculum), yet often feel inadequate by remarks because I do what I do without a degree. I think a lot of this is purely because it is an educational environment and most teacher do not understand why I would not have gone for a degree. It just didn't happen and I like what I do regardless of what it could pay with the degree. Interesting to me is that the teacher-turned-tech that has recently started working with me shows a great amount of respect of what I know and do daily. He has first hand understanding about how much we are required to know in our jobs. Sorry, got kind of long on this reply....

vh396001
vh396001

Why not suggest to use a knowledge base system. Perhaps you can design a simple Access database where everyone should enter issues and resolutions. You keep entering yours and how much each person contributes. If your numbers are higher and the other ones are not entering may be you can bring it to your boss and show him why it is necessary to have such a system and how it would help everyone.

razumny
razumny

Communicating SOPs and solutions is imperative. As such, I usually do two things; 1: I inform my colleagues using email 2: I blog the solution My blog being hosted outside my job, it has still become more or less the standard repository for knmowledge, and everyone knows to check it for a solution to a particular problem.

wilhelm.colln
wilhelm.colln

I thing it will be a good idea to deploy some of the "leaders techniques for organzations". Also, to stimulate them trying to help sometimes and other asking for help, as to shorten relationships. Wilhelm C?lln Vittox.com

walker.stephen
walker.stephen

I manage a team of 10 that works very well together. But.. I have hired a new employee (peson A) who is working out well with all team members except for one (person B). B has never been the a super interactive guy but day-to-day work had never been a real issue. Just bumps in the road. A needs information from B to do his job. A also needs B to set up services for him to do part of his job. B is very busy with a lot of things but has been told to make time to get A what is necessary. B is slow to respond while A is eager to get going. A is responsible for a different area than B, but has a background in some of what B is responsible for. Since B is very busy A has offered to help with some of these things. B has accepted this help but is slow to respond; gives partial information; he deflects to subjects "sort of" related. B's activity is subtle and he is able to talk his way out as being cooperative. B takes me aside and tells me that A appears to be ordering him around instead of offering suggestions. I have heard some of their conversations and I feel A presents professoinal and logical advice and questions. I can sse that B is a little more emotional and feels attacked. B is now starting to isolate himself a little from the group. B is valuable but I can't have this issue long term. What can I do to help B get along with A and the rest of the team?

fengzi
fengzi

I work in a newly developed group. I was the first hire and for a year the only person I had to report to was the director. I'm a DEV/QA person. As said for a year the only person until a new manager was hired to do Product Management. I was placed under him for a reporting structure purposes and was ok with it until the PM started hiring people. Not just anybody but his friends. People that he knew from prior jobs or elsewhere. Now the cliquish stuff gets heavy as they go out to lunch daily, work out and at some moments finish each other sentences... Pod people; I'm sure of it but cant prove it to my detriment. I spoke with the PM first, then to the Director 3 months later. No change and it seems to make the situation worse. I asked for time to work from home as to at least get some focus and work done. This seems to work but it's temporary. I really have not clue as to what to do next. HR friends of mine say to say nothing to the Director as it may look poorly on me as not being a team player. But I feel thats not true only because I'm the person that always set the fun stuff up for the group for team building through bowling, arcades outings (gamer galore), etc... All to say I don't feel it's me but I could be wrong. My character has changed too. I no longer feel the importance of team functions as it has been made clear who is the team and that it does not really include me. I want to search for another job at times. I stick it out cause I still Love what I do, and who I work for. Just not those I work with. Frustrating and almost eggshell like...

jdclyde
jdclyde

Although my experiences in college were quite the opposite. I walk into EVERY class expecting to get an "A". paying to damn much not to. :D Being one of the "smart ones" while not being one of the people who brag about it, when it was time to make the groups, it was often a fight over who got to be in my group. B-) On average, I would be about 20 years older than my counterparts. And yes, I was included in the after class drinking. It was funny being around a bunch of young light-weights. ;\ Oh, and because I didn't have to prove anything, I found many of the younger ladies liked me too. ]:) (all of legal age!)

Jack.L.Swayze.Sr
Jack.L.Swayze.Sr

Categorize us as you will, but those of us who you denigrate as being 'insecure' are such because of a lack of security. You (yes, you the IT Department Manager) create that insecurity when you make promotion or retention decisions based on who does and who does not have a degree. You create the insecurity, then complain that those who do not have a degree are insecure. The problem with letting your ilk into a company, in the first place, is that you tend to hire, promote, and retain your own.... and to hell with the rest. The smartest thing that your (previous?) co-workers did was to ostracize you, if that contributed to your leaving. We didn't start the fire.

maggie_t
maggie_t

I once was part of a very well performing team - we were developing and did not have to interact a lot with the rest of the department and were situated apart from them. We were busy and didn't have a lot of time to socialize with them and I realize now that we must have intimidated the heck out of them. I walked into another job a few years later - the organization was not well managed, the company gradually sank into nothingness and cliques ruled. My experience and skills were very different from the other developers and when I was able to produce good work (despite a lack of cooperation from the clique) I was recognized by the management. When the leader of the clique realized this I stopped getting assigned work and was basically ignored. By that point, I was pregnant and ended up staying there for a while longer. I realize now that the lack of management ability was keeping the cliques powerful - they knew very well what was going on. At layoff time it helped identify who stayed or left - the 'good' clique or the one aligned with the bosses who were out of power. A sick way to run a business. At another company I worked for a golden child who thought it would be OK for me to try to approach new applications without any support except some basic documentation - my expected failure would 'prove' her contention that the documentation wasn't good enough - well, I didn't fail, big disappointment for her that reflected on her attitude to me. One of my teammates had in his posession documentation of some software I needed to get my work done - and my boss thought it was sort of funny that he wouldn't 'share' it with me. This was before I had web access to search for this online and people really did lock up their manuals. As it turned out, I used existing processes as examples and worked it all out without the manual. It would have been easier and maybe faster if my boss had just said 'hand over the book' but it didn't happen. She knew what was going on - maybe she felt it was just a hazing ritual. I felt she was just a jerk. Knowing what I do now - I say that life is too short to put up with this sort of behavior - if the cliques rule - let them, without you. Walk or run away. If I was mean, unfriendly or snobbish it could be understandable. Someone (who didn't like me) once told me that the reason I was always being asked for help was because I never made people feel stupid. I deserve decent behavior. Nobody should feel bad about going to to work because of their work group.

Dyalect
Dyalect

It is amazing how Kindergarten kids can be taught this, but grown adults can't be. Sharing, Communication, and Knowledge transfer make things easier for everyone and are the foundation of any efficiently functioning organization. If you think, holding things close to your chest is job security then you've got major issues and are ignorant to the fact that everyone is replacable. Bad attitudes like these just make endless roadblocks and prevent work from being done. It is sad, but alot of IT shops adopt this kind of behaviour and it benefits no one. You should atleast attempt to lead by example (share, document etc). If it is not reciprocated, then lock what you know in a vault. My $0.02.

asharon
asharon

I have a boss that is not part of the clique, but part of the "cult of secrecy" problem. We are a mfg. firm with wide range of technical areas covered, yet he discourages communication between departments, claiming wasted time. This lack of information exchange creates endless problems that result in finger pointing, blame and much attempted a** covering. Attempts by me (as the mktg.& info. dir.) over the last 2 years to assist in detangling this snake's nest have been labeled as stirring the bee's nest. I'd leave, but with the economy the way it is, and living in a rural area, it's here or a greasy spoon ...

iamltr
iamltr

whether or not you accept the boss's treatment of you or you move onto another job.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The summer before my senior year in high school, I worked as a plumber's helper with my best friend's father. Chip and I were framing in a new bathroom during a house remodel. As we worked, the owner of the house kept on and on about how smart he was, how many degrees he had, and how much smarter he was than we were because of his degrees. After about 15 minutes of this, Chip's father, who was working in the cellar, called up through the floor, "If you're so damn smart, why are we doing this?" The silence was deafening! :D

Claptrap1
Claptrap1

While in university we had visiting lecturers in one subject. Hardly ANY of them had any kind of formal education, or at least in the level above us students. But all of us appreciated their knowledge and were in awe of their skills. There was a one local guy who couldn?t make the local authority see past some bylaw clause and prevented him taking his trained but non-official colleague to do their job (which was saving lives), despite public support and his colleague claiming a small fame. Our regular tutor invited him to formalize his knowledge just so he can gain respect? Cheeze. But that is often the reality: it?s not what you know or even that you can prove you?re right but a piece of paper, which dictates who listens to you. So I sympathise with you ? maybe you should get that degree too, to shut them up. ;-) I don?t say all the tutors in my college are necessarily as open minded than the one getting in visiting lecturers. I had a little incidence where at the beginning of university we were taught about statistics. At one lesson the teacher couldn?t get a formula to show correct figures, so she jumped into the shortcut she knew. Once everyone was quietly doing their exercise, I called her over and quietly explained that it was missing the $ signs making reference absolute, so SHE can explain to the whole class and take the credit. (I had waited for someone else to come up with the answer first.) Granted, for that particular exercise the shortcut was working fine, but I thought knowing a little about absolute references might help the students with other things too. I could see my teacher didn?t understand about relative and absolute references and I would have been happy to explain the formula to her privately, if the students would benefit from it: after all it wasn?t part of her education, so why should she know it? I don?t know if she felt threatened by me or what but she certainly turned cold towards me after that. Luckily nothing that she taught was too hard and after that I kept my mouth shut.

koalajoe
koalajoe

Sounds like B may have damaged pride, probably also has confidence issues. Then again, it could simply be "personality conflict". e.g. A might remind B of someone who hurt him badly in the past. Reading your post, ".. has been told to make time ..". If this wasn't done well with acknowledgement of B's already heavy schedule, it could have been the start of the problem. If so, re-affirming to B and to the group of B's importance may help. The breach is probably very difficult to heal. If there is will on both sides and they can find some common ground e.g. football team, music, humour a social or political issue, you have a chance. They could need a project that throws the two of them together strongly in a co-operative way. Likely, if B gets the opportunity to move on, he will, notwithstanding anything you may do. Good luck!

sudocoaching
sudocoaching

B needs a little help dealing with difficult conversations. I see this a lot in my coaching work. One excellent, easy to read book on how to learn to do this is _Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high_ by Patterson et al. It takes an emotional intelligence approach without being preachy or touchy feely. Sue Tech Leadership Coach sudocoaching.com

unellen
unellen

It takes between 1 - 3 years to develop the kind of camaraderie you're talking about between the PM and his friends. You were used to working by yourself. That didn't help. So. Either give it time and watch how they give each other clues.(BTW, don't try to be like them, that definitely doesn't work), so you can tell the rare occasion when they actually are inviting you into the conversation, or keep working by yourself if you can. One other suggestion would be to make sure you send lots of emails for whatever it is everyone wants you to do. I can't explain that any better, because that would be my downfall, I think. Eggshells break worse when they aren't boiled. e.g. toughen up.

KSoniat
KSoniat

If you love your work and who you work for I would count your blessings. Enjoy your work, be polite to your coworkers and find a group outside of work for your recreation. You may have too much invested in that one group - go find others to socialize with.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Just found this one. Similar. Sitting at the very front where no one else would sit, surreptitiously giving the finger to the philosophy guy with a grin. Packing a concealed 45 auto in spite of all the campus international symbol signs!

a.malone
a.malone

When the people around me are demonstrating a "pack mentality"--I agree that showing weakness or allowing myself to be isolated in any way would be (my last!) mistake. At least these entries indicate that I'm not alone in being frustrated and saddened by the destructive behavior of certain coworkers with whom I must interact. I am currently in a situation where it is fairly obvious that I have at least 30 to 40 IQ points over most of my colleagues. I don't say anything about it; I can simply perform a multitude of tasks that they cannot. It is equally obvious that this has resulted in some childish, and emotionally-charged responses that even my boss has attributed to insecurity and jealousy on the part of others. I truly believe that as long as my situation remains generally advantageous, the best tact I can take is to be strong, professional, and aloof about anyone else's emotional state--who isn't a true friend, deserving my attention and concern. I offered to assist my boss in resolving and eliminating significant recurring behaviors that were damaging to his business and interfering with my productivity, simply based upon my determination that this was the most ethical course of action. Doing so with a sense of humor, helped.

sudocoaching
sudocoaching

I agree. When people leave a job, it's most often that they're really leaving their bosses. There is only so much that a person can do when there are basic incompatibilities or lack of support from their boss. Trying to stick it out, and suffering as a result, can demoralize and severaly stress an employee (even leading to health issues). It often is just not worth it, from my perspective, but the employee needs to see that for his or herself. There are good and bad work environments for each person, and we owe it to ourselves to seek out the good ones. Sue Tech Leadership Coach sudocoaching.com

Claptrap1
Claptrap1

I had a bos like that once. Imagine working with him every day! Builds patience, that does. :D

Jack.L.Swayze.Sr
Jack.L.Swayze.Sr

"maybe you should get that degree too, to shut them up" I do disagree with this. If he is in the job, and can do the job, without the degree; then it is the snotty academics who should change their behavior, not him. Colleges instill the idea that those who graduate from them must continue the cycle by advocating that others, also, must go to college. This is in their self-interest to do this, as it keeps tuitions coming in. In the end, it's always about money. Those who advocate that others MUST go to college are doing so to keep the colleges funded. Those who deny entrance into a workplace on the basis of the applicant not having a college degree are using the power of employment to keep the colleges in business. When the applicant meets the exact critera for a job (except the degree) and has more than four years of (varied) experience in the field, it should be considered illegal to deny that applicant.

ldenny
ldenny

Well, thank you. I was actually nervous that I would get blasted for even bringing up my frustrations about my situation. On top of the degree issue, I'm a female and some days the "good ole boy's club" in administration makes it even tougher to get ahead. I appreciate that you understand. I never went into this field for the money. I really, truly liked what I was doing and after several years in the field, I didn't feel it was necessary to have my degree...UNTIL I started working for a school. I do intend to get some of the certifications this summer. I imagine after so many years of experience, I may chance it and just pay for one of the exams and see how I do without the training courses. Even still, I have this thought that the administrators will not understand the significance of certification rather than the degree. Oh well, if I move on to corporate environment, they will pay off. Thanks!

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