Skip to main content

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: When A Co-worker Doesn't Respect You

You say something, only to have a work colleague offer an eye roll and a dismissive attitude. Oh, no. We have a disrespectful work peer situation on Aisle 9!

It's a tale as old as workplace time. You're just doing your job, when a work peer keeps letting you know, subtly or not-so subtly, that you're not worthy of his or her professional respect. All you ever get are blank stares, deep sighs, excessive sarcasm, random smirks, and under-the-breath commentary directed toward your other colleagues when you are still within earshot.

You've been on the job for awhile now, and this co-worker's dismissive attitude is really starting to get to you. And rightly so; who deserves this kind of treatment? (Nobody, that's who.)

Unfortunately, too many employees will encounter workplace disrespect. It's been estimated that 1 in 5 employees do not feel respected by their work colleagues. That's 20% of the workforce, which, any way you slice it, is a respectable number of employees.

What is going on here?

Sometimes, the disrespectful work colleague can't let go of something that was done, or said, a long time ago. Maybe this work peer is jealous, is the office know-it-all, or is engaging in payback for some perceived slight.

Maybe this co-worker feels like others must "earn" their professional respect before it will be doled out in small handfuls like packets of organic carrot slices to disappointed trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Or maybe throwing shade at everything, and everyone, is "just" this work colleague's personality. Sigh.

So, what can you do about it? Start by assessing whether this colleague has it out for (1) everyone; or (2) just for you.

If you picked #1, then I'm sorry to tell you that your co-worker is a garden-variety...jerk. Take solace in the fact that everyone gets the same treatment. Minimize your workplace interactions with this colleague as much as possible, and keep any interactions short, and work-related only. Tell yourself that it's not you, it's them. Ignore the haters (as much as possible).

If you picked #2, then we need to talk. Some experts advise going straight to management, but try to work it out one-on-one with this co-worker, if possible. We can all appreciate the opportunity to make amends without involving management. You might start by doing the unthinkable: Kindly ask this colleague to coffee, or to lunch!

It may be the most uncomfortable fast casual encounter you've ever had, but it could make a dent in the general level of disrespect. You might say, "It seems like we've gotten off to a rocky start, and I'd like to see how we can work better together."

It's simple, it's to the point, and it lets this colleague know that you're trying to make things better. Even the most jaded working professionals can (quietly) respect somebody who is brave enough to take such a highly-calculated risk. Wow, you've walked right into the lion's den, haven't you?

At least you can say that you tried.

Don't check your self-respect at the office door. You'll need to be assertive and stand your ground in this workplace situation. Stand up straight, shoulders back, and carry your head high. This video offers some fantastic advice for remaining calm and centered when interacting with rude, disrespectful people in a professional setting.

Conversations with the dismissive colleague might require you to employ some very deliberate time management skills, too. You'll have to mentally prepare ahead of time for these conversations. Before you speak with this colleague, imagine the interaction and how you would like it to go.

Then try to stick to your script. If (when?) the disrespectful colleague proceeds to give you pause during the conversation, then take a pause if you must. This video offers excellent tips for how to react professionally after a colleague has just said something rude and/or disrespectful to you.

Whatever you do, continue doing your best work every day. Act confident around this colleague even when you don't feel confident. Stay positive, and professional, amid the negativity. Don't stop being a nice, kind person. Today's workplace needs more people like you, not fewer.

Above all, respect yourself. You're kind to everyone else, so remember to be kind to yourself, too! You deserve it for putting up with this nonsense.

Comments

  1. I'm the only girl at work that works with only 3 other guys in the office. One of the guys here will be nice to me at first and then turn around and acted pissed off. It creates an uncomfortable work environment. How... BEING A GIRL.... do I deal with that? Should I go to him and ask to meet with him or ?? EVEN WORSE... is that he's about to become my BOSS!! GRRRRRRR I'm happy for him but want our relationship as him becoming my boss to start off on the right foot!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I work with a girl that is obviously jealous of me. When she does look at me, with a scowl,she looks me up and down with an eyeroll. She is very nice looking, together woman. One week she is laughing with me, the next its as if a have pissed her off. I am simple, humble, and kind to everyone. Even her. I dont understand why she does this. It bothers me and I find myself struggling with this. I feel I have to walk on eggshells or stay on my guard. Very stressful. I want to "fix" this but I know I cant. What do I do?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hold your head up I notice that a lot of people bring their homelife to work it sucks like high school sometimes the backstabbing is worse just be glad that you aren't that miserable and don't try to keep company with misery it does not end well good luck keep it light

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…