Dispatch from the Zone: Paranoia, problem, or just hurt feelings?


I’m starting to get the distinct impression my boss just does not like me. She has barely spoken to me since I’ve been here (nearly 2 months now), yet seems to go out of her way to greet everyone else in the office, poking her head around the corner to say good morning or goodbye to my co-workers, but barely glancing in my direction. This morning she actually stopped to introduce one of her peers (who also happens to be her partner) to the new girl, Ms. Amherst. Her partner, on the other hand, has always been very friendly and pleasant to me. Too bad I’m not working for her. When she asked Ms. A if she was going to be taking over a particular function, Ms. A sort of gave a vague answer because she didn’t know anything about it (which is fine, she’s brand new, no reason she should know about it), at which point I spoke up and said I had it. That ended the conversation. I try to be friendly, always say good morning or good night with a smile. If it was just that she doesn’t know me well yet… well, that doesn’t explain her stopping to chat with Ms. Amherst this morning. She doesn’t know her either. Sometimes someone just rubs us the wrong way, maybe that’s what this is. Maybe something about me just irritates her. If so, I really need to find another job.

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15 thoughts on “Dispatch from the Zone: Paranoia, problem, or just hurt feelings?

  1. I’m sorry that things aren’t going smoothly for you in regards to your boss. I’ve been through the same situations in the past. Sometimes, it seems to take longer for a boss to feel comfortable with a new employee. Where I work, we go through a lot of new hires…to the point that many of us don’t know their names because they’re gone within a week. It just goes to show that the very fast pace of a restaurant isn’t for everyone.

    Yet, your work environment is different…thank the gods, but offices can be just as unsettling if there is no harmony. You seem to get along with your co-workers, so it has to be your boss. She’s the one with the problem, not you. I’d say, give it some more time, but it can’t hurt to cover your bases and possibly find something different, if needed.

    I wish you all the best, and as always, you’re in my thoughts. 🙂

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  2. Maybe you could just ignore her except when necessary or when she addresses you. If she greets you, greet her back of course, but don’t seek her out unless you have to. Maybe, like you said, it’s a personality clash, but if she’s not actually making things difficult for you, hopefully things will work out in the long run.

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    1. Thing is, I’m her admin, I manage her calendar and so you’d think we’d be working a little more closely. She emails when she needs me to put something on her calendar or coordinate a meeting or something, but that’s it. It’s just weird. I’m used to my boss (I supported several managers at my last job) TALKING to me, keeping me in the loop on projects. This is all just SAH (strange as hell) to me.

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  3. First, let me say, I’m sorry you’re going through that D.D. To me there is nothing worse than attempting to be the best you can at something and having the person you answer to pretend like you don’t even exist. Kind of makes you want to stop working and when they stick their head out of their office to ask why you can say, “OH! SO YOU DO KNOW I AM HERE!!?!?”

    I’ve kind of run into this myself because, while I’ve been told I have a charismatic personality, I tend to sound like I am talking down to people when I am in “business mode” I later found that the “talking down” part is mostly related to having a serious tone to show that I am, in fact, serious and using “big words” to get my point across and to make my position on “issues” clear.

    So I mostly say, “I use inflection for it’s designated purpose…and I’m sorry you are offended that I have a vocabulary and I can talk good.” 😉

    The best advice I could give in this scenario would be to confront her by way of making an appointment to talk with her. And just come out and ask, “Have I done anything to cause you to be dissatisfied with my work performance or my etiquette when dealing with you?”

    When she answers, “No..” (as well I’m sure she will) then my return response would be.

    “Then you agree that we have a good professional relationship?”

    “Yes.”

    “then I’d like to ask if our relationship can also be cordial? (of course this is where I get in trouble for using “BIG WORDS”. Cordial scares people…or they might think they are getting a glass of brandy, or possibly a chocolate with a cherry in the center..)

    “I don’t understand.”

    “I mean that lately I’ve noticed that we don’t even exchange a greeting now and then, can we do something to change that? Or is there a deeper problem here I am not aware of?”

    At that point you will still probably get an ambiguous answer.. But at least you offered the first concession…OLIVE BRANCH…use Olive branch….sorry about the big words…. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Eric. I’ve been accused of using “$10 words” myself 😉 I think if she were like openly snarling at me, or being overtly rude I would be quicker to find out what the deal is. For now, I think I’ll just keep doing my best, maybe she’ll warm to me eventually.

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  4. I truly don’t know what to say. If I could give you a hug I sincerely would. Sorry that your feeling the way that you are. We are human and all would like some reconigition or to be notice and not seem invisible. Unless it is a bank we are robbing, lol, joke aside. Chin up, I hope everything get better. Just continue being you.

    Don’t you just hate it when people say they don’t know what to say but have a mouthful, lol, I was rereading and had to smile. I hope this last part made you smile as well. Love ya DD and once more continue being the loving person you are. People who see your true worth and kindness will see the DD I came to known and who have not …. they are missing out!

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  5. Thanks, Lora. If she doesn’t like me, fine. I don’t expect everyone I meet in life to like me, nor me them. But it could make for a very awkward work environment if the boss doesn’t like me for some reason. I get along great with everyone else here, they’ve all been very friendly to me. I guess that’s why this is so noticeable.

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  6. I agree w/Jeff – it’s her not you. It could be that there’s some kind of history that predates you; she might still be working thru whatever issues she had with your predecessor and is taking them out on you. You really shouldn’t ignore your own boss, though – just keep doing the same good job you always do, and present any contact you do have w/her as an opportunity to help – “Good morning – anything urgent I can help with?” and that sort of thing. Either she will warm up, or you will have the time to look internally for another gig

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    1. At least the office manager seems to be pleased with my work so far. Oh, and interestingly, Ms. Amherst waltzed out the door about half an hour early today, to the surprise of the office manager. Be interesting to see what comes of that.

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  7. p.s. did I ever tell you about the woman who used to work in my department, who was always giving me the stinkeye like I was some kind of unindicted co-conspirator or something? She started out slowly, as one of those people who pretend not to know you EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU MEET THEM – AGAIN ! and then progressed to the stage where she’d go out of her way to give me the fisheye, then turn around a give a big warm menschy hello to the person standing next to me, as if to emphasize that yours truly was the problem. It cost me nothing because she was on a peer level w/me – not a boss or anything, and she has since moved on to another job, but I never did figure out what her problem was.

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  8. I think that might have been part of the issue: she had a doctorate in English, but it took her FOREVER to get it, and I’m not sure if she ever got the full-time gig that I have – she tended to swan around (literally – say what you want she was an exceptionally good looking woman – too smart and pretty to be so insecure, if you ask me) as though she were on a peer level with Jesus so it was hard to tell if she was part-time, a teaching assistant, or what…

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  9. So sorry you have to go through this. As others have suggested, most of the time in situations like this, it really has nothing to do with you. It’s hard to know what past issues/hurts might be affecting someone unless they’re willing to talk about them.

    I would just continue going in, being your normal polite self and taking care of your responsibilities. Hopefully she’ll come around. Or perhaps you’ll never have an ideal, warm relationship, but at least you are able to work together in a professional manner.

    Wishing you the best!

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    1. Thanks, Tasha. That’s what I’m hoping to do, just keep doing my job and hope things will work out. I think if there were any performance issues my office manager would have talked to me about them by now. She at least seems quite pleased with my progress in learning the job so far.

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