Office "Drama" How to Handle It

Updated on February 20, 2014
E.B. asks from Miami, FL
16 answers

Hi Moms, I would appreciate some advice and maybe even constructive criticism :)
I've been out of work taking care of my two younger kids. I went back to work in November. IT WAS GREAT!!!!! I loved the environment I loved the work. Little by little however, I've discovered that all 8 girls have very different personalities and that's okay. It's easy for me to hide in my own corner and avoid the negativity. After the New Year things really changed. One of the girls that has been there for 16 years suddenly stopped talking to me and started giving me bad looks. So the adult I am I pulled her aside one day and asked her if I did something to offend her. she said no she's just been busy. I wouldn't mind the cold shoulder at all because I can ignore it, however; she's pretty much the supervisor of the department and I have to talk to her about work. So a week later, everything went back to normal. However I was very careful of anything I said or did. Then suddenly this week we're back in high school. But now things have escalated because I hear her whispering my name and saying things that are not right. I'm not a confrontational person and I'm not a carpet either you don't get to walk all over me. I have no idea at this point what I should do. Let me add in there that there isn't any management there. Should I approach the subject again? I don't think I can ignore it for long. I'd appreciate the advice.

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answers from New York on

Sounded like what you did the first time worked so try it again.

This is why I eat at my desk everyday! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Do you have an HR department?

What have you heard? Have you addressed her on those topics directly?

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

2 things.
1. Either bring it up to the person or people you saw her speaking to when you heard your name.
2. When you hear your name, pop in to the conversation. "Hi. Heard my name, what's up?!?" (we do this all the time. Face to face, call them on it, on the spot.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

My approach is a little different. If someone has something to say, they need to say it I don't seek out trouble. I will not walk up to a co-worker and ask them if they are upset with me. I've found that usually causes more harm than good.

I will, however, ask them how they are doing. If I suspect someone does have a problem with me, I usually try to make sure I'm polite and friendly without trying too hard. I try to think of something light and casual that I can nonchalantly ask them casually - something about their kids or a book they like.

Try not worry about it, really. It's so easy to misinterpret things. The reality is people are often very self centered and don't always notice how they appear to others. Not that they are selfish or don't care about others. It's just that it's human nature to be very focused on ourselves and simply not notice others.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Be polite.
Be professional.
Be helpful.
No, I wouldn't bring it up--again.
Do your work and keep your nose clean.
Doncha love when people forget they're at work to DO A JOB!!! Lol

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Without being there I can only guess but it sounds like you are giving off a I am better than you vibe. I am sure that is not your intent but those that keep to themselves, that is what people think.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I would start putting out my resume and try to schedule interviews as well as document everything unprofessional the so called supervisor Is acting towards you. Once you feel secure in your search for a new job I would then have a meeting with someone in HR.
Life is short anytime away from your little ones is precious and not worth the stress. Best of luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Keep ignoring.

Recently I asked my boss what was wrong? ... It turns out that he is being divorced.. (his wife of 25 years is divorcing him).. so his behaviors were from his home circumstances.. The office is tough right now, especially last week.

Good luck, Be professional and courteous as usual.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Well it kind of depends on what you are hearing that is not "right". If she is saying something like "man Erica ' s lunch really stinks today." Or " Man, Erica did a really crappy job on that project and her attendance is horrible. "

If what she is saying is closer to the first example then just let it go. If it is closer to the second example then you probably need to play nice and be more conscientious of your work.

I do agree with the thought that if you are staying off to yourself and not being "friendly" then that might be the issue too.

Women are hard to work with. Sorry but it is a fact, and if you are going to be, what can be construed as standoffish and stuck up then the other women are going to target you.

You don't really give enough specifics in your question. Sorry.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First, you work with women and not girls. Never refer to yourself or your peers as "girls" at work. It's demeaning and unprofessional. The men in your office aren't "boys" are they?

Second, it depends on what she said and to whom. If you confront her about something that you weren't supposed to hear, then you'll be seen as gossiping or eavesdropping. If it's something small, ignore it. If it's something important that matters, then have another conversation with her. Depending on the circumstances, you might want to frame it as "I'm sensing that you are dissatisfied with [my work, this project, whatever] and would like to talk through your expectations and make sure we're on the same page" vs. "I heard you tell Susan that I didn't do..." or whatever the rumor was.

Good luck with doesn't sound like a pleasant environment and I wouldn't want to be in your shoes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have been working for over 10 years, been at my current company for over 6 years and survived a merger, the only employee to have done so. Working in harmony with others is tough, but it is even tougher when it comes to women, because as others have mentioned, they tend to gossip and be catty. You don't mention what it is that they're whispering about that is "not right" but my advice below is pretty general.

I'd say be professional, friendly but professional, and don't fall for the office politics of taking sides or the gossip. As long as you do your work properly, you aren't a two-faced back-stabber and are friendly with your co-workers (but not overly friendly to the point you volunteer information that can be used against you or spend too long socializing, which can make YOU look like you have no work to do and lead to resentment), then I don't see what there's to say about you.

In that case, if your work product is flawless, you get along and never fight with others, take jokes about yourself in stride, believe in teamwork and act professionally, all they can comment on is perhaps your appearance, which is something EVERY woman falls prey to, including supermodels, so in that case, don't take it personally -- know women are just jealous and nasty toward each other often (it's in our nature to be competitive, after all), and if this is the only "negative" comment they can make about you, then you're doing pretty well!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree that it's tough working in an environment that feels uncomfortable - I've been there. Some offices just have this undercurrent. If she's the supervisor recognize that it's not going to change. This undercurrect will continue if not about you then about something.

I would try to make it through a year then begin looking for a new job. There are plenty of place to work that have a positive and uplifting environment. We spend way too many hours at work to be in a down setting. Even start looking now and if something comes your way grab it. If asked why you're changing jobs so soon say something like there's talk of a reduction at our office and since I'm the last one hired I expect to be the first to go - so I'm preparing for that contingency.

As for now - don't do anything. Next time you need to talk to her about work maybe ask her something like "so I've been here 90 days now - how is my work? Is there anything I should be doing differently? Is there anything I need to learn more about?" Then leave it at that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Don't play into it. Do your job, be professional and polite.

You're not there to make friends. Do your job and do it well. If you've screwed something up, fix it, apologize and ensure that it never happens again.

If you are required to attend any social activities, stay long enough to greet people, enjoy the meal or games, and leave. Do not drink alcohol and do not say anything that you wouldn't say during work hours.

Some people are gossips and LOVE to start drama. Some people love to find someone to hate. Ignore it all and do exactly what you're supposed to do. You don't have to know why these cackling hens are talking about you to do your job.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What do you mean by "saying things that aren't right?"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Please stop ear hustling. Sometimes what we think we heard wasn't what was said at all. Unless you develop the courage to bring it up right then and there, you will only drive yourself crazy with assumptions about what is being said and how.

I agree with others like OnePerfectOne, Julie S. and Can'tDecide.

Ultimately in the work place part of being professional includes bringing to light things that are done in the dark.

Ask yourself if you genuinely believe your coworkers mean you harm. This may help color how you proceed forward. Use the wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen but don't eavesdrop. No good ever comes from that. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Welcome to the world of employees! I have discovered there are truly very few "adults" in the work place. It is often stressful - wondering if the company will still be there next month. It can be hostile - if you are any good at your job others may feel threatened. It can be lonely - if you are new, others may take a while to warm up to you - or WORSE, fake liking you until they "get to know you" and they "find something wrong".

Women are tough, for some reason in the work place they have "something to prove". That is why i left the workplace and started in Network Marketing. This is the ONLY environment where 95% of the women support the other women (oh yes, it's not perfect but it is better). We all help each other grow, we build each other up instead of breaking each other down.

I used to work for someone else, i used to wonder if i was going ot have a job next year. I used to tip toe around my supervisors so I wouldn't rock the boat...then I realized that if I was going to have the life of my own design, I would have to create it. I created that with my network marketing business.

As for approaching it again...your call, what is this job worth to you? Will she be offended and take it out on you? Will she be sympathetic or will she blow it off to "just being busy" again? I always say stand up for what you believe in...and you will never go wrong.


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