I have unfortunately been dealing with what I have been describing as a hostile environment at work. I have only been in my new job for just under four months and I have already been reduced to tears at my desk (not a proud moment, wish I was a little tougher).
I recently took the courageous route and brought the topic up to my boss's boss. I felt this was risky, but necessary.
The worst part of this conversation with my boss's boss was a comment about a former co-worker of mine. I only had one other co-worker in my office, who left for a new job in May. Boss's boss told me this person disliked working with me and found me "condescending." Hearing this was hurtful, but also confusing. I have racked my brain all weekend, going over my relationship with this co-worker and replaying all of our interactions. Something felt very wrong to me. I couldn't think of a time or an incident where this accusation could have been true. Especially since I felt like this co-worker and I became friends while working together! We joked a lot, shared parts of our personal lives, chatted online, texted, because Facebook friends. We went to a conference together with one other person and had a blast. We only vented to each other a lot about our difficult boss.We have talked several times since she left our office and it has always been very positve and friendly.
This evening I finally worked up the courage to text my former co-worker and ask her to be brutually honest about working with me. I made it clear that if I did treat her poorly at all, that I really wanted to know about it so I could sincerely apologize. Her response was "Never. Not even close." When I explained the situation to her she was shocked and surprised. She described the comments as a "bizarre lie." She made it very clear to me (as I already knew from our many, many conversations in person while we worked together) that our supervisor and the way she treated us was 80% of the reason she began looking for other jobs.
I feel better and worse at the same time. I am under the impression that my supervisor is lying about me, to protect herself. It is a terrible feeling and nothing I have ever dealt with. I am most angry at the fact that I doubted myself. I let this singular untrue comment get under my skin and I wondered for too long if there was any truth inside it. I am not a condescending, difficult to work with person, far from it. I am the bubbly, smiley, kind co-worker.
I have a meeting scheduled with both my supervisor and her boss on Monday afternoon. We are supposed to work through our issues and discuss how we can do a better job of communicating with each other. I am not looking forward to it at all. I feel ganged up on and lied to. I don't feel secure in my job, even though I know I am a hard worker, who is intelligent, creative, dedicated and enthusiastic.
I have never been in a situation like this. Even if the meeting tomorrow goes pretty well and communication improves, I don't know how long I will be able to work in this department under these individuals. I can't trust people who tell hurtful lies about me.