Mid-level manager rebels against "Mean Girls" atmosphere in new office

Mid-level manager rebels against

Mid-level manager rebels against "Mean Girls" atmosphere in new office

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WVEC.com

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 21 at 5:24 PM

Dear Roze:

I’m a mid-level manager in my organization.  I was recently transferred to one of my company’s offices where most of the senior managers act like they’re back in high school despite the fact that they all have their PhDs.  They think they’re the big guys on campus and act like jerks if they don’t get what they want.  They expect to have the prime parking spaces in our company parking lot and certain seats in the company cafeteria.  There are no specific designations, but they make it clear that no one better park or sit in the spots they consider to be theirs.  They make snide remarks and give looks of contempt at those who take those spots.  The atmosphere in the office is like the movie “Mean Girls” except it’s with guys.  It’s bully behavior which I refuse to bend to, so I’ve just started to push back.  If I get to work before one of them, I will deliberately park where they expect to park, or I will sit where they always sit in the cafeteria if one of those chairs is available.  It appears I’m the first person to ever stand up to them.  I can tell I’m ticking them off big time, but they haven’t been tough on me or retaliated, which may be because I’m in management or mostly because I’m “the new guy” and they think I don’t know the way things work around here.  I know exactly the way things work, but I’m not going to support it.  I’ve been in the workforce for over 30 years and I refuse to kowtow to these guys.  What do you think about all of this?

No tolerance for bullying

Dear No tolerance for bullying:

I not only agree with your position on bullying, but I admire your strength to stand up to these guys.  I have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.  That being said, my concern is the way you have chosen to address it.  It could have negative repercussions for you, especially if you report to any of these senior managers.  If your efforts are not positive results, and if you believe trying to have a professional, no-nonsense talk with these guys would fall on deaf ears, you should consider handling the situation by having a discussion with the ringleader’s boss.  Either way, be sure you have documented your behavior as well as theirs before you talk to anyone.

Dear Roze:

I’ve got a customer service issue I need your help with.  It has to do with the lack of cleanliness in the hair salon I go to on the Peninsula.  I notice it most with the floor surrounding the styling stations. They’re pretty filthy.  They get rid of the hair that’s on the floor, but you still see a lot of dirt; grime; stains; and dust balls, all of which give me an uneasy feeling about the place.  And the room where they mix up the concoctions for hair coloring is the same place where they eat, and it looks ten times worse.  Besides this issue, they do a terrible job with answering their phone, but that’s secondary to this filth issue.  I know you’re probably thinking I should stop going to this salon, but I really like the girl that does my hair.  I’ve been with her for over 12 years, and have followed her every time she changes salons.  This is the third establishment she’s worked at.  I’m scared she will get very offended if I say something to her.  Do you have any suggestions?

Salon’s sanitation is questionable

Dear Salon’s sanitation is questionable:

First and foremost, the salon’s lack of cleanliness is very troubling.  The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) has extensive regulations cosmetologists must be in compliance with.  The following is a link to the self-inspection form DPOR’s Board for Barbers and Cosmetology requires all salons to keep on file and update yearly concerning their sanitation and safety:  http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/BarberCosmo/A450-1213_SSS_INSP.pdf.  You can use this form as a checklist to see if this salon is in compliance with the Board’s sanitation standards.

Second, I understand your desire to stay with your hairstylist and your hesitation to speak up, but you do not know if you are being exposed to things that may be harmful to your health.  I suggest you have a heart-to-heart with her, letting her know your concerns.  There is a good chance you are not the first person to air these concerns. Hopefully, she will appreciate you coming forward and do the right thing by addressing the matter, if she has not already done so, with the salon’s owner(s) immediately.  If, however, you still do not see any improvement, you can air your concerns with DPOR’s Regulatory Programs and Compliance Section via email (CompliantAnalysis@dpor.virginia.gov) or telephone (804-367-8504).  Depending upon the outcome, you may be following your hairstylist to a fourth salon or finding a new one after all.  Best of luck!

© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell

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