Days ago I wrote a post named Being disrespected 🤬 / ignored 😶 in an IT job. What do you do?, that got more than +35k views, +100 reactions and... +100comments 👇
Unexpectedly, it attracted lots of attention, both good and bad, but of course, that post was created with a clear intention: asking for advice.
If you don't have the time to read the post, I explain I've been so underrated and treated as unqualified in my career, which made me loose lots of good opportunities at work, (I actually had a big success by my own out of a job). I got many advices, some of them useful.
Little basic information:
You can suffer bullying at work, it's called mobbing and sometimes it can be a micromobbing. This happens when you're being ignored or set aside in your job. Also, being disrespected or being denied your skills/experience, not having you in consideration and make other coworkers participate in your rejection in the team/group. You can read more about it here.
Today I want to share with you the most useful advices I got in the previous post, hoping they can be useful if you're finding yourself in this kind of situation.
Here we go 👇:
➜ The office-jumping phenomenon
Suggested firstly by Si.
This is a common problem [...]. The best thing I did is to keep moving companies until I found one that didn't have this culture.
We normally won't think about changing our job when we aren't comfortable at our work. We would think the problem is us, or maybe that you're still being accepted... No, it won't get better. If you feel there's a problem and that you won't be comfortable working there, don't be scared of searching a new opportunity... Over and over again until you feel good where you are.
➜ Don't look for outside validation
Suggested by Arthur
I would recommend not looking for outside validation for the work you do. [...] you know best whether you're doing good work or not.
I know maybe this is not a very related advice since I wasn't asking about validation but about defending yourself against someone who's obviously getting you through a bad time on purpose.
However I'd like to mark those words, you don't need outside validation, which is not the same as asking for help or advice. Finish that article, work or project you were not so sure about and share it with the world, don't search for the approval of anyone else. Advices and help will come anyway.
➜ Document it
Suggested by Michael
Document it. With dates, names. Just in case anyone questions you about it.
I will add more fuel to this one. My last manager used to call us on the phone all the time so she could threaten, humiliate and insult us and be free of proof (recording calls is actually ilegal here), so my first mentor gave me an advice I won't ever forget: Do not pick up the phone, ever. If you should, say simply 'send me an email about this, thank you'.
Also, another one, if you're a programmer: Sign your #todos and #tofix with your full name, date and hour.
➜ Start a work group/workplace program
Suggested by Michael
Ask a senior manager if you can start a workplace program -- either a workplace discrimination training program, or a women in tech group.
Specially if you're a woman in tech and you'd like to feel more supported, you could ask for the creation of a workplace program or a work group. If you're not a woman you could do that too, of course.
➜ Speak up about your situation
Suggested by Trevor
Trevor's comment is very extensive, but it's a great advice. Just like that: speak up your situation.
Try speaking with those you feel that are ignoring you about how you feel. If that doesn't work, describe your situation to your manager/managers, with or without proof; and finally, if that doesn't work, speak directly to the CTO/CEO.
My plus in this advice would be: first of all surround yourself with people that understand your situation and supports you. Don't be afraid, and lastly, if none of this works leave your role and search a new opportunity.
➜ It's not you: it's the company's culture
Suggested by Nuria
It's important to remember that it's not your fault, you don't need to be more assertive, or fight to be respected [...]. In my experience it's really hard to change a company's culture by yourself.
It's not your fault being in a toxic environment where you're drowning. Also, you probably won't ever be able to change it no matter how good you show you are, because the problem aren't the lack of your skills or a lack of capacity: if your environment is toxic don't waste your time trying to change that environment, that will make you exhausted, you'd better start searching a new and better environment for yourself to grow up and expand, instead of giving up your mental health and your energies.
➜ Don't let anyone disrespect your role
Suggested by Ravina
Every technology has its uses, yes you cant hack NASA using HTML in same way you cant make UI using MySQL.
I just loved this quote so much I will use it until the end of my days, simply because I've been seeing myself over and over again being disrespected because I'm half designer and design it's "not that important" or that if I'm very good at HTML it's like being good at nothing because "the programming language I use is better because potato".
No dear, what you're doing matters and it's important, no matter what tech you're using. Don't let anyone step on you feeling superior about the technology they use.
➜ Bosses need you, you don't need them
Suggested by Charlie
[...] bosses need you, you don't need them.
I honestly can't and won't add more on this one. It speaks by itself.
➜ The Kobayashi Maru phenomenon
Suggested by Paul
My friends and I refer to these situations as the Kobayashi Maru. The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. I usually abandon ship.
We've probably seen this one in more than one company, right? This methaphor will now walk with me everywhere I go.
A no-win scenario, a test stress for employees... You don't need something like that. You don't have to be tested as "how would you act if everything fails" to proof you're a good or bad worker.
We should all abandon the ship.
➜ The senior/junior syndrome
Suggested by Ezekiel
The number of years you've spent programming does not make you a senior. It is what you have done within those years that really matter.
There are lots of people out there working in IT thinking a Senior is someone who's been +15 years working in the field.
That's totally wrong. Every day a new tech comes out, technologies are evolving and changing all the time.
How are we calling seniors people that are only using Java Servlets, and juniors to those who master Vuejs and have been using it since it came out brand new? What is the difference, years? When they both master their own technology?
How could that even make sense? Think about it. Those titles already lost any sense they had in the past.
➜ Being young is not being stupid
Suggested by Saeed
I think it all depends upon the company culture [...] In my opinion, they are fearful of the young talent and they see it as a threat to their positions.
Young talent exist. Being a young talent doesn't mean
˃ That I want to be hired as a team-leader right away
˃ That I think I'm a f*king pro that knows everything
˃ That I do not respect my older coworkers
˃ That I think I'm never wrong
The only thing that means "being a young talent" is: I have the potential of being really good at this, please guide/help/support me, don't step over me.
➜ If you love what you do...
This is more a personal advice.
I told you, most of the comments were negative saying I was enjoying my vanity, not accepting whenever I'm wrong and even saying I was too young to be good at what I do.
If you love what you do and you do it really good, don't let anyone tell you that believing so is living in vanity. You're good, that's it. And you love what you do, that's it.
Let them talk but don't listen. Do your work as honest and good as you can, show your skills and don't ever be afraid of sharing what you've built. Encourage others to do the same. Be yourself and enjoy what you do meanwhile.
You can always check the post to see and read by yourself, I'm human, I can't absorve all the comments and information I was told, but I tried to highlight the most important ones for me.
In addition you'd maybe like to check my article about 12 signs you must quit your job and search for another.
Do you have more advices? Something that worked for you? Or just want to share what you went through?
Thank you to everyone that commented my post and spoke about their experiences, thank you also to those who reached me via Twitter to speak in private about the reality they lived these last years. Thank you for your knowledge and your trust, we all keep going on.
See you around and let's keep coding 💻!