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I don’t know how to cope with my hostile work environment

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SparkleAndShine
SparkleAndShine Community member Posts: 4 Connected
Hello. Thanks for reading, I think I just need somewhere to let this out. I have had ME for 24 years and moved to home working during lockdown. This really changed my quality of life and things overall have been better from me since I moved to home working. I also used my newfound energy and time to gain some equality and diversity qualifications, which has been really insightful and made me feel better equipped to advocate for myself. 

One thing that has been negative is my relationship with coworkers. During Teams calls they would talk about how annoying lockdown was and one person said that everyone who was going to die from it already had by now so everything should just open back up again. I had not done my equality and diversity qualifications at this point and everyone else in the meeting was at least 2 pay grades above me so I did not feel equipped to speak up. With long-covid effectively being ME this was very difficult and shocking to hear, especially as others appeared to agree. I should mention that every single person in the meeting was a healthcare professional. 

In another meeting a colleague was talking about her hip replacement and said that I’m lucky to be so young, fit and healthy as I wouldn’t have to worry about anything like that. I spoke to her privately afterwards and she was apologetic, but when I brought it up with my line manager they were very defensive and said I was young, fit and healthy so what’s the problem. There have been other incidents, too many to mention here. 

I now have reasonable adjustments in place to not attend some of the group video calls. This is not something I need because of my ME, but because of the anxiety I experience being on calls with my team now. I tried to campaign for better equality and diversity training but it was an uphill battle with just one or two low-impact changes being made. I put a lot of energy into it over 2 years and I would say it was largely unsuccessful. 

My manager still extends offer to rejoin the team meetings and to attend Christmas nights out. I just really feel that I can not move past what has happened and the lack of enthusiasm to do anything about it. I don’t think they understand how awful it feels to be around those people after the comments they made. These invites are not really inclusion when the environment is so hostile and no effort has been made to improve thing. I am on the fence between withdrawing from everyone and grey rocking as much as I can, or going nuclear in my campaigning with zero tolerance for ignorant comments. Either way I just feel so anxious and isolated at the moment and I want to be able to move past that. Even if I still remain isolated from the colleagues themselves it would be good to work through the feelings of disappointment that it’s not going to change and to not feel so anxious on the occasions where I do have to attend calls with them. Every other aspect of the role suits my disability, in a way that I’d be unlikely to find elsewhere. 

Sorry for such a long message. If anyone has any advice or similar experiences they’d like to share I’d be very grateful. 

Comments

  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,149 Scope online community team
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    Heya @SparkleAndShine that sounds like some tough situations to be in, I'm sorry.
    I can empathise with the lockdown incidents,  I had to bite my tongue many times over peoples opinions and it definitely takes its toll mentally after a while. 

     But I'm very glad to hear homeworking is treating you better than office life and you're able to get some EDI qualifications, that's amazing!  It's a shame some of the colleagues don't seem so keen on learning.  Though it sounds like your manager is willing to listen and it's good that they keep extending that olive branch. 

    Have you looked at the Scope page regarding EDI and our new strategy?  Maybe it's something you could bring up with your boss as an opener for trying to help you feel more included? Maybe a small win there might help you feel less isolated?   Are there any other people in your work who you could bring these concerns up with? 

    And don't apologise for your message, we're all here to listen and support you. 


    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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    Neurodivergent.
  • charl1980
    charl1980 Community member Posts: 132 Courageous
    edited November 2023
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    Hi I can sympathize with you I work in a situation but have massive anxsiety PTSD and such like my manager passes totally inappropriate comments about how everyone has some type of mental health nowadays, she adapts my work but apart from that is absolutely unsympathetic,
    Unfortunately I don't feel I can complain to the owners of company as I know I'd just get my life made hell by the manager so what's the point! Xxx
  • MW123
    MW123 Scope Member Posts: 561 Pioneering
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    @charl1980

    Consider sending a private and confidential message, whether in the form of a letter or an email, to the owner. In this message, delicately express your situation and concerns, underlining your preference for a sensitive approach, as you have worries about potential repercussions if the manager were to discover you had highlighted the matter. 

    It's possible that the manager's willingness to make changes to your work may have been influenced by directives from a higher level, and they may need explicit guidance from the owner to address inappropriate remarks. 

    Ensure that the company's owners are aware of the manager's behaviour and have the opportunity to address it. While it's still possible that some individuals may lack empathy for mental health issues in 2023, it doesn't grant them the right to create an uncomfortable work environment for you.

  • SparkleAndShine
    SparkleAndShine Community member Posts: 4 Connected
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    charl1980 said:
    Hi I can sympathize with you I work in a situation but have massive anxsiety PTSD and such like my manager passes totally inappropriate comments about how everyone has some type of mental health nowadays, she adapts my work but apart from that is absolutely unsympathetic,
    Unfortunately I don't feel I can complain to the owners of company as I know I'd just get my life made hell by the manager so what's the point! Xxx
    I’m sorry that you can sympathise, it really isn’t right. If there were any kind of retaliation to reporting an issue this would be classed as victimisation. It’s not something that they would be able to get away with if you continued to report it, though I know challenging these things is easier said than done. 
  • SparkleAndShine
    SparkleAndShine Community member Posts: 4 Connected
    Options
    Heya @SparkleAndShine that sounds like some tough situations to be in, I'm sorry.
    I can empathise with the lockdown incidents,  I had to bite my tongue many times over peoples opinions and it definitely takes its toll mentally after a while. 

     But I'm very glad to hear homeworking is treating you better than office life and you're able to get some EDI qualifications, that's amazing!  It's a shame some of the colleagues don't seem so keen on learning.  Though it sounds like your manager is willing to listen and it's good that they keep extending that olive branch. 

    Have you looked at the Scope page regarding EDI and our new strategy?  Maybe it's something you could bring up with your boss as an opener for trying to help you feel more included? Maybe a small win there might help you feel less isolated?   Are there any other people in your work who you could bring these concerns up with? 

    And don't apologise for your message, we're all here to listen and support you. 


    Hi Albus, I hope you’re well. Thank you so much for reaching out. Gaining the EDI qualifications was one of the best things I’ve ever done, though it was a real eye opener to the injustices in the world still. A blessing and a curse I would say, but I do feel I have the tools and vocabulary to speak up more now. 

    I will definitely check out Scope’s EDI strategy, thank you for the link! 
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