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Feeling like this older male co-worker is belittling me?1


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Old 27th June 2017, 2:13 PM   #1
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Feeling like this older male co-worker is belittling me?1

I work with a man in his 50 who is part of senior management. We work in different locations, but we met when I started last September. He's been in the company for 10 years. I'm a female, 26, graduated from law school three years ago. I have two Bachelors and a Master's degree, which he is aware of since we discussed my background.

However, I feel as though he has never taken me seriously from Day 1.

He was supposed to provide me with an overview of his department when I joined. He's a director. He kept re-scheduling every three hours or so. Yet, he had no issues asking me about going for drinks with him (and I don't know who). He probably put more effort into getting me to go for drinks with him and I don't know who, than he did in doing my overview (which he delegated to someone else in the end). I never went out for drinks with them.

Then, after a few months, he started picking up the phone to call me instead of sending emails. This happened when he finally acknowledged my presence in the company (we don't work in the same location). Fine.

One day, when he escalated my supposed lack of diligence when checking the documents, to my manager .. I chose to call him to understand. I called him, said "Hi" and he put me on mute right away. Then, he unmuted the phone and I overheard him laughing with his trainee and other colleague about my last name! I have a foreign sounding last name and he was making jokes about how to pronounce it. He realized I was slightly frustrated because of his escalation and was in no mood to joke. He said "You're not impressed", to which I replied "not really". Then, he kept apologizing profusely during the conversation, but my mind disconnected.

I have only called him once since, only to realize he deleted my email I sent him three weeks ago. Then, he got a reminder from another colleague. He said to that colleague he never received any documents, when the email I sent him contained the documents. He just didn't bother reading. I called him up on the phone and he blatantly told me: "I didn't see it, I can't find it, send it to me again". And at the end of the day, he provides updates with no background information, which makes me look like a fool. I don't have time to call everyone on the phone to ask if they got my email. It is their prerogative to read emails.
This same guy also blamed me for not checking documents properly. He escalated to my manager. Then it turns out the documents were fine as I checked them, and it was the compliance officer who extrapolated the requirements that didn't even exist in the first place.

Today, he sent me an email about a very routine question and he put my manager in cc. (why, no clue, this is a question that comes up every week).

Then, he asked me a question along the lines of: This was in the document? Yes or No?

The "yes or no" was really unnecessary. I am not stupid. I'm a law graduate with two Bachelor and a Masters degree. I worked in capital markets in the past and he seems to treat me like I'm completely stupid/incomptent.

Maybe there is a bit of a cultural clash, but just because I'm 26 and he's in his 50s, does not mean I'm an idiot.

What the heck is wrong with him? I'm really starting to get annoyed.

He's very strange with me. I have no clue why he is like that, when he seemed to be decent to my other colleague who recently left.

How do I deal with this?
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Old 27th June 2017, 2:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ShiningMoon View Post
I work with a man in his 50 who is part of senior management. We work in different locations, but we met when I started last September. He's been in the company for 10 years. I'm a female, 26, graduated from law school three years ago. I have two Bachelors and a Master's degree, which he is aware of since we discussed my background.

However, I feel as though he has never taken me seriously from Day 1.

He was supposed to provide me with an overview of his department when I joined. He's a director. He kept re-scheduling every three hours or so. Yet, he had no issues asking me about going for drinks with him (and I don't know who). He probably put more effort into getting me to go for drinks with him and I don't know who, than he did in doing my overview (which he delegated to someone else in the end). I never went out for drinks with them.

Then, after a few months, he started picking up the phone to call me instead of sending emails. This happened when he finally acknowledged my presence in the company (we don't work in the same location). Fine.

One day, when he escalated my supposed lack of diligence when checking the documents, to my manager .. I chose to call him to understand. I called him, said "Hi" and he put me on mute right away. Then, he unmuted the phone and I overheard him laughing with his trainee and other colleague about my last name! I have a foreign sounding last name and he was making jokes about how to pronounce it. He realized I was slightly frustrated because of his escalation and was in no mood to joke. He said "You're not impressed", to which I replied "not really". Then, he kept apologizing profusely during the conversation, but my mind disconnected.

I have only called him once since, only to realize he deleted my email I sent him three weeks ago. Then, he got a reminder from another colleague. He said to that colleague he never received any documents, when the email I sent him contained the documents. He just didn't bother reading. I called him up on the phone and he blatantly told me: "I didn't see it, I can't find it, send it to me again". And at the end of the day, he provides updates with no background information, which makes me look like a fool. I don't have time to call everyone on the phone to ask if they got my email. It is their prerogative to read emails.
This same guy also blamed me for not checking documents properly. He escalated to my manager. Then it turns out the documents were fine as I checked them, and it was the compliance officer who extrapolated the requirements that didn't even exist in the first place.

Today, he sent me an email about a very routine question and he put my manager in cc. (why, no clue, this is a question that comes up every week).

Then, he asked me a question along the lines of: This was in the document? Yes or No?

The "yes or no" was really unnecessary. I am not stupid. I'm a law graduate with two Bachelor and a Masters degree. I worked in capital markets in the past and he seems to treat me like I'm completely stupid/incomptent.

Maybe there is a bit of a cultural clash, but just because I'm 26 and he's in his 50s, does not mean I'm an idiot.

What the heck is wrong with him? I'm really starting to get annoyed.

He's very strange with me. I have no clue why he is like that, when he seemed to be decent to my other colleague who recently left.

How do I deal with this?
Seems to me there are several things there that could be the basis of a lawsuit: one the fact that he asked you out for drinks, and two, the fact that he ridiculed your foreign sounding name. This guy's treading on thin ice. What's your manager like? Is he someone you would feel comfortable talking to about these issues?
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Old 27th June 2017, 3:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Redguitar35 View Post
Seems to me there are several things there that could be the basis of a lawsuit: one the fact that he asked you out for drinks, and two, the fact that he ridiculed your foreign sounding name. This guy's treading on thin ice. What's your manager like? Is he someone you would feel comfortable talking to about these issues?
My manager and I have a closed bond. I have an overseas manager and an onshore manager. I'm in close contact with my overseas manager who has been like a mentor to me.

She has been praising my work to everyone, including senior management, ever since I started. She works with him on a daily basis. He's part of senior management, but whenever he claims I didn't do something right, she always sticks up for me. She knows I am highly competent and has told everyone.

Yet, he does not seem to really agree. He used to call me on the phone for really random things that could be asked me in an email. Ever since the last name incident happened and he noticed how cold I got over the phone, he stopped calling. He just ignores me emails now.

When he asked me out for drinks, I kept declining. I didn't think much of it at the time, because I thought maybe it was his way of getting acquainted with a new joiner who is visiting from a different location. However, I gathered something was off when he asked me twice in person and I said no. Then, he asked again twice via instant message, instead of scheduling my training.

After the last name episode, he kept apologizing, but I have a feeling that's because he sensed I was not going to be playing along. He's more or less "iced" me since.

I find it hard to work with a person who is not responding to my emails. I brought up the lack of responsiveness to my onshore manager, but since she has no contact with him and is not in senior management, it won't go anywhere. If anything, I'm afraid he will retaliate.

I also forgot to mention that he may ignore my emails, but many times, I have noticed that whenever he contacts certain people and puts some team in cc, who wind up putting me in cc, he just does a "copy and paste" of my email (in which I explain a subject matter).

This baffles me completely. I don't know which way to go with this individual. I'm afraid of every interaction, because I am always afraid he's going to turn it against me. I really have no idea why he is behaving this way with me, when he seems like a decent person with other people.

Last edited by ShiningMoon; 27th June 2017 at 3:02 PM..
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Old 27th June 2017, 3:10 PM   #4
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Unfortunately a lot of people are sexist, ageist, and I didn't catch where you are from but maybe race/ethnicity is part of the issue as well.

Anyway, just keeping doing your job. Make sure you get credit for what you have done, and document anything that you deem to be inappropriate or condescending.

I don't know anything about your corporate structure (sounds like a lot of different levels of management) so I don't know how you'd go about escalating this situation, but just be prepared for the situation where you may need to do so.
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Old 27th June 2017, 3:18 PM   #5
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I look like any other South European woman, but I am Middle-Eastern. Hence, he wouldn't have guessed if it weren't for my name. My name is foreign sounding, but so is half the office's.

We're both European. His own trainee that he recently hired is also Middle-Eastern (he was actually "mocking" me on the phone with him).

Hence, I'm curious as to why my race would be an issue and his trainee's wouldn't.

I speak more languages than he does and I'm probably more culturally aware.

He also works with another Middle-Eastern lady and he does not behave like that with her at all. He seems to really respect her work and she's only been there for two years or so, nor does she have a higher position than I do. She's probably three or four years older.

I think he clearly has an issue with me, specifically. I always get anxious whenever I see an email from him.
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