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prejudice in the workplace

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Hello all,

 

I've been at this company for almost a year now. The first 6 months as a freelancer, then they hired me and I got a blue card. I was put on a team with a manager that has much less experience and drive than me... but I accepted because simply put, I was desperate to keep this job and stepping down (stepping below bachelor level capacity, I'm MSc with years of work experience) was the only way I could get a job in my field in the first place (not afraid of working my way up the ladder once more).

 

But this manager is killing me. She is a bully and has no self-awareness. She is condescending and micromanages me on my personal life (it's not even about the work!) - for example, overhearing my conversations with colleagues and using the info later to try and manipulate her way, or even, taking note of how much water I drink, when I drink, and how much I on average fill my cup.. etc. Withholding information that I need for work... creating problems with suppliers, where there were none, and giving them over to me to solve. Lots of double work and overtime covering up her mess. Her bad management is also noted by my co-workers.. but for some reason, I feel like I've become a primary target.

 

You could say this is simply a matter of bad management and that it happens all the time to people. I would agree. But here's where I need advice: I have tried a few things to passively and actively change/improve my situation. After trying to solve it out with her, to no avail, I tried switching positions within the company, seeking advice from discrete colleagues, even speaking to HR. The result from this last attempt left me dumbfounded... in this company, every time I ask for help it comes back to bite me. HR did not hear me, did not consider my concrete examples describing main issues, did not understand the high school bullying going on - but took my manager's generic 'how to be a good manager' answers given with characteristic imperial poise and accepted them as truth.

 

So, I'm apparently the problem: my C1 language skills are the reason for the communication gap. HR also said, this is how Germans do it.. this is how professionals in Germany do it... (do not show weakness by talking about team problems)?! One should not talk about difficulties... one should respect the faux-flat hierarchy even if the work is being affected... WTF

 

Please tell me this is just a bad job experience!

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Sounds like a typical case of mobbing.    Language or "not being German enough" are pretty common excuses.

 

Be open to constructive criticism, but update your CV, keep a list of your accomplishments, maintain your confidence, and find a new job if things do not improve.    Keep moving forward.  

 

Good luck. 

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You need to make a written record of what occurs when.  Note dates and when possible times, keep it factual and not emotional.

Then you need to approach your works council or union (if you have one) and discuss it with them, if not then go to HR.

 

If you can also get a colleague to also complain, then your case would be stronger.  But be careful who you approach about this, you don't want to make things worse.

 

Certainly this behaviour is typical mobbing/bullying.

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HR in Germany is not what you are used to in other countries where HR is there to mediate between the bottom and upper chain, so going to HR to complain about the managerial skills from your boss was probably not a good idea.   

 

If you have a workers council in your company you can try talking to them.   

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1 hour ago, MonaMon said:

 

So, I'm apparently the problem: my C1 language skills are the reason for the communication gap. HR also said, this is how Germans do it.. this is how professionals in Germany do it... (do not show weakness by talking about team problems)?! One should not talk about difficulties... one should respect the faux-flat hierarchy even if the work is being affected... WTF

 

 

Rather than asking a website full of strangers you should take the criticism on board.

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1 hour ago, RenegadeFurther said:

 

Rather than asking a website full of strangers you should take the criticism on board.

 

 

Sorry but I don't think that behaviour such as 

 

3 hours ago, MonaMon said:

. She is condescending and micromanages me on my personal life (it's not even about the work!) - for example, overhearing my conversations with colleagues and using the info later to try and manipulate her way, or even, taking note of how much water I drink, when I drink, and how much I on average fill my cup.. etc. ...

 

could be considered constructive criticism and could be taken on board!

 

 

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Do you have a Betriebsrat (worker's council)? If so, it might be worth taking it up with them.

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Besides all of the above suggestions, it's time to get legal insurance if not already taken.

 

We have seen many times here, that the option of taking legal insurance when you require legal help, does not work,  as there is some cooling period in between. You dont have to use the lawyer at this stage, but its good to have some back up just in case.

 

Everyone listens to a lawyer's mail - definitely more than from lesser mortals like us.

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Thanks, everyone for your answers!

 

Interestingly enough, a new German colleague was recently hired for the same team and she also already noticed the same things - not only happening to me but already to herself and my other colleagues as well. She said the same as many of you, it's a typical case of bullying/mobbing as well as the fact that this person really seems to have a screw loose.

 

I did keep most of what happened in writing and asked HR to include this in our meeting minutes. 

 

In a team of six, three of us ( with myself as Canadian, and two other Germans, including the new colleague) are now looking for work elsewhere! Breath of fresh air hearing and reading here that my worries had some base (harder to see from within the storm)... and also, very importantly, this new colleague also said that this is not characteristic of German work-culture. Big relief! :)

 

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On 2019-06-04, 7:59:02, Krieg said:

HR in Germany is not what you are used to in other countries where HR is there to mediate between the bottom and upper chain, so going to HR to complain about the managerial skills from your boss was probably not a good idea.   

 

If you have a workers council in your company you can try talking to them.   

 

Just curious, what is the difference between them? Or at least what does HR is Germany do?

 

We don’t have a workers council... it was HR who suggested to meet after I tried changing positions within the company (she asked why and I told her that the relationship was affecting my work). 

 

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