Being bullied at my new help desk job

OllieLFC20OllieLFC20 Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi, I know threads about this aren't posted often here, but I thought I'd have a shot.


I'm 21 and just started a new helpdesk job around 3 months ago. The first couple of months were fine and I was learning a lot, which I still am. However, I now feel like I am being bullied by a co worker. He will do things like swear at me, throw things at me, send me abusive messages, hide my belongings etc. There is only 4 of us on the help desk. The others don't join in but but I have caught them laughing a few times. I was enjoying this job a lot and was learning a lot. But this co-worker is making it much harder to take things in and concentrate as I am constantly worried about what he'll do next. I have seen this happen in previous jobs in IT but have never experienced it myself. I also find my unable to study for further certifications at home as I am constantly worrying what will happen tomorrow.



Has anyone experienced this or seen this happen before, what can I do about this? Thx
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Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Talk to your manager. If they won't do anything go to HR. Probably best to start polishing up the resume regardless.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • EnderWigginEnderWiggin Posts: 551Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Talk to your manager. If they won't do anything go to HR. Probably best to start polishing up the resume regardless.
    And if HR won't do anything, document everything that occurs and sue for hostile workplace.
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Posts: 600Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    With most complaints of this nature I normally advise people to grow some thicker skin but this goes beyond that. I make it a point to confront bullies because they are toxic to the work place. Whether they act that way toward you or someone else you need to nip that in the bud. Once an individual enters adulthood there is no more room for this kind of behavior and they need to be called on it. While being tactful make it very clear that you do not like the swearing, throwing of things, hiding of things, etc. and document it. Heck, even email him so it is documented. This way if it should ever go to management or HR he can't say that he didn't know that this bothered you and that he was merely having fun. Just my opinion.
  • CyberCop123CyberCop123 Senior Member Posts: 334Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Please make sure you start to keep a written log of all of this.

    As simple as:

    23rd October 2017: 1121am XXXX was rude to me, swore at me and generally was unpleasant.

    ...

    It's valuable if you do this if you decide later to take more action against the company or person if they don't do anything.

    If you don't then saying to them "this has been going on ages... but I can't think of any examples or when it happened" really isn't that good. So make a log and speak to your boss.

    Don't be afraid to speak up, this really isn't acceptable.
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  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    keep a written log of all of this.
    eg
    23rd October 2017: 1121am XXXX was rude to me, swore at me and generally was unpleasant.

    You need to be much more explicit than this - keep a record of what was said and if you think you are going into a situation where you expect to be harassed then get a voice recorder and keep it on for the duration (note most mobile phones don't have enough battery power for this).

    If you just say he was rude then it is heresay. If you can say he said "you stuped little smit" and can back it up with a recording (not admissible as evidence at this stage but it backs up your case) and keep detailed records over a period of time, including attempts to ask them to stop (emails) and requests for assistance from your manager (also use emails) then you have them over a barrel.

    You have to learn to stand up for yourselves and a good place to start is to ask HR for assertiveness training to overcome a workplace environment you find confrontational - the act of asking for help rather than asking them to step in will help get you support too.

    Good luck - it really sucks when this happens but you are probably the only one who can make something happen to stop it.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Posts: 3,277Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    +1 on documenting everything in detail. (dates, times, and specific details) And saving any communications when possible.

    But of course first would confront him next time it happens and just let him know that you aren't OK with it. Then resort to the documentation only if it continues.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,716Mod Mod
    Talk to HR and document. If they won't do anything, start looking for another job. If they ask why in the exit interview, tell them that nothing was done in regard to the co-worker.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    ... next time it happens and just let him know that you aren't OK with it

    This is SUPER important. We had a case along these lines 1.5 years ago and when we involved law enforcement this is the first thing they mentioned. The victim never brought up that the behavior was unwanted so that reduced the options available. You need to clearly communicate that this behavior is unwanted and needs to stop. Another thing to keep in mind is that in some places management up to HR may have a tendency to try and slide things under the rug. If you ever get a sense of this happening you need to reevaluate the situation and how you will approach it.

    +1 also on documenting. Extra points if you get witnesses.
  • beadsbeads Posts: 1,442Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Agree with much of the above but here is my take on it.

    Tell the person when they go out of bounds on the behavior front. Be reasonable about what you consider rude behavior. For example calling you out as "stupid" or generally unable capable of finding one's posterior with both hands, etc. would definitely be considered to be creating a hostile workplace. Name calling or sexual innuendo likewise cannot be tolerated.

    Are you being singled out by one individual or by the group as a whole? This adds to the complexity if the whole group is ganging up on you for whatever reason.

    Once you have a documented and repeatable list of offenses, setup a meeting with HR and your supervisor. Nothing like eliminating a he said/she said environment.

    As long as your work effort isn't affected you should have no problem with your case. If these things do not bring work peace be prepared to work elsewhere.

    Good luck!

    - b/eads
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Stand up for yourself and push back....

    Documenting IMO is completely worthless, it takes forever to get anything done and by then the environment has gotten so toxic you'll be moving on at that point. Especially if he is senior and he gets a long with the other folks you are toast.

    The best thing you can do is call him off to the side and in a very authortarian voice to knock off the nonsense. Let him know if he doesn't you are going to bust is face in. He'll be shocked at this point, one more time ask him if he is clear.

    If he is a complete hot head you might get luck and he will hit you, automatic termination. If not he will respect you more for showing some spine.
  • BlucodexBlucodex OSCP, GCIA, GCIH, GMON, CISSP, CEH, CHFI, CCNA CyberOps, Security+ Posts: 430Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Slash his tires.
  • ClmClm 5th Raikage (AWS) / Cloud Sec Senpai Posts: 443Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    First I would immediately start documenting everything he does. I would have a conversation with telling him he needs to cut the crap. inform your manager and ask that they address It as well. If it continues go to HR and if it still continues begin looking for a new place and potentially legal counsel
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  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,716Mod Mod
    Clm wrote: »
    First I would immediately start documenting everything he does. I would have a conversation with telling him he needs to cut the crap. inform your manager and ask that they address It as well. If it continues go to HR and if it still continues begin looking for a new place and potentially legal counsel
    I second this.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Posts: 947Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    Blucodex wrote: »
    Slash his tires.

    Tricky to pull off.. but definitely therapeutic :]

    I had a coworker who quit a previous job because of a bully;

    a few months after quitting... he made a "house call" late one nite.
    lol


    Documenting is definitely a good start.
    Voice recordings even better.
    Then i would go STRAIGHT to HR; (that's EXACTLY what they're there for).

    AFter all that is done... the next time he tries some bullcrap; Go NUCLEAR!!!

    Seriously.
    Blow up.
    Take it the Distance.
    Throw your keyboard.
    Flip over desks.
    Stand on a table and SHOUT that assjack down until you're hoarse.
    BALLS to the WALL.
    Don't hold ANYTHING back.

    Either he's getting fired; or YOU are; so don't hold anything back.
    Life is too short to stay in a Toxic environment.
    (important life lesson)


    EDIT:
    Let me be clear: No Physical Violence! You just want to "express yourself" remain within the law :]
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    ^ I love how this guy rolls.
  • BlucodexBlucodex OSCP, GCIA, GCIH, GMON, CISSP, CEH, CHFI, CCNA CyberOps, Security+ Posts: 430Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I had a guy at my last job who was a verbal bully. The entire office including our boss the IT Director was afraid of him. Him and I got into it a few times but I didn't back down. Point is, at some point you will need to either confront the bully or escalate to management/HR.

    Personally, I would pull him aside and try to settle it without having to get anyone involved. From my experience, documenting is here-say without witnesses. You won't find many willing to get involved.

    Recent karma: We hired a new guy and he was bullied at his last job. Literally 20 seconds after telling me about it our boss says to the new guy, do you know this guy? He was submitted for a SOC Analyst position. Guess what, he wasn't called in to interview.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    Look, it sucks to be bullied and it's NOT professional in any way, shape or form. It sucks to have to go to your manager and have to explain that someone in your office is behaving like a child and they need to step in as an adult in authority, but ultimately it's their job to do so. Right now you have the moral (and legal) high ground. If you blow up at them, harass them or (dear god) threaten them back, you could be in the position of getting fired for being the bully. Especially if this guy is well liked by more peers than you or someone walks into the conversation of you threatening him and doesn't know the context. Remember: Perception is everything. If you threaten him back or go nuclear and the wrong person overhears the wrong end of that conversation, you better be ok with being unemployed.

    Document everything, go through your direct manager FIRST before jumping over to HR, make sure you document the steps you took before you had to squeeze the trigger on HR.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    Stand up for yourself and push back....

    Documenting IMO is completely worthless, it takes forever to get anything done and by then the environment has gotten so toxic you'll be moving on at that point. Especially if he is senior and he gets a long with the other folks you are toast.

    The best thing you can do is call him off to the side and in a very authortarian voice to knock off the nonsense. Let him know if he doesn't you are going to bust is face in. He'll be shocked at this point, one more time ask him if he is clear.

    If he is a complete hot head you might get luck and he will hit you, automatic termination. If not he will respect you more for showing some spine.

    Don't forget to pee on your own cubicle so your territory is properly marked and then hump his leg to establish dominance.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    Stand up for yourself and push back....

    Documenting IMO is completely worthless, it takes forever to get anything done and by then the environment has gotten so toxic you'll be moving on at that point. Especially if he is senior and he gets a long with the other folks you are toast.

    The best thing you can do is call him off to the side and in a very authortarian voice to knock off the nonsense. Let him know if he doesn't you are going to bust is face in. He'll be shocked at this point, one more time ask him if he is clear.

    If he is a complete hot head you might get luck and he will hit you, automatic termination. If not he will respect you more for showing some spine.
    Seriously, this is the kind of advice that only works in the movies and gets you fired in the real world, unless you're the CEO's kid or something. Threats of violence are not going to get you far in the business-world, (again, unless you're the CEO's kid, in which case you're probably not getting bullied in the first place,) and playing games with people where you try to bait them into fighting you so they'll get fired is both childish and dangerous.

    To the OP: let the guy know he needs to stop, establish that clearly so there is no misunderstanding down the road, then go to your manager and/or HR with your documented findings. This is something that happens, we all sometimes end up working with jerks, but if you can make a change in your current workplace that's for the best. If the doom and gloom of the rest of the thread catches up, and nothing really is done, then it might be time to update the ol' resume and get the hell out of there.

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  • TeKniquesTeKniques OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, SSCP, MCSE (03), Security+, Network+, A+, Project+ Posts: 1,262Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Stand up for yourself and say something. Let your manager know what's going on and if nothing changes, time to move on. No environment like that is a hill to die on.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    1. Let him know you are not ok with his behavior and that you are there to work not to be harassed. Make sure you mention the word "harassment"
    2. After you do that, tell him you going to your manager.
    3. Go to the manager and tell him what is happening.
    4. Like everyone above said, document everything, those messages he sending you print them out and save them or forward them to your personal email for proof and future need in case you need to take further action.
    5. If nothing changes within a week or if you see that the behavior stops and then resumes again , then go to HR and tell them you have exausted all options and you need them to take action.

    If nothing happens then sue them but dont mention that to anyone at work.

    You can also talk to the other co workers, find someone that has your back and band together.

    Good luck.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Don't forget to pee on your own cubicle so your territory is properly marked and then hump his leg to establish dominance.

    Sadly enough that is probably more effective than documenting......

    HR is there to protect the company not the employees.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    Sadly enough that is probably more effective than documenting......

    HR is there to protect the company not the employees.

    Going to your manager and HR instead of threatening to break someone's face is less likely to result in the following:

    1) Getting you fired
    2) Getting your ass kicked
    3) Getting you arrested

    HR and management ARE there to protect the company but not necessarily from the person who is complaining. The person who is literally harassing people is probably the bigger liability here to the company than the guy who's getting harassed.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    Seriously, this is the kind of advice that only works in the movies and gets you fired in the real world, unless you're the CEO's kid or something. Threats of violence are not going to get you far in the business-world, (again, unless you're the CEO's kid, in which case you're probably not getting bullied in the first place,) and playing games with people where you try to bait them into fighting you so they'll get fired is both childish and dangerous.

    To the OP: let the guy know he needs to stop, establish that clearly so there is no misunderstanding down the road, then go to your manager and/or HR with your documented findings. This is something that happens, we all sometimes end up working with jerks, but if you can make a change in your current workplace that's for the best. If the doom and gloom of the rest of the thread catches up, and nothing really is done, then it might be time to update the ol' resume and get the hell out of there.


    High risk, high reward.

    I never said you actually hit the guy, that's optional..... Was bullied in high school by seniors when I was a freshman. Repeatedly went to the instructor and the principal. Nothing ever materialized, finally the semester was over and I just had to avoid them in the hallways.

    This is a very real situation and jotting down notes and talking to a boss who most likely is ill equipped isn't going to amount to anything..... What will end up happening if they actually do confront the bully on your behalf will end up getting ugly. He will take another approach, one far more abusive than what you are receiving now. The other two are following the alpha and won't dare break the ground rules set by him, if in fact the situation is playing out as I am visualizing.

    If someone is threatening me and calling me obscenities I'm going pull them into a conference room and have a chat......

    Sounds like he knows how to play the game well.... Pushing you just enough to grind you down, but not enough to get in trouble. Most likely the manager will call in the alpha, laugh about your complaint. The manager will tell him to take it easy on the new guy, he will lay off a little but he will most certainly find another way to get at you.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Going to your manager and HR instead of threatening to break someone's face is less likely to result in the following:

    1) Getting you fired
    2) Getting your ass kicked
    3) Getting you arrested

    HR and management ARE there to protect the company but not necessarily from the person who is complaining. The person who is literally harassing people is probably the bigger liability here to the company than the guy who's getting harassed.

    That's not a very convincing statement, which is it?

    The employee who brings more value to the company usually gets preferential treatment.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    That's not a very convincing statement, which is it?

    The employee who brings more value to the company usually gets preferential treatment.

    I would say it's pretty convincing. I've witnessed enough of these things play out to say that in most businesses, there's a pretty strong drive to avoid getting sued. An employee who is likely to get the company sued isn't very valuable. These guys are on helpdesk (entry-level work), not doctors or senior engineers at this point. It's highly likely from an upper management and HR point of view, they aren't going to risk getting sued over an idiot on the help desk making his coworkers feel uncomfortable.

    Also, it's not really a coincidence that most of the folks who are in senior roles are echoing the same advice on this thread.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say it's pretty convincing. I've witnessed enough of these things play out to say that in most businesses, there's a pretty strong drive to avoid getting sued. An employee who is likely to get the company sued isn't very valuable. These guys are on helpdesk (entry-level work), not doctors or senior engineers at this point. It's highly likely from an upper management and HR point of view, they aren't going to risk getting sued over an idiot on the help desk making his coworkers feel uncomfortable.

    Also, it's not really a coincidence that most of the folks who are in senior roles are echoing the same advice on this thread.

    Absolutely right, its the first thing that they teach you in the company sponsored anti-harassment and sexual harassment classes.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Oh get real! Suing the company over bullying?! icon_lol.gif It would have to be extremely egregious for that to even have a chance. Battery or something of a severe magnitude. A couple of nasty grams over IM and hiding his stapler doesn't qualify for that.....

    His co worker isn't doing anything illegal
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Oh get real! Suing the company over bullying?! icon_lol.gif It would have to be extremely egregious for that to even have a chance. Battery or something of a severe magnitude. A couple of nasty grams over IM and hiding his stapler doesn't qualify for that.....

    His co worker isn't doing anything illegal

    It doesnt have to be illegal. Un wanted behavior in the work place is ground for termination if it makes someone uncomfortable or uneasy or if it affects their work performance.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,476Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    It doesnt have to be illegal. Un wanted behavior in the work place is ground for termination if it makes someone uncomfortable or uneasy or if it affects their work performance.

    So OP goes to the boss and tells them whats going on and the co worker gets terminated?

    Is this the fairy tale you are going with? I'm going to remain pragmatic and go with a real world approach.

    Last post on this matter.....

    First of all my post was to empathize with the OP, having been bullied before. I thought I would offer some advice and toss in a little humor, obviously that went over several peoples heads.......

    Confronting the individual is most certainly the best approach, it may not be the most comfortable, but it will be the most effective. Bullies are looking for people to submit and when you run to the boss, they won..... Oh, and I bet that employee doesn't get fired for IM's and hiding the stapler. I'll give you odds on that.

    Can I get my hour of life back please? icon_redface.gif
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