Help: the people I work with think I'm stupid
June 24, 2010 7:36 PM Subscribe
Please help me maintain my dignity at work.
posted by marimeko to human relations (47 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I took a job a few months ago that is not at all in my field of study. This, as a consequence of being layed off and unemployed for just under a year.
I see it as a crazy gift. It's a good job. And a real challenge to me (quite outside anything I've ever done before). It is, according to my "peers" beneath what I was trained to do in school, but I've never let myself think in those terms. As far I'm concerned honest work is never beneath me. I was more than happy to take this position. And they were willing to give me a wide learning curve. So, win-win = I was all in.
And, not only in the spirit of working again (finally!), but knowing that learning something new is more valuable to me than standing still /remaining in my field. I've learned quite a bit in the last few months and I really want to continue learning.
The people I work with treat me regularly as though it's understood that I'm stupid. This, I believe, comes from their attitude toward the position, itself. I can't explain it otherwise (I don't behave like I'm stupid). Also, I'm appalled. This is a company that has every reason to be "open minded" considering what they stand for.
I can honestly say that I've never treated anyone at any of my jobs one way or the other depending on their position.
I can also say that I've never been treated like this before (and I'm including my many years as a bartender - how I put myself through school in the first place, and I'd gladly bartend again).
I'm low on the totem pole. I get that. I have no problem with that. It's the assumtion/subtle abuse that I encounter that I need to address.
Sometimes it's vague. Sometimes it's not so subtle. But the it's always there. Someone started to tell me how to spell something as I was drafting a document for them, recently. Something that any first grader could spell. I was insulted (note: they have no idea that I was insulted). But, worse, it made me feel like utter shit. It took months for such to have an effect on me, but it's having an effect on me now.
My question is:
How do I maintain my dignity while remaing professional in such an atmosphere, and, at the same time, not lose my cool (nor lose myself - because this is seriously starting to mess with my mind)?
I can't come out and say things "casually" about my education without (IMO) sounding like an ass. So that's out. Also, if at all possible, I want to avoid resorting to their behavior. Nothing passive-aggressive. Just some healthy way to deal without starting to see myself in their eyes.
Ideas? Personal anecdotes?
Thanks, in advance, Mefites.