Real Talk: My Colleague is Excluding Me (on Purpose)

Stressed Woman at Work

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Leah Thomas866

Work relationships can be awkward. But they're made even harder to navigate when they're layered with offensive and potentially inappropriate behavior, like the behavior one FGB'er recently faced in her office.

“My boss told me that one of her peers was ‘doing everything she possibly can to have you excluded from your project,’” one FGB'er wrote to the Community.

“Apparently, this peer of my boss had requested months ago that I be removed from the project, but I don't know why,” she continued. “After my boss said no, her peer went above her head to her boss and asked for me to removed. And boss' boss also said no. She didn't even tell me about this until after I asked why intentional exclusion of a team member wouldn't be considered an HR violation. Is it wrong of me to be mad that these members of senior leadership allowed this to happen without HR intervention? I still don't know what the initial complaint was. For reference, I got my maximum raise and highest performance evaluation score a few months ago.”

Several FGB'ers responded to the original poster to offer similar experiences and advice on the subject. 

“Trust me, I understand your questions of why HR wasn't involved,” one woman wrote. “However, I would encourage you to document this in your personal files and not push the issue. Clearly, your boss and their boss are pleased with your work and are fighting for you. Try to let that be your comfort in the situation. But make sure you document this in your files. You may need it if something else arises.” 

“I think my initial reaction would be frustrated and confused as well,” another woman said. “However, it sounds like upper management has your back and is rooting for you based on their saying ‘no’ to the peer's request and their giving you the highest performance evaluation and raise (congratulations, by the way!) So, clearly, you're doing a great job. I guess the next question is: is your peer's request worth stressing over? Advice for documenting is a good idea either way.”

And a third FGB’er wrote: “People, even senior managers, can be fickle. It sounds like you are doing everything right based on your boss' reaction to this behavior. I wouldn't let this shake your confidence, because it likely has little to do with you and your performance. But as others said, documentation is important in case you need to issue a complaint (or a group complaint is issued).”

It is understandingly frustrating to hear that another employee at your company wants you excluded from work.

It's especially frustrating when you feel (and have been told!) that you are performing well. Documenting these incidents and stories from your boss are important at any level. If another story surfaces about this particular employee working to exclude you, you may consider involving HR more seriously. But at this point in time, it seems as though your boss — and her boss, as well — respect you, and are proud of the work you have been doing. Try not to think about the one negative voice amongst the more powerful and influential positive ones. 

“I understand completely and have had a similar experience,” one FGB’er said. “Document it, don’t forget it, but move on and keep doing the stellar job you’ve been doing!”

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For all work, career and lifestyle questions, consult the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from other FGB'ers.