She was a new joiner in the second phase of the project for the IT company we work in. I was working on this project for the last one and a half years. Our reporting manager called both of us to his bay and explained about various things related to the new phase of this key project. Since I had been working on this over a year, I left after understanding the “what’s new” part, however as she was new to the project, she chose to sit down and listened to him in detail so she doesn’t miss any key aspect of the project and can deliver to the best of her abilities in making this a successful assignment.
I could hear them talk form my desk as I was sitting in the adjacent place. The reporting manager was explaining lame, useless things to her, I could pretty much sense that something else was going on.
I then just started working and forgot what was going on the other side. Few minutes later, she came to me and said that she needed to discuss something with me. I said yes, I am all ears.
She told me that the manager wants her to go for a coffee with him. Going out for coffee and that too with colleagues, seniors or subordinates in the office is not at all an unusual thing, but it is surely unusual when it is your first day and your reporting manager is asking for it.
She was clearly uncomfortable. I told her to turn down the offer in a subtle way and say that she is expecting a phone call from her family and she will accompany him at some other time.
However, as days passed, he started pushing and requesting for the coffee quite often. She kept on giving some or the other excuse to evade this.
When he saw that he is not able to do much and the coffee isn’t progressing, he started to find faults in her work for no apparent reason. Some were such useless ones that they could hardly be called faults. He then became bold and started to pin-point her openly in front of everyone for her lack of skills and efficiency. Clearly, we all could see the main reason behind all these behaviors and comments by the manager about her. He even changed her shift timings to such a weird slot, that he could try and do whatever he wanted to against her and to punish her.
We did not raise any complain against him but just kept to ourselves. However, luck favored us and the manager changed, everything became fine post that.
Running away from the situation is not a good thing, it will have an impact on your work and your overall efficiency goes down. When stuck in this kind of situation try to reason out the agenda of this personal meeting and share your mind about not being comfortable about it. If you think that you are not able to say no, then seek help from HR or your colleagues by raising your concern in writing so that they can intervene and set things rights. Remember luck doesn’t favor every time, and in this case, some other woman may have been targeted by the manager in his new role.
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