I have recently moved into a new team at work (2 months or so) and recently I have noticed that I feel like I am being treated like I am a small child. This mostly comes in the form of excessive (and quite frankly, patronizing) praise whenever I complete very simple tasks.

As an example, today another team had an issue with our application and I helped them resolve their issue. As I walked away, their manager literally started a round-of-applause that spread to the entire work area, with everyone on the floor loudly clapping for me.

Later on in the day I helped another person with an issue and as I returned to my desk, a team leader approached me and told me "wow, you did such a great job today!" in the type of patronizing tone that an elementary school teacher would say to one of her students.

This is just from today - previously there have been similar situations, where I help someone out with a small issue or write some very simple code, and I am told "how great of a job I am doing, wow!" or if I figure out the bug in some code and point it out, it's "Wow, you're so smart!"

It is extraordinarily embarassing and does horrible things to my self esteem. I feel like I have no respect on the team, because it is clear that they do not view me as an equal. But, I'm not sure what to do about it - clearly this is not going to stop. And I really don't know how to bring this up to anybody to ask them to stop, or even if that's the right thing to do because it will probably make it worse.

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    Is there anything unusual about you? Ethnicity, physical issues etc.?
    – Kilisi
    Nov 15, 2018 at 0:40
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    I don't think they intend to be patronizing, its just that their internal opinion and view of me causes them to act that way without meaning to, which is why I don't think there is anything I can do about it. I haven't really noticed it happening to anybody else - seems like it's only me that overly gets praise whenever I'm just doing my job. It might be possible that they're just not used to somebody who is actually helpful.....interesting thought.
    – Alex A
    Nov 15, 2018 at 0:40
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    Killsi - I wouldn't say so, I am an overweight white male, although personally I do believe that I look extremely young just based on my facial structure. If I were to shave my beard off, my face would look just like a newborn baby (Other people have said this is not the case but I think it is). Which is really frustrating and is probably part of the cause of this behavior.
    – Alex A
    Nov 15, 2018 at 0:43
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    @AlexA perhaps a one year old, having had 4 kids a newborn resembles a wrinkled monkey more than anything else. :-)
    – Kilisi
    Nov 15, 2018 at 0:45
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    Start acting slightly cocky, saying funny stuff like "I know right? I'm pretty awesome" or "thanks, tell your friends" or "great enough job i can leave for the day?" or "maybe one day i'll get to your level". Make it slightly backfire on the complimentor in a non-confrontational manner. Reasoning: if it's a tease, they won't like you embracing it or turning it around. If they are trying to "prop you up", they'll see you don't need it. If they are real jerks, it probably won't matter what you do anyway... Only risk: genuinely over-nice; they'll go on about how funny and smart you are, DOH!
    – dandavis
    Nov 15, 2018 at 6:05

5 Answers 5


But, I'm not sure what to do about it

You could assume positive intent on their part and simply encourage them to stop.

The next time it happens, something like this might help: "Thanks guys, I appreciate it. But, please no more - I'm just doing my job."

Give it a try and a bit of time and see if things ease up.

  • 4
    Yes, no reason to assume anything negative
    – Kilisi
    Nov 15, 2018 at 1:17
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    if a public "confrontation" is a bit daunting you could always just ask your manager in a private chat.
    – Borgh
    Nov 15, 2018 at 8:57
  • I see this easily being perceived as simply being modesty, and not a sincere request to stop. Nov 15, 2018 at 22:58

Unless there was an obvious reason for it I would just think they want you to feel welcome and valued. It will fade as you become less of a novelty.


I am basing my answer off your comment that you appear young. You describe yourself to having a baby shaped face. I'm assuming you never spoke to your boss/manager about feeling inadequate or not utilized as much; especially considering you said you moved to a new team and you may feel as if you're not good enough for the last team or you were forced out to a lesser team.

With that said, they may be viewing you as a millennial and part of the so-called "Generation Me" entering the workforce. They may see you as being entitled or at least requiring careful praises or you may feel left out. They may want you to feel welcomed and valued to the team and that your contributions are important to everyone.

My advice is to do nothing at all. Eventually it'll wear out and die down.


Although I think it's unlikely that they're doing this to patronize or (maybe) antagonize you, have you considered asking the new manager why they're doing this?

If you're truly uncomfortable with how they're responding to your work, there's probably nothing bad that could come from you asking for their reasons for the excessive praise. Sometimes a simple "why are you doing this?" is enough to thwart bad behavior. If not, as others have said, it will likely die out in time as you better establish your role within the team.


Reply with the following responses.

"Thanks, hopefully you will get on my level soon!"

"No problem, I can see why your team needs my help now"

"I am smart, aren't I?"

Seems like you're being targeted for being a white male.

  • 1
    Can you expand this answer with the reason why you think this is going to solve the problem?
    – Erik
    Nov 15, 2018 at 9:58
  • 2
    When will the persecution of white males end, enough is enough! Nov 15, 2018 at 10:35
  • Nothing in OPs question indicated their race or gender much nor did it indicate they were being targeted for their race or gender. What makes you think as much? Nov 15, 2018 at 17:27
  • Steps to get the hate of everybody on work, Part 1. you're being targeted for being a white male yeah sure..... Nov 15, 2018 at 21:20
  • @LeeAbraham His comment in the first answer, and look at the sarcastic answer from Dave Battersby. He's usually the type of person to bully people for being white males.
    – Jack
    Nov 16, 2018 at 0:28

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