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I (Male, 30-35) work for a multinational Australian company in the software industry.

I am really having a hard time dealing with the favouritism from my current manager towards people who are more extroverted (not necessarily more talented). For about two years since I started working at my current workplace, I have faced problems on a daily basis.

The manager, so far has picked two favourites since I started this job. One has left and now the person who has replaced him is his new favourite.

New opportunities, handling the situations when things go sideways

The said favourite appears to be the best buds with the said manager. I conclude this because when I make an effort to ask the manager how his weekend was or any chatter for that reason, his responses are short where as when the favourite asks him the same question, he is always happy to engage in 10 - 15 minute conversations. I feel like this relationship blinds the manger from seeing his favourite's real skills.

For instance: our team had to learn new skills in a CMS. I had already worked with the CMS we are talking about here. During our training, it was quite evident. And yet, the favourite, after following the course slightly, became a self-proclaimed 'new-cms' expert. Our manager does not seem to have a lot of technical knowledge to recognise that he's not an expert. This one instance, the favourite fucked up the database because he was trying to edit the serialised data in the database DIRECTLY. Yeah, that's an expert for you. He carried on about it for 2 days and blamed the CMS for taking the wrong approach. Nothing was said or done about it.

On the other hand, when I have made mistakes, the manager has made a huge deal about it in the public chat room, once with his favourite and him attacking me together.

Credit stealing

In the past, I have brought some good ideas to the table that would benefit the company. Ideas that I use on my personal projects and work for me in real life. However, whenever I raise something, it gets minimised at the time I am raising it. The favourite usually says something negative about it, without knowing much about it. And since the favourite is my manager's cornerstone of knowledge, that's the gospel.

It's also not un-common for my old ideas to be buried at the time I raise them, and months/weeks later, manager / favourite would jump on [insert my idea] bandwagon and act like our conversation never took place.

When a group pretends that you don't even exist, it can be quite infuriating to say the least.

Work hours

When I started, I worked an additional 45 - 60 minutes (without break or lunch) to make up for my slow pace with the new tech. I was also told that when you are using mac, you're on your own, which is fair enough they all use windows, I didn't mind at the time.

When the favourite started, he asked for help for weeks. Everything had to be spoon fed to him and the manager assigned resources to help him out.

More on work hours: a few months after starting, the favourite requested from the manager that he's got a new puppy and he would like to take some time off every afternoon. For the next six months, the favourite took 90 - 120 minutes off every morning after taking a tea break and a breakfast break. Sometimes I would stay back and I did not see him making up for the lost time.

About a year ago, I started working on my own projects and up-skilling, due to which, I started doing strict 8 hours, which some people have done in the past. My manager asked me to start doing 8.5hrs as per our contract. No problems, I start doing that. In order to up-skill, I arranged mentorship session with someone from Europe and he was available only during our lunch break. I asked my boss if it would be OK if I have a 30 - 45 minute session everyday for a month in order to upskill. To make up for this time, I would not take any break at all. I didn't think this would be a big deal since up-skilling has been encouraged in my previous jobs and hey, the favourite's puppy became a dog on the office time.

But, it didn't go well. The manager didn't appear to be happy and asked me to list my existing break times and how I am planning to make up for the lost time, in writing. He said that he's doing this in case HR asks him. However, when I asked if I should forward the email to hr as well, he said that won't be necessary and we don't want them to know!!

Social engagement & meeting invitations

There's a blatantly deliberate attempt to exclude me from the conversations. The only conversations I get invited to are the ones where the critical decisions have already been made. It's like being invited to eat the crumbs after everyone feels great, having eaten the expensive meals.

Behind the back talk

My manager gives me feedback, based on the 'chat he had with' his favourite. I would have thought that in a healthy work environment, the favourite would come and talk to me about an issue he so obviously sees in me but would send the manager to deal with it.

I am left with the feedback and have to work on myself while the favourite can do no wrong in the manager's eyes.

What have I tried so far?

  • Coming to a realisation that favouritism exists at workplace and I can not expect things to be perfect.
  • I have tried doing everything in my power to ignore all of this and pretend nothing weird is going on.
  • I have spelled a couple of disparities to my manager. He has said that he will be careful of this behaviour. However, in a few week's time, things have gone back to ground zero.

I can not give up my job right now due to a few complicated reasons.

Is there a way I can make my situation a bit better? I am open to working on myself as long as it's reasonable.

TL;DR: I can not leave my job right away, how to handle a situation where my manager is more lenient towards his favourite while maintaining (wittingly or unwittingly) a different array of expectations and rules for me.

closed as unclear what you're asking by gnat, motosubatsu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, JazzmanJim, Rory Alsop Mar 21 at 9:58

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Who did sponsor your visa if not your employer ? What do you mean "you can't have instability?" – DigitalBlade969 Mar 18 at 1:30
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    The visa situation puts you in quite a weak position. How soon will this be resolved? Is your boss aware of the details? – P. Hopkinson Mar 18 at 1:31
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    Maybe add a TL;DR summary to the end, the length of the question will put some off from reading/answering – Uciebila Mar 18 at 9:51
  • Is the issue more around the favourites getting extra perks, all non-favourites dealing with problems (like the credit-stealing), or are you uniquely dealing with extra problems? – Upper_Case Mar 18 at 16:52
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There is a saying, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

A strategy others have not suggested thus far that might work: try to make friends with the 'favorite'. NO!!! Not the favorite! Of course, don't be mean to the favorite, but don't bend over backwards to befriend them either. Instead, try to make friends with the Manager.

This doesn't mean suck up and denigrate yourself. But it does mean try to be helpful in ways that make their work easier.

Maybe offer to take some tasks off the manager's plate if he gets overwhelmed. Maybe offer to take on some coordination/liaison tasks or help facilitate some meetings to save the manager time and effort. Maybe build some strategic connections across other teams and offices that provide an advantage to your team in terms of helping improve communication and make the work flow more smoothly. Observe carefully your manager's work and try to identify some of the 'pain points' that cause issues or challenges for your manager, and think of anything you can do to help address those.

Focus your effort on supporting the work of the team and the work of your manager. Unless your manager is an idiot, it will not go unnoticed. Don't be too "proactive" about this, but a little more subtle. First observe, and then try this or that approach and see what 'sticks'. If something doesn't work, don't try to argue your case, just back away. Listen to your manager's feedback, don't disagree, be adaptable and flexible but keep looking for ways to be of help and improve the quality of the team's output.

Managers value it when staff (a) don't cause them problems, i.e. are not troublemakers and (b) do their fair share and then some, are reliable performers who help push the envelope on the main projects the team is tasked with.

Become an 'asset' and someone that the Manager has a vested interest in keeping on his good side. The 'favorite' situation might not go away completely, and you might never quite reach same status. But you will still be valuable enough that the manager will feel compelled to protect you and defend you in case the 'favorite' gets out of hand. At a minimum, you will earn yourself some points that will allow you to request (and obtain) the flexibility where you need it, similar to what the favorite may be getting now.

True, you'll have to work a little harder to get to the same place, but life is unfair. What counts is that you will get there. Over time, your manager might begin to realize who should be the real favorite, and why. Good luck!

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There is no real solution apart from leaving, only a number of hard options:

In a sense, your options are defined by how "professional" your company is about such things. Even if they have a framework in place to deal with such behaviour, it is likely to entail quite a high burden of proof, which can be impossible to come by.

There is no way to make your life a little better, as you have to go to work as long as you are employed there, and therefore will keep interacting with your colleagues. Although you can try to reduce interaction (eg by working from home), it usually doesn't work very well.

You could try an internal transfer.

The hardest option, which could also blow up, and could be very hurtful to you: speak to both the manager and his favorite directly about this. Don't forget however it is likely a zero-sum game: the favorite has everything to lose, and nothing to gain admitting his status. On the other hand, the manager may have something to gain from you not creating too much fuss if your fuss is likely to reflect badly on him. In return for that, you may be able to get the manager to change the setup slightly.

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You need a new job.

But since you can't leave your job, you'll just have to suck it up, lay low and don't stir up shit, won't you...

The only conversations I get invited to are the ones where the critical decisions have already been made.

Unless you're a team lead, this is quite normal.

Also:

my visa has not been processed (work hasn't sponsored me but I can't have instability).

If your visa has not been processed you have no visa thus are working ILLEGALLY !

Seek immigration advice from a lawyer immediately.

You can only start working once you have a valid official visa.

You said you work there for 2 years and your visa has still not been processed?!

Either I'm misunderstanding or you're in serious trouble.

Also, also: Your question is TL;DR !

  • You're right about mis-understanding. I have a visa that permits me to work. That's not what my question is about though, concern appreciated. – vDog Mar 18 at 2:43
  • @vDog but you said your visa is not processed yet.what were you talking about then? – DigitalBlade969 Mar 18 at 2:50
  • I have removed that piece of information as it's off-topic. The situation for me is: this is the job I've got at hand, for personal reasons I can not leave it for about a year, I need some advice. – vDog Mar 18 at 2:58
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    Something fishy? Lol, with all due respect mate I don't think you understand how the visas with working rights work. As per first comment to your answer, I have already clarified my visa permits me to work here. Can you please leave it at that and not speculate. – vDog Mar 18 at 8:49
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    @vDog The answer points out, sensibly, that the best solution is to change jobs - you won't change the other staff or the manager, you don't have the gumption to go to HR, so either you stay or you leave. If you insist on staying then you will suffer. – Solar Mike Mar 18 at 9:24

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