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There were a few incidents when I had helped my juniors. They had accepted my answers, were happy with the solution that I gave them and everything went on smoothly until one incident.

There was a task that I couldn't help them with. I genuinely did not know the solution for it. We tried to get some help online, together. But, there was not much progress.

This task was a mere time-pass kind that was alloted to the junior. It didn't add any value to the project. We all knew that.

But, the next day onwards, everyone started making faces at me. They would respond with silly laughs, nasty remarks, start hijacking my conversations amongst other child-like actions.

For me, these are immature actions. They seem to have forgotten all the help that I offered earlier. Everything seemed to have vanished in thin air.

Now, when they approach me for to resolve other issue, I want to be very clear about it; that I am not a know-it-all and may or may not be able to resolve it. But, if I don't help them resolve it, it doesn't mean I am willingly not helping them.

I am sure that they would approach me for help in the future too. And I want to tell them that making faces at me, passing nasty remarks is totally unprofessional. How should I make these points clear to them?

  • 1
    Where are you at? Could be cultural issues here – SuperStew Mar 21 at 17:34
  • How "junior" are these colleagues? What they did is very like some 12yo behavior, if they are really in that age then I don't think this is the right place to ask your question. – tweray Mar 21 at 18:16
  • @tweray 24-25 years old – WonderWoman Mar 21 at 18:21
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    They made faces? That's completely surreal in a work environment. I wouldn't even know what they're trying to say at that point. – bxk21 Mar 21 at 19:30
  • Why do you think they are doing these things? Are they making fun of you because you didn't know the answer this one time (and now seem fallible), or is it because they don't think you'll help (or be able to help) them in the future anymore? – Smock Mar 22 at 12:00
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If people have repaid your time and effort helping them with this sort of behaviour, don't get upset about it. Just stop volunteering your time and effort.

Soon they will stop bothering you, but the important part is not to let them impact on your morale. Letting them solve their own problems isn't malicious or vindictive, it's just the best way to handle it.

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Whether or not they've developed animosity has nothing to do with their behavior towards you. Being the "senior", you need to teach them how to act professionally. The first thing you need to do is the moment they respond with laughs, nasty remarks, or other child-like behavior you need to call them out on the spot and demand that they stop. Explain why their actions are unprofessional and that they are not likely to advance their careers if they continue to act like children.

You shouldn't have to explain that you don't have all the knowledge in the world because any sensible person would already know that. When they approach you for help, you help them to the best of your ability and don't make excuses for not knowing every possible thing.

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