I am aware of the following questions, but feel like they don't apply completely here because of the meeting issue (point 2 below):
A bit of background story: I moved to a country in Northern Europe about two years ago for my studies. I did not plan on staying here for long but the circumstances changed, so I am still here. I graduated from college less than a year ago and got a full time job after that. I did not apply for the job, but got heavily recommended by a former colleague of mine (Alex) that went back to working at the company where I am currently working. He worked with me before and knew I did not know the local language (let's call it Dothraki to avoid giving an exact location).
The company I am working for is quite small, less than 20 employees. All of them have Dothraki as a native language, but all of them also have a very good level of spoken and written English. Actually, most of the people in this country speak English. I tried to learn Dothraki for a while. I think I understand about 20 percent of the conversations. For some personal reasons (mostly mental health related) I stopped learning Dothraki and will not go back to learning it in the near future.
I very well understand that Dothraki will mainly be used for social interactions at the office, and I am very OK with that. I however accepted the position under the assumption that work matters would be discussed in English, which would only make sense because I don't know Dothraki. I work as a Software Developer if that makes any difference. I work in a nice company where the benefits are nice (which is actually the case in most private company in this country). The job is also interesting enough and due to the size of the company I can do a lot of different things and develop my skills.
For a while, things were alright. I was mainly working with Alex on a project. Since it was only the two of us working on it, all of those work conversations were held in English. But things started to change lately and are now impacting my work negatively.
- It happens more and more often that I am trying to solve a bug or help out of coworker (per their request usually) and that we are both actively try to find where the problem comes from. Every single time this happens, a third person (not always the same one) comes in and asks about the bug in Dothraki. This causes both of my colleagues to start talking in Dothraki together about the bug and ignoring me completely. I usually try to say a few things in English for them to realize that I am still here, but they ignore it. After a few minutes I go back to my desk because I am feeling left out. Sometimes they informe me of what they figured out, but not always. This also makes me not be able to chime in with proposed solutions, even if the code that is discussed is the one I made.
- I went to one meeting about my project and they decided to have it in English so I could understand and also give my opinion on the subject. The meeting was alright, with most of it in English. There were some discussion in Dothraki, but I just waited them out and they did not last more than about 5 minutes at a time. However, since that meeting, I have not been invited to participate in any meeting regarding the project I am working on. All the colleague on the same project and with the same level as me attend said meetings, and even some colleague not even working on the project.
- Another colleague is going to join the project Alex and I work on in a matter of weeks. At some point, I worked with Alex and this other colleague on a side project and I was having those problems more often than before. I was under the assumption that work on this project will be done exclusively in English, but it does not seem to be the case.
They are nice people and probably not trying to be mean, but it is very hard on me and especially on my mental health. I ended up crying in the bathroom a few times because it was too difficult being put aside and ignored. I am anxious every day going to work and I think about it too often in my spare time.
I spoke to Alex about my concerns and he is under the impression that he speaks English almost all the time. He is often the one starting the conversation in Dothraki when there is a bug to be solved with me though (see first point).
In this country, it is very uncommon to be fired, I would not really mind it, as it is getting increasingly difficult for me to be here. Getting fired would allow me to get a bit of peace of mind to find another position in a more international company.
I am feeling guilty towards Alex about applying elsewhere, because we are only two on the project and it might put him in a difficult spot. I am just not sure what to do and I am wondering if this is normal behavior and I should have just expected things to go that way when accepting the job offer.
Would it be unethical to look for another position for only those reasons. What can I do while applying to try and make things better in my current position? I don't really know how to stand up for myself as I am more of the discrete non assertive type.
From comments moved to chat:
Moving to another country is not possible for me right now but I hope it will be in a few years.
Did you discuss this with your manager? If not, why not? If you did, what did she/he say? Or are you looking for a solution which bypasses your manager? -Abigail
I don't have a manager, we are in a flat structure and the only person above me is the CEO. So I did not talk to them about it, because it seems like escalading too much
"Getting fired would allow me to get a bit of peace of mind to find another position" - Why do you feel like you need to be fired in order to find another position somewhere else? -Brandin
because I feel a bit guilty about wanting to leave the company that offered me a job right after graduation. Also, if I am fired I would have a bit more time to find a position, whereas if I quit I will need to have a new job lined up. Yeah, I think I don't have a choice other than being more assertive