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I am among the first 3 employees of the company. My Seniors and peers (3 seniors and 2 peers) are good to work with.

A few months back, new people were hired by my company. I was friendly with new recruits and helped them in every possible way I could. It was my expectation that it would help them grow, perform and feel comfortable at the office.

Now these guys treat me like just another guy subordinate to them. They call me by name and tend to crack jokes which normally are not done between a senior and his subordinates. They don't give me respect that I feel I deserve for mentoring them.

This has made office a very uninteresting place for me. Their attitude hurts me. I am a good programmer and I don't want to lose my productivity and good work because of this.

What should be my further behavior at my workplace? I am looking forward to responses.

  • 1
    Not sure getting upset at the lack of hierarchy is not best described as "world weary" – Neuromancer Oct 28 '13 at 10:37
  • So just how are they junior to you? Are you their immediate boss? Are you a manager at all? – HLGEM Oct 28 '13 at 12:14
  • I think we are seeing a cultural difference here: from the answers I infer that status works differently in India than what we Americans are used to. This is a global site, not an American site, so I think this is a fair question. That said, an edit to answer HLGEM's question would help. – Monica Cellio Oct 28 '13 at 17:01
  • @HLGEM I am their immediate senior, not boss, but senior in hierarchy. – Sachinist Oct 29 '13 at 8:32
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This is a very common issue in India. Since Indians fall in between multiactive and reactive culture line. The seniors would expect respect. This is no one's fault. The tradition is as such made everyone in this country to behave with respect. Even though I can't able to see any questions from you, I can suggest you something as below,

  1. Be focused on work,
  2. The reason of those juniors not addressing you with a respect should not affect the work.
  3. Since people work as programmer and the job they are in; makes them to think the company is adapting US culture of addressing co-workers or senior programmers with their first name. Which is being un-pleasant for some people.
  4. Get them to a table or just express strongly at once while they call you with your name or anything which makes you offend, that you don't like the way that they use to address you and ask them to address you in way that you would like to be called.
  5. Don't get disturbed with their addressing method to you and spoil your productivity. your ultimate goal is to work, perform, grow and get paid.
  6. If they still don't listen to you and keep addressing you in way that you don't like. Then obviously you should take this to your decision making authority in your office to warn them severely. Make sure their friendship with you is not getting spoiled at the same time.
  7. If there is no effect after all this... Just stop talking to them unless it's official.
  • Thanks for the response. At the moment I am following step 7. :) – Sachinist Oct 28 '13 at 9:45
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I have come across the same issue As far as I see, India has a high PDI: http://geert-hofstede.com/india.html

Power distance

This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us.

Power distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed inequally.

India scores high on this dimension, 77, indicating an appreciation for hierarchy and a Top – Down Structure in society and Organizations. If one were to encapsulate the Indian attitude, one could use the following words and phrases : dependent on the boss or the powerholder for direction, acceptance of un-equal rights between the power-priviledged and those who are lesser down in the pecking order, immediate superiors accessible but one layer above less so, paternalistic leader, management directs, gives reason / meaning to ones work life and rewards in exchange for loyalty from employees. Real Power is centralized even though it may not appear to be and managers count on the obedience of their team members.Employees expect to be directed clearly as to their functions and what is expected of them. Control is familiar, even a psychological security, and attitude towards managers are formal even if one is on first name basis. Communication is top down and directive in its style and often feedback which is negative is never offered up the ladder.

This would mean that as their superior, you have a socially accepted right to offer them feedback, as to what they're doing is not ok.

As far as I know though, in India people take negative feedback pretty poorly, and this should NEVER be expressed in front of others.

Bottom line is what I would do is simply take each of the juniors at a time and tell them personally what bothers me about their behavior.

In example:

You: Hey John, I wanted to tell you that it seems to me as though I am not taken seriously in this group. Do you have any suggestions in which I could improve this, with regards to this?

John: We do take you seriously bla bla.

You: Ok, well I was a bit mislead by all the jokes, and I didn't know what to make of it...

John: Oh, ok, I'll stop, then. Do you want me to tell the others?

You: I think I will talk to them myself, but thanks.

Rinse and repeat with all the others.

  • good link user85190 – Neocortex Oct 28 '13 at 10:20
  • Hostfede's Cultural Dimensions are useful, but I think sometimes, somewhat inaccurate... – Hard Worker Oct 28 '13 at 12:03
  • Not sometimes or some what! It's totally out-dated but I mentioned it here because it's a hypocrisy!!! There are lot of changes all over the world and India is not an exception. – Neocortex Oct 28 '13 at 12:40
  • Culture has consequences that last... Change is happening. But not fast enough for us not to take these in account. Either way, people should seldom generalize... – Hard Worker Oct 28 '13 at 13:21
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Looks like you had expected some respect from the new guys out of gratitude. And since they don't treat you with a mentor like reverence, you are offended.

Is it possible, that they are just over-friendly? A honest chat could possibly resolve it with them...

  • Yes I guess that is the case. I became over-friendly. What I think is now I have gone too far. Talking to them about this may not sound good? – Sachinist Oct 29 '13 at 4:46
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    That is your call to take. If they have said things which is beyond what you can forget, then, maintain a professional relationship. Time is a healer. Concentrate on your work. – TheSilverBullet Oct 29 '13 at 7:10

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