I joined my company a few months ago. Every time I've asked someone for help with something, they'll both:

  1. Email my manager to let them know that I didn't know something, and ask if my manager was aware of this when they hired me.
  2. CC me when they email their manager to let them know I wasted 10 minutes of their time, so project XYZ will be 10 minutes late in delivery, and that it's my fault for this.

There's a lot of things I don't know how to do with internal company documents/processes. I can't really educate myself on this since there's no onboarding or documentation on how to use these processes.

Everyone just does this for every other coworker, it's like everyone's trying to get each other fired. With the job market recently becoming awful, I'm very concerned about staying employed. How can I adapt to survive in this environment?

  • That sounds horrible. What is your industry and were are you located? Maybe this is a cultural thing? Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 4:47

2 Answers 2


Talk to your manager.

Frankly if I was your manager this behaviour from your co-workers would already have p***ed me off long ago. Lack of teamwork like your colleagues have is a bad attribute for a worker to have. Your colleagues may be causing themselves more harm than they are causing you.

So go to your manager. Explain what is happening, what the responses of your colleagues have been when you ask questions. Remind her that you don't know how things are done specifically in your company (true no matter how much previous knowledge you have) and so you will need to ask questions.

Ask her how she wants you to handle the questions. Should you stop asking them and research things for yourself (probably making yourself less productive)? Should you be asking someone else these questions? Should you keep asking them? If the last is the case, she should tell your colleagues to actually answer them and stop complaining; ask her if she will do that. If these colleagues don't report to her then she should go through their manager.

Once your manager has told you what to do, then you do that. If she instructs you to keep asking the questions, then the next time you ask one say explicitly "My manager has told me to ask you this." You can than safely ignore any emails from your colleagues complaining about your behaviour and skills, because you are doing exactly what you were told to do. Hopefully your manager will respond by telling your colleagues to answer your questions. If they still won't answer tell your manager about each incident.

  • Is this a stylistic choice to not use the gender neutral pronoun ‘they’ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they, or was it clear from the OPs text which gender the OP, their coworkers, or their manager is at all if any, that i didn’t see? Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 16:29
  • 3
    Stylistic choice. Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:10
  • 2
    i doubt his manager hasn't noticed that behaviour already - the complaining emails were send to her, after all. maybe the manager is the root cause for the problem. or the managers manager. maybe the manager will be helpful, maybe going to her will worsen the problem ('this guy complains to me about the people whose time he is wasting' ...). based on the provided information, i'd rather not take that risk.
    – d_hippo
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:21
  • Dust off your CV and start applying for a different job. Yes, the market is bad atm, but you've nothing to loose and everything to gain from applying, so do it anyways.
  • Make sure everything is documented. If you get assigned to some work, make sure you've some papertail. If you can't find some information in the documentation, make sure to document where it should be (and keep a copy of the provided documentation at that point in time).
  • Make sure your boss always knows what you're doing and that you have a papertail to prove it.
  • Document everything that is not in the official documentation for yourself and use it to minimize the amount of time your coworkers have to spend educating you.

These are steps to cover your back somewhat, but in such a culture there is just no guarantee that they will help. It sounds like everybody is looking for a scapegoat and you, as the new guy, are the most likely candidate. Good luck.

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