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I only started my new job a week ago and already feel like Im being bullied by someone there. It's hard to confront her directly as it seems to be different things she does each time.

I would rather just chat to by boss about it (I've already written down a few things she's done) especially with me being so new.

But it seems like everywhere online says that you should speak directly with the person first, before speaking to your boss?

It is only a small team so has no HR department

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    "But it seems like everywhere online says that you should speak directly with the person first, before speaking to your boss?" Citation needed Commented Jan 13 at 19:50
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    If it's different things every time, this may be a communication style problem rather than intentional bullying. You've given us nothing to work with on that front.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 14 at 4:39
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    Besides other comments given so far, being there for one week is really short to appear at HR (if there was one) or your boss with a complaint. Regardless of whether it's really bullying or only a big misunderstanding, the first opinions that are spread about you probably would not be the best. In contrast to complaining, it's less invasive if you simply ask her - or someone else that in the best case overheard this - if they know how you should interprete her reactions best. Some people just have an odd sense of humor that they can't easily turn off on a newbie.
    – puck
    Commented Jan 14 at 15:17
  • "...feel like Im being bullied by someone there. It's hard to confront her directly as it seems to be different things she does each time." So what does she do? The details are important here. Please edit to add some detail.
    – sleske
    Commented Jan 23 at 8:13

2 Answers 2

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First its best not to accuse anyone of bullying.

You could just say to the person, next time, something like

  • "Did you realise that makes me uncomfortable"
  • or "Did you realise that your tone makes me uncomfortable"

Or you could go to your boss and say something like

  • "When I talk to yyy, I feel uncomfortable or I feel I am being forced to do something. What can I do to change it?"
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    Thanks, yes I think I'll avoid mentioning bullying specifically and instead just explain how difficult the person has been. My boss did actually mention them being 'difficult at times' so my boss already seems to know what they're like. Im hoping it will just be a case of my boss giving them a bit of a telling off and put them in their place
    – user143288
    Commented Jan 13 at 23:19
  • @user303096 workplaces do not (or at least, should not) do "telling off" or "putting in their place". That kind of behaviour is also bullying. Commented Jan 14 at 12:09
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I was "the new guy" once and targeted by one person in particular. He would frequently say mean things directly to me in front of others.

I would always just smile and shrug and not give any real reaction, which made him look even worse.

The bullying behavior wasn't even about me, he was bitter because a few months before I arrived he was busted for DUI and demoted.

The less I reacted, the more mad he got that I wasn't engaging.

One day, I offered to do the lunch run to the sandwich shop. I was doing the rounds collecting orders and money. I wasn't planning on getting anything for the bully, for obvious reasons. When I took his neighbor's order, then skipped him and took the next guy's order everyone knew exactly what was going on. The bully barked his order at me, crumpled up a $20, and threw it at me. I smiled, said "ok, thanks!", picked up the $20, and stuffed it in my pocket.

When I came back an hour later, I had no food for him. I handed out everyone else's order, and when he realized I didn't have anything for him he loudly demanded to know why. I smiled and said, "Oh, I figured you were paying me back for all the times you've been an asshole. Does anyone else want drinks after work? The first round is on me." I held up the crumpled $20.

The rest of the crew roasted him so hard that he never spoke or even looked at me again.

The moral of the story is, that if you can withstand the behavior while smiling and turning the other cheek in public, it becomes obvious to everyone else who the real problem is. I gained more credibility and support from everyone else in the workplace and I didn't need to do anything else to shut this guy down.