This has happened many months ago, however I have lost much sleep over this issue, and I would like your honest opinion. I am a graduate, and through this, and experienced 'workplace politics', and maybe bullying.
I need to come to terms with some resolution. I am sick of dwelling in the past.
I may be in the wrong, please hear me out! But I am not sure, since no one has told me otherwise. Feels like management doesn't want to deal with this. However, I think I was in the wrong, due to my colleagues' collective reactions.
TLDR: Replied (probably inappropriately) to an angry email, which I believe led me to become ostracized from a close-knit group. I got the silent treatment from everyone. Sleepless nights and felt really bad, felt betrayed by my new 'friends'. Felt very lonely. Tried apologizing to no avail, or a "F*ck off". Secretly went to a Psychologist (yes, I felt that bad), and the psychologist said that I was bullied. Management somehow found out, and said that I shouldn't have replied, and that I wasn't really affected enough to be considered bullied, said I need to be more empathetic. Was I actually bullied or not?
- We are Graduates in a company. I was the new graduate... joining the already tight-knit graduate group. We are a happy gang, going to lunch together etc.
- I was very busy, working outside one day, and this older graduate rang me to get my password, so that she can do her (newly assigned) work.
- For your info, she needed my credentials to login to a client's server, to do her (newly assigned) work.
- You're not allowed to share passwords! In my mind, alarm bells. This is illegal according to company policy. So, I told her I was busy, that I couldn't remember my password (truth. I haven't used the password in months), and that I'll let her know in about an hour, when I would be free to find my unused password.
- She kept ringing me... and I ignore her. 5 ignored calls later, I got annoyed, and called up her manager, asking if she has the permission to use my credentials. She didn't have permission.
- About 10 minutes later, and about 3 ignored calls later, she was granted permission to use my credentials. I can give her my credentials now, without any risk of repercussions.
- However, I was still busy...
About 10 minutes later, I receive an email from her, with EVERYONE CC'd to the email. Basically it said something like,
"Hi all. Amy (manager's name), thank you for the permission to use John's credentials. Right now, John didn't give me his credentials and so preventing me from working. John, give me your credentials so that I can do my job. Regards..."
That last part, "...so that I can do my job", really irked me. In my mind, "Why, and how could you send this to EVERYONE? (I felt betrayed). Also, who am I to prevent you from doing your job? I am not your manager. I am not your baby sitter."
I am very pissed off at this stage, and I made a mistake by being a righteous prick, by replying (to her, along with everyone) like this:
"Hi... I have told you that I am extrememly busy with a client, and that I will get back to you... Please do not demand information from me, I do not appreciate it, especially when you do not have the authorization... As per company policy, you are not allowed to share credentials, especially when a client has entrusted you with it.... You now have the authorization now, so here are my credentials..."
I thought I had done the justifiably right thing - following company policy, and explaining why I didn't immediately give my credentials.
After that email was sent, it was probably the point of no return.
Basically, all the graduates, many immediately, have started to give me the silent treatment. They went out to lunch without me. They stopped inviting me to anything anymore. They talked about their graduate party in the weekend / movie nights. THey said all of these things around me, and ignore me like I don't exist.
In my mind, I have offended ONE person. I didn't offend 10 others in the group. But it was like I offended everyone.
I felt horribly sad for many months to come. I tried sucking it up. I kept thinking, "Why is everyone against me on this? Makes absolutely no sense" I lost many hours of sleep for many days. I still haven't come to terms with this whole ordeal. (thus, this question... many months later.)
After about a month, I said, "This isn't a good way to live..." and so, very awkwardly, tried to apologise to her. She ignored the F out of me, like I didn't exist....
I tried to apologise, or just talk to another graduate who I (have now previously) respected, by very awkwardly and uncomfortably saying, "Hey, I don't know if I have offended you, but if you would like to talk about it I am open to it..." I was basically about to sh!t my pants at that point.
He mumbled to me to "F*ck off".
I seeked professional counciling over this as I felt horrible for many months. The psychologist told me that I was a victim of bullying (silent treatment), but I believe it's their job to help you come to terms with things. I couldn't let it go, especially when the workplace attitude didn't change.
Management somehow found out about this. We had a chat. Basically they made me feel like 'bad guy' (quotes, because I think nothing's ever black and white), by saying, "Apparently you threw someone under a bus..." although they never admitted whether I was wrong or right. I told them my side of the story, and then they sighed... and basically they told me to "use the phone next time", and literally "Ignore the haters".
For your info, I believe I have learned from this ordeal. Emails are NOT the way to go, when things are urgent. Pick up the phone. Email isn't the best medium for communication, as messages may be mistranslated (and break friendships!). "Be the bigger person", by stepping back.
I did not react appropriately by replying to that email. I should have just picked up the phone, and told her that "I am very busy as I've told you, I don't appreciate you sending that email to everyone. I am trying to follow company policy and not get us into trouble... You have credentials now, and I've found my credentials. Here are the details..."
- Everyone gave me the silent treatment after I sent that email to her, and I suddenly felt ostracized. I have tried to apologize, but they kept ignoring me. Was I being bullied by everyone as the psychologist has said, or am I just trying to justify my feelings by calling them bullies?
I just don't feel good about the whole situation, and would like to come to a closure somehow.
Edit: THis has happened nearly a year ago, and many have left (to better jobs!). FYI, I am asking this, because I am finding it difficult to move on.