I really hope I get the help I'm seeking here.

I'm a qualified and experienced person (10 years of work experience)

I joined my present job 5 months back, in a new country. I have relocated from my home (where I was living with my parents).

It seemed like a good opportunity. But my problem is since joining here, I have really struggled to get along with my boss (who is a different nationality than me). Some of the work here is new and I made some mistakes in my work (1 month into my job). I feel my boss has a bad impression of me due to that, he doesn't trust me. I'm not asked to come for meetings and am kept out of any team meetings or new initiatives that happen.

I feel extremely uncomfortable around him because of the early unpleasant experiences, I basically don't communicate with him at all and basically communicate more with another colleague for any work. I find my boss to be short tempered and have difficulties communicating with him.

Now because this person is the senior-most person in the office, this is reflecting badly on me and will impact my progress at work too.

I have been under a lot of stress in the last so many months because of this situation, not only because of the problems at work but also because I feel, having moved to a new country, the onus is on me to make a success of this. I feel demotivated and undervalued and extremely sad when I think about my work situation. I seriously want to handle this professionally and don't want to go and speak to my boss and burst into tears and exacerbate the situation further.

I need to improve my working relationship with my boss and get a grip on this situation. I would appreciate any advice on how to deal with this.


PS. Please don't advise me to talk to a colleague because I have already tried it and although I thought it would improve my situation, it's now actually working against me since people know this girl doesn't get along with the boss and I'm being mostly pitied by everyone else (So I just prefer not to talk to anyone about it now)!

  • 2
    Have you talked to your boss about this? – WorkerDrone Dec 12 '16 at 20:02

You're in a new country, it's not enough to be as good as everyone else. You're a foreigner, you need to be better.

This isn't just about the work itself. You have to portray yourself as motivated, cheerful and professional even if you're really struggling to cope. Always remember you are a novelty for a while and therefore under more scrutiny and perhaps less tolerance.

Find what emotional support you can, but don't take your morale problems to your colleagues, you need to deal with them yourself. Your face and attitude at work should always be positive.

If you can do this, eventually the tide turns and you're an accepted and valuable team member. I've worked in several countries and always been either part of a small minority, or quite often a minority of just me, and this has been the key to making it each time. It's never been an easy smooth ride.

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Step up. Out work some or all of your co-workers. Deliver quality code.

To help protect yourself, be sure to document as much as you can in regards to assignments. Be sure you have solid requirements so you have the best shot at delivering what is expected.

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You are not going to want to hear this but you need to talk to your boss as soon as possible. Make a meeting appointment for as soon as you can. Make the subject of the meeting be improving your performance.

Go to him humbly and express how you feel you got off on the wrong foot and you need to repair the working relationship. Ask specifically what you need to do to improve in his or her eyes. Then do those things even if you don't agree with them. This is about perception and your boss perceives you as not doing well, so you need to find out what you need to do to improve his or her perception.

You need to specifically ask why you are being kept out of team meetings and new projects. You need to listen without objecting to everything negative he has to say about you and then you need to take whatever steps it takes to improve this relationship.

At this point you cannot afford to argue any of his/her points. You need to adjust to his/her expectations. Period. Once you have regained a measure of trust, then you can have professional disagreements or discuss differences of opinion, right now you have lost that luxury.

Given that this has gone on for several months, it may not be possible to salvage this. It will depend on what your boss has to say.

Another option, depending on the size of the company, is to request a transfer to another boss after you talk to the current one and try to work it out. He/She may be willing to let you go elsewhere in the company since you don't seem to be contributing much to his/her team anyway and transferring you gives him/her an opening he/she can fill.

Talk to him about the cultural issue as well. You are in a new country, you need to understand how business in that country is done.

Now for the future, you made two huge mistakes here that you need to not repeat.

The first was in starting to avoid your boss. You need to learn to deal with people who make you uncomfortable or who do not communicate in your preferred style. If the person is the boss, avoiding communicating with that person is one of the worst things you can do. You have let this poor initial perception go on too long. You should have addressed it immediately even if the conversation was uncomfortable. Your boss has the power to affect your assignments, your performance appraisal and your raises. He/She is the single most important person in the work world for you. It should be your absolute first priority to get along with your boss.

The second huge mistake was in telling a peer about your problems that you had not fixed them with the boss. In most offices, it is highly likely the word that you were unhappy would have filtered back to him/her and by doing this, you made him/her look bad. Never make your boss look bad.

Learn from these mistakes and don't repeat them.

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