I work at a company that mainly uses Drupal to build websites for important clients. I've been there since early january 2017, and it's no secret that I can't stand this technology, yet I have to work with it. In my free time, I work with Ruby (on Rails) and build some small projects. A few months ago I made a mistake the allowed a coworker to find some passwords for my external accounts, and teach me an unpleasant lesson.

I fixed my mistakes, changed all my passwords, made sure I'd never do the mistake ever again, then resumed my life. But since this moment, I have an odd feeling that everything I can publish on twitter (public account, but whatever I publish only binds me), is read by some of my coworkers and is made fun of. A "proof" that has been made is that I published a code snippet on Twitter and mentionned two friends, and while I told nothing to no one at work, a coworker came to me and told me that my code could have been improved. When I asked him how he knew and who told him, he just said that he "knew everything". Right.

I'm the youngest where I work (24 years old), I lack experience but am learning fast, and I try and do my best at whatever task one needs me to do. I work in a room with 9 other people, and only one person works on the same project as me. I don't believe that each of these 9 guys are actively mocking me, but I do have the feeling that those who don't mock are at least aware. None of them are my friends. I just feel kind of sad that this happens and that I can't trust anyone.

This Monday, I'm going to meet one of my managers to speak about something about my job that has nothing to do with this whole story, but I'm planning on talking to him about this whole story. Should I?

closed as off-topic by David K, Mister Positive, gnat, Chris E, JasonJ Sep 8 '17 at 19:34

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  • 5
    your Twitter is public. I really don't see how the password incident ties in. – Kate Gregory Sep 8 '17 at 18:45
  • Both my Github account and my Twitter account are linked on my personal website. Doing the link is a child play – Jaeger Sep 8 '17 at 18:47
  • It means that I can be as mad as I want against Drupal, I'll still do my job and won't speak about it elsewhere – Jaeger Sep 8 '17 at 18:49
  • If you downvote, at least tell me why – Jaeger Sep 8 '17 at 18:49
  • 2
    Tone is important, but consider that the coworker didn't want to say "I follow you on Twitter" because it makes you seem like someone he admires and looks up to, so he jokingly pretended he had some secret ability -- this doesn't mean they're stalking you, just that he said something silly rather than admit he is interested in what you post. – Kate Gregory Sep 8 '17 at 19:12

If I were your manager and you came to me with this, I would ask

Is this a serious problem for you and making it hard to concentrate on work?

You might say no, you just wanted to hear that it's not fair, and you're fine now. But let's assume you said yes. I would then ask

Are you telling me about it because you want me to take care of it, or because you want some advice?

If you said you want me to take care of it, I would tell you I can't do that. Oh sure, I can go into the team room and make a speech about how mocking Jaeger is wrong, and what people do in their evenings is their business, and the password thing was darn mean -- but that would undoubtedly make the teasing worse. People who like to bully and tease love it when they upset the person enough to get a reaction like that. They laugh and laugh. I suppose I could threaten to fire them, but they would probably just do things more sneakily, defend each other by lying, and even claim that you were doing things to yourself to make them look bad. Firing 8 people at once would torpedo my company, so it would take a lot worse than hurting your feelings to cause that to happen.

Once you understood I couldn't fix this for you, or if you answered that was not your intent, I would give you my advice. Bullies love to get a reaction. People who tease others do it for the reaction. If you are calm and dignified, if you stop thinking about them all the time, they will move on to another target. They have had their fun. Right now, you're giving them a steady dose of more fun everyday. It's not fair that it is on you to stop them, but nonetheless, it kind of is. There isn't another department I can transfer you to or another room you can sit it. So you just have to be less fun.

How? When you hear a mocking comment that might be about you, assume it is not. They are probably watching a silly video, tell yourself. They are probably talking about someone they went to school with. If there is any other explanation for the giggling you overhear or the looks you see people exchange, assume that explanation is true. Just carry on doing your stuff. Be less fun to mock.

Now, what else would I tell you even if I wasn't your boss? This:

Should you work somewhere else, with a technology you enjoy and coworkers you can be friends with? Of course you should. You know that. This evening Ruby project will help you be able to do that. But to be able to carry on in this environment, you need to be less entertaining to the mean boys. If they tell you something rude right to your face, you don't have to respond at all if you don't want to. If they drop hints, you don't have to take them. If you are thinking of saying something that would require personal trust and friendship, don't say it. You don't have that with them. If you tweet a link to something and one of them confronts you in person saying it could be better, don't get all "how did you know?" on them, just thank them for the feedback. "I take pull requests!" is a great response because mockers aren't going to take the time to help, and nonmockers genuinely might. But "Thanks, drop me an email with the details, I'd be delighted to look at it some evening!" works even if you don't literally take PRs.

Keep your chin up, be proud of your initiative, and work towards doing well in this job - and your next one.

  • Thank you for your answer, I know there was a bit of sarcasm in it but I guess this is the price for asking my question this way. 9 months after being in this job, I still feel a newbie in this "world" and still don't know how to react to a lot of things. I guess I'll have to do low profile for a while. – Jaeger Sep 8 '17 at 19:40
  • 2
    To be clear, there is no sarcasm in it at all. I mean all of it literally and plainly. Can you point out the part you feel is sarcastic? I may need to edit. – Kate Gregory Sep 8 '17 at 20:53
  • No it's me, I may have read your answer too fast, but the point you made is pretty clear, and that's what matters after all – Jaeger Sep 8 '17 at 21:11

How should I tell him all this ?

You don't, you need to toughen up.

Going to your manager over this type of stuff will not help you in the long run, and worse may turn good old fashioned ribbing in to down right dislike of you. At some point you need to learn to let this type of stuff go, once you do you will see that the mocking level goes down, or disappears all together.

If it is so bad that you cannot stand it, buy headphones and train yourself to not hear it. If that doesn't work then you may need to look for another place to work.

Remember this saying "Snitches get stitches".

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