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Ask HN: How to deal with vitrolic colleagues in workplace?
9 points by shivajikobardan 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments
As you can guess the colleague is still in college and is 23 years old. He's a kid and I forgive him for that. He's very vitrolic about me because manager likes me and it can be seen that he likes me. He''s not doing anything bad to others because he likes me. I am male, manager is male, and this vitrolic dude is making me emotionally sad day per day, and I am falling into his trap.

I don't want to contact HR because I know they'll probably fire me when time comes because they love mediocre employees as they can pay less salary to them.






It would be helpful to know a lot more details about the way in which this person is being "vitriolic", how it is impacting you, why you can't ignore it, and who in your management chain is or is not noticing and actioning this.

Either pull him aside and tell him his behavior is unprofessional; or have your manager handle it.

Otherwise, don't fear HR. You're too valuable to be replaced by a cheap (and inexperienced) intern.


Yes, talk to him, then manager in that order.

Be calm, explain how their behaviour is impacting you negatively, then listen. If they won't acknowledge that there is a problem, or they are hostile, then take it to the manager.

Do not get sucked into an emotional argument with them. Explain, listen to response, and then thank them and think about what they said. If you are not satisfied and think you cannot resolve it further yourself, take it to your manager.

HR is last resort. Manager should do that really if required. If they can't help, then it is definitely time to find a new job anyway.


Have seen several similar situations, and regardless of the demographic, the behavior seems to stem from the instigator's perception of being superior to the person towards which the behavior is being directed.

Usually there is also a feeling from the instigator that the targeted individual doesn't deserve X or Y, and therefore deserves disdain, scorn, or whatever they consider appropriate.

The best thing you can do is demonstrate firmly that you are as good or better at whatever they are using to make you feel bad or discredit you. You also have to be firm that you don't welcome or tolerate such behavior, and so should be your coworkers, manager, or higher-ups. If they aren't being explicit about not tolerating such behavior, depending on the applicable jurisdiction, they might be putting the company in legal jeopardy.


> I don't want to contact HR because I know they'll probably fire me when time comes because they love mediocre employees as they can pay less salary to them.

Never contact HR; better is a union.


There's a line past which behavior is unprofessional. Everyone has a different attitude and sadly we can't like everybody, but I think this person needs a reality check. You have to behave inside boundaries at work.

Take him in front of your boss and tell him that you noticed his hostility and want to know if anything is wrong with you in the most calm and friendly way possible. Bonus points if the boss looks concerned about his workplace wellbeing.


Find a remote job. There's much less coworker drama in remote work, but there can be slightly more managerial drama.

Avoidant behaviour does not solve the actual problem. To each their own, but I think trying to address the issue and learn from it to better deal with these situations in the future is much more constructive than to abandon or limit all future coworker interaction. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

About half of the times, the actual problem is the manager or HR, and there is no fix for this but to switch the employer. As for the other half, yes, it can be useful to learn, but it's typically quite painful, and often requires switching the employer anyway.

Perhaps they're defensive. Perhaps this blinkers them too much to know how they're acting.

Have you made it clear to him that you're both problem solvers working on a common goal where each can and will succeed overcoming the many challenges overhead.


PS I am planning to leave, although this is a good company, but can't leave when you don't have a job at hand.

If you are a a fellow Indian (looking at your name), is he a nepotism kid who has a lot of power?

And your manager doesn't notice? How is his "vitrol" expressed, yelling and cursing at you? ... and nobody else notices?

There always are nasty people in the world. Why not be extra nice to him, tell him his talents are not being adequately recognized. Maybe he'll find another job. Why should it be you who leaves?


Man the eff up. He's 23.



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