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Help! My Coworkers Hate Me

Dear Armchair Psychologist, I have struggled for many years to sustain gainful employment. I'm currently a level 1 Sommelier at an esteemed restaurant. I love to work, I'm very productive, and I am proud to say that I'm always one of the top performers. Also, I'm gregarious, kind, loving, and respectful to my coworkers but, eventually, I become the odd one out. In jobs where productivity is not measured against someone else, it tends to be less of a problem, but I frequently find myself on the receiving end of some blatant jealousy. Somehow, I think it's just human nature that if you are deemed a threat, your coworkers start putting more and more energy into getting you out of the equation. I'm embarrassed to admit this but I've been bullied out of many jobs that I was great at and loved — it's happening again at my current job. I recently learned I'm bipolar and while I'm totally fine and most people would never guess, I am learning that I really need my space. I've been in the restaurant industry for many years, I can make people laugh and smile, and I really can sell anything I believe in. I never finished my degree but if the opportunity presents itself, I am considering reinventing myself in a career that is mostly independent. So my question is, as a woman who should be planning her retirement, how do I plan to reinvent my career path?-Lonely@TheTheTop

Dear Lonely@TheTop,

I'm sorry to hear that your coworkers are teaming up against you. It's remarkable that you're an overachiever who prides themselves on excelling while also managing such a challenging disorder as bipolar. It concerns me that you have been an outcast repeatedly at many jobs. Is it possible your bipolar disorder is affecting how you interact with others and it simply may not be apparent to you? If that's not the case, perhaps it's something else.

I agree with you — human nature is human nature; it's not something you can fight about nor justify or logic your way to. It is what it is. But if you can't leap five feet in the air, it's not gravity, it's you. No matter how much you want to justify whether or not you are right or wrong in these work situations where it feels like your coworkers are teaming up against you, it's irrelevant. It's like gravity — you just have to learn to deal with it. Therefore, the only thing you can change is you, as you can't change gravity. You have to look inside yourself and examine what you can change in order to cohabit with other humans.

I recommend you take a coworker that you like, (or your boss), out for a drink, and tell them how much you like everyone at work and explain you're having trouble connecting, then ask why? I bet you this feedback will be very useful and as a result, (instead of being bullied out of a job you enjoy and are great at), you can eventually uncork a bottle of old Mousigny with your newfound peers!

- The Armchair Psychologist

The Armchair Psycholgist Gets An Update!

The woman above wrote to me about being a threat to her coworkers and not getting along with them. I suggested the problem may lie within her inability to connect gregariously and look into discussing the matter with her boss.

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or email to get some advice of your own!


Ubah Bulale