Being complained about behind your back

  1. A performance review I got a little while ago was mostly very positive (hard working, great with patients, etc), but the three nurse managers spent the most amount of time highlighting that a lot of complaints were made about me behind my back. Nobody had told me anything until that time. Almost all of it was female coworkers being offended over particular things that I said, not that I mistreat them overall or anything. I generally get along with everyone and treat them with respect.

    I want to reduce this overall, because I know that this is something I will have to deal with throughout my whole career. I can't tell you how many things said to me could be considered offensive, but I just shrug them off and do my job. This can be a very back stabbing, collectivist, and whiney field.

    To the men, if you have had to deal with this, what did you do to handle it? Tell me your experiences. I'm just thinking I need to be better at reading who is easily offended and will report something stupid to the bosses. I don't want to go around feeling like I have to watch everything I say around every person.
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   MurseCumberbatch2b
    I'm not a nurse yet but have been in finance since 2006 which is quite stuffy.
    I learned early on to stay away from all things unprofessional. You'd be surprised who will complain and moan all the while smiling and laughing with you. Hell, there are people that are so awful and manipulative that they will bait you on purpose.

    My advice, keep your work relationships purely professional.
    Walk away and or shut down gossip asap and stay away from people that do.
    It sucks but this is how I operate at work and I make this clear from day 1.

    Maybe try to find someone to talk with that is not in your direct unit.
  4. by   caliotter3
    They gave you no names, no specific incidents, to include dates? With no opportunity to face your accusers, this sounds as if your supervisors are maintaining a witch hunt atmosphere when it comes to you. I would be very careful from here on out. It might not hurt to reconsider your future, brush off the 'ol resume, contact your network regarding opportunities. I got a performance evaluation where one negative thing (not even substantiated) was told to me by a supervisor from another shift, with whom I had never had contact! Guess what happened to me a few weeks later? Get the gist? Put up your guard. A little paranoia comes in handy sometimes.
  5. by   joemomma35
    Only one was told to me in detail, and I didn't push on the rest. I don't think they're trying to create a witch hunt. I believe that they're guilty of taking complainers too seriously. I don't believe that they want to fire me, but the managers are trained at avoiding litigation, so they are basically forced to listen to every complaint. I noticed that they have everything documented.

    I fully agree about keeping options open, but I'd rather stick with this company if possible. If things start getting really dicey I'll have to bail. I'm in a position where I can afford a temporary job loss with no issue. Also, at this stage early in my career, job hopping will not look good.

    I appreciate the outlook so far. Please keep it all coming.
  6. by   Raviepoo
    I'm a woman and I have dealt with the same problem. Now I put on a fake persona when I am at work. I have no opinions. If I am going to say something non-work related to a co-worker I make sure it is positive and can't be misconstrued. My language is never even a little bit blue. I watch my back at all times. It's uncomfortable, but it's what I have to do now that I am immersed in a culture that is not native to me.
  7. by   Esme12
    Even though I am female....

    You have to remember you are working with females. You betcha they have everything documented....remember they are females they forget NOTHING. Clearly there is a culture here that supports these women. Females (and males) can be mean, two faced, critical hypocrites. A mean girls club. I have seen these groups in action and it isn't always pretty.

    My advice....keep your nose clean. Don't participate in gossip. Do not make ANY off color remarks or ANYTHING that can be considered aggressive or sexual in nature....whether or not they are the ones who start it. Keep you language professional and free of profanity ( I use colorful language and I watch it too).

    Be polite but distant. Mind your manners. This can go on for a little bit....usually when they get to know you they will back off.

    I'm sorry it is like this at some places....Good Luck!
  8. by   joemomma35
    The sad thing is that the complainers know they get an advantage for making complaints. Usually they were ruder in person than I was to them. Personally I don't complain about anything unless it's serious and needs to be said to cover myself, which has only happened once so far in my career.
  9. by   kbrn2002
    There are always people at work that behave like children, running to "mommy" with every little complaint. You would think that management should be aware of this and see through it, but not always. It's unfortunate, but that seems to be the way it is. Myself, I quit worrying about that years ago, if somebody wants to run to run to mommy because I hurt their feelings, let them. I know I behave professionally and can defend my actions if need be.
  10. by   AW-EMTP
    I completely understand.

    I've dealt with this for nearly 2 years. It seems that is always some petty little thing I must account for without being given the opportunity to confront my accusers or even speak to the validity of the claims. My patient satisfaction is impeccable yet I seem to always be in the crosshairs and I don't really understand why. When I float to other units I receive rave reviews for my performance and I have routinely been invited back and even requested on many occasions. However, on my unit, I seem to never be able to do enough to satisfy someone and I always end up hearing about it going on behind my back.

    I don't know what your situation is but I tried for so long to be nothing but professional and good at my job and it seemed like once I found my way into their sights, I couldn't get out no matter what. I recently left for better opportunities and it was the best thing I could have done. I finally feel I am being treated like a nurse should be treated.
  11. by   toomuchbaloney
    Male nurses work in a largely female dominated environment. Many times male nurses are managed by women and the majority of their professional leadership is female.

    Male nurses must follow some fairly simple guidelines to keep themselves safe from harassment, IMV.
    1) Do not date out of your pool of colleagues.
    2) Keep your personal life seperate from your professional life.
    3) Keep all comments to female co-workers polite and confined to professional topics.
    4) DO NOT ENGAGE in sexual enuendo or joking...EVEN IF THE WOMEN ARE...never, just don't go there. Any sexually inappropriate thing which is said by a male in this environment and then reported to management by a disgruntled or annoyed female WILL be problematic for the male. It won't matter what others were saying or joking about.

    Good luck.
  12. by   Libby1987
    I have a different opinion. In the near future when there's a few of them congregated go up to them and ask if you can speak with them for a sec. If they don't shoot you, genuinely say "hey if I'm saying anything that's offensive, will you let me know right away? I want to have good working relationships and would like to know if I'm doing or saying anything that's offputting."

    It's not just a male-female thing. I've been mis read many times and being a strong personality it has caused problems. I've had to have such conversations a few times.
  13. by   imintrouble
    I do not socialize with anybody I work with. I discuss nothing controversial. My co-workers might complain I'm boring and quiet, but I won't lose my job over that.
    I watch and listen to my co-workers gossip and gripe about each other, and think to myself I'd rather be boring.
  14. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from kbrn2002
    There are always people at work that behave like children, running to "mommy" with every little complaint. You would think that management should be aware of this and see through it, but not always. It's unfortunate, but that seems to be the way it is. Myself, I quit worrying about that years ago, if somebody wants to run to run to mommy because I hurt their feelings, let them. I know I behave professionally and can defend my actions if need be.
    In some places, managers actually encourage petty tattling. It keeps people pitted against one another and less likely to present a united front on any issue. Unfortunately, many employees do not see they are being played and embrace their goody-two-shoes role.

    I had a manager who was fond of saying "Actually several people complained about you." She said this to everyone she wanted to throw off-balance. One nurse canvassed her coworkers to try to rectify things in person. She was then reprimanded for doing this.

    One time when the manager pulled this crap on me, I said "Gosh, if I knew who complained I could apologize and make amends." I was never her bully target again.

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