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I Feel Unwanted at Work

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From India: I work as a tutor and I have been given a set of students. However, suddenly I feel unwanted at work.

The lady who is my Senior comes on a part time basis and has some personal crisis. She lectures and does not do one to ones. Recently, she had an agreement with the management where she takes overall one to ones from students of other tutors including mine. Management said they approved because she is insecure and going through a difficult phase in her life. I accepted gracefully as I wanted to genuinely help her and felt that students would also benefit from having another eye looking over their work.

But, now I see my student attendance has turned low as the students go to her as she is more experienced (our culture is that age is respected and I am much younger than her). The management blames me for the low turnout and I found out that she prods on students to find out other tutor’s mistakes. She blows some issues out of proportion.

I do not blame the students as given the opportunity any one would complain – what I am worried is she sneaking up stories to my boss to create a bad impression. I have tried explaining my boss that the lower attendance is as the students attend one to ones with her without trying to make it as complaining – I mean who wants to go to two tutors for the same?

I have been working for almost 5 years when she maintained a low profile and I did not have any such issues. Now I am starting to question my ability to perform and feel a bit betrayed as she was my mentor and friend.

Recently, another colleague jabbed at me suggesting perhaps I am performing badly due to the seniority (I got a promotion a year ago and I know she is jealous). These make me really hurt and question my sanity when I have committed myself so much to help the students.

I am unable to leave the job immediately as I am planning to migrate and will be doing so in another 1 year. I do not want to go for another job for a short time as this will reflect badly on my CV. I feel really useless and depressed at times.

You do have my sympathy. At one time or another, most people have to deal with a poor work environment. At one time or another, most people go through a period of feeling unappreciated and unfairly treated. That doesn’t make it okay. I just want you to know that your situation isn’t as unusual as perhaps you think.

In your case, management is on that woman’s side, not yours. Chances are that things won’t change unless she does something that management finds upsetting.

Normally, I’d tell you to start looking for another job, but you made it clear that isn’t an option for you at this time. Therefore, I hope you can find a way to take this less personally and to separate your identity from that is going on at work. You are not your job. You are an intelligent, thoughtful person whose letter shows maturity and fairness. Furthermore, you have a history of being a successful tutor, which says to me that you are patient and skilled as a teacher. No one can take those attributes and skills away from you.

Even though you need to keep your present job, perhaps you can consider taking on some tutoring work privately or you can look for a part-time position with another company. Either one would help you financially and would give you another source of recommendations for when you move.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

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