The Vine: November 13, 2013
I'm a few months into a new job — same basic position (executive assistant) but new industry (financial) — and in need of perspective and advice from you and the TN hive-mind.
Laid off back in February and despite the economy, my age (this ain't my first rodeo) and other factors, was delighted to land a position with this company just a few weeks into my search, so I know…I am LUCKY.
Except the first week at new place was nothing short of horrible — so horrible, in fact, that I resigned. My supervisor refused to accept said resignation, reiterated his support and regard for my work and urged me to hang on and things would get better. And they did, a bit. My boss (also new to the company) is great, but the culture/mindset is definitely a drag — there are only two speeds, Fast and Faster Still. Everything is A Priority and the rest of the group regularly puts in 12-hour days.
And I'm the exception. I was contracted to work a set of agreed-upon hours with overtime "as needed" so that's what I've been doing. When there is a fire to put out or something needs to be done that day, I'm here 'til it's done but most days, I'm able to stay on top of stuff and leave at a normal hour.
But I'm the only one leaving at a normal hour.
And now comments are being made (to me and about me) about how lucky I am to get to leave "early" and while my boss continues to be supportive and pleased with me and my work, I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable. I start my day relatively early but the rest of group tends to roll in an hour (or sometimes two) after I've gotten here so I guess it does look as if I'm leaving early but I work 9 (or more) hours a day, again, just what I was contracted to do.
I hate to throw away a great boss (and a decent job) but I don't want to work with people who resent me for doing what I was hired to do.
If I Go There Will Be Trouble (If I Stay It Will Be…You Know)
If you really can't cope with your colleagues talking shit about you, you should leave, but with very few exceptions, colleagues in every workplace talk shit, and with love, you need to get over it. You can't control what other people think, and your boss is more than content with your work, to the point where he refused to let you quit. I understand that the vibe is uncomfortable for you; as someone who was nicknamed "Part-Time Sarah" on one contract job, and not particularly gently, I really do get it, but the ones you can't win over with a snack run on your way in/out for the day are just determined to be unhappy score-keepers whatever way, and there's nothing you can do about that.
The next time someone snides that you're leaving early, just shrug, "Got here way early too. Anyone need a Lara Bar before I go?" The next time someone implies that you're not pulling your weight, pretend you have no idea what s/he could mean, and ask how you can address his/her concerns. (Note: The "let's go find [supervisor] right now so you can tattle" move sounds a lot more ninja than it is? But it's still pretty ninja. Use caution.)
And remember: it's a good job, that you do well, for which you are appreciated. That's rare, and the rest of it will probably settle down somewhat once you let it be known that you're fine with your work and don't owe anyone an explanation or apology. Which you don't, so don't give off the vibe that you do.
It sucks, but to a certain extent it's only going to suck as much as you let it. If you find yourself spinning about it, acknowledge to yourself that it sucks and force your mind onto something else.