Problematic male coworker

New momar
Sep 27 95 Comments

My male coworker has been a jerk to me ever since he started a month ago (talking over me in meetings, mansplaining my standup contributions, taking work). Nothing I’m working on requires him right now and so I’ve just been giving him a wide berth as have others on the team.

I think he’s noticed and has started a campaign to humanize himself, including, recently, bringing his wife and few month old baby to work one day, and baked goods, like as a peace offering. It was awkward meeting her. How do you say to someone, “Hi, your husband is the first guy that has ever been an a-hole to me, apparently because of gender, since I started working in tech.” The first (and only) story he ever told me about her, before he decided that women are bad engineers and should be summarily dismissed, was that she was harassed out of grad school by a male supervisor. And she went into treatment for depression as a result, and through that, he learned about the Me Too movement. And yet, here we are. (Yes, there was one day he wasn’t a jerk. It was his literal first day at the company).

I don’t know how to proceed with working with this guy. I can’t avoid him forever. I’ve been accepting interviews in case it gets bad.

TL;DR
Male coworker dismissive of female engineers (including my) work. And/or takes the work and tries to pass it off as his. What to do?


edit: the guy is the one that called this behavior metoo when someone else was acting like this to his wife. i thought of that when i met her. but, I’ve removed the designation so there will be less focus on the term and more focus on the behavior.

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TOP 95 Comments
  • Amazon odh79ebB
    Being a dick isn’t #meToo bruh
    Sep 27 11
    • Contact HR for sexual harassment, that's not #metoo. Unwanted advancements is not allowed in just about every workplace.

      I will add that people like that don't last very long and job hop. They're probably not just bothering you... Maybe someone else has already contacted HR.

      Sorry that's happening to you.
      Sep 27
    • LinkedIn bEfl27
      @momar dont get us wrong, we are not against you. No one like dickhead and you should take action. We just dont think this count under #metoo
      Sep 27
    • Credit Karma
      KennethM

      Credit Karma

      PRE
      Google
      KennethMmore
      Please allow me to mansplain metoo
      Sep 27
    • Amazon / Eng SmkWdEvyDy
      Hello female person. I understand that you think you know things, but take it from me, a man, you don't. Your feelings are wrong and you are wrong. Thank you female.
      Sep 27
    • Salesforce Topology
      @bEfl27 I don't have a "narrative" or an opinion on whether or not the phrase applies. I'm not telling you how to think or pushing anything on you. I just think it's unfortunate that one of the most visible replies is a low-effort rejection of OP's experience.

      It doesn't matter whether or not this is strictly a #metoo scenario. If you think it's constructive to "call out" something as not #metoo, that's your crusade. But regardless of whether or not you're ultimately correct, it's insensitive and unhelpful for OP. The core situation is not made better with this little sideshow of a thread coopting the whole discussion.

      You're not helping anyone by "calling out" something like this. OP doesn't get anything actionable to resolve the situation, and a single sentence thesis on Blind isn't going to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you. It's just not the place for this, and it's counterproductive to nitpick one particular part of a post this way you can hijack the thread with your own agenda about whether or not something is or is not #metoo eligible. OP is still going to have to go back to work, probably feeling worse about it after bring it to Blind at this point.
      Sep 27
  • Oracle
    not_larry

    Oracle

    PRE
    Amazon
    not_larrymore
    How’s this a #metoo?
    Sep 27 2
    • Intuit KReJ50
      Ppl dont understand #metoo.. and dilute it with this kind of stuff
      Sep 27
    • Apparently if a man annoys you it's a #metoo.
      Sep 27
  • Microsoft eiU
    Don’t leave he’s the one that must go. If you’re asking what to do it means that there’s pretty toxic environment in your company. I don’t have a second thought when someone is being sexist, I’ll just talk to my boss or boss of my boss. If your company doesn’t give a sh*t don’t be shy and be assertive with this dick. If he interrupts you - say i’m speaking now, taking your work? Say I don’t need your help. Presenting your work as his? Just make sure all your colleagues know who is working on the project, send “status updates “ via email etc. Defend yourself. These dicks only understand the language of ppwer. They’re like dogs - if you do not assert yourself they will own you. Speak to him the dog language that he understands. Good luck sister.
    Sep 27 5
    • T-Mobile drawing
      Intense and true.
      Sep 27
    • Tesla / Mgmt vrgas
      Wow, you are in deep need of love.
      Sep 27
    • IEEE / IT Alov
      eiU!
      Sep 27
    • Bloomberg 929449288
      For what it's worth, I'm male and have had asshole coworkers like this. This advice applies and is spot on regardless of the asshole's demographic attributes.
      Sep 27
    • T-Mobile drawing
      Yes. I second Bloomberg
      Sep 27
  • New momar
    OP
    it looks like a lot of the criticism in this thread is around #metoo as a designation.

    The reason I thought of it in that context is that literally the only thing I know about this woman, his wife, is that she was subject to pretty much the same bs that he’s subjecting me to (he described it), and he learned about #metoo as a result.

    So when I met her, although I obviously didn’t say it, I was thinking, “your husband is doing the exact same thing to the women here”, hence writing “your husband is my #metoo”.

    Maybe there’s a broader designation for gender-based a-hole behavior
    Sep 27 6
    • New momar
      OP
      The person who brought metoo up in the context of behavior identical to his was him, the male coworker...

      The only time I’ve used that metoo designation is in accounting what I thought when I met her... (what I *thought*, not said). I was wondering if she had any idea what her husband was like.

      How is this cancel culture? For all this guy knows, bringing in cookies and his poor wife is enough to excuse his behavior. I don’t think anyone has talked to him. I’m trying to figure out what to do, hence the post.
      Sep 27
    • Targeting people you don't like working with by using loaded terms like #metoo is vindictive at best.
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      @Alov, that’s fair. To be clear, no one has accused anyone of metoo. I thought of that in the context of meeting his wife because, per his telling, we’ve been subjected to very similar behavior (which he classified as metoo). But for her the consequences were more severe.
      Sep 27
    • @fffuun, OP mentioned that this person only does this with female co-workers. You weren’t there at the time and don’t know OP. In situations like this, you have to take OP’s word for it, because you have no other source of truth.

      Moreover, instead of getting stuck on minor points (like using the term “metoo”), think about the bigger picture here and what OP is actually going through. You need to put yourself in the shoes of OP.
      Sep 27
    • IEEE / IT Alov
      Got you, thanks!
      Sep 27
  • Keap JAzL00
    You must be incredibly self-centered to come to the automatic conclusion he brought his wife in solely on your account.

    Grow up and talk to him one on one if it’s bothering you that much.

    Based on your account of teammates avoiding him, he’s more than likely an asshole to everyone and has absolutely nothing to do with you or the arrangement of your genitalia.
    Sep 28 4
    • New momar
      OP
      He also tried to get me to go to go to lunch with her and one other guy. After all this ^^^ But sure, self-centered.
      Sep 28
    • Keap JAzL00
      So he a) brought his wife in in an attempt to share part of his life b) brought snacks for everyone and c) asked you and a fellow colleague out to lunch. I now only see one asshole here.
      Sep 28
    • New momar
      OP
      For everyone, yes. Placed them on the desk next to mine. You’re reaching, and your responses are not particularly helpful. And if you’d been harassing someone then they mentioned something that perhaps got around to you, and all of a sudden tried to play nice, I think the person would be right to suspect your motives.
      Sep 28
    • Keap JAzL00
      You weren’t hired to suspect people’s motives. You were hired to solve problems. Inevitably, you’ll encounter problems outside of the code base that need to be solved. Speak with him one on one and move on from there. This is all part of being a well functioning adult.
      Sep 28
  • Salesforce Topology
    Talk to your manager, skip level if necessary. If things don't change, go to HR and change teams or companies.

    On a personal note, sorry to hear about this. I can't directly relate but it sounds awful
    Sep 27 0
  • New momar
    OP
    I actually ended up talking to the director (to whom I report). He said that he’d noticed it too and other generally shitty behavior from the guy that I wasn’t even aware of. Looks like it will be handled
    Oct 2 2
  • I agree with Amazon. What he's doing to you is an asshole move regardless of you being a woman imo. I wouldn't like anyone to do that to me either.
    Sep 27 1
    • That being said you should speak to him and let him know that he's behaving like an asshole.
      Sep 27
  • Tesla / Mgmt vrgas
    Handle the situation like an adult and talk face to face to the guy, avoiding this person is not the solution
    Sep 27 0
  • Choice Hotels / IT qQpX64
    Sounds like both of you lack basic social skills. He's an ass and you don't know how to communicate your feelings of conflict without going nuclear. Also you both clearly lack empathy for each other. Him bringing in his wife and child to work isn't some ploy to humanize himself. You just want to see it that way because it humanized him in your mind and you need to rationalize it away.

    You should document and talk to him. It's what good people do. If he is also a good person he will listen and you both come out of the experience better people. You because you stood up for yourself. Him because he developed empathy and changed behavior.
    Sep 27 6
    • Choice Hotels / IT qQpX64
      I maybe misunderstanding your intentions with the post. The way you described him it sounded like you felt like your only option is to leave or go to HR which is what I meant. If I misunderstood I'm sorry.

      Also yeah I really encourage you to speak with him directly. I think you would be surprised as his reaction and both of you would come out feeling better for it. I've dealt with this before with direct reports and the offender is usually just not self aware.
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      Thank you for clarifying. This whole thing is super frustrating. But I’ll speak to him directly, see what comes out of it
      Sep 27
    • Choice Hotels / IT qQpX64
      I wish you all the best! Dealing with co-workers like this is so stressful. I hope you resolve it. If anything take it as good practice because this definitely won't be the first time you have to navigate this kind of situation in your career. Best of luck!
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      Thank you!
      Sep 27
    • Choice Hotels / IT qQpX64
      I just think it's best to not assume intentions here until you can get that 1:1 time. However I understand that perception is reality. Hope you're having a great weekend!
      Sep 28
  • New momar
    OP
    He does this to the women, not the men. And I’m the only female engineer directly on the team but there are other women on adjacent teams that he interacts with in the same way
    Sep 27 2
    • then why are "others on the team" avoiding him too?
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      Ah. He’s kind of annoying on top of all this.
      Sep 27
  • I mean it’s obvious right. He knows his condescending behavior is unacceptable and preempted any accusations by mentioning the sob story about his wife and #metoo when you never even brought up the topic.

    Very strange thing to mention the first time you meet someone. It’s like if you just started working with a black person and was like “I was totally unaware of the discrimination against blacks until my black friend told me about it, now I understand completely!” I mean way to bring it up, lol.

    Anyways, I suggest you gather a factual list of condescending shit he says/does, have a 1:1 with him (don’t give him any notice, just ask him out of the blue if he has 5 minutes to talk), then drop it hot on him.

    Bring up the facts — don’t bring up #metoo or women or discrimination. Tell him point-blank that this is not the right tone/behavior to use with someone.

    Conversations like these are really tough but it helps if you write things down before you say them. It’s just a necessary part of professional life, and really just life in general in fact.
    Sep 27 1
    • Oh about him taking credit for your work — this should never happen regardless, always document your ideas and work in a doc or ticket that is shared with all the stakeholders.

      Learn to take credit for your work in a non-arrogant or petty sounding way. You’re just giving everyone an update to be transparent.
      Sep 27
  • Microsoft lablula
    Translating a man talking over you in stand-ups to #MeToo -YOU are what is wrong with the world.

    Maybe if you got out of your special snowflake bubble and playing the victim at the drop of a hat, you would be able to stand up for yourself in your work. But why bother - you're going to get that "diversity" promo anyway.
    Sep 27 3
    • New / R&D
      leti

      New R&D

      PRE
      Dcipher Analytics
      BIO
      phd student at one of the top25 cs departments
      letimore
      wise words
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      How am I playing the victim?
      Sep 27
    • FourthWall Media 80%Comple
      OP literally *is*a victim of asshole coworker.
      Sep 27
  • Microsoft / Eng
    prac

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    pracmore
    If he speaks over you, just say “Stop, I’m not finished speaking...wait for your turn.”
    Sep 27 2
    • This is what I would do. would be hard if you're not confrontational but guys like this usually piss off easily once you stand up to them.
      Sep 27
    • Amazon mmmehhhh
      Pretty much. Draw subtle attention to the fact that he is being an asshole.
      Sep 28
  • I thought #MeToo was sexual harassment but maybe I'm wrong. Kind of sounds like he's an ass to everyone regardless of gender
    Sep 27 1
    • Expedia Group LikeOk
      Sexual harassment is a broad term. In rough terms, by law, workplace sexual harassment means harassing someone purely based on their sex, rather what everyone assumes it to be, ie making unwanted sexual remarks and advances. This includes creating a hostile environment, impeding career, sexual advances, etc etc
      Sep 27
  • IEEE / IT Alov
    OP, I believe you’re a good person after reading all your comments. Even when you’re blamed, you still replied with grace and gave context. I hope all work well for you. Sorry I blamed you for purportedly trying to get him with #MeToo. Now, I understand what you meant.
    Sep 28 0
  • Qualtrics QREP39
    TC?
    Sep 27 0
  • Google cjjdjd
    TIL: dissing a female work, straight to #metoo. Bring wife and baby to work, #metoo, taking a female work, #metoo right away.

    Btw sounds you are laying #metoo on the table as a resort to dealing with make coworker.
    Sep 27 4
    • Bloomberg 929449288
      False. You're presenting a fallacy here because the rest of her coworkers are also male and presumably do not demonstrate this behavior.

      Learn to read. I'm male and I see this stuff. My team had a guy like this too, who has since improved somewhat.
      Sep 27
    • Google cjjdjd
      Guy like this is everywhere. But it may not have anything to do with her being female. The vibe OP's giving feels like a threat to said male co-worker. If she actually believes he's in the wrong, why tf would she looking for way out when the dude is the newer hire.
      Sep 27
    • Bloomberg 929449288
      True. What we don't know here is whether or not the asshole is also an asshole to male coworkers.
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      Bloomberg @929449288 is right. I’ve been the only woman on this team or more than a year. The rest of the guys are wonderful, complete gems. I’ve learned at ton from all of them, both junior and senior.

      This is the first (and hopefully, only) time I’ve had to deal with this
      Sep 27
  • Wait what does any of this have to do with sexual harassment and #meetoo. Are you a new grad? Life is not always going to be a sheltered cocoon. There are assholes abound everywhere. Don’t be accusing this poor guy of sexual harassment and meetoo for being a regular asshole.
    Sep 27 4
    • Tesla / Mgmt vrgas
      Well said!
      Sep 27
    • New momar
      OP
      No one has accused him of sexual harassment...
      Sep 27
    • New fnIy15
      Then it isn't #metoo and you're an awful person if you tell people he's a sexual harasser when he isn't.
      Sep 27
    • Tyler Technologies batwomann
      Yes, the poor poor guy, has anyone even THOUGHT of him in this situation?
      Sep 27
  • Apple lPnq2Ah
    Lmfao, mansplaining? Girl you need to get a grip. This ain’t college snowflake
    Sep 27 2
    • Amazon mmmehhhh
      Mansplaining "mansplaining"? Nice.
      Sep 28
    • Apple lPnq2Ah
      Did you just assume my gender?
      Sep 28

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