The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female nurse in my 40s. I moved to my current workplace half a year ago. Each time I go drinking with colleagues, one of them who is 12 years younger than me says things like: “You aren’t normal” and “You’re strange.”
It’s probably because I’m unorganized and restless at my workplace, and also I’m a poor talker. At first, I thought the colleague was joking. But I’ve heard the same person say such things so often that I’ve come to feel it’s an effort to bad-mouth me.
Each time I’ve heard such a thing recently, I’ve just tried to smile and take it lightly so that I don’t become a wet blanket.
One day after work, my boss said to me, “You’re regarded as strange because you behave strangely.” I was very shocked to hear this.
I decided to move to this workplace because I thought it was on a higher level than my previous one, and I expected to improve my work expertise here. Now I’m being trained by younger colleagues and sometimes warned by them. But I take it as a matter of course. Our interpersonal relationships at the workplace are quite good.
I like my work because I can learn a lot, but the remarks made by that colleague are very stressful. I sometimes regret coming to this workplace.
E, Ehime Prefecture
Dear Ms. E:
You’ve been told, “You aren’t normal” many times. But only one person says this and only at drinking sessions. So you’ve become a topic of conversation over alcohol. I’d say it’s the other person who is doing something abnormal. Your colleague’s drinking manners are terrible.
Your boss is also a problem. The boss should have stopped the subordinate from saying improper things. And your boss connected irresponsible remarks made at drinking sessions with your work attitude and said it openly at your workplace. Such a person has no common sense.
Although you work with these problematic people, you positively evaluate your workplace because you can learn a lot. You remain humble, continue to smile and endure your situation.
Other people at your workplace must be moved by your enthusiasm for your work and feel like cheering for you, even if from a distance. You also say your interpersonal relationships at work are good, so I assume many employees in your workplace are warm and sensible.
You started working at the current workplace just six months ago. It’s very probable more and more people will recognize your sincere work attitude and start supporting you. Ultimately, nobody will take abusive words said to you over drinks seriously. I hope you’ll hang on a bit more until that time comes.
Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist