Ask The New Girls: My “Not-Manager” is a Jerk
Dear New Girls,
I am currently interning as a video editor, social media moderator and content creator for a company within the entertainment and media industry. My managers are fantastic but there is a manager who works in the same work area as I do and he gives me a lot of flack because I often have headphones on or “am jamming to music.” In reality, I have headphones in to edit video, audio or to check content posted on the internal website. He is NOT my manager but lately always stops by my workspace to hassle me. I’ve tried laughing it off but he is just rude and interrupts my workflow. He only does this to me or another female intern (he told her not to talk today.) What is the best way to deal with this?
My “Not-Manager” is a Jerk
Dear My “Not-Manager” is a Jerk,
This is a challenging dilemma especially since you are an intern and thus the lowest of the low. But do not despair!
I would suggest you might try a humorous approach first — make a little sign with a picture of headphones on it and beside it write in large letters, “SHHHHH … Headphones on and Working. DO NOT DISTURB.” Make a second sign that says, “WAVE at me … Headphones on while I take a break from work. FEEL FREE TO DISTURB.” Try using both signs over the course of a day depending on what you are doing. Feel free to point to the “do not disturb” sign if someone interrupts you inappropriately.
If this does not work, try a direct approach with your “Not-Manager.” Go up to him and ask for 10 minutes of his time to speak to him about work. When you get his attention, tell him directly that your work requires you to wear headphones and that your own manager is totally cool with this and in fact sees it as an essential part of your job. State that you would appreciate him not commenting on this or interrupting you while you are doing your work. If you feel kindly towards him, you might say that perhaps he is not fully familiar with seeing headphones used in the workplace in this fashion and that you would be happy to explain how you use them in your work if that would be helpful.
If this talk brings about no change in his behavior, then speak to one of your own fantastic managers and ask him/her to intervene on your behalf with this fellow and in particular to get him to leave you alone while you are working.
The New Girls
Work with a jerk? Then Ask The New Girls!