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  • Dealing with Obnoxious foreign co-workers

    So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

    This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

    I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
    Last edited by Kaylarr; 2013-09-10, 04:59 PM. Reason: Fixing type-o

  • #2
    Originally posted by Kaylarr View Post
    So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

    This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

    I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
    Excuse my very Japanese response, but how old is he and how much younger is he than you? I would imagine that it would be appropriate to take him aside and tell him how inappropriate his actions are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Heavy handed sarcasm usually works with people like that. If not, just keep saying yes but simply don't do it. He'll get the message eventually.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kaylarr View Post
        So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

        This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

        I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
        You seem like a nice person, so I'm going to try & give you some good advice. You mentioned in another thread that you majored in PolSci (Slacker!) so I assume you're familiar with Machiavelli. If you're not good with confrontation, you've got to play this guy. He's already trying to get you to do his work, so you're half way there. Spend your morning runs trying to think of ways you can get him into a situation where he's relying on you to provide him with the tools he needs to do his job, then deprive him of those tools at the last moment so that he fails spectacularly. I don't know the specifics of your job situation, but if you hand him a bunch of course notes that are total garbage just before he has to teach & let him sink, that would be fun. He'll have no one but himself to blame. Otherwise you could just totally lose it at him & start screaming "NOTE PAD? YOU GET A ____ING NOTE PAD YOU SONOFA_____. I'M NOT YOUR SECRETARY!", but it sounds like that's not your thing.

        Comment


        • #5
          What kind of tasks is he delegating? Is it like make my copies or more like make my coffee?

          Is it possibly just miscalculated "banter"?
          Last edited by rm83; 2013-09-10, 07:44 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kaylarr View Post
            So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

            This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

            I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
            Turn the tables. Before he has a chance to say anything call him over and tell him to do whatever he has told you to do, but tell him to do more of it or make it more difficult. If he gives you any trouble remind him in a not so Canadian way that he is your subordinate and that he best listen to what you have to say.

            Or, the next time he tell you to right something down, write him a "nice" note telling him to get off his butt and work for a change and that he best remember that he is below you or else it could become problematic.

            You will need to do something you don't like to do, and a lot of it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kaylarr View Post
              So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

              This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

              I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
              Here are some free digital books to help you:

              http://www.amazon.com/Always-Know-Wh...dp/B006YTTVHO/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HarryHurry
                I wasn't going to respond to this as I thought it was all just too dumb for a sensible response.

                Um...no, I'll leave it to someone else who thrives on these kinds of, of, of...
                Unsurprisingly there has been a few bites.

                I can't personally respond because I can't think of a good answer which would include the phrase:

                "my junior y"

                Comment


                • #9
                  you could, alternatively, just say a magic word which will make your feelings perfectly clear.

                  The magic word is "no".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ume View Post
                    you could, alternatively, just say a magic word which will make your feelings perfectly clear.

                    The magic word is "no".
                    A most wonderful word it is. Another tactic is just to look at him as if feathered creatures have flown out of his nether regions and then ignore him. If he doesn't get the hint, use the magic word.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you are truly confrontationally challenged, then there is nothing you can do except ask someone else there for help.

                      And, no, not all of us Americans are like him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's not even a matter of being polite or not. Would it be any better if he said 'please get a note pad and jot this down'? No, he's just completely inappropriate, so either in private or in public or both you need to call him on it very clearly.

                        Just say 'Don't ask me to do you job for you'. Or xxx san is the dept secretary, or there is no secretary here and I sure as hell aren't your secretary. If anything you should be offering to do stuff for me until you are pulling your full load here. The guy may just be obnoxious, tho it's also likely that he's a bit lost and doesn't want to lose face by admitting it, so his way of dealing with his considerable insecurity it is to try to puff himself up by ordering you around while also getting the stuff done that he doesn't know how to deal with himself. One way or another you need to be assertive and either telll him just to pss off, or else tell him that you might be willing to give him some help or advice but if and only if he does it Japanese style -- by bowing his head and saying 'please, please help me'. Anything less than 2 pleases gets ignored. When he said 'get a pad' I can't believe you didn't scream at him as suggested above - being in Japan has made you way too nice. You gotta have sharp elbows to deal with some of these westerners.

                        BTW you don't have to be very confrontational to just say 'no', even to simply point out how inappropriate he is. Just tell him once and then ignore him and just say 'no, John, you're going to have to take care of yourself', if he persists. Dealing with all kinds of people is part of being an adult and you Japan is about the only place where it's normal to expect never to have to deal with any conflict, so gambatte.
                        Last edited by kabunushi; 2013-09-10, 10:01 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are you both part-timers? Then tell him politely to kiss your butt and do his own work! There is no way that part-timers have any power in an university except over the students in the classroom (they really do not have any at all). This guy has got to be a wan ker if he thinks he can get away with that type of crap and you are enabling him if you do what he wants! You have to put a stop to him because he will get worse, if you do not !

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What a douche, if someone talks like that to me while he is just new I would let him know.

                            aside some of the nasty replies. I think what THC and Since1990 said is spot on, problem is you have some issues being confrontational which is totally understandable.

                            Then the only solution is ignore him.

                            "Get your notepad and write it down!" pffff, I would tell him to fack off.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kaylarr View Post
                              So there's this new part-time worker that is going to be teaching some classes at my university and he is really making me miserable. I'm Canadian and having lived six years in Japan, saying I have a hard time being impolite to people is an understatement.

                              This person is really pushy, asking me to do his work and tasks. As he is my junior y, I feel really annoyed when he speaks to me in a commanding, superior way. To give a specific example, during a meeting, he started giving me a list of request for things that he wanted me to do for him, then after listing a few things, he said "get a note pad and jot this down"; no "please" no "could you", no attempt at being polite. He talked to me like I was his secretary, not a senior co-worker.

                              I'm wondering...have I just been living in Japan too long and thus, am used to a certain level of politeness that is unrealistic? Is this how American co-workers usually speak to each other? If not, how should I deal with this guy? (please keep in mind that I am confrontationally disabled.)
                              Try this!
                              "I would like you to have a look at this video."

                              Comment

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