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My Coworkers View Me As White Trash!

This is very difficult and embarrassing for me. This is my first job out of college and I've been with them for 7 months already. My hope was originally to stay with them for 2 years so that I could turn my diploma into a degree through correspondence plus start my family before advancing my career.

I have never been one to share - due to my social anxiety disorder. But thanks to some beta blockers I started a few months ago I've been a "chatty Cathy" in the office. My supervisor shares an office with me and we share a lot of life details with each other, she is about 10 years older than me with a house and family and a lot more pay.

Our conversations were not of a very sensitive nature but at the same time I thought there was an understanding that we were not going to use what was said to tarnish the other. For the last little while I've felt like my supervisor has been looking down her nose at me and yesterday my feelings were confirmed. After she left for the day another coworker came into my office and shut the door, she told me that my supervisor had been telling everyone the negative things that I confide with her and is giving everyone the impression that I am just white trash.

A huge part of it is about money, everyone thinks I live in poverty! This is because I shared with her that my husband is unable to work so we have to live off of my salary (which is not enough for 2 people). She knows that we have no savings as there is not enough money in my paycheque to save, that I have a lot of upcoming medical expenses because the insurance plan sucks, and that we are struggling to live paycheque to paycheque. She knows that I can't afford to go out for drinks after work or donate any money to her kid when he fundraises. She doesn't get why I can't afford new winter boots like she gets every year (mine are ready to cause frostbite on my toes) or be able to buy new clothes like her.

Another thing is that everyone thinks I am dirty. I shared with her that my cat was sick for 3 months and urinating on all of our stuff, even though I told her that I was constantly cleaning/washing she clearly thought that my apartment had to smell like cat pee and that my clothes "couldn't be clean". In addition to that there is always a bit of animal fur (cat and dog at home) on my clothing and since her animal doesn't shed at all she doesn't understand how difficult it is to get every hair every day. Ever since I told her she keeps her distance from me in the office (my clothes are always freshly washed) and people have started to do the same.

People also think that I come from a white trash home. My family is middle class and decent working people - on occasion we have issues or drama that most families have. We have often shared stories about our parents and siblings from our pasts, most stories are the funny/dramatic ones that don't paint our relatives in their best light - she basically told everyone that my sister was psychotic, my mother bipolar and my father lazy. She also shared that my husband came from a broken home and that his mother was a hoarder who has a drug problem.

This explains how my coworkers treat me. At first they had always greeted me warmly when I came into work and would make small talk with me during the day and say goodbye at the end. Now I am the one that has to speak to get anyone to say "morning" or "have a good night", no one comes to make small talk with me (they basically ignore me in our office and talk to my supervisor only), and they also send anything that is supposed to come straight to me to my supervisor first.

I don't know what to do or how to handle this. My husband tells me to simply stop sharing information with her and start looking for a new job. I feel like going to the boss (or even her) would do nothing as this is all just gossip plus I know that he now has the same impression of me. 

Re: My Coworkers View Me As White Trash!

  • You have learnt a hard but valuable lesson about boundaries and the risk of oversharing in the workplace. Is this a small business or large? If you have an HR dept, you could talk to them because she has started to make your workplace hostile. But I really think I would just keep my head down and look for another job ASAP
    HolyGlowdoclagogroovylocksysolde
  • It is a very small business and the HR person is my supervisor - so I really backed myself into a corner. I certainly learned my lesson about sharing details like this at work and assuming the person will treat me with the same respect I treat her and her sharing. 

    By barely sharing anything other than something cute that my dog did I realized how much we were actually chatting throughout a day.

    Hopefully I can fly under the radar while I look for a new job and be able to make it out without a poor reputation!
  • I would just talk about innocuous stuff, such as TV, weather, movies etc and work on developing better professional boundaries where you can comfortably identify when you are oversharing.

    Just keep your head down, do your job well and chalk this experience to being given a chance to learn a lesson that some people don't learn until much further along in their career.

    Good luck
    pantyhose23cheyjmdalm0mgroovylocks
  • I agree with PPs that you have learned a lesson. Do not ever assume everyone is friendly or that what you are saying is in confidence. Refrain from saying anything else about your home life since you now know that this woman is an unprofessional jerk.

    I recently had to work with a girl from corporate who was new to her position. She flew into our city and I was responsible for driving her around to different sites. As we drove around, she over shared like crazy, talking about everything from her period, to her recent DWI. It certainly changed the way I viewed her professionally but I still like her and enjoyed working with her. Those are the types of things that mess with a persons first impressions and certainly should not be shared so early in a career.
    englishtrish1pantyhose23
  • Why do you feel the need to keep bringing up your color? I don't quite understand the relevancy...
    groovylocks
  • "White trash" have a very distinct way of expressing themselves. You don't share that trait. You are well spoken, rational and seem like a very decent and intelligent person. 

    People who think social class is about money are climbers. I hate to fight social slurs with social slurs but seriously, what a cheap attitude. 

    I'm so sorry this happened to you. 

    Oh and the cat thing? Anybody who has a pet knows the perils of both hair and pee. I find it hard to believe that nobody else at that office has ever had the pleasure (and complications) of cat ownership...

    Wait op.. you know what I think? I think you have something these women want. Maybe you're very smart, very well read, very pretty... This rings so clearly of catty jealousy. 
  • I agree with PPs that you have learned a lesson. Do not ever assume everyone is friendly or that what you are saying is in confidence. Refrain from saying anything else about your home life since you now know that this woman is an unprofessional jerk.

    I recently had to work with a girl from corporate who was new to her position. She flew into our city and I was responsible for driving her around to different sites. As we drove around, she over shared like crazy, talking about everything from her period, to her recent DWI. It certainly changed the way I viewed her professionally but I still like her and enjoyed working with her. Those are the types of things that mess with a persons first impressions and certainly should not be shared so early in a career.
    Yeah i'd recommend not bringing up any priors ;) But it sounds like op was literally just shooting the breeze. Like "yeah, sucks, DH is looking for a new job right now." and maybe another time "Damn cat peed in the laundry hamper again.. ugh. Might be a UTI" i mean my coworkers and i talk about that stuff constantly.
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