Need a quick answer to a career or personal dilemma? Career and life coach Marielys Camacho-Reyes will answer your concerns in her column “Ask the Coach.”
I recently accepted a job in an office in which most of the people speak Spanish. If I am not mistaken, I am the only person who does not speak the language. As you may imagine, this issue is causing me a lot of discomfort at work because there have been occasions when all my co-workers are talking to each other in their native language and since I do not understand a word of what they are saying, I feel excluded. I already talked to my boss about this and he said that I need to ignore them and continue doing my job the way I was doing it. I do not think he understands my position and unless he does something about it, things will never get better. Any idea on how can I bring the issue to his attention (again) so he can do something about it?
The Non-Spanish Speaker
Dear Non-Spanish Speaker,
Yes, there is a way for you to bring this issue to your boss’ attention; and is by writing a memorandum for record and have him sign it so you can have in writing that you talked to him about this issue and that he has done nothing to make things better. Maybe making the complain a more formal one will make him understand how serious the issue is and how your co-workers’ behavior is affecting you. The truth is that even when their behavior is not completely illegal, it is rude and unprofessional and may need to be corrected so that all the parts involved in the situation could start feeling better about the whole issue. If after talking to your boss and providing him a copy of the memo, he continues doing nothing, then I guess it will be time for you to have a chat with your HR office and see what they can do to make the situation better. Again, your co-workers’ behavior may not qualify as an illegal act, but it is impolite and wrong and someone needs to bring it to their attention so they understand how their little Spanish chitchat is affecting you. Go ahead and talk to your boss and see how things go from there.
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