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Thread: Issues with guy at work - asking for a friend

  1. #1

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    Issues with guy at work - asking for a friend

    Hi, I am hoping someone help me. I am posting on behalf of my work friend. Her name is K (changed to protect identity) and this is concerning a guy whose name is M (also changed to protect identity).

    K is 35 years old and has been married for a little over 2 years to a 43 year old guy she has known since she was 18 and everyone she worked and works with knows of her marital status including this guy. They are happily married but K was assaulted when she was 15 years old by an older guy, abroad, who has tried to take her away from her family. She has never reported it because she feels she would not be believed or supported.

    M is 38 years old and he and K have known each other for over 3 years through work. He started off as her manager's manager until late 2018 when she was offered another role. He mainly keeps himself to himself and other people in his team have said “he's never happy”. I have witnessed him losing his temper, swearing and getting short with others. Outside of work he has some quite biased opinions.

    The circumstances are as follows:

    K has noticed behaviour from M which she is confused about. She doesn't like to say she feels uncomfortable by it because she likes M and he has always treated her well, in a professional sense. I will explain what she has documented to me, below:

    August 2017, 2 months into the job where K was working with M, she suffered a confidence crisis from the number of errors she had been making. M took her off for a chat first thing the morning after he became aware of the issue and he took her somewhere secluded. At first K sat a few inches away from him but M then edged closer to her until the side of his body was pressed up against hers and his leg nearest to her pressed against hers.

    K did not move away because she felt he was just trying to be comforting; at some point during the conversation he asked for her age and she told him “32” which she was at the time (he would have been 35) and he made a comment saying “you don't look it.” According to her, he was being very positive and supportive and honestly could not see the problem with her work, adding that he didn't want her to leave because of that and that she shouldn't beat herself up over the whole issue.

    September 2017, 3 months into the job and towards the end of the day where there were very few people on the team left (due to their working hours), M came from behind his desk and approached K, telling her that he'd been on her social media profile and had gone through her photos before sending her a private message asking for her mobile number. K said that she did not get this message because she had lost access to her social media account (which was true) but also she had been getting inappropriate messages from other guys (not him) about hooking up and she did not feel comfortable engaging with them in that way.

    What confused K the most about this, was the context in which M was asking her for her number (when really if it was for work purposes then the request should have come from her immediate manager and not him, or as a last resort, get in contact with her agency to get it). He did not give the reason why he wanted it and because he'd actually gone out of his way to look her up and admit to looking at her photos made it seem weird.

    June 2018, B (her husband) and K came back from their holiday. One day at work when M was alone and at his desk K went to put something away she'd finished with and M stopped her in the middle of her doing this, asking her where she went for her holiday. She said that she'd only gone down to the south coast and he said “I go down there quite a bit as well. Did you stay in a hotel?”
    K's answer was “we stayed in a B and B around the corner from the seafront.”
    He then responded with “when I'm down that way I stay in hotels near the seafront.” Then he asked “have you been abroad anywhere?”
    K said “yeah, I've been to quite a few countires – Spain and Turkey a few times, France twice.”
    Throughout this conversation M was grinning widely and K was shocked at how open he was being with her, because he very rarely made that sort of conversation with anyone, and if anything, kept all conversations professional and work related.


    August 2018, there was talk around K's job contract ending because of restructuring within the company, however M had told K that he had been appealing to his own manager to make K permanent but had been refused this.
    K had been offered another role within the building short-notice and wanted to let M know about it since he'd already offered her support in applying for other roles in the building. So K, her immediate boss, and M went off for a chat together to discuss. This was how the documented conversation went:

    M: K's been offered a job elsewhere in thr building but it's only for 6 weeks.
    K's manager: we can't stop you from going for this other role but you've got to be 100% sure in going for it.
    K: I really am not sure if I want to go for it and I didn't expect to be here for as long as I have been.
    M: You've surprised us all, K.
    K: I thought once the 3 months were over that was it, but I've been here for a lot longer than that.
    M: It reflects in the work you do. (starts smiling broadly)
    K's manager: the way things stand we don't see your role lasting for much longer but we are both here to help you with looking for another job in the building.
    M: I have to agree with him there, I mean, you don't want to be temping your whole life.
    K: No, I don't. To be honest I'd not done office/admin work like this for a number of years so I would like to get a permanent role like this somewhere else.
    M: And we'll help you with that. Just keep looking on the jobs board every Friday and if there are any roles that you want to go for, let us know and we'll see if it matches what you want.

    About a week later K received an email from M signposting her to a job he told her he found, saying that it would be a good match for her. K doubted it was, since the title made the job sound more complicated than it was. She sent a reply back to M stating that it sounded way above her pay grade.
    M immediately came straight over to her and said, “way above your pay grade, K? Are you sure?” By K's account he didn't seem or sound annoyed, in fact he sounded like he was joking/playing along with her. She said “it sounds like it is.”
    M then explained to her that it wasn't like that at all and he asked her “have you seen any other vacancies that you believe you'd be successful in getting?”
    K said pointed a trainee one out to him and he said “no, unless you have a financial degree/qualification.”
    He and K's immediate manager interviewed her for a permanent role and K said that M seemed to be overly helpful during the interview, giving her clues as to how to answer certain questions and also encouraging her to expand on some of her answers or giving her another chance to answer them.

    A month later, September 2018, and K had been approached by her agency representative about an ongoing role within the building. He had already given the recruiting team leader her details and he wanted her to start the next day. K knew that the job where she was, was ending, but she liked working with the team a lot and had got on very well with all of them but M did get her alone and she told him about it. He then said to her “going for this job has more pros than cons but if you don't feel right in it then make sure you apply for sometihng else in the building. If I were you I would consider going for it but it's your decision. Either way, congrats.”

    So K thought it over and decided to go for it and the following day she decided to accept it. She came in to tell her immediate boss and he said “yeah, I already knew about it. M came in early this morning to tell me.”
    So she had all her work handed out to the others and she left around about lunchtime, so about midday(ish). Apparently M had been in meetings all this time and didn't know she'd gone. Apparently when he did find out he said something like “one minute K was there, the next she'd gone.”

    October 2018 K bumped into M and they walked out together after work. He asked her how she was getting on and they had a friendly chat (just work related) She said he was being really nice to her, holding doors open for her and letting her go out first.

    December 2018 M invited her to a pre-party at his place with the others that she used to work with. She wanted to keep her invite to their party and not her new team's because she felt she knew her previous team better and wanted to catch up with them. There was talk of there being drinking games at his place and K gets tipsy very easily and has no experience whatsoever with drinking games. As well as this M is a very, very social drinker and the pre-party started at about 3pm.

    K remembers quite a bit after she drinks and she recalled M checking her out from within her peripheral vision. She caught him looking down the back of her dress and he was around about in inch or so from touching her. K then went and spoke to D, one of her guy friends who told her “you look very pretty tonight. If just you and I were alone I'd have you.” Throughout this conversation M had appeared and heard this, then according to K he got very blunt with her and when she went to sit back down he was a few minutes behind her and started to look down the front of her dress from where he was sitting in front of her.

    Unfortunately K got very sick and had to be taken home. Her husband B came to collect her and B told her that M had been in contact with him over this, first of all calling him to say she'd gotten sick very quickly and from when B got her home M had asked him to update him on her condition.

    The following working day K spoke to M to say how sorry she was for the state she got into. M asked her “did you have a sore head?”
    K said “I did over Saturday morning but then it went away. I hope I wasn't sick in your house.”
    M said “no, just outside. When I saw you like that I didn't want the others to take you outside, I wanted you to stay indoors. But D says he takes responsibility for the state you were in.”
    D who was there said “yeah, I kept giving you different drinks so that probably didn't help.”
    M said to K “did you have anything to eat before you arrived?”
    K told him that she did eat quite a lot but not all of what she had (she felt it was enough for her to absorb any alcohol she would've drank.) She then mentioned that she'd submitted her CV to apply for 2 vacancies on the team that M recommended she go for and he said that he would look at it to consider interviewing me.
    K told him that she was looking to go elsewhere due to tensions on the team she was in (there was some history between M and a female coworker on the team – she basically called him really awful names and she is a friend of K's mum, so K didn't really know what to believe.)
    M asked her why she was going to leave and K told him of the tension at work. After the conversation was over I heard him say to D over his desk, “did you know about any of this?”
    D said “yeah I've known about it for a while.”

    So the interviews for the jobs on M's teams went ahead and despite K being put in good stead for them. She didn't get either of them. M did not interview her either but she doesn't know if this would have made a difference or not.

    A month later M and K bumped into each other again and said hi. A few minutes later he walked past her again and K just smiled at him in a friendly way. She said she caught M stopping, then staring at her legs and butt before looking straight into her eyes and grinning widely. To her it didn't seem to faze him that she caught him in the act.

    June 2019 K began to hear things from her previous team mates about the new hires, one in particular. That most of the time they didn't know what they were talking about, there were issues with behaviour, not gelling with the others, performance and attendance issues. One of them, we'll name her C, had been complaining about her benefits package and why she wasn't getting anything. She had personal problems that she was bringing into the office and she'd been taken off numerous times for meetings with M and K's former manager. K had been told by some of the team she used to work on that they aren't keen on her and M has had to fix a lot of her errors.

    M's team had moved onto the same floor as where K worked and so he and K bumped into each other a fair bit. Most of the time to just say hi, though there has been more than one occasion where M has been staring at her for seconds on end and also following her with his eyes. One time K was at the photocopier/printer and M had walked by, glanced at her from the side, started smiling a little and then looked really nervous. They did not talk.

    K moved departments in September 2019 and she and M saw each other less, though she had told me that M was seen to look straight at her before trying to approach her. When he saw there were other people around where she was sitting he backed off but within her peripheral vision she caught him looking down at her as he walked past.

    November 2019 she was with other girl friends and without her saying anything or looking at him he looked straight at her. Her and her friend then made their way back downstairs to where they worked and M had actually gone behind them even though he was not going the same way as them and was walking much quicker than they were.

    December 2019 at the Xmas party, I had noticed M make several attempts to approach and touch K, checking her out and staring at her for long periods of time (several seconds). I also noticed him watch her with her friends. Nothing really happened apart from that.

    February 2020 K was due to leave her role, the contract for which was ending sooner than expected, but she'd accepted a job within the building. This job was also one M did not want her to go for because it involved contact centre work. K went to speak to M's team and wanted to speak to them more so than the team she worked with after them, because she got on better with M's team and found them more friendly and supportive.
    According to her they were all really happy for her. M was not directly in the conversation but he was close enough to have overheard.

    After K had spoken to her former manager she went to speak to someone else and just as she did that, M flew straight over to K's former manager asking “what's K's last name?”
    K's former manager then gave him it, no questions asked. Well, why would he question him? M is his immediate manager!

    During the current circumstances K has not seen or spoken to M for nearly 4 months, but, being a friend of M as well, I have noticed his behaviour becoming stranger. For example, the photos he had on social media, dated after K left – have now been deleted and he's just left older ones on there. His other social media account, which had 5/6 posts on there – also deleted.

    Now, he goes on social media once every few weeks but this is becoming very odd. For him to do it on one social media platform is odd enough, but for him to go into another social media platform and do the same thing again, even odder.

    K has said she has been receiving unknown phone calls, mostly late at night. She has not given her number to him but she has given it to a more trusted coworker. M is also friends with this coworker on social media. K is friends with her on social media too.

    I just don't understand his behaviour, at all and K just thinks it's all in her head. But the way he's been with her, she just can't make sense of. She hasn't reported him because:

    1 – she likes him as a friend (she finds him attractive but because of her marital status she doesn't act on it)
    2 – she has always respected him and he, likewise (it's always come across that way)
    3 – he's in a managerial position and probably has friends in high places
    4 – he's imposed bans and rules of his own within the department
    5 – he looks very intimidating (tall, big/strong build – someone you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley)
    6 – of what happened when she was a child

    And that's why I'm here, really. I want to get to the bottom of this for her and so once more light has been shed on this I can tell her and she can make her own decisions.

    Thank you Getting Ready for a First Date
    Last edited by Amber647; 06-12-2020 at 08:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    What is your role in this? How did you get the text transcript? You seem to know way too much about it. Are you k or M's spouse? Do you work there? What outcome do you want to see?

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    I am K. I just put myself in the third person (I am probably wrong in that so apologies if I am) for identity purposes.

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    I don't know what outcome I want to be honest. If anything I'd like to have a sit down with him and get to the bottom of his behaviour.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Overall you need better boundaries and to distance yourself in a more professional manner. Don't engage in flirting.

    1- How is your marriage? Do you enjoy the attention?
    2- Skip all the social media and Only have coworkers on LinkedIn. Keep your personal life out of work. Answer politely but briefly to nosy questions.
    3- Is it sexual harassment or are you friends? Decide.
    4- That's his job, no? Clarify your role if it's unclear.
    5- He's not going to assault you at work is he? Is he following you to your car or home? If not what does his size have to do with it?
    6- A therapist, not coworkers should explore this with you.
    Originally Posted by Amber647
    1 – she likes him as a friend (she finds him attractive but because of her marital status she doesn't act on it)
    2 – she has always respected him and he, likewise (it's always come across that way)
    3 – he's in a managerial position and probably has friends in high places
    4 – he's imposed bans and rules of his own within the department
    5 – he looks very intimidating (tall, big/strong build – someone you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley)
    6 – of what happened when she was a child

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Remain professional and move on in your career. You've stayed this long for work and the contracts - move on from all that. Don't get trapped into believing this is a social event.

    I think you're attracted to M or his behaviours wouldn't have been tolerable at all. If you have a work crush, minimize your contact with him and remain professional.

    You're a grown woman so start declining drinks that are handed to you if you know you can't handle it. You appear like a pushover around these people. Go to events but don't stay the full length if you aren't required to. I didn't see any mention of female work friendships. Do you have problems making friends with your female coworkers or is this a male-dominated industry?

    I agree about exploring why you fear these men with a therapist. M appears like a little boy to me, socially awkward, inappropriate and limited, not intimidating.

    Give yourself a real shot at a career here or elsewhere.

    If you're unhappy or bored in your marriage, it's not going to get anywhere wondering about the intentions of other men. It looks like you've documented a lot of your experiences by date. Take it to HR and file a complaint if you are so uncomfortable. Otherwise, do focus more on yourself and less on others.

    Minimize contact with oppressive figures, know what makes them tick and how their minds work, what matters to them. Oppression and bullying behaviour (harassment in any form) usually comes from severe insecurities with one's self. You can figure out exactly what's going through his mind and learn how to side step or keep him as a coworker only. Don't stagnate and become fearful or paralyzed. The world really is your oyster. Don't let these distractions get you down.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    That's a whole lot of words to write about someone it sounds like you haven't had much-- or really any, as far as I can tell-- meaningful interaction with in over a year. And hoping that whatever calls you're getting are from him is really healthy. Yes, stay professional, address your unhappiness in your marriage, but I'd really tackle what brings you to obsess over someone to this level.

    And what exactly are we holding back on reporting him for? The leg-to-leg touching thing from three years ago? Cursing on the job?

  9. #8
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    I say this in the most supportive way possible, but I don't see anything inappropriate that he has does in the entire time working together.

    No exchanges of inappropriate texts, emails, calls, or touching. In fact, he was being a good mentor, and looking out for you when you got sick at the party and called your husband to come get you. The looking - he could have also just been looking in your direction.

    If you want to know who called prior, dial, *69.

    I feel you may have some events from your past you are still trying to work through, and projecting them onto this man, or something he may have done innoculously triggered a PSTD reaction in you. And you are trying to take control by scouring his own social media trying to see if he was into you. Are you in talk therapy or getting EMDR treatments?

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    Multiple accounts are not allowed...Closed.


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