Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Cliques Transfers Atmosphere Inconsiderate Actions Teamwork

I recently transferred into another department, and the manager and some of her pals keep telling the same old stories and referring to the same old in-jokes. You would think they'd tire of this, but they don't. Is there anything I can do to fit in?

Your manager and some of her cronies have one objective in reviving old tales and jokes, and that is to exclude newcomers. And, that's no joke. This type of behavior smacks of amateurish managerial skills and a healthy dose of rudeness. Your manager should be trying to break up elitist cliques, rather than acting as ringleader.

As for the steps to take in order to fit in, you may want to proceed slowly on this one. In the first place, with the passage of time, some of these barriers are going to come down as you get to know the various players better. Secondly, do you really want to be part of a group that puts new employees through the same aggravation that you are experiencing now?

Rather than rushing into anything, one initial step that can help your transition is to try to build your working relationship with some of the other employees who are not in the inner circle. As you mentioned, the group is composed of your manager and some of her pals, and this means that there must be at least a few other employees whom you can approach. You will probably find that you click better with them than with the clique anyhow.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!