Question: I believe I have a unique problem. I'm the IT support assistant in the company I work for; I support the VP and eight managers. I report directly to the VP.
Every now and again, an associate brings in goodies (donuts, cake, candy, etc.) for the department and sends out an e-mail to the department inviting us to have whatever is brought in. Last week, one of the managers brought in donuts. I went to get a donut and, when I got to his workstation, he was having a verbal meeting with an associate from another department, and she asked me to get one for her. I handed her a donut and went back to my workstation.
The manager came over to me and, in the presence of the associate from the other department, proceeded to let me know that I had no right to give a donut to her, as they were not mine to give. I thought he was joking, so I was smiling and taking it for a joke! He proceeded to tell me that this was not a joke, and I was rude to give away something that was not mine to give.
The associate handed me the donut and said she would not take it, so I took it back to the manager's cubicle and told him that she no longer wanted the donut. I went back to my desk and sent the manager an e-mail saying I was sorry to take his donut but I didn’t appreciate his talking down to me by telling me I was "rude" and that, in the future, he should choose his words. I also told him that it wasn’t the culture of the IT department for people to be stingy with food and that I didn’t believe in my wildest dreams that he would be offended.
He responded that I knew that I was wrong and was hiding behind e-mails, that I should speak with him and that the problem with me is that I like to give away things that are not mine to give. (I am not guilty of that, and so that hurts.) He also told me that, if I responded, he would not read my e-mail because we both believe we should have the last word.
I am saddened by this whole thing, and I feel silly even talking about it with other people in the department, because I don’t want to be labeled as being disgruntled or disruptive. I told my boss (who is the manager's boss, too), and he says that I should drop it or I should sit the manager down and tell him how things operate in the department.
I feel uncomfortable around that manager now, and the hurtful thing is, I used to like him. I'm the person responsible for planning all the "fun" things in the department, and I really feel like something is missing now. I don’t feel like being a fun person, anymore, and with the holidays coming up, we usually have events like "pot luck" and gift exchanges, etc. Now, I feel like it’s such a chore!
What should I do? -- Anonymous