One always wants to keep a good relationship with one’s colleagues.
Even if you won’t necessarily be friends and see each other outside of working hours, it’s still in everyone’s best interests to be cordial and respectful with one another.
An almost guranteed way of ruining a harmonious workplace, is when people behave like they have more responsibilities than they actually do.
An issue recently faced by Redditor HotAZthesun, who’s professionalism at the office was questioned by a colleague of equal rank.
Something the original poster (OP) was not afraid to tell her was not appreciated in the slightest.
Concerned their behavior might have been equally out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling a coworker ‘are you my supervisor or superior? Then I don’t need your opinion’.”
The OP shared how they have a fairly enviable commute to work, which they take full advantage of.
“I’m fairly new in a position that I live where I work.”
“I show up on time, leave on time and doing al my tasks I’m supposed.”
“My office is at most a two minute walk from my apartment.”
“Because of this I can get back from the gym less than an hour before I need to be in office and be ready and in my office at the start time.”
“I should also note it’s summer where I’m at and I live in place where it’s unbearable hot out at this time.”
“Because of this, when I go home for lunch I change into work out clothes to take my dog out and then change back before I go to work.”
However, the OP’s pre and post work attire caught the attention of a colleague, who felt the need to express their disapproval.
“Yesterday, a coworker who is the same position/level as me confronted me and said ‘hi I just wanted to make some suggestions on how to be more successful here’.”
“I had no idea where she was going with this but I already was internally rolling my eyes because this person in particular is quite known for not being professional and it is commonly known the only reason she hasn’t been fired is because we are short staffed.”
“Anyways I asked what she meant and she said, ‘well you are always wearing plain clothes right before work, right after work and even at lunch’.”
“Like I know you aren’t on the clock but, it just doesn’t look appropriate or professional looking that so close to working hours’.”
“‘People might get the wrong Idea’.”
“I asked her.”
“’Are you my supervisor or my superior?'”
“‘Then I don’t need your opinion on what I do on my own time’.”
She replied, ‘you don’t need to be a jerk’.”
“‘I’m just trying to help you’.”
I said, “I don’t need your help’, and walked away.”
“Later that day, another coworker mentioned that the co worker in question would be late to the office because they had a traumatic experience earlier and needed to collect themselves.”
“Am I really the a**hole here?”
“This was the first time she has ever spoken to me in the two months I’ve worked here.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for clapping back at their colleague.
Though some felt that they could have done so in a nice manner, everyone was in agreement that the OP’s colleague was out of line, and the OP was right to put her in her place.
“Unless your company has a strict policy on how you’re supposed to dress, then your clothes weren’t her business.”
“Maybe schedule a visit with HR.”
“She may try to blow this encounter out of proportion.”- Vamoss39
“Ugh, what an annoying co-worker.”
“Sorry you’re dealing with her.”
“Might be good to check in w/ your boss or supervisor at your next one-on-one though and say something like, ‘I’ve recently gotten some feedback that I found a little odd and wanted to double check with you’.”
“‘My gym is near the office, so in my off hours I’m often nearby the office in gym clothes’.”
“I would never wear these while on the clock, of course, but after that feedback I mentioned, I did want to make sure I’m not doing anything that is frowned upon’.”
“Almost certainly your boss will say something like ‘what? No. You’re fine!’”
“And then ask about this ‘feedback’ you got.”
“This will open up the conversation to let your boss know that your coworker is being weird and out of bounds.”
“Or hell, maybe your workplace has some weirdo cultural standards and your boss will let you know about them.”
“Either way, it’s probably good to check in.”- fibchopkin
“Did she ask you to smile more?”
“I get that a LOT.”-7dayweekendgirl
“Really, she came upon you with unsolicited advice, you told her that it’s unsolicited, and now she is having a nervous breakdown because of it?”
“Just how thin her skin is?”- Sunny_Hill_1
“None of her business what you do outside of work.”
“Nor really during work that matter as she isn’t your superior as you stated.”
“What u said wasn’t nice, certainly, but she was sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.”-Potential-Use-4971
“Your co-worker needed to mind her own business.”- ChapSteve711
“Do what this woman would do if a man was paying such close attention to what they were wearing when on breaks / outside of work and report from for sexual harassment.”
“Obviously I’m not suggesting you actually report her but being a bit blunt is better than what would probably happen in reverse situation.”- annoyedtenant123
“She was probably using her seniority to impose her opinions to you, your reply was appropriate.”
“The other possibility is that she, completely inappropriately, was warning you about something.”
“E.G., someone else commented on your clothing.”
“I would tell what happened to my supervisor to see what they say.”
“And just in case she complains about me.”-lellyla
“Drama queen much?”
“She over stepped.”-throwthawholemeaway
“She was trying to tell you what to do while off the clock.”
“Even a manager has no right to do that, and she’s not even that.”
“She’s same level as you, she says something about ‘getting ahead in the company again’, ask how’d she’d know or what she’s doing wrong, because she isn’t ahead of anything.”- No-Personality5421
“Report her to HR or management about attempting to micromanage you on your off time and attempting to be a manager to you.”
“She is potentially creating a hostile work environment.”
“If she has problems with you, she should have talked to an actual manager about it.”
“From here on out, act civil and respectful with her at work, ignore her when you are clocked out.”
“If there are any other problems, go to management.”- Purple_Death72
“It might have been a little harshly phrased but it sounds like that’s necessary for this coworker.”
“And from someone who also is in a hot summer place, dress rules are pretty lax when it’s topping 100.”- Lawn_Orderly
“I also change into work out clothes for my lunch break.”
“If a colleague offered me unsolicited advice on how I dress outside the office, I hope I’d be as polite as you.”
“And what is this ‘wrong idea’ people might get?”
“She’s testing whether you’re someone she can pick away at when she wants to feel big, you’ve shown her you’re not.”
“Definitely talk to HR about this because it sounds like she probably will.”
“If you had commented on her clothes it’d probably be considered sexual harassment so it’s totally fair for you go to HR and ask for clarification on the dress code, because she approached you about it and then tell them that you didn’t mean to be rude but her comments made you uncomfortable and you just wanted to get out of the conversation.”
“After you talk to HR, document everything that happened at the meeting in an email to HR, bcc your personal email, and give them the chance to correct anything you may have misunderstood.”
“Hopefully this doesn’t escalate but these are good steps to take just in case.”
“Try to avoid talking to her unless it’s in writing or there are other coworkers present.”- Inside-Potato5869
“If they’re not paying you to dress to their business standards then it’s none of their business.”
“There’s a manager here that has 0 authority over me.”
“He doesn’t like it when i don’t bend to his stupid comments or ‘jokes’.”
“He was obviously joking when he told me i couldn’t take a day off the next day and I told him that’s too bad for you.”
“He was visibly shocked at my response.”
“Like dude stay in your lane.”- amaraame
One always wants to show they’re going above and beyond in their place of work, as that might hopefully one day lead to a promotion.
But acting like you have more authority than you do will not leave a good impression on either your colleagues or your superiors.
Something the OP’s colleague will hopefully realize going forward.