I'm considering not going out to lunch with her and my coworkers anymore. The solitude and peace that I have when I eat my vegan lunch alone at the park is much more satisfying and serene. Any advice would be very appreciated!
Office environments typically are composed of people with an assortment of differences, including spiritual beliefs, political perspectives, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, hobbies, health, physical abilities, education, and interests. Because of this vast diversity, anti-discrimination laws have been established so employers can't hire, promote, demote, or fire individuals based on personal prejudices or assumptions. Turning the workplace into a hostile environment for an employee is unethical, and it might also be illegal.
Generally speaking, supervisors want their personnel to be successful. A happy, cohesive workforce tends to be a productive workforce, which not only enhances the company’s bottom line but also makes the boss look good. There is no reward in having miserable employees, except for those few sadists who get pleasure from watching someone else squirm.
If your boss is embarrassing you or putting you down in front of your peers, she needs to be made aware of this. Some people are so thick-headed that they're unable to discern the subtle cues of discomfort in others. Although you may believe your defensive or angry responses are explicit and easy to read, she may be misperceiving or misconstruing your reactions. She may think you enjoy her verbal sparring, or she might believe you take pleasure in being the center of her attention. Perhaps it's her feeble attempt at humor or a way for her to feel more comfortable around you by breaking down barriers. Just as she may be misinterpreting your responses, you might be misreading her cues too.
There is no point in second-guessing the motivation behind her behavior, and it's fruitless for you to continue to join your coworkers on outings if you feel singled out and picked on by your boss. The only solution is to tactfully discuss your concerns in private and let your boss know just how disturbing her comments have been. When approached with honesty and openness about a troubling situation, and the acknowledgment that misunderstandings are rarely one-sided, most supervisors will concede or at least accommodate an employee’s requests.
Supervisors have every incentive to respect their staff, and employees have every right to insist on that respect. When discussed in an atmosphere of candidness, sincerity, and civility, such conversations often lead to improved working relationships and greater admiration all around.
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