Being ignored at work
I started a new job as an IT Help Desk Intern a month ago. When I first started, everyone was nice and talking to me. I missed half a week of work my 2nd week because I was subpoenaed to court as a witness. I came back and since then, everyone has been pretty much ignoring me. They all talk and laugh with each other but when I say something, they never respond or answer short. There are 2 other interns like me and they talk to me once in a great while if they have a question about something but that's about it. I just don't understand why or what I can do.
Any new work place is pretty much like that. Just give it sometime and things will improve.
As Shivangi says this isnt uncommon. Sounds like you were away during the period the others were getting to know everyone, now they are settled and you're still 'the new guy'.
Dont let your hurt at feeling excluded actually exclude you. Make sure you spend time during breaks with people, dont keep to yourself. Listen to their conversations and find out what they like to talk about and what they find amusing. That way you are more likely to gel better.
Half a week is nothing. It's 2-3 days. It's far too short a time for any firm alliances to have formed. For starters, the large majority of them would have been existing staff, so it sounds as if only you and these other 2 interns are the new additions.
To answer curtly or downright monosyllabically is rude and unprofessional enough. But to actually fail to respond whatsoever as well makes this treatment unquestionably unacceptable.
You're being cold-shouldered. They're not even cooperating with you beyond whatever it is for work purposes they *have* to speak normally and civilly to you over to the barest minimum.
In the first week they were all nice and talking to you, meaning, needing to get to know you is clearly not the case here. To have changed their tune so suddenly, not to mention markedly, and only on the back of this absence - it sounds to me as if whilst you were gone there was some conversation about you wherein someone quoted/misquoted/badly quoted something you said that either was contentious, just sounded contentious when taken out of context of the original conversation, or got misinterpreted and taken the wrong way, or that someone there feels jealous or threatened by you in some way so has deliberately sh*t-stirred behind your back to destroy your initial, growing/inevitable popularity.
This evidently is not an office featuring people with professional ethics (IT people, what a surprise, NOT) because they've hung, drawn and quartered you without any trial, not ONE of them having first come to you to seek enlightenment or clarification through giving you a chance to explain and defend yourself.
You have to wonder why they'd not give you that courtesy, though. Do you shine that bit brightly or are you somehow intimidating in some other way (have you had this effect on people before)? Do they, out of ignorance at how the world works, not understand court duty is a bit of a lottery in terms of who gets picked and why/when, and mis-concluded that it marked you out as some kind of chosen one, or did the way you inform them make it seem so? If not - and if they're just socially inept, non-confident and paranoid - then we have to conclude my above suspicion correct over what's gone on in your few days' absence.
Aside from you and these 2 other interns, however, the other staff are securely established in their positions and statuses, so I fail to see how any of them would feel threatened or in competition with you who is 'just' an intern. But you never know. Either that or it's one or both of these two other interns. Whomever it is clearly thinks competing includes tripping someone up along the racetrack. Note it's they, these other interns, who have to come to YOU with a question, not the other way around. You obviously know more and/or have more working commonsense than them, correct?
What you can do, what you SHOULD do is approach your immediate superior or, better yet if they have one, human resources manager with this problem - because this is Office Harrassment and Victimisation (specifically, bullying in the form of ostracisation), no question about it. It comes under one of the legal employee rights criteria, known as, "the right not to be discriminated against" (which comes into effect from Day 1 of employment) or the legal duty of an employer to protect you against bullying in his/her workplace.
As such, it's seen as perfect grounds for handing in your notice, called Constructive Dismissal, whereby the work environment is so avoidably intolerable (which ostracisation absolutely is in the eyes of tribunal law) that it can harm your psychological and physical welfare as thereby increasingly impedes your ability to do your job, as well as can have a knock-on effect on your whole career.
What you have to do is, I reiterate, to ask for a one-to-one meeting with your HR Manager/immediate boss to inform him/her of the problem. Meanwhile, start a daily diary, noting all that happens or is said to you (or failed to say) each day, both on the personal and business level, including retrospectively from Day 1 of joining (the conversation snippets from the first week will provide a perfect frame of reference). If he or she fails to sort it out toute suite like a manager is legally-bound to do, you then approach the next boss up. If still nothing gets done (I'm sure it would but it's as well to know the whole legal procedure, just in case), you follow up with a written, confidential letter to the higher manager and copied to your immediate superior (keeping a copy) to ask why despite you've brought this case of cold-war style harrassment of you by *all* staff members to their attention for remedying, the situation remains or has exacerbated. If still nothing is done, you resign in writing (again, keeping a copy) - leaving immediately, no notice. You then contact your citizens' advice bureau or industry tribunal directly to make a claim of financial compensation, or simply get another job. In fact, I advise you to start looking now. No time like the present/again, just in case (at the least it'll make you feel better).
Certainly this was the procedure last time I looked, but you could do some research online to gain more up-to-the-minute guidance.