This is what I wish I said to a couple of my new co-workers:
“Listen, I know that I fit your perception of a person you think you should be able to abuse with with impunity: I’m female, I’m over 50, I’m morbidly obese, I’m new here and I’m just a contractor, not a regular employee. I get it. It’s like I’m the quintessential target, provided just for you and your unhealed rage. But surprise, I’m not your whipping girl. Really. I’m not. You’re going to have to go take that anger out on someone else because I am not going to put up with it. Period. End of Story.”
Instead, I stood up to them as best I could without escalating – and without ever saying what I really wanted to say – then I went and had a closed-door meeting with our supervisor and told her, “I don’t know what’s going on with these guys but they were dumping on me pretty hard today and I have no idea why. Billy-Bob seemed very upset that you approved my request for a second monitor, which I don’t really understand – all the other software engineers have a second monitor, but it seemed to really upset him that you authorized one for me. He was demanding that I explain why I need one and accusing me of wanting him to drop everything to order it, when I told him several times that I’m fine with waiting for it. He was accusing me of things I never said. I don’t know why he was so incensed.”
She’s been a manager in IT long enough that this can’t be the first time she’s encountered scapegoating behavior. At least now she knows that Billy-Bob singled me out for abuse over something as silly as providing me with the same equipment that ALL the men in my job title have, including the new contractors, some of whom started after I did.
Me? I’m just fighting to focus my attention on the people who have been kind and respectful, to do my work to the very best of my ability, and to ignore the heck out of the troglodytes. It’s so…so…so…stressful. So frustrating and unfair.
The unfairness of their behavior upsets me, but what can I do? I have to work and I’ll be rowing a boat in hell before I allow infantile people to keep me from earning my paycheck. Meanwhile, I’m struggling to keep my head above water with the diabetes, I can’t sleep, I’m in chronic pain. Sigh…