office politics : grrrrrr - a rant


Im a 2nd yr PhD student and am the only registered student in the unit. As there is a shortage of desk space in the unit, a member of staff decided to move into my office. Whilst I was doing fieldwork, for the project shes managing (ie non phd project) shes taken upon herself to move my desk which was by the window, boxed up all my folders and books, and decided to move her desk by the window, meanwhile my new position is close to the door. I remember her saying something about not wanting to be near the door. I was not consulted at all, and was upset that I wasnt given the choice. I felt there was the assumption that 'shes only a student, it doesnt matter'. I ended up writing a formal compliant and discussed this with the director.

Would you feel annoyed at this? I was in that office for over 6 mts and feel that although I was on fieldwork, someone could have left me a message! I'm now wondering whether I should have bothered!


absolutely you should have bothered! I would have been hopping mad!!
It's not just about the inconvenience issue and downright rudeness at them not consulting you...

What about handling other people's material? you might have sensitive/important information, and by boxing it up/moving it, surely it is in breach of the university's ethical standards of inforation handling? I'm assuming she has nothing to do with your project, so therefore she has no right to handle your materials/equipment. If you were required to move, you should have been notified first, if only to for this issue. Common courtesy is another matter entirely, and sadly lacking on some academic staff,


I think you have every reason to be unhappy!!!! As pointed out, it would have been easy to contact you about the move. It is ALWAYS a bad idea to just move someone's stuff. I have been put into someone else's office, and I am just working around the piles that they left...I do not want to move anything, and while it would make life easier, I am not going to. Just as I would be hopping mad if someone moved my piles--they are in a way that makes sense to me, and it would take a long time to re-sort them were they to get moved. What outcome did you have?


I'd be pretty pissed off if someone did that to me. If they just did it without asking, thats exceptionally rude for starters and I would doubt they are allowed do that.

If someone did that to me, I think a swift kick in the bol*&x would be in order.

Complain Complain!!!


I was told that she would be moving into my office. They've moved my desk (with all my piles of work on the desk) and all its contents by the door. All of my work/boxfiles/books were left in boxes under my desk. She's moved into my old position, set up all her notices around that desk, and used up all of my old bookcases. Her initial preference (although she's not admitting to it!)was to be located by the window away from the busy corridor (where I'm located now).

Now I've complianed, she's offered to change things back. As she's made herself feel settled, she's manipulated it so that I would look like the person whos causing inconvienence if I decided to move back into my old position. She's also said that if I wanted to move back to the way things are, I have to consider that she's part time (I'M FULL TIME!) and that moving things back will likely to be problematic for her. I've been told to fit in my stuff around her stuff; ie to use the remaining desk, bookshelves etc.


I agree with what the other people say. It is bang out of order to move your stuff and made worse by the fact that they didn't contact you. I would be majorly p*ssed off if someone boxed all my stuff up and I would complain.

The whole 'just a student' attitute really annoys me, its so rude and in a round-about way it is discrimination implying that your feelings/opinions don't count.. At the end of the day your research is no less important as theirs so it makes no odds about job status. There are a couple of people where I am based with that attitute who come out with things like 'Well you are the student' and 'It's your job as a student'. I tend to just ignore people like that as I can't be doing with that sort of attitude!


Move back. Its the principle of the thing!!!!!

Was she part time when she moved your stuff in the first place?


Perhaps the Evil Fuzzy could help her move.


Can you thank her graciously for her offer to move, ask her when she expects to have it done, and then just say no more, and start moving YOUR stuff back to where you want it? I wouldn't worry too much about have the right to have YOUR workspace not disturbed by a space hungry colleague. YOUR work is important to YOU, and she did not respect that. I think you have done the right thing, and since she has seen the light and offered to fix the mistake, I think the ONLY course of action is that one.


totally in agreement with Olivia.

Rather than simply concede, say that you are very grateful that she has agreed to change, and when can this be done? Use very positive language. By being politely assertive, she, and everyone else will know not to mess you in future.

I've had situations like this at work recently, and normally I would have just conceded, but the last couple fo times I've fought my corner, and feel much better for having done that


Don't have a desk or anything myself because I'm only part time,not lab based so can't compalin about that, but if I had I would certainly make a fuss. Get her stuff off the bookcase and into boxes, put your stuff back where it was if you want to make things really difficult just ask her if she remembers what she did with a small notebook of yours as it had some very important, and possibly irreplaceable data in it (number of the local pizzahouse may be )and get her to look for it, a couple of days with you asking her several times if she had found it should do it. Then, as the coup de grace, just tell her you found it in one of your pockets !!!! that will show her who is boss


Thanks for bringing up the topic of 'office politics' Pineapple. I'm in an office of PhDers and 'research assistants'. In total there are 14 people in this small space and so I find it incredibly difficult to work at Uni. How many people should you have in your office? 14 seems a little too many?!


Pineapple, I was in a similar position not long ago (though mine was temporary)...I went on leave for a week and came back to find that my office (which is just big enough for a computer and a filing cabinet) had been taken over by my supervisor's visiting professor! What annoyed me the most was that my supervisor had known for MONTHS that this woman was coming & she also knew when I was returning from leave. If she'd have asked if my office could be used while I was away I would've been fine with it, but she didn't & I only found out when I turned up to work on my first day back from leave to find someone else in my office and all of my things stacked on top of the filing cabinet! To make it worse, the professor was visiting for 6 weeks, so I had to spend her entire visit working at home! What really annoyed me was having to ask to go into my own office (this woman was quite territorial and obviously thought that I was "just a student")...grrr, still makes me mad to think about it!