It has been two months since I started a new job. I am having a hard time adjusting to the workplace culture, and some of the jokes and language that my associates use make me feel really uncomfortable. How do I go about addressing my misgivings without being ostracized?
—The New Guy
Dear Mr. New Guy:
Dealing with inappropriate jokes and comments, whether they are racist, sexist or offensive, can be tough. Speaking up is the right thing to do because silence signals agreement. Instead of making accusations, explain how you feel about the comments.
Another approach is to simply ask what they meant by a particular comment. Do this when you are one on one with the person rather than in front of a group.
Misinterpretation happens when you do not know people well, and some associates do not realize how their behavior is being perceived. Understanding increases when people hear a different perspective.