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-   -   My Co-Worker is (almost literally) Making Me Crazy (https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/showthread.php?t=417662)

  • Nov 19, 2009, 08:20 PM
    carrymeOhio
    My Co-Worker is (almost literally) Making Me Crazy
    This is a genuine question, and partly a rant, because I'm honestly at the end of my tether with a co-worker and don't know what to do about it. It's beginning to impact my work (I can't concentrate, I'm too busy gritting my teeth), my home life (taking my poor humor home with me after hours isn't fair to my family) and worst of all, it's making me act uncharacteristically. I really, really, hate this.

    I should start by saying, I don't think my colleague is necessarily a bad person. While I've definitely felt like she's directed some nasty comments my way, I wouldn't use the word 'B***h' to describe her. But at the same time, she is completely infuriating.

    I don't really know where to begin, so here's the play-by-play (and there are a LOT of plays I could mention here, so this is the abridged version):

    - She has the LEAST amount of experience of anyone in the department (less than 1 year), yet decided a long time ago that she is an expert in all things, including other people's work. And she will tell you so. No matter what the subject, she's decided within a second that she's the expert on any given topic. Example: We had a departmental meeting today where she literally began talking over my boss and everyone else, and talked at length, and completely railroaded the meeting. And the funniest part was that she was talking about something she had NO direct experience with.
    My favorite is when she tries to lecture me about my own projects and clients that she's never had anything to do with. Classic.

    - She will interrupt, and hijack, any conversation happening around her. So no matter what the topic is, she will find a way to insert herself into it, whether its personal or business related. I've had colleagues tell me that they refuse to come to my office to discuss work, since they know it will be needlessly interrupted with some stupid story that has barely anything to do with what we're talking about. My boss will come to my office and try to speak to me about something, only to be interrupted by her with her little pearls of 'wisdom'. I end up getting half-delivered messages from superiors and colleagues (or none at all), and it makes my job more difficult.

    - She makes inappropriate and broad statements about groups of people. While I'm not an easily offended person, I find that some of her comments about 'those people' make my skin crawl. She was born overseas (which apparently makes her worldly and cosmopolitan. You can tell by the way she periodically likes to pretend she has an accent) but moved here when she was 10. Apparently that means she can constantly talk about subjects like;
    *"Oh, Americans are so STUPID! Just sooo unsophisticated! You know how THEY are" (Don't get me started on how much she hates Americans. Her speeches are never ending. Although it doesn't stop her from living here)
    *"Engineers are all Nazis. Trust me. I know. I worked in HR once" (I should add 'I worked in HR once... before I got fired')
    *"Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that so-and-so was a senior manager. She looks like some boring Soccer Mom!" (For the record, she's a mom herself. Oh, and her daughter plays soccer. And no, she wasn't trying to be ironic)
    *"Well, you know how THOSE people are...(insert stereotype about whatever ethnic group here)"

    - She tries to one-up me or argue with me when I'm talking to other people. And she does it in this horrible, ear-scraping, sing-song voice like, "WHAT do you MEAN by THAT sweetie?" I should say that she's about 10 years older than me, which means that it comes across as if she's trying to school me or teach me a lesson in front of other people. I find it condescending in the extreme, and all I can do is plaster a grin to my face and bear it. I don't pick fights with her, since I can be pretty passive in the face of aggression. As an example, we were at a table full of people during lunch one day and I mentioned to another colleague that I had been to a concert the night before that I had really enjoyed. This was interrupted with a shrill cry of "Oh my GOD! WHAT do you MEAN you enjoyed seeing THAT? WHAT were you THINKING?" And proceeded to laugh and giggle. I just stared into my spaghetti.

    - She has NO sense of personal space. She will come up behind my office chair, physically grab the back of the chair, swing it around (with me in it) and literally push her face as close as possible to mine, and tell me 'what I need to know.' This makes me really, really uncomfortable, even when (I think) she's trying to make a joke.

    - She fakes sick days off, and she fakes them often. I rarely take a sick day unless I really need one. She takes at least 1 off every week or two weeks. Last week she took 1 day off because she had "a really mild case of swine flu combined with pneumonia". Um, riiiiight. You had swine flu AND pneumonia. And you got over it in a day. Amazing. The CDC would like to have a word with you, bionic woman. Oh, and the week before she had ANOTHER case of the flu. For a day. By my count, this year alone she's had 3 colds, two bouts of pneumonia, two bouts of swine flu and three bouts of "gosh, I'm just not feeling well", not counting days taken to take care of family members also suffering from a similar number of ailments. The best part is the day she comes back to work, she'll speak in a little creaky voice and cough into her hand for about the first 5 minutes of the day, before she's back to giving eon-long speeches about the one time she visited Washington state and managed to tell-off some random American.

    So believe it or not, that's the abridged version. And please keep in mind, these aren't isolated incidents, this is an on-going, 9-5, Mon. to Fri. work experience for me. Other colleagues have noticed this behavior, but I'm the only one who has to have this one-on-one contact. I am losing my sanity sharing my space with this woman and don't know how to approach this. I've thought of confronting her, but by saying what? "Stop being so....you"? I don't want to hurt her feelings (even though I'm giving myself an ulcer). Ultimately, I think she's a bit lonely (I don't see her interacting with a lot of friends) and I don't want this to become a situation where I rock the boat and hurt the dynamic of a good working team by introducing negativity into the mix.

    I've thought about talking to my boss about trying to change our seating arrangements, but I don't know how to frame the issue without sounding like a colossal B****h. I should add that my boss is a really great person to work for, and really believes in fostering a good working environment. They are also very diplomatic, and I get the feeling that me bringing this up may not come across very well to someone who likes to captain a balanced ship.

    Can someone please tell me what I can do here?!
  • Nov 20, 2009, 04:48 AM
    Zaithe

    quite long and full story that's mean you really really annoyed of her. Well I really want to know what how you react when she do these sort of crazy things because its really matters. Ladies do note the expression so better first tell her by expressions that you are not enjoyed her bad humor and show no concern with what she is doing and if she tries to swing your chair, you just stand up like you really mind and get angry but don't show expression and grab some paper from far side of table and then start working again and sit. She ll surely look strangely to you but let her know through expressions and these things without using your words. If still she didn't understand just put some funny or little I say little insulting quote on you desk which surely point to her without using name. If you can do these all then do that or if any problem or question then let me know
  • Nov 21, 2009, 07:50 PM
    FlyYakker

    Try Zaithe's approach if it seems right to you, but if it doesn't work out...

    You say the boss values a balanced ship? Well you are not the one "unbalancing" it. The co-worker is the person unbalancing it and if your boss has real smarts then he or she will have figured it out already. The boss might be marvellling at how patient you are. I suggest that you have a frank discussion with him/her. If your work (and mental health!! ) is being affected, it is actually your duty to tell the boss and ask for some type of relief. Be calm, be professional, be firm.

    You owe this to yourself and your family.


    Good luck
  • Jun 1, 2010, 02:55 AM
    daniellsr

    I guess what your colleague trying to do is to get more attention. Do you think by going opposite way - giving TOTALLY NO attention to her will help you? To amplify this, how about asking your other colleagues to join you on reacting like that? :)

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