December 29, 2010 6:35 PM Subscribe
Change of venue: meddling coworker.
posted by Prairie to Work & Money (36 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Because of cutbacks/realignments, I was moved to a new area and also given another job in addition to my previous job. The woman--let's call her Erma--whose job I took stepped into a new job that she was asked to take. She kept her workspace and I moved into a new one. I had met her before but only in a passing sort of way.
The first week I was there she stopped by and said, "I see you all the time sitting there looking for something to do. Don't you have anything to do?"
The second time it was, "Oh, you're reading the newspaper, you must have plenty of time." (I was on my break. Is it her business where I take it?)
One day she put a chair outside my cube (in my line of vision) and read the paper. (It's an exit, not a reception room.)
Next it was, "You need to learn how to pronounce [supervisor's] name." But this time her face is changed and she is yelling at me.
I looked at her and said, "There's lots of things I should do." in a matter of fact but humorous tone.
About an hour later, she returns and yells at me that she doesn't deserve to be talked to in that way and then turns on her heel back to her workspace.
I take a deep breath and walk to her workspace. "I am sorry,"
I said, "that you didn't like the way I spoke to you. I admit to being taken aback when you told me to learn to pronounce--"
"YOU NEED TO LEARN TO PRONOUNCE IT" she yells. Her face is all crumpled up she's so upset.
Now last week I was working on a simple but tedious project and had enlisted the help of a coworker. Erma comes in and asks the coworker, "WHY ARE YOU IN HERE WITH HER?" We explain she is helping me.
"Why would you need help? You don't need any help." She walks out I can still see her talking but, because she is walking away from me, I cannot see what she is saying.
A few other points:
-She is not a supervisor. We are exactly equal in rank.
-We are probably close to the same age. She may be a few years older.
-In one instance she came to show me how to do something (remember I took over her job) and she leaned waaaaaaaaaaaayyy over to look at a paper on the very back of my desk.
-Another time I returned to my cube to find her standing in it right by my chair. "I was looking for you." she said. My cube is arranged as such that you can peek in and see if I am there -- no need to step in 4,5 steps as she did.
-My supervisor is aware of this but only in a general/background, not in a "what should I do" way, and besides, she's just too busy for this pettiness. I'd like to think I could handle it myself. I used to think ignoring people like this was the best solution, but maybe that just encourages more bad behavior in some people?
-I'm horrible at conflict. I've had some DBT which has helped tremendously with the interpersonal stuff, but people who yell still scare me. At the least, they get my nervous system all a-flutter.
-I like my job, like my supervisor (who is a model of grace and integrity), don't like this situation.