My socially disordered coworker scares me more than he annoys me.
September 6, 2011 9:50 PM Subscribe
Coworker definitely has a social disorder (undiagnosed) and the suggestions given by my boss to handle the situation have not worked and I've become very anxious and have difficulty keeping myself from acting out towards this person when they continue with the unsettling behavior.
posted by RoadMapper to Work & Money (45 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Where do I start?
OK, I've been working in the same office as "John" for five years but I've known him for 16! My company has field offices in almost every major city and we first met when I was training at our corporate office 16 years ago. Five years ago I transferred into the office where he has worked for 8 years and the problems began immediately.
At that time (when I first started at this office), every coworker I had was telecommuting on average four days a week, and it was just me and John in the office. Every day I got more and more creeped out by him as he insisted on talking AT me for hours at a time. When I would eventually give him a MAJOR brush off (often by angrily responding to something he said which ran the gamut of something racist like finding the opportunity to say "Tarbaby" in a sentence, or to joke about whether a mormon coworker was into polygamy) and he would stomp off into his office and give me the silent treatment, sometimes for days. He would go back to his freakish bombardment of verbal vomit at the very first glimmer of a bit of niceness from me. I began to beg my coworkers to spend more time in the office and take the pressure off of me.
Depending on whether he was in the "friend" mode or not, his advances towards me began to include: Leaving bags of Trader Joes food at the DOOR of my condo, WHEN I WAS HOME, and not knocking on the door. My dog would bark, I would freak out, and after a few minutes I'd open my door and there is a bag of gourmet shit left at my doorstep. I have to leave out a lot of details to just give you the rest of the major things. John is obsessed with guns, the volunteer sheriff's posse (he's a member) and illegal immigration. He would leave copies on the printer of receipts for some choice things like a "Romanian FPK Sniper Rifle" or any number of collectible craziness, which he knew I would pick up. He printed them from home when he knew I was the only one in the office. The last straw on this one was when I was alone in the office when a CRATE of ammunition was delivered. Finally I went to my boss and he didn't want to go to H.R., he just told John that he could not have firearms or ammo delivered to the office. I got the silent treatment for at least a week after that.
Since then the rules have changed and all of us must be in the office at least three days a week. He goes from office to office talking the head off anyone who doesn't get up and walk away, and even THAT doesn't work sometimes. When I try to keep things civil, he mistakes this for some sort of opening for friendship and bothers the hell out of me, continuing his inappropriate topics, elaborating on crazy right wing conspiracies that he actually believes, and basically bother the shit out of all of us. One day my ONE female coworker and I found he had left brochures on our desk for a device that allows for women to "pee standing up." He also put a post-it on the brochure saying that he suggested we "practice in the shower before we give this a try." Christ....
These are only a few of the THOUSANDS of things he's done, unwanted texts he's sent, condescending voicemails he's left such as "I'm holding down the fort for you while you're in the field." I am the SENIOR in the office. At this point his duties have been relegated to something a 5th grader could handle because he wastes most of his time bullshitting and pretending we are his friends. Speaking of that, he has NO friends, none of us have EVER heard that he's even had a date in the 17 years he's been with the company. He's 53, about 200 pounds overweight and doesn't even need to work. His father is a retired surgeon and former mayor of his large hometown. They have a branch of that state school named after them after giving a large six digit endowment. He has two siblings that are amazingly successful in their careers and their personal lives. The parents bought him a house in my current city and he spends all the money he earns on his gun habit.
In the current economy, my boss is unwilling to bring the situation to H.R. because he doesn't want to rock the boat. He doesn't have to endure the pain that is John because he still works from home all but two days a week and doesn't have to give him instruction or work on projects with him. If any readers have made it this far, can you tell me what you would do in my situation? I've actually had dreams that he comes to my house to kill me. I'm serious. Oh, and all my coworkers feel the same way as I do (minus the killing dreams). It's hard for us to get any work done because we feel like we have to vent constantly about his INSANITY. Thanks very much.