Difficult Person at Work
September 22, 2011 1:56 PM Subscribe
How to deal with a difficult person at work? Main question of the day: Do I cc this particular email to my higher boss?
posted by moiraine to human relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Background: I work in a very technical field. We work in teams of about 6 or 7 people. I have about 2 years of experience, and it takes about 5 years of experience before one can really function independently.
This is a small company (about 20 technical key staff, and the rest on support), we don't really have HR people. It used to be a really nice company because everyone was extremely capable and very, very smart. In technical work, there's really no capacity to bullshit your way through, and because it's such a small company, you can't really hide your way through the layers of beaucracy either. You either know your stuff or you don't. Some of us have advanced degrees in sciences from top universities and the others have glittering careers. I will also say that I'm fairly valued member of the team.
However, due to a particularly nasty takeover, a lot of excellent people left the company. We have hired a lot of contractors to fill in the gap, and promoted a lot of staff people to "project manager" level.
Anyway, I'm a staff member here. But because I don't have that much experience, this particular project was given to one of the contractors, with the idea that I would shadow the contractor.
The said contractor is very experienced and has done similar projects like this before. However, she is stubborn, very aggressive, and not receptive to new ideas, especially from someone as young as I am. I don't think this is particularly personal though.
This is my first time doing a project like this. So I'm happy for the experience and I will admit that I do not know as much 'practical' stuff as someone with 10 years of experience. But I do know all about and the ins-and-outs of statistics and mathematics that goes into the practical part of the project, and she does not know shit. Her experience is based on what she has seen and done in the past, and the general way of just doing this. This is fine for life in general. This is NOT fine for a highly-technical project like this, especially when I'm quality-checking this at every step.
The project manager has tried to remain diplomatic and neutral. Which is fine for life but, again, not fine for a technical project like this, where there is a more correct way of doing something and a less correct way of doing something. The other people on the team are also contractors and have tried to more-or-less remain neutral.
Anyway, she and I are now at the stage where we are fairly hostile and we cc the rest of the team on all our emails. However, today, she has sent me a particularly inane email (which shows her lack of understanding of statistics and mathematics), again, cc-ed to the rest of the team.
I will reply to it calmly and very deliberately. But I would like to go one step further and cc my response to my higher manager (the manager who hired me). And then I would like to follow up with another meeting with higher manager where I will a) express my concerns, and b) take the lead in this type of technical projects from now on (as opposed to shadowing). MY QUESTION: Is this wise? The higher manager is generally above all this day-to-day matters.
I would ask another senior person on the team for their advice, but the people whom I would have asked advice of and respected have since left the company. Hence, I come to you, MeFites!
p.s. Please trust me when I say that although I have 2 years work experience, my knowledge of statistics and mathematics are far, far superior to whatever this contractor is doing.