I'd almost rather you'd just be a bitch all the time.
March 10, 2012 5:11 PM Subscribe
How do you deal with a moody coworker?
posted by Jess the Mess to work & money (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So I just got a new job. It's a temp gig but long-term. The position is a receptionist/administrative assistant and for complicated reasons it takes two people to do, so it is integral to my job that I work very closely and communicate a lot with the other person who's also doing the same job.
This person is also a temp but has been there for months longer than me and was in charge of training me. I've been there for two weeks now and feel I have most of the stuff down but because our position requires an enormous amount of attention to detail and responding to situations that are different every day, it's inevitable that that there are going to be things I don't know, forget about, mess up, etc., at first.
I totally accept that I am still learning and will need correction from time to time but the other person is always on me, micromanaging and "reminding" me of things I don't need to be reminded of. If I do get something wrong, she'll tell me about it but not in a "just a reminder, don't forget to do A before you do B" sort of way but in a "you did this wrong and now it's a federal case" way. She doesn't get abusive or anything but the way she says things makes me feel like she thinks I'm lazy and/or stupid and is just so sick of dealing with me.
Also, a big part of our job is deciding who does what when and instead of deciding together, she often just gives me orders. Obviously, that's okay for training purposes, but she seems to want to continue acting like my boss and I am not down with that.
The weird thing is she'll often be really nice during our "down" time and want to chat and will bring me snacks and whatnot. Then again there are days she walks in (usually late) and I say good morning and she just gives me a disgusted look. I never know how she's going to react so I'm often afraid to ask her questions and if I make a mistake I won't mention it just to avoid her getting pissed about it. For example, last Friday I accidentally printed some postage that wasn't really needed. Rather than ask her if there was a way to reverse it it, I just didn't say anything because I couldn't handle yet another reaming out.
I tried talking to her about it this week when she noticed I was getting a little prickly. She assured me she didn't think I was stupid or lazy and admitted that the job "brought out the worst" in her. Then she was way nicer to me - and things went swimmingly work-wise, I might add- until Friday afternoon when all of a sudden she started up again.
So, clearly, talking to her is not a long-term solution. How do I deal with having to work with someone with crazy moods? Work is hard enough without the emotional rollercoaster of "does my closest coworker like me/hate me?" going on every day. And what is the best way to assert my self and stake my position as an equal?