How can I deal with a person at work who seems to be publicly shunning me?
January 30, 2008 9:00 AM Subscribe
How can I deal with a person at work who seems to be publicly shunning me? (She is not my direct supervisor, but she does hold some control over the funding for my department, and therefore, my job.)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Last spring, I was assigned to a project that was the subject of some inter-departmental fighting. To make matters worse, before the project started, I was in the unenviable position of having to point out some pre-existing flaws in the project that required money to fix them. The longer they went unfixed, the more money this would eventually cost. This caused even more inter-departmental fighting.
Six months later, one of the administrators involved in the project still will not speak to me. I am pretty sure it is about this project, and is a kind of "shoot-the-messenger" situation. As I said above, she is not my boss, but she does hold power in that she controls some funding for my department.
Here are some examples of her behaviour:
1) I pass her in the hall and say hello; she ignores me and says nothing. (Before all this, she would always say hi to me.)
2) I am talking with a colleague and she passes by; the colleague and I say hello to her, and in return she stops, grasps my colleague's arm and says "Hello, _______." She says nothing to me, then she walks on.
3) She is the first person present for a meeting with my department. I walk in with two colleagues and we all say hello to her. She says, "Hello, ________. Hello, __________." And does not acknowledge me.
4) I send her an e-mail requesting information on some upcoming projects she is involved in; in the e-mail I say that my schedule is very flexible right now and I am available to meet any time in the next few weeks. She waits a week to reply, then sends me an e-mail saying, "I am not available to meet with you on any of the dates you proposed." I did not actually propose any specific dates in my original e-mail. This e-mail was intended on my part as a bit of an olive branch--I thought maybe if we met and talked in person it would smooth over hard feelings; but it was also a sort of test to make sure I wasn't just imagining that she is avoiding/shunning me.
Several of my colleagues have noticed and commented to me about her behaviour without my prompting. It is getting to the point where other people are noticing, and that disturbs me. I should add that I am well-liked by my colleagues and I get along with my direct supervisor. (This woman does not get along with my direct supervisor, and has in fact been witnessed shouting at her in meetings.)
I am concerned, because although we don't work together directly, she does have the ability to affect my job and my career, through funding decisions or programming decisions. I have not gone to my boss with this because I do not want to be a tattletale and I would like to solve this in a professional way. I have not confronted this woman directly because I don't know if this is the best approach and I don't want to inadvertently make things worse.
So far, I have chosen to take the high road and have been unfailingly polite to her. I always greet and acknowledge her even though this is not reciprocated. I think I will continue to take the high road--it's usually best in the long run--but wonder if there is anything else I could be doing.