My co-worker might be trying to get me fired
August 28, 2008 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Co-worker is rude and dismissive because of something I said. Is there anything I can do to prevent her from threatening my standing with the higher ups?

I'm a lawyer. About three weeks ago, a co-worker of mine blew up at me because I asked whether she was going to take over a task on a case we are both on.

I tried to smooth over the situation, but there is no way to do so. I've tried talking to her. She just acts rude and dismissive. When we pass each other in the hall, she doesn't say hi or anything. I have no interest in being this person's friend, but it does increase the tension level at work.

To compound things, she's a bit of a phony. She will pretend we're buddies if the managing partner is around. The moment he leaves, it's back to the old treatment.

I don't want this person to threaten my job or bad mouth me to the higher ups. Anything I can do pre-emptively to head off anything she does to make me look bad?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
do well at your job. make sure if you're on cases together, she's doing well at her job so she can't say you were responsible for her fuck ups. don't play politics and don't take it to the higher ups preemptively. that just makes you look petty and juvenile. dont ignore it all together though, just make it look like you are. to protect yourself, keep a record of things she says to you that might be damaging (date, time, situation - you know the drill) just in case anything ever blows up.

i've found that people like that have a lot of "enemies" (often construed in their own heads) and chances are she'll grow bored of harassing you as soon as she makes her next foe.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on August 28, 2008

IANAL, and I don't get law office politics, but I'm not sure I understand what was so offensive about you asking her to take over a task. Unless the task was making your morning coffee and you came off like a sexist pig or something? Personally, I would just act normal/cordial around her and ignore all the BS. I wouldn't take it personally either, because it kind of sounds like she has issues.
posted by smalls at 2:59 PM on August 28, 2008

Why don't you ask her if she's upset with you? I'm assuming you didn't mean to insult her, and that you don't want to have her as an enemy - why not clear the air? If she's truly pissed about your request, then make her say it - she might realize just how stupid it sounds. You don't even have to apologize, just hear her out, tell her you meant no harm and then forget about it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:28 PM on August 28, 2008

Live long enough and shit like this will happen to you again and again. Just continue to behave in a dignifiied and respectful manner to everyone. Maybe you'll catch some minor flak for this right now, but in the long run good leaders with good judgement will recognize her for what she is (and you for what you are). Bad leaders with bad judgement might come to a different conclusion, in which case why would you want to work for them, anyway?

Short answer: don't lose sleep over it.
posted by randomstriker at 3:31 PM on August 28, 2008

Maybe you did do something wrong, but then maybe she's just a weirdo who needs drama in her life. If she is a type of a person with two faces, then the main way for you to protect yourself is maintaining your class, integrity, work ethics, performance, intelligence, dedication and all that good stuff and stay away from gossiping, backstabbing, blowing up, or being unpredictable when it comes to your personality.

Let your work speak for yourself and make sure you don't get your foot in your mouth.

oh, and stay away from her. Don't try to work with her, don't discuss things in person, email in kind words, document, even on your own (email yourself of inappropriate behavior). You don't have to take it to anybody to complain but you do need to be prepared if she decides to go psychotic one day and you happen to be standing in front. Treat other female workers the same way so that nothing comes back to haunt you.

I also wouldn't ask her what's wrong or if you did anything wrong. If she is capable of being professional enough to explain what is wrong, then she would've come to you to talk about it a long time ago. So stay away.
posted by icollectpurses at 8:11 PM on August 28, 2008

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