Big And A Bully!

Question:

I hope you can help. I am a female @ 5″5′ and about 140 lbs. I am an accountant and I have a coworker who is 6″6′ and 300+ lbs (a male) and a former member of the military during the Vietnam War, which coincidentally is his favorite subject. I find his demeanor coupled with his size very intimidating, explained in detail below. But to clarify, I would find anyone of any size that treats me this way intimidating, but his size does add to the overwhelming feeling that I am unmatched for confrontation, even if it is civilized. A number of times in the past I have said, “NAME, do not yell at me, please speak to me respectfully as I do to you.” This only makes matters worse so I have begun to ignore the behavior which I do not think is great idea because I feel that it gives him the confirmation that his behavior is acceptable. My coworker is in a position in our company that is not a direct superior of mine, but I do respect his seniority in the company. I have been here a year and although I do not have to work with him an a daily basis I do need certain things from him that he seems to feel as if he and his team just do not have to provide. I have to request repeatedly my needs and when he does comply, the information is incomplete which means I have to seek him out for answers (which getting the answers is like “twenty questions” as he is not very revealing) and that puts me right back to where I started, being intimidated. This is a corporation and I have to follow procedures; therefore, his lack of cooperation takes up valuable time and prevents me from getting my job done. I have asked numerous times for help from my superiors and they attempted, but each time I ask, it ends up backfiring with his retaliation in the form of bullying and refusal to comply with the procedures. The last conversation resulted in his accusing me of treating him and his employees with disrespect. The only example he could come up with is that my in-box folders are coler-coded, which in his world apparently translates to him and his team is stupid. I have my folders color-coded so that if I need one, I don’t have to search, I can see it under a mountain of papers.

I have attached below the latest correspondence with my superior as it spells out the situation: “I have continued to have issues with NAME since the situation when you attempted to resolve things a number of weeks ago. I continue to have to take a lot of time and effort to whittle information out of him. He will not sit down in my office to talk and doesn’t seem to attempt to understand anything that I need to discuss without first rejecting it.

He rarely looks at me when he is talking and in the midst of trying to get to the bottom of things and he attempts to walk out of my office two or three times before a conversation is complete. Twice in the last week, he has taken things off of my desk that are not his and attempted to just walk away with them. One was a stack of information on a vendor of which I was waiting for a call to take care of an issue. After I offered to give him a copy of the address, which was the only thing he needed, he refused the copy, walked out with the whole packet of information and kept it until the end of the day. In the meantime the vendor called and I had nothing in front of me to go on and have yet to resolve the issue. The other was a stack of invoices that I was coding. He just came in a grabbed them and started to take off. I had to stop him and say – those are not yours…These are yours and I need to ask you some questions about them. Could we can go over it together? I have asked that he not take the invoices out of the office (because if they disappear, they don’t get paid and that falls on me) and He did not like that. Instead he continues to come into my office take them out to the front desk and loudly exclaim about each one and then toss them back on my desk after the show. I have been coding them beforehand so that he could have an idea what the invoices pertain to, and that has not stopped his “I don’t know what this is” exclamations and then refuses to let me explain it to him and seems to expect me to take the responsibility for anything that he perceives to be incorrect. The idea of having to communicate with him is stressful because I know I am going to be subject to a tirade and that is offensive. For over a year, I have diligently tried to communicate with him. When something doesn’t work, I try something else. His attitude towards me seems as if it is a purposeful attempt to be inconsiderate and to make me feel uncomfortable. I do not think it can be contributed to his idea that I am condescending. Again, I cannot call to mind an instance where I have ever treated him or with deliberate disrespect or impertinence. In contrast, I actually go out of my way to be cordial to him to compensate for the discomfort.. I value my job and I strive to excel in it, but find it difficult to overcome this particular obstacle. I do not want to move forward with this situation still brooding. It continues to interfere with my ability to produce consistent results. I feel that after such a lengthy time in attempting to deal with this, I am not capable of resolving it myself and I am regretful that I continue to have to come to you after a year with this issue. I have a lot of changes coming my way in the next weeks and months, and I do not wish to continue with the situation as it is. I would be grateful if you could help us come to a resolution, and would also be willing to take one of my lunch breaks instead of company time if necessary.” I continue to have issues, and in a sense I feel that you are my last hope. How can I approach this and what are my options?

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Not Boss But Is Showing Power

Question:

I work in the same office with a guy who is not my boss but he likes to use power. He would yell and argue with anybody without any obvious reason. He is higher ranking than I am and has been there for years. I was assigned a job that when I was done, I would need him to finish the last phase. That was his responsibility. When I was done my part, I asked him to complete the last phase that just took a few minutes. He did it carelessly. As a result, the job turned out missing something. When I asked him to do it again, he started yelling with a hateful attitude before re-did it again carelessly. That task had not been done properly. Worrying that the job was not able to be done completely, I went to report it to my supervisor because the responsibility would fall on my shoulder. Obviously, my co-worker got mad when he knew I talked to the boss. He confronted me and asked me with the hateful attitude that I had to talk to him first. One more thing, I hear the rumor that he is selected to be the new boss when the current boss retires in the near future.

What should I do in this case? Should I talk to my current boss about his behavior and his performance? Isn’t that dangerous for me in the future? My plan right now (I am finished with the job with him) is getting very busy (or sometimes, pretending) to focus on my current job. I try to stay away from him as much as I can. No eye contact, no greetings, just come to work in the busy mode and go home. Do you think it is OK? I really don’t want to contact with him in any mean. Thank you very much for your advice, Wonder

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Can Talk To Cool Co-worker!

Question:

I started in my department about a 1 1/2yrs ago. About a month after I started, a co-worker, who was laid off from my company, returned. Upon her return she was not very friendly towards me; we tried to be civil, but it did not work. I approached her and asked if there was a problem. She responded, “If I have a problem, you will know.” Since that day, we ceased all communication between us.

Eight months later, I decided to approach her and asked her if she figured out why she did not want to speak to me–maybe you do not like me or maybe it was my West Indian accent. So she placed the blame on me saying I was the one that did not want to speak with her. So we started being civil. This lasted for 3 months of great conversation, laughs, sharing lunch etc. Then I noticed she ceased so once again I reached out and asked her if there was a problem lets discuss it. We did, and she said once again it was me that ceased communication. I expressed to her I had no problem with her. I was not trying to be her friend, but to co-exist amicably in the workplace. We spoke again.

For 2 weeks all was well, conversation, lunch etc. Then it ceased again, but now her behaviour is very aggressive towards me. She throws indirect verbal taunting towards me that I do pick up on. I decided I am not going to approach her to address what is the issue because she may blame it on me again BUT with her aggressive attitude I think she may become very confrontational and I am not about that.

The situation is making me uncomfortable and very emotional. What could be the problem? Do I approach her? How can I assert myself? Our office is like a dysfunctional family, and she is the youngest and most pampered by the managers and associates, but these same associates complain about her attitude behind her back. Please help if you can.

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Boss Thinks Everyone Is Incompetent!

Question:

We work for an owner, who constantly verbally abuses us. What can I do, and to whom can I report this constant mistreatment? It is very hard to deal with a gentleman who makes comments such as “I want you to go to Naranja and teach that manager to get her fat ass out of that chair’ this are very unpleasant remarks. He will ask something and does not let you defend yourself or explain at this time I’m looking for a job, but has not yet found one. I would like to help others by making him stop this. He thinks everyone is incompetent or ignorant; he his mentally abusing us. Please help me. Thank you.

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Am I Abused?

Question:

I have a question. I am in a situation at work where I am not sure if its abuse or just plain bad attitude. I work in an office with four other women; one is our supervisor. She is something else. I have been there for 10 years now and I have seen so many people come and go there that it can’t be normal. The Supervisor thinks she’s God. When I first started, she treated me so badly that I came home at night crying. She has a power thing going. Every time a new person comes in she does the same thing. I use to tell new employee’s to be patient and she would move on to her next victim. She has grabbed my arm tight so that I could not leave the room. She mentally abuses me and many before me, and probably will many more after me.

Once again I find myself going home at night and crying. I try to stay away from her and she finds me and abuses me more I call it abuse because anyone that degrades and humiliates another person is abusive. My response to her bitching today was a few Moo’s, and I told her, “If God had intended for me to be abused he would have made me a kicking post not an Accountant.” I have several others that will back me if needed that she has done the same to. She can’t even use the same temp services more than two times because of the complaints that temps have given.

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We Work With A Rat!

Question:

I work at a nursing home in Recreational Therapy. I am considered an aid, and the department head is my supervisor. Above her is the Administrator. In our department there are several aids including one who is very manipulative and underhanded. She from the very beginning decided that she liked to do things independently from the group. Unfortunately, in our field teamwork is required. Over the past year or so this particular co-worker has cozied up to the administrator to the point of dating his brother at one time. When this co-worker doesn’t get her way from our supervisor she immediately that day goes to the administrator to plead her case. She gets her way, and in the process, undermines our department head, whom the rest of us greatly respect. She has so skillfully manipulated her way into the administrator’s good graces that she has made the entire department nervous to the point that we consider her the office rat.

We all feel very uncomfortable around her and feel she is a compulsive liar as she has obviously fabricated many stories including an injury which put much stress on our department while she was out on workers comp. This co-worker was witnessed in a mall pushing a baby stroller a Sunday afternoon prior to the Monday she filed a work related injury that occurred the previous week. This was mentioned to the administrator, but he brushed it off. He could not believe this person would lie. It is so complicated and stressful. I hope that you can give some sort of advice on how to manage this. Also, just a FYI, the head of HR is the administrator’s mother. Thank you.

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary!

Question:

I am a part-time tutor in a local college but was a full-time interim manager of our writing center for 2 months while my manager (I’ll call her Mary) was recovering from cancer. I was told that I was a creative and highly competent interim (student traffic has doubled since the prior semester, I think because of new staff I had to hire) by the Dean of our department; having accomplished many needed projects during my short tenure. It has been a month since Mary has been back and I have resumed my part-time status.

Recently and without prior discussion about the issue, a fellow tutor and I were forwarded a very disturbing email apologizing for a conversation I had with a college administrator where I was accused of being rude and arrogant. This email had a very punitive tone and was forwarded to the Dean. It was later revealed that the complainant meant for her words to be held in confidence. I sent a response defending myself and asking Mary to please discuss any future complaints with me first before making assumptions. I rec’d two more punitive emails that were similarly emailed to the Dean. Realizing that my colleague and I are perceived as clear threats to Mary, we think this hostility will only escalate and destroy our chances of becoming faculty at the college.

We feel demoralized, disrespected and–both of us are middle-aged professionals with master’s degrees and are not accustomed to being treated this way. Please note that although Mary is supposed to be in the Writing Center (WC) where I work helping students, she is rarely there and spends most of her time attending non-WC-related meetings and hobnobbing with senior faculty and administrators. Although my fellow tutor has been at the WC 3 months, she has exchanged perhaps two words with Mary and had to introduce herself (Mary was someone I hired at the recommendation of the Dean.) Note that there has always been a consistent over-reliance on email and cell-phone communication as Mary’s management style.

Do you think my colleague and I are justified in resigning? I just got an assignment teaching a class at the college and have been assured by the Dean that this matter in no way impugns her opinion of me; it does bother that that such a poor manager who is absentee, abusive, and doesn’t defend her own staff is allowed to continue.

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Can I Stop Verbal Abuse By A Brother?

Question:

I’ve been reading about verbal abuse and so many times it applies mostly to romantic or parental abuse, but there is another form of abuse that is forgotten, and that is when a sister is verbally abused by a brother. Unfortunately, this abuse conditions her for future abuse. I have been helping a friend who runs a not-for-profit organization. While I knew he had some emotional issues, they were not causing any problems at the time. I have since been able to get for him a huge amount of publicity for his cause – and now things have changed. He has become argumentative, critical, hangs up on me, or answers the phone but does not speak. Could you please include some help for those who volunteer so they don’t have to be on this merry go round too. Thank you.

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