Neurotic Co-worker!

Question:

I have a co-worker who is quite “neurotic” to say the least. He doesn’t speak with anyone in our office except my friend and I. My friend started before me and she befriended him purely out of pity. When I came on, I befriended him as well simply because he was a friend of a friend. His personality can change in a blink of an eye. He can be happy one moment and then he acts like he hates you the next, for no reason whatsoever. He went through a phase a year or two ago where he would start picking on us (like a ten year old child) and then he would say very violent – nasty things directed at me mostly. I couldn’t retaliate simply because I was (and still am) afraid he would retaliate. Both my friend and I have taken our concerns to our boss, but considering his temperament, we were too afraid of what he would do if they confronted him, therefore they can’t do anything to reprimand him. We completely ignored him for a while and it stopped. We are still nice to him, simply because we don’t want us to be on his “list”. Lately we’ve noticed he’s starting to go back to that same routine. Tolerating his behavior is more than a task. Now he’s been asking us for rides at lunch because his vehicle needs repair. We both enjoy quiet lunches on our own and we’re tired of having him tag along with either of us, or coming up with excuses without him lashing out. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do?

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CPA Bossed By Assistant!

Question:

I am a CPA working as the controller of a large healthcare company. We run the admin team; it’s pretty lean; just the Executive Director, the Operations Manager, and myself. My issue is with the Operations Manager. When I accepted this position three years ago, I was told that this woman would function as an assistant to the ED and me; what has happened is something completely different. This woman has been working with the ED for in excess of 15 years; primarily as a receptionist, but because of their close relationship, she seems to think I report to her. She is older than I am and clearly resents both my age and my education (I know this from some nasty jabs she has made).

She also cannot accept that I supervise some of her activities. I don’t especially care if she likes me, but I find myself cleaning up a lot of her mistakes because she refuses to follow directions from me. Mentioning any of this to the boss is out of the question because she thinks this woman does no wrong. The ED doesn’t even pick up on the manipulation when she’s confronted with, “Only the important people go to Board meetings” (now she attends), or “My suggestions never make it to the newsletter.” All I ever hear from the boss is, “Oh, poor Karen! She gets her feelings hurt so easily!” Most recently, she has been handing out accounting advice, which she knows nothing about; I’ll be cleaning that up before too long. Most of the time I just bite my tongue, but it’s really stressing me out. I guess I’m looking for some advice to make the situation more palatable because I can’t see it changing.

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Should I Report My Co-worker’s Crazy?

Question:

I work with a woman who seems to be bi-polar and very dangerous. She causes lots of trouble at work with lying, etc. Our boss, even after being warned about her, seems to really like her and doesn’t see the craziness. My others and I think she could be a real danger to us. She exhibits irrational behavior and has frequent outbursts. Should I go to my boss and talk to him about this or would it just make me look petty or crazy?

Signed,

Petty or Crazy

Answer:

Dear Petty or Crazy:

You don’t describe what you mean by dangerous; therefore, I must take your general statement as a description of how you feel when your coworker has what you say are frequent irrational outbursts and lies. Yes, you should speak with your boss about behavior that you feel endangers you, others, or your workplace. Before you do, however, make notes of who is involved, what, when (of each time & date), where, and possible triggering causes of such incidents that you feel/think call for action on the part of management. Take the time to note specifically what was said to whom and who observed the outbursts, lies, and/or dangerous behavior.

Your e-mail says you boss has been warned about this person but he does not see her craziness. Making such an account of what occurred will give you and your boss information that will help him and you evaluate whether certain behavior of this coworker is simply annoying or has already or might hurt others or herself physically and/or emotionally. Also be explicit about what of her behavior has or might damage the product and service of your department and work organization. Consider that the real concern of management is two-fold: that no harm be done and that internal and external customers are satisfied and hopefully delighted with your workplace.

In your meeting with your boss, speak in terms of these two-fold concerns, not that you think your co-worker is bipolar crazy. Have you thought through what you would do if you were boss? Counsel this person, set forth guidelines about how she should and should not express herself, be sent to psychological evaluation, or be placed on a graduated program of shape up or ship out? You are not the boss so you do not have to prescribe a remedy, but it will be helpful if you put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Do you have a department of Human Resources? If you do, your boss may elect to handle this matter and/or seek the involvement of HR. This would be wise if indeed that coworker exhibits psychological problems as you say she does.

Now should you speak with this person about her behavior that you think is out of place–about it being untrue and dangerous? Should you inform her that you are going to speak to your boss about her behavior? These are ethical and practical matters: Ethical in that you must ask yourself if you were she would you want a coworker to talk about you to the boss without first speaking to you about what troubled you. And if someone were going to speak to your boss about you, would you appreciate at least to be told that he/she is going to do so? Practical in that if this individual has a short fuse, such a conversation could ignite rather than extinguish dangerous tendencies.

Also, you should consider how her behavior has involved you and affects you. If it has, what have you done to provoke it and to cope? Might it be a case in which you have not made it clear to this woman that she will not get her way by angry outbursts? Were you assertive, or did she, by her outbursts, cause you to comply with her? You should not have to walk on eggs or water to get along with a coworker.

When you meet with your boss, you should feel free to express your fear that this coworker’s erratic behavior is causing you. If in fact you are genuinely worried, you should be firm in stating that you value your job and are committed to your work organization but that you do not want to work under such conditions.

Are these thoughts helpful in answering your question: Should I go to my boss and talk to him about this or would it just make me look petty or crazy?

Your question, it seems to me, has a straightforward answer of Yes, you should. But as you can see from the above discussion you have a history and closeness to the situation that will enable you to weigh your own role in determining what is best for you to do. Will you let us know what action you take or don’t take and subsequently what, if anything has been done to deal with your coworker’s behavior that in the very least is worrisome and in the extreme can be dangerous.

Working together with hands, head and heart takes courage and action to create the spirit we call WEGO.

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Should I Leave Because Of A Fellow Employee?

Question:

I have worked for almost 5 years at my job and received several recognition bonuses for my work. I have been assuming a greater responsibility and role in a job that a fellow employee was initially designated to perform. She now resents my new responsibilities, and I often overhear her making critical comments about my work to other employees. She has been very confrontational to me in business meetings to the point where I think she is trying to get me to react in a physical manner.

I have complained to my supervisor and other management representatives about what I deem to be unprofessional behavior. They ignore my concerns to the point that they say I should just confront this employee and let her know that I do not appreciate her behavior. I see their response as condoning bad behavior.

I am actually thinking of leaving a job that I really enjoy because of this individual. This job has many opportunities for me. What should I do? Give notice and hope they take notice of my concerns.

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Can I Stop Embarrassing Teasing By A Co-worker?

Question:

Every time I have to visit the executive office downstairs the head exec’s secretary dials my Ex. Everyone in the workplace knows he left me and moved to one of our international offices. She then proceeds to talk loudly pretending she needs a report or response from him with “Hi, Roberto…. Oh Roberto stop it, now Roberto”…saying his name like 20 times in the conversation.

I’ve observed her conversation with other male managers on the phone, and she doesn’t say their names repeatedly, which tells me she is doing this on purpose. I’ve already emailed my Ex since we are on friendly terms and told him anytime she does this it’s probably because I’m there. The thing is I’m really getting tired of this, not because I’m jealous but because it’s plain annoying. I confronted her nicely a few months ago, and it stopped, but it started back up again when she needed something and I didn’t drop everything and do it right away.

I’m the type that I hold things in for along time and then blow up which I’m afraid is what will happen soon if I don’t do something about it. Thanks for your help.

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Older Co-worker Is Angry At Me!

Question:

I work with a lady that has a lot of anger towards me because she does not want to do new things. She’s an older lady. So the boss will ask me to do the work. This makes her very angry. So she nit picks at little things. For instance, this week she was angry because she claimed that our printer used to print in color till I started to place the orders. It only prints in black. It’s so many little thing, like how I write out the name on the Bank deposit slips. My boss is a friend of hers, and she doesn’t seem to like it that the boss gives me the work that she doesn’t want to do. So I am learning a lot more, and now she belittles me and is angry. How can I help her to get rid of this anger so we can work together in peace?

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My Co-worker Is The Boss’s Favorite!

Question:

I need another opinion. I work in an office in which the boss is an ass kisser and so is the boss’s favorite. This person comes to work in sneakers everyday, is rude to customers, and thinks that because she is the favorite can call into question anything and everything even when it has nothing to do with her. She has even gone as far as talking to an elderly employee with total disrespect. My issue is that “the favorite” recently threatened to leave the organization, and they gave her a 10K retention bonus to do the same work that we all do and was just given a 2K bonus for what I cannot figure out while the other hard workers were given time-off award, myself included.

Recently our supervisor had a birthday, the “favorite” suggests that we all get together and do something for him, and then proceeds to add the comment “with all they have done for us, he can have anything he wants”. I immediately thought, “what do you mean us when you seem to be the only one reaping any benefits”. The supervisor, always compliments me on doing great work and how appreciative he is, but I feel like he just says all of this all in an attempt to “blow smoke up my a#$”.

My concern is this, how do I continue to work in a place where no matter how hard you work, if it will never be enough? Please help…I feel like I am forced to deal with a bunch of vultures.

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Can’t Get Rid Of A Co-worker!

Question:

My question concerns an irritating coworker. Eight months ago he decided to show up at my desk and just chat. I sent him away many times, and he would politely leave only to return again to chat. I usually ignore him and keep on working because I can’t afford to stop working as a result of his persistent behavior.

A few months ago, our Manager wrote a detailed letter to him stating that he needed to leave my workspace. The coworker did for a while but edged his way back, and now I spend a lot of time being sending him away. My problem is that I don’t want him to lose his job, but my managers want to know what I’m doing to entice this man back to my desk. I am an assertive person but clueless as to how to entice him out of my workspace. This man is socially abstract in the sense that he spends two hours or more attempting chat sessions with me, reads for three hours, and has very poor work ethics. I do not want him in my workspace.

I’m going to ask him to leave my workspace for good, as he has no business there. What are the chances his behavior will be dangerous? I work alone in a basement down several floors. I’m not sure I’m safe telling him to “leave for good” at my somewhat vulnerable workspace. Am I acting like a victim for no reason?

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Can’t Meet Deadlines Because Of Co-worker!

Question:

For the past several years a coworker has not been doing her job and it has started to affect my job. I have gotten in trouble for not meeting deadlines, but it is due to the coworker not completing her part. I am not authorized to do her job, so I must wait for her to complete the work.

I have talked with her, my boss, her boss, and the bosses’ boss. For some reason they refuse to deal with her. I make sure that I information all parties when my job will be delayed because of her not completing her part. I hate having to tell customers that I am behind and will complete the work as soon as possible. Others have complained and still nothing is done. I work for a very large company and upper management levels are located in other states, but I have submitted paperwork to them advising status and still nothing has changed. This problem has gone on for years and yet nothing has changed and has even gotten worse. It has gotten so bad, that my own health has suffered. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Co-Worker Or Micro-supervisor???

Question:

I have a co-worker/supervisor (that has never really been made clear to me which) who interviewed me for a job in payroll/accounts payable in a small company. She got approval from her boss to hire me. After I started the job, I was in an office by myself. Shortly after, the higher-ups moved her into my office. She is a complete miro-manager. She will nitpick and criticize every mistake you make. She is hateful to customers on the phone and to other employees, constantly saying how ignorant and incompetent they are when they are not around. She is 64, has worked here since 1976 and knows the company in and out. Her attitude is horrible. I really like the job, however, and do not want to quit, nor do I want to go to the bosses to complain as I have only been here a little over a year and feel that if her attitude has been like this for this long and they have not done anything to council her about it, they probably won’t even if I ask them to.

Several other employees have problems with her and she does things that could get the company in legal trouble like making racial slurs and giving out too much information to people that call asking about former employees. I really need some advice on how to deal with her.

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