Nosy Co-Worker Training Me

Question:

I am a temporary employee, with the possibility of being hired full time. I have only been at my temp work a little over a week.

One of the girls who is training me is telling me that I won’t become permanent, and she also asked how much I made per hour! She keeps telling me things that are way out of line and completely unprofessional. It makes me really uncomfortable when she starts talking about my salary and my status as a temporary.

She is just an administrative assistant and nobody special. So, I told another girl who isn’t my boss, and she went and told my boss which is fine.

My boss said to Bonnie (the girl who went to talk to my boss) “We have every intention of hiring Katie” She said she will be having a talk with Jenn on Monday. (Jenn is the administrative assistant who is training me.)

Should I confront my boss on Monday or just let it go? I am afraid I’m going to ruin the chances of me becoming a full time employee. I do not want to start or be involved in “drama” this early in my career.

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

If you want to be hired full time, I think you’d better not push this any further. If you really don’t want to make a drama out of an apparent poor relationship between you and the administrative person who is hiring you, you should not talk about her to other employees. Focus on your own work and being a pleasant and professional person who knows hwo to deal with conflict.

Next time if you are asked your salary, just say, “I’m sorry, but we almost have to swear an oath that we won’t discuss that. You could ask Ms. Anderson (the supervisor) and if she wants to tell you, that’s OK with me.”

For right now, keep a low profile. If Jenn gets in trouble, that will be unfortunate, but probably it won’t be serious. Learn your job well and give everyone a clear picture of what kind of person you will be if they hire you full time.

And remember that some of the most influential people in a company are administrative assistants! They may not have authority, but they often have power.

An added lesson is that Bonnie, the coworker who went to your boss, apparently repeats what you say to her, so be careful what you say! You can bet she has discussed this with other employees as well. That too can go away if you are seen as working very hard to learn to be effective.

It’s great news that you will be hired full time and I hope that works out well for you. Keep the approach that each hour is a hiring interview and you are being observed. Pretend a panel of bosses is going to review everything you say and do and decide whether you are offered a job or not. That will keep you performing and behaving at your best! Best wishes to you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.