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Thread: At work: am I being paranoid, or is this weird?

  1. #31
    Redhead's Avatar
    Redhead is offline Senior Member
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    I have been awake since 4 a.m., so I am a bit too tired to quote, but thanks for your explanations. I think now I understand the situation.
    Sounds like your day went well. (That refers to the previous posting.)

    I wish you continued strength for this difficult situation. It is very good that other people are discovering as well
    what goes on.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    Thank you for the compliment. I try to make it easy for you and Mebel to follow, without sounding unnatural as a native English speaker.MM
    Thank you MM, oh yes my compliments also, and I like your style!
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  3. #33
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    Today was the final day of the training; at the wrap-up, in front of a room full of people, my co-worker (who prepared the incomplete "quick reference" to our program) found himself in a discussion which culminated in him offering to prepare an amendment to the section he'd prepared. That work has already been done--it is among the suggested revisions I proposed to the program manager who'd coordinated the training conference. It's ready to go out in electronic form as soon as the portion which is "on hold" has been addressed at a higher level.

    As soon as my coworker offered to type up the missing information and send it out, the program manager (who'd opted to not make the corrections prior to the training) made eye contact with me, with an "oh ****, I should have listened to you" look on her face. It doesn't feel good to be right about something like that.

    She *should* have been able to rely on the veracity of the information provided by my coworker. It isn't her fault that he is untrustworthy, insists upon "going rogue", or that he has fooled a lot of people. This time last year, *I* thought he was trustworthy and a team player. I knew he was extraordinarily stubborn and could be vain about his intellect, but everyone has his or her quirks.

    I didn't have concerns until I'd worked closely with him for 3 months--he consistently cannot meet standing deadlines, he needs to re-do too much of his work, and he does not respond to suggestion/direction. At the 6 month mark, I suspected we'd made a very bad decision--he won't turn over tasks to successors, he won't share credit for joint work, he undermines coworkers and superiors, he does not have appropriate professional boundaries, and he assumes authority which he does not have. In the months since, I've learned that he cannot be trusted to work independently--he has to be kept under his supervisor's thumb, or else he goes far afield and stays there. His quirks are disruptive to our office workflow. Our supervisor simply does not have time to babysit a 26 year old man, and he shouldn't have to. While I understand why our supervisor would be reluctant to replace someone who occupies a key position, it also seems as though he does not want to accept that my coworker presents a significant problem.

    Yesterday, on the way back from training, my coworker tried--from several angles--to find a way which would enable him to retain responsibility for Task F. I finally told him that for purposes of our own internal system of checks and balances, it puts us in a bad position when one person is the only person responsible for a process from beginning to end...and backed it up with two examples which have occurred in the past year.

    I feel that I do need to mention that overall, the program manager did a most excellent job of coordinating the training conference. It's by far the most comprehensive training which has been provided on this program in the memories of all present--some of whom have been there for 15+ years--and the level of professionalism the program manager brings to our agency was much needed.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-20-2013 at 10:29 PM. Reason: typo
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  4. #34
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    MM, if there were an award for most disorganized company would yours take it? It seems like in your company no one knows what they are doing or are supposed to do. Isn't it your boss' job to make sure everyone does?

  5. #35
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    Redhead...

    Meanwhile, while all the drama with the excerpt from the program manual was going on, my coworker removed a brochure from my desk and built a significant portion of his training on it, and on a process for which I am responsible. Prior to the training, he took it upon himself to upload the electronic version of the brochure to our Sharepoint. In order to do that, he accessed electronic files for which I am responsible, and which he had explicitly been asked to leave alone. He was asked to leave them alone after reorganizing our server files several months ago, and is notorious for doing things such as changing someone's screen saver as a prank or accessing other people's files and re-arranging them.

    With the help of others in our department, I developed the brochure for educational use. While the primary intent of the brochure is twofold--to increase clients' knowledge of our program and improve our communication with clients--a correlated function of the brochure is to reduce the need for clients to initiate contact with our staff during those times when we are experiencing peak demand. Our supervisor had approved the brochure and the manner in which I intended to use it. I intended to introduce both at the training conference, and I have absolutely no idea why my coworker felt it was appropriate for him to include that material in his training segment.

    When it was discovered that we both intended to cover the same material, the initial expectation was that I would either remove the material from my presentation or combine my presentation with his. I spent four days trying to rework my segment and making sure my actions weren't motivated by my own pride, and then I stood up for myself.

    I think the little fukker is motivated by his need to be everybody's "go to" guy. I think he cannot tolerate the idea of something going on which he does not know about or is not involved with. More than half the **** that happens there is none of his business, just like there are things which are none of my business. It's his job to make sure the client and work files are clean, closed and submitted on time, so our department can do everything else which hinges on that. It's not his job to be in the middle of what all the rest of us are doing.

    I think his intention is to lighten his own workload. If he'd spend less time trying to conceive ways to do less work and more time performing his work, he'd gain a better understanding of the actual work (rather than his perception of the work) which would in turn enable him to form much better ideas as to how to streamline those work processes. Right now, his main focus is trying to figure out how to do less work and/or get others to do his work for him.

    The effect he has upon others is to keep them perpetually annoyed with him. He is a meddling pain in the butt, who over-estimates his knowledge and is operating under the mistaken belief that he has "authority."

    Last week, I heard him telling someone that I had done something. I believe he did not know I was in the room at the time. When the other people present left the room, I told him that he needed to be more careful when telling others what I did or did not do...because I had not done what he'd said I had. Another coworker had.

    Yesterday, we decided that we would attend today's training session (which was optional for the two of us). We agreed that it would be useful to be on hand for any questions which might arise today, and it's important as a team-building opportunity. They were also trying to arrange a short presentation on stress management, which I felt would be beneficial to attend. I touched base with our supervisor to make sure he hadn't planned on us being in office today and arranged for the use of a departmental vehicle. When I arrived at work this morning, people in our office thought my coworker had caught a ride with colleagues in another department, and he'd told them I wasn't going today. We weren't sure whether he'd left or not, so I looked for him for a few minutes. Then I had to leave or else I'd be late. Just as I was taking my seat at the training conference, he informed the room that I wouldn't be there today. I said I thought it was funny that he and I had made a plan, run it past our supervisor, and I'd left a note on [the motor pool guy]'s desk, yet he decided for me that I wasn't going.

    If I'd been in his shoes at that moment, I would have felt like such a dumbaxx.

    Unfortunately, he is now in a bad situation. Several months ago, I went to HR. The outcome of that meeting was a conference with my coworker, our supervisor and HR regarding my coworker's behavior, which I described as bullying and harassing. We don't have an anti-bullying policy, but I started to educate myself regarding what constitutes workplace harassment. Sabotaging someone else's work falls within the parameters of workplace harassment and I have enough documentation--email, screen shots, his own training materials--to demonstrate that my coworker has engaged in behavior which has made me feel as though he is trying to sabotage my work.

    I don't know if I want to sit on it or move forward with it. I think it is best to sit on it for the time being. My gut instinct tells me that if I move forward with it now, it will come back to bite me.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-20-2013 at 10:34 PM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty View Post
    Should be amusing to see him scramble...
    It was. It was also sad, in the pathetic way such things tend to be. Each time it happened, reactions around the room varied...Some of our colleagues did very well at keeping straight faces. Others were actually nudging each other and not caring if they didn't keep their expressions neutral. Another had to hide her face behind her hand.

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  7. #37
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    It was. It was also sad, in the pathetic way such things tend to be. Each time it happened, reactions around the room varied...Some of our colleagues did very well at keeping straight faces. Others were actually nudging each other and not caring if they didn't keep their expressions neutral. Another had to hide her face behind her hand.

    MM
    The fact such a clown hasn't been fired is mind-boggling. I thought in most companies being composed of pure ignorance and idiocy=fired?

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    MM, if there were an award for most disorganized company would yours take it? It seems like in your company no one knows what they are doing or are supposed to do. Isn't it your boss' job to make sure everyone does?
    My coworker is so busy being a "one man show" and putting himself in the middle of everyone else's business that it's difficult for the rest of us to organize ourselves around his dysfunction. We have to, though. We have production quotas to maintain. If we don't, we won't "spend out" our grants and we'll have to return any funds which we do not use. We also have to consider those coworkers who are below us on the ladder, who will get laid off because we haven't lined up enough work for them.

    Our supervisor is not a micromanager by nature. By default, he trusts each of us to do our own jobs to the best of our ability. We inherited a train wreck and I requested permission to help clean it up so my coworker could focus on learning how to do our reporting and billing in his first year in the position. I did such a good job of it, our supervisor hasn't had an opportunity to experience how many problems my coworker creates or how often he creates them.

    Late this spring, when things slowed down for the summer, I stopped "stepping in". I didn't give forewarning or make a production of it, I just very quietly stopped doing those things which are really my coworker's job and began focusing on my primary responsibility. It's quiet during the summer; he should have been able to keep up with the incoming stuff, and he hasn't. Other administrative tasks which need to be completed each summer haven't even been started. Last year, I did it without calling attention to it. This year, I'm not going to point out that it needs to be done or lift a finger to help. He thinks he's ****-hot; let us get a finding (an element which does not comply with state or federal requirements) because of something he should have done and we'll see how long he stays ****-hot.

    I think the situation will come to a head soon.

    Meanwhile, I think the best thing for me to do is put as much distance as possible between myself and this particular coworker.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-21-2013 at 12:37 AM.
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    He thinks he's ****-hot; let us get a finding (an element which does not comply with state or federal requirements) because of something he should have done and we'll see how long he stays ****-hot.
    MsKitty and Redhead, you will appreciate this...

    We already *have* received a finding. In fact, we received several and two of them were directly as a result of tasks for which my coworker is responsible.

    This past year, while I was busy:
    identifying which files had missing/expired documentation and which ones just had a lot of crap in them;
    fixing those files which could be fixed;
    pulling those which couldn't be brought into compliance;
    training approved volunteers (have had a background check and are approved to handle our files), seasonal hires (few months' contract without benefits & the option to extend or end employment early), full time temporary staff (one year contract w/benefits; often transitions to a full time permanent position) to do the same;
    making sure the incoming files were in order;
    putting out spot fires on an almost daily basis; and
    DOING MY OWN JOB
    so that all my coworker had to do was focus on was billing, reporting and making sure those files were totally fukking perfect for annual monitoring, my coworker was so busy reinventing the wheel and making life miserable on our whole department that he lost sight of the one thing he was told to do this past year: make sure those files are perfect.

    The situation we inherited was so bad that in January, they hired an assistant to help for a year.

    My coworker let two files go to monitoring with inadequate documentation, and it resulted in two different findings. We knew which files were to be monitored, and it was his job and no one else's to make sure every.file.that.was.to.be.monitored was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I went out of my way to set the stage for him (or anyone who would have been in that role) to succeed, not because I'm Ms Wonderful Special but because that's what it means to be a team member and that's what one does for one's employer. We made it as easy as possible for him, yet he couldn't manage to do The One Thing he was supposed to do this year.

    That's why there's so much blaming going on, and so much getting into the middle of something else that someone else is doing with success.

    Oh, and according to him it isn't his fault the documentation in one file was inadequate. It was the intake worker's...an employee who hasn't been with us for a little more than two years (she was "full time temporary" status and her contract ended). My coworker insists that file should have been fine for monitoring because...[at which point I quit listening].

    The documentation was there, there just wasn't enough of it. The issue could have been addressed by the use of a specific form, with appropriate notations.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-21-2013 at 12:06 PM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  10. #40
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    Will the drama never end???

    Apparently, my coworker Mr Thinks He's Somebody has told a third coworker that he wishes to reconcile with me. She told him he would need to start by apologizing to me for something he said. He said he realizes he needs to apologize...then went on to blame me for his behavior, saying: I got mad at him and he didn't know why, so he snapped and said something intended to provoke me further. It didn't work, and she saw the whole thing.

    She has mentioned on an earlier occasion that she would like us to make up, just to have a peaceful office. Today I told her that this isn't fixable.

    I explained that he pulls this "I don't understand why she's mad at me" routine any time someone gets upset with him, and now I know him well enough that I don't believe it for a minute...we went through the same routine nearly a year ago when he, I, and our supervisor all had a meeting with HR.

    I mentioned that he has a small frame and a very youthful appearance, and explained that I've come to believe that's partly how he "plays" people. If he weren't the male equivalent of a very petite woman, no one would tolerate any of this from him. They certainly would not tolerate it from either of my 6'+ sons. He is not an innocent little rascal who's just not good with people; he is a 26 year old man who knows exactly what he's doing.

    I just don't want anything to do with him--he is a controlling and manipulative person who has questionable ethics and has displayed behaviors which make him extraordinarily difficult to work with. I am rarely required to work closely with him in order to do my job; when I am, I will be professional and cordial but we will never again be the type of coworkers who "grab lunch" together.

    I know my coworker was reared by a series of abusive family members, each of whom have alcohol or drug addiction issues, so I think it's quite possible his relationship skills set reflects those dysfunctional norms. While dealing with him, I see many parallels between our work relationship and other relationships in my life which I know to be abusive. Any time I try to create professional boundaries and detachment, he ignores those boundaries and attempts to become more attached.

    So, my question to those of you who have experience in such situations, is: what do I do now--at a peer-to-peer level--to shield myself from this madness in the workplace?

    I have made it clear--verbally and nonverbally--that I do not want to be around him unless absolutely necessary. He is *supposed* to provide administrative support to our whole department...including me. I *have* to interact with him on a certain level. I keep that to a minimum.

    I do not seek his company, and everyone in our department knows it. They have observed that when I do have to be around him, I do my best to keep the encounter short. Several weeks ago, I was moved to a different workstation; since then, several coworkers have noticed that he seeks me out. I'm relieved that they are aware he provoked the situation, they feel that I am doing what normal people would do to end it, and they don't blame me for choosing to distance myself from this person.

    I stopped being conscientious about including him in the list of coworkers with whom I share my Outlook calendar. He had begun acting as though I was his subordinate, and doing things like sharing my Outlook calendar--which was intended as a courtesy to a coworker and a CMA for me--fed into his "power trip."

    I stopped having him order my supplies, because there were multiple occasions when he forgot to order what I'd requested. I ran out and had to "make do". I felt like for him the act of ordering or not ordering the supplies I requested was a means of controlling my access to resources, controlling my time, and controlling my behavior.

    When I need to travel for work, if I'm traveling with everyone else he makes the travel & lodging arrangements because he makes them for the group. If I'm traveling on my own, I make the arrangements.

    When I'm working outside the office and need to call in, I speak to him only if no one else is available.

    He's recently begun taking his lunch 15-30 minutes before usual, apparently to overlap with a third coworker (the same one he told that he wants to make up with me) and myself. When he comes to the break room during my lunch, I excuse myself.

    I don't know what more I could do, and I am open to suggestions.

    Thanks much,

    MM

    Edited to add: phuck, maybe I feel like I'm being stalked and it's triggering something in my amygdala ("lizard brain"), and that's what's keeping my blood pressure up?
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  11. #41
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Is there any chance at all you could find another job? Working at a three ring circus doesn't sound fun.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    ...maybe I feel like I'm being stalked and it's triggering something in my amygdala ("lizard brain"), and that's what's keeping my blood pressure up?
    Well, there's my "aha!" moment, folks.

    I've done some online research into the fight/flight/freeze response, and I believe that's exactly what's going on: my coworker's behaviors have caused me to feel in a perpetual state of anxiety, which has caused my blood pressure to rise and stay there.

    I can't change his behavior, and I am still not certain that I should "let it slide." I have a quarterly report due in a few weeks; in each report, I am asked to list challenges. I could definitely list this situation as a challenge.

    I can change my response to it, by celebrating what is right in my life (at home and at work).

    I can change my response to it by making my workstation as much of an oasis/sanctuary as feasible.

    I can change my response to it by putting those electronic files for which I am responsible on an external hard drive rather than the server.

    Reading the articles made me get back in touch with the importance of taking a daily walk to clear and refresh my mind. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I can do that on my way home from work.

    I'm home today with allergies that have created a respiratory infection, and my clinic's scheduling software didn't come back to work after the weekend. Hopefully it's resolved now and I can book an appointment for tomorrow.

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  13. #43
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    If everyone in the office is aware of the situation, could you go to HR again and file a complaint against him? I know you probably don't want to but that guy has got to be
    stopped. He's a complete wackjob.
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post

    I'm home today with allergies that have created a respiratory infection, and my clinic's scheduling software didn't come back to work after the weekend. Hopefully it's resolved now and I can book an appointment for tomorrow.

    MM
    Well it proved to be a sinus, eye and respiratory infection...all courtesy of allergies. Thanks to a "Z-pack" I'm now on the mend and can for the most part breathe normally. My voice is also mostly back to normal, my throat doesn't feel like it's on fire anymore and That Cough seems to be gone. I didn't know I had so many muscles in my ribcage, or that they could all hurt.

    I want to go back to work, but omg I'm tired. Just getting up and having a glass of juice kicked my ***.

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  15. #45
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    I wholeheartedly wish that you will get better soon, MissMuffins. *HUGS*

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