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

  1. #46
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    MM have you tried confronting him in a stern manner. If I were you I'd go up to him and be like "Look man, you keep interfering with my work, you need to stop it or else things WILL get ugly! I am tired of your BS and will NOT tolerate it!"
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  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    MM have you tried confronting him in a stern manner. If I were you I'd go up to him and be like "Look man, you keep interfering with my work, you need to stop it or else things WILL get ugly! I am tired of your BS and will NOT tolerate it!"
    I used bold, red text to emphasize the part that would get me into trouble. The moment those words escaped my lips, focus would change and I--not he--would be perceived as The Problem. Could you do me a favor? I ask because you're not involved in the situation, your perspective is different than mine. Could you have a go at summing up my situation in a way that focuses on the situation and intentionally excludes any personal aspect?

    One reason I haven't taken further action is that I feel it's always been perceived as a personal issue. It's not. It's a personnel issue. When one employee comes to the supervisor, then HR, with concerns about another and is careful to say "I like this person and in general I enjoy working with him, but this behavior is making it difficult to be productive in an environment that includes this person" it shouldn't come across as a personal issue. But, it has. The situation has now reached the point where I no longer care to be in this person's company and do not enjoy working with him.

    I've talked with my SO, and we think it might be a good idea for me to request a change to "salaried" rather than "hourly" or request permission to work 4/10's.

    I am reluctant to go to HR because I don't know what a trip to HR will accomplish. I've been to HR before, and in essence HR told my supervisor to deal with this 10 months ago. It didn't happen. He has a lot of other things on his desk, but this needs to be addressed. He is a nice man, who's allowed me a great deal of flexibility, who has also allowed my coworker to behave in this manner toward me and many other fellow employees.

    HOWEVER, my coworker has behaved in this manner without regard to who his supervisor has been--I know of four other supervisors under whom he has behaved in this manner. He's been reprimanded by at least three of them, but it hasn't "stuck."

    I hope my "track record" is that I don't complain about something unless it's worth complaining about.

    I don't know if an "I don't want to get this guy fired, but..." will do it. I need it to be understood that this is serious. I realize that when I talked to our supervisor before, our supervisor was new and not well acquainted with either of us. I think HR and our supervisor need to be aware of the ways in which this has affected my work. I felt as though he deliberately attempted to undermine me during a presentation I gave while the corporation which funds my position was present.

    I think, too, that HR needs to know my therapist feels that this is related to stress. As a general rule, my allergies are on the "mild" side of "mild to moderate, and nowhere near this bad. I've used my "rescue" inhaler more in the past week than in the previous 6 months, total.

    Right now, EVERYTHING triggers a reaction, including things which do not ordinarily bother me. My body is clearly telling me that I'm maxed out, and I figure that I'd probably better listen. The other day, the grumpy guy was slicing jalepenos and I had to leave the room. Jalepenos have never bothered me before. Today, it was a mystery spice--probably chile--in the "garlic and herbs" seasoning packet he used to season the vegetable-beef soup.

    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

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    I used bold, red text to emphasize the part that would get me into trouble. The moment those words escaped my lips, focus would change and I--not he--would be perceived as The Problem. Could you do me a favor? I ask because you're not involved in the situation, your perspective is different than mine. Could you have a go at summing up my situation in a way that focuses on the situation and intentionally excludes any personal aspect?

    One reason I haven't taken further action is that I feel it's always been perceived as a personal issue. It's not. It's a personnel issue. When one employee comes to the supervisor, then HR, with concerns about another and is careful to say "I like this person and in general I enjoy working with him, but this behavior is making it difficult to be productive in an environment that includes this person" it shouldn't come across as a personal issue. But, it has. The situation has now reached the point where I no longer care to be in this person's company and do not enjoy working with him.

    I've talked with my SO, and we think it might be a good idea for me to request a change to "salaried" rather than "hourly" or request permission to work 4/10's.

    I am reluctant to go to HR because I don't know what a trip to HR will accomplish. I've been to HR before, and in essence HR told my supervisor to deal with this 10 months ago. It didn't happen. He has a lot of other things on his desk, but this needs to be addressed. He is a nice man, who's allowed me a great deal of flexibility, who has also allowed my coworker to behave in this manner toward me and many other fellow employees.

    HOWEVER, my coworker has behaved in this manner without regard to who his supervisor has been--I know of four other supervisors under whom he has behaved in this manner. He's been reprimanded by at least three of them, but it hasn't "stuck."

    I hope my "track record" is that I don't complain about something unless it's worth complaining about.

    I don't know if an "I don't want to get this guy fired, but..." will do it. I need it to be understood that this is serious. I realize that when I talked to our supervisor before, our supervisor was new and not well acquainted with either of us. I think HR and our supervisor need to be aware of the ways in which this has affected my work. I felt as though he deliberately attempted to undermine me during a presentation I gave while the corporation which funds my position was present.

    I think, too, that HR needs to know my therapist feels that this is related to stress. As a general rule, my allergies are on the "mild" side of "mild to moderate, and nowhere near this bad. I've used my "rescue" inhaler more in the past week than in the previous 6 months, total.

    Right now, EVERYTHING triggers a reaction, including things which do not ordinarily bother me. My body is clearly telling me that I'm maxed out, and I figure that I'd probably better listen. The other day, the grumpy guy was slicing jalepenos and I had to leave the room. Jalepenos have never bothered me before. Today, it was a mystery spice--probably chile--in the "garlic and herbs" seasoning packet he used to season the vegetable-beef soup.

    MM
    MM, you've really been handling the situation in the best way that you can. You have stress coming at you from all different sides. I think when we aren't sure what to do in a situation the best
    thing, for the moment, is to do nothing.

    Sending you love and good thoughts. I know you'll figure it out.
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  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    At this point if I were a woman I'd say he sexually harassed me and get him fired. Woman going to HR with a sexual harassment complaint against a man=fired. I know it would be dishonest but anything to get rid of that guy.
    I don't know if you're serious about this but, if you are, clearly you're clueless.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by theREALTrish View Post
    MM, you've really been handling the situation in the best way that you can. You have stress coming at you from all different sides. I think when we aren't sure what to do in a situation the best
    thing, for the moment, is to do nothing.

    Sending you love and good thoughts. I know you'll figure it out.
    We--the grumpy guy and I--had a talk this afternoon about those things which are causing me stress and what might be done about them.

    I didn't put it to him in this way, but work represents one set of stressors and home represents another. Within the "big picture" context, I don't ever get a break from stress--I just switch from one set of stressors to another. I don't get a chance to detox from the stress, ever, and my body has had enough. I've suffered stress-related ailments my entire adult life: fatigue, headaches, depression/anxiety and now allergies.

    One thing which must be done to address the stress on the home front is that the perpetual state of chaos at home needs to end. I never know what it'll be like when I get home, because he's always got the place churned up. I pull in the driveway and am greeted by a bag of trash on the porch; I walk in the door and there's nowhere to sit, and I'm supposed to be happy that he's cleaned the kitchen...which explains why there's trash on the porch and both couches are full of stuff from the kitchen.

    I think if I focus on the situation, that will help make it clear to me which action (if any) needs to be taken.

    I'm aware that my supervisor has a lot on his plate, and as a result I have been reluctant to say anything about this situation (for several reasons).

    I realize it's important to the organization that its individual members feel safe at work and feel as though their work is valued, which is why my request to transfer to a different department (a year ago) was approved and why HR took it seriously when I said something about this situation with my coworker (going on 10 months ago, now).

    I'm looking for some sign of improvement, and see two:
    1) I've been freed from excessive collateral duties in order to resume focus on my primary area of responsibility, and
    2) I was assigned to a different "cubicle" in order to provide me with a more peaceful working environment.

    In general, my coworker does a lot of things which are widely regarded as annoying. I can't ask him to get a personality transplant or be less "quirky."

    I'm a proactive person who found herself in a situation where I saw a need and asked permission to help address it. Instead of creating an environment where we approached it from two sides and got it under control, what I accomplished was to create an environment where my supervisor, other leadership, and coworker felt my coworker was free to take on a lot of unrelated crap instead of focus on learning what he needed to learn in his first year on the job. I need to decide whether I need to:
    a) make leadership aware that the situation is not as improved as it needs to be, or
    b) just let it go and let other people take whatever lumps may come.
    I can tell them it's a problem, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they won't see it as a problem until Fiscal or a monitor tells them it's a problem. Telling them it's a problem probably won't earn me any brownie points. OTOH, neither will knowing there's a problem and keeping my mouth shut.

    In this instance, I feel as though my coworker's behavior has recently amounted to a not very thinly disguised attempt to sabotage my work, as evidenced by a specific set of behaviors outside those quirks we all "have" to tolerate, and THAT *is* something "they" need to know about.

    If he runs true to form, he will seek me out for conversation. I'm tempted to let him have it, but in a way that would be giving him what he wants--a "conversation." I don't want to unload on him, either, because that behavior would be unprofessional. I just don't want to talk to him, unless it's about work. This isn't fixable, and the reason it isn't fixable is because he sees no need to modify his behavior.

    We're right back to my old analogy of: if there's a Chevy and a Ford sitting in your driveway and the Chevy is broke down, you're not going to get the Chevy running by wrenching on the Ford. I'm not the only individual involved in this situation; there's only so much which can be changed by focusing on my part in it.

    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

  6. #51
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by theREALTrish View Post
    I don't know if you're serious about this but, if you are, clearly you're clueless.
    How so? HR is like CPS. A woman files a sexual harassment compaint HR does not mess around.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    How so? HR is like CPS. A woman files a sexual harassment compaint HR does not mess around.
    Aside from the fact that filing a false sexual harassment claim is morally repugnant, such a claim won't necessarily get someone fired.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    How so? HR is like CPS. A woman files a sexual harassment compaint HR does not mess around.
    How would you feel if someone filed that complaint against you and it wasn't true? Yes, as degausser said, filing a false sexual harassment claim is morally repugnant....and suggesting that someone should do that speaks volumes about the way you think and your character.
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  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    How so? HR is like CPS. A woman files a sexual harassment compaint HR does not mess around.
    Or it could possibly back fire on you.
    Cameras are everywhere. They will want specific details of the incidents. As HR investigate it, and see you filed a false clam, you are more likely to loose all the respect you have earned, and dignity you have, and a good chance of loosing your job.
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  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
    At this point if I were a woman I'd say he sexually harassed me and get him fired. Woman going to HR with a sexual harassment complaint against a man=fired.
    I think that's an oversimplification.

    A sexual harassment complaint must be substantiated in order to result in someone's dismissal.

    A first complaint, when substantiated, does not necessarily result in the dismissal of the person who engaged in the harassing behavior(s). Depending upon the nature of the harassment, a substantiated complaint could result in a write up, a first/second/third warning situation, ongoing job coaching, and/or a probationary period.

    Woman going to HR with a false sexual harassment complaint against a man = woman fired, possibly on the grounds of sexual harassment.

    "dishonest" doesn't even begin to describe making a false sexual harassment complaint. That sort of behavior isn't even on my radar.

    MM
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  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    ...here in Germany if a boss decides to change the job responsibilities of his employees (in this case he gave you task F which your colleague hoped to get or had gotten), the boss has to inform the employees.
    Redhead, your comment (quoted above) really stuck with me.

    While I was not privy to whatever conversation took place between my coworker and our supervisor before our presentations last week, it seemed very much as though our supervisor left it to me be the one to tell my coworker which tasks I would and would not be responsible for performing in future. That bothers me, and I felt that it was a rather gutless move on our supervisor's part.

    Based on experience, I find it plausible that our supervisor told my coworker and my coworker didn't get the message. Also based upon experience, I find it equally plausible that our supervisor didn't say anything and left us to work it out between ourselves.

    It also bothers me that my coworker can't accept a directive simply because our supervisor said it would be that way--he has to press the issue, and press the issue, and press the issue until one of two things happens:
    A) either the other person either wears down and yields to him, or
    B) the other person feels so much pressure that he or she "blows up" in his face.
    That set of behaviors, which could accurately be described as one of his personality traits, is chiefly what makes me feel harassed and bullied by this coworker.

    Today, I had a rather enlightening conversation in the break room. Let's just say I am not the only one who is aware that I volunteered to help with a long term project, and who's aware that our supervisor allowed my coworker to treat me "like I was the hired help." (Do you have that expression?) It seems that I may actually have been one of the last people to get pissed off about it.

    Which is all well and good, but there's a difference between being pissed off and doing something about it. While it took longer than I would have liked, I am now aware that something *was* done about it. I could tell by the way he phrased it that it was not our supervisor's idea to "take things off my plate" so I could resume focus on my primary area of responsibility.

    In a couple of weeks, demand for our services will significantly increase. My coworker's life is really going to suck, and I do not plan to volunteer to do anything which will alleviate the situation when he proves unable to keep pace with the demand. I am in the process of scheduling myself out of the office at least one day a week for the next several months. It is now his job to get things ready for me; if he doesn't keep up, it will be an issue.

    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

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post

    In a couple of weeks, demand for our services will significantly increase. My coworker's life is really going to suck, and I do not plan to volunteer to do anything which will alleviate the situation when he proves unable to keep pace with the demand. I am in the process of scheduling myself out of the office at least one day a week for the next several months. It is now his job to get things ready for me; if he doesn't keep up, it will be an issue.
    Sometimes it's just best to let people hang themselves. If he thinks he's such hot s***, let him prove it to everybody else.

    People come and go on projects. I had to hand off two projects this week due to my workload and medical issues. That really hurt my ego, so I understand why yours might be hurt as well. But it let me focus on a project that really needs my immediate attention. The work will go on with or without you, and that's okay. Let him mess up the project. It will be your supervisor's and his problem, not yours.

    I rarely get along with people in the secretary role in my lab (with the exception of my current coworker, who is great.) I think a certain type of personality is drawn to that role, and that certain type of personality usually clashes with mine. When caught up in work drama, it usually helps me to step back and remember why I'm doing all this. I need the insurance, income, and PhD. That's why I'm here. I'm not here to make friends, though that's always a plus. If this person doesn't want to work with me, I will do everything to the best of my ability, and that's the most I can do.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatoneperson View Post
    I rarely get along with people in the secretary role in my lab (with the exception of my current coworker, who is great.) I think a certain type of personality is drawn to that role, and that certain type of personality usually clashes with mine.
    I think you're right, certain types of personality are drawn to that role. You've got the uber-efficient, "ducks in a row", don't fxck with me, make sure everything runs smoothly type--that'd be me, pinkunicorn, and Perry Mason's Della. Then you've got the office equivalent of a truck stop "lot lizard" (we had a couple of those), you've got those who have a "gate keeper" mentality toward resources/services (we have a couple of those), and you've got the people who are there because it puts them in some type of control over other people.

    My coworker is a gate keeper/control freak hybrid.

    Basically, what we have is a secretary who doesn't want to be a secretary. He wants to do those parts of the job which let him be the departmental accountant as well as anything which puts him in a "gatekeeper" role, but he does not want to take calls, see walk-in's, handle correspondence with clients, manage open files, or do anything which might possibly make someone else's life a little bit easier.

    There was an incredible backlog of tasks, of both of the "administrative support" and "reporting/financial/accounting" varieties, when my coworker and I transferred to this other department. I requested a transfer; he applied for a vacant position. Because I am good at the admin stuff and his natural aptitude & limited experience are in the accounting/reporting areas, I requested permission to take care of the bulk of the admin stuff temporarily. The idea was I'd take care of most of the admin stuff until the backlog was addressed and he got his feet under him with the reporting/financial/accounting stuff, and then train him on the admin & turn it over to him. From the onset, he's basically been allowed to shxt on me in as many ways as he can lie awake at night and devise. Thing is, he doesn't have to lie awake at night--he's just naturally adept at it.

    Because I took care of so much admin stuff, and he has no clue what it takes to do his job (something which has become apparent over the course of this past year, and is now obvious to everyone but our supervisor), and he decided that everything he'd seen me do this past year was 'his' job. Nope. I was doing half of his job and mine, too.

    My gut instinct is that between now and mid-November, depending upon the demand, he'll bring the department to a halt...something which would have happened 3 or 4 times this past year if I hadn't found a way to work around this butt nugget. Our departmental assistant won't work around him and won't go to our supervisor, even though we've told her she needs to. There will be a crisis, I'll be asked to help, and I'll either make sure I'm so busy that I'm not able to help or I'll state my terms.

    In temporary, short term and "stepping stone" jobs, a person can get away with the "I'm not here to make friends" mindset. It's how you survive. In probationary, long term and "career" positions, you think of your long term goals--mortgage, retirement, etc. You can't let your "I'm not here to make friends" card show. If you do, you won't make the transition from seasonal to permanent, or survive the first round of last hired/first fired.

    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

  14. #59
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    I am sorry everyone I was way out of line. I have deleted the offending post.
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  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    My gut instinct is that between now and mid-November, depending upon the demand, he'll bring the department to a halt...something which would have happened 3 or 4 times this past year if I hadn't found a way to work around this butt nugget. Our departmental assistant won't work around him and won't go to our supervisor, even though we've told her she needs to. There will be a crisis, I'll be asked to help, and I'll either make sure I'm so busy that I'm not able to help or I'll state my terms.
    I think this realization, which sprouted from a seed redhead planted when she posted to the effect that it is not only "not our job" to keep our bosses from making mistakes, but that they'll also rarely thank us for going so, represents a pivotal moment for me in this ongoing situation.

    I have felt significantly increased inner harmony since coming to this realization, and this past week at work was among the most peaceful I've experienced in at least a year.

    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

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