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

  1. #61
    Redhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    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
    I am happy to hear that. I do not know what you think of NLP, but I would know a simple exercise that you could practice and that would help you keep the distance (or that you could repeat in your mind when you feel tempted again to interfere).

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    I am happy to hear that. I do not know what you think of NLP, but I would know a simple exercise that you could practice and that would help you keep the distance (or that you could repeat in your mind when you feel tempted again to interfere).
    I'm not sure I've ever heard of NLP; please tell me more about it! The exercise couldn't hurt, and may very well help.

    My coworker thinks the storm has passed and everything will eventually return to normal. He has resumed involving himself in conversations in which I'm participating, and is more frequently finding reasons to come to my workstation to talk to me (I was moved to another desk at the beginning of August). If I'm busy--as in up to my elbows in a project and working to meet a deadline--I tell him that I can't stop to talk. When I'm not pressed for time, I don't feel comfortable within our workplace culture to tell him to "buzz off." So, I just don't stop what I'm doing, or don't look at him when he's speaking to me...which are pretty strong "do not disturb" nonverbal cues, and would work on most other people. He simply doesn't respond to them, and keeps on talking.

    My solution has been to be very busy and schedule myself out of the office. Problem is, it seems like he misses me and wants to chat when I get back!

    At least I don't feel quite so "backed into a corner" any more.

    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

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    I am happy to hear that. I do not know what you think of NLP, but I would know a simple exercise that you could practice and that would help you keep the distance (or that you could repeat in your mind when you feel tempted again to interfere).
    I've heard of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) but I'm not totally familiar with it. I'd like to learn more about it, too!

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    My solution has been to be very busy and schedule myself out of the office. Problem is, it seems like he misses me and wants to chat when I get back!
    I was out of the office 4 days last week and 3 days this week (I visited all of our outer sites--about 800 miles round trip). Two friends and I were eating lunch together and catching up on everything that happened while I was gone. One gal is a coworker in the same dept, and the other works in a different dept. Our troublesome coworker joined us for lunch, which caused my friend who works in the same dept to cut her lunch short so someone would cover the phones (she's old-school and constitutionally incapable of letting a call go to voice mail).

    The friend who works in another department is aware of the situation with The Little Prince. Later, she made the private observation to me, "He really wants to make up with you, doesn't he?"

    I said that a good way to start would be to apologize, instead of play "Penance/Forgiveness Cycle."

    He's a good person and is not mean-spirited. He just has really sucky relationship skills. Sound familiar? Even if it doesn't sound familiar to you, it does to me!

    I think I have enough of that in my life. I think it's not my place as a coworker to be his relationship coach, and I don't know if I have the energy it would require to take him by the hand and walk him through everything from the cradle to the present (if I needed the relationship equivalent of a "project vehicle", it kind of seems like I've already got my SO for that). Why one respects the experience of others. Why one apologizes with words instead of gifts and pretending nothing happened. Why, even when one is frustrated or feels attacked, one doesn't counter-attack. Why one does not remove materials which are outside one's purview from a coworker's desk and build one's own training around the coworker's material.

    What's sad is I think he's trying, using the "rules" he grew up with...which were:
    within the context of any given relationship, one person "tests the waters" to see what the other will tolerate;
    the other person doesn't recognize what's happening for a while;
    the other person begins to make excuses for the "bad" behavior...over and over again until eventually there's some kind of "blow up" over it;
    the person who messed up does something nice to earn his or her way back into the good books (such as buys presents or flowers, does everything on the "honey do" list, gives amazing sex, whatever);
    whatever the offense was, is forgiven and the person who screwed up is allowed back into the fold;
    he or she is on best behavior and everything is "perfect" for a while;
    the person who messed up resumes feeling comfortable in the relationship; and
    the pattern repeats itself.
    If I do something to create the impression he's been allowed back into the fold, we'll soon be right back to Square One and all the behaviors I found intolerable will resume.

    It's tempting, and even though a lot of other people think I'm being too hard on him, I can't allow myself to "give in." I'm being mindful of my response to this situation, and I'm aware that I'm breaking what's been a longstanding pattern in my own life. If this NLP redhead mentions can help me stay strong in my commitment to my mindful response and feel like less a bytch while going about it, that would be FANTASTIC.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 10-25-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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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

  5. #65
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    Today I presented my supervisor with the templates for 12 documents which I spent the past 3 days restoring and recreating, plus the templates for 4 newly generated document templates. (For my fellow office geeks, the templates are "mail merge" documents linked to the same data source. When we send any one of 14 different documents to an individual, we create a record which enables us to send any other of those 14 documents to that individual without re-keying the info. Further, I've got a secondary data source which is a necessary duplicate to the primary data source, yet can serve as a backup in the event the primary data source is lost or corrupted.)

    The reason the documents needed to be restored? In December 2013, The Little Prince took it upon himself to delete the server files for the "old" document templates I'd developed ...and then substituted templates he'd developed. He didn't think the program assistant used them any more.

    Our supervisor approved the "old" templates between July and September 2012; during that period, the "old" templates were developed as the need arose. When we realized how bad the previous versions were, we just didn't have time to re-do them all at once. (One would be hard-pressed to find examples of client correspondence which were more unprofessional...o.m.g....They were SO bad, we were mortified to discover THAT is what had been going out to clients for the previous 2 yrs or so.)

    I handled the client correspondence for about 6 months, then we hired a program assistant and the client correspondence was turned over to her. I kept backup copies for 6 months after turning the correspondence over to the assistant; at the 6 month mark, I deleted the backups from my desktop and the "C drive" backup I keep on the server. Things change, and people should be smart enough to keep their own backups...right? Well, they didn't.

    When The Little Prince deleted the server files in December, the assistant didn't notice that her desktop shortcuts now linked to a recycle bin rather than the server. Who checks things like that? It would never occur to me to, because in the world as I knew it people just don't effing do things like delete the server copies of correspondence templates.

    I redid the client correspondence document templates because I had time to and because I knew what was missing, since I'd drafted most of the original "old" templates from the summer of 2012. I'm also more aware of program changes than the assistant, so I knew which forms needed to be updated. Further, I had access to the program manuals and the assistant does not. (I have since requested that to change. We'll see.)

    My supervisor likes the "new" templates, and that they're all tied to a common data source *and* that the common data source has a backup. Now we have the capacity to easily mail the same notice to all of our clients whose application expires in May, for example. Or all the residents of the same apartment complex, or all the people who have the same landlord, or the applicant pool within a specific city or county. Crap, if we wanted to, we could even send a letter to all of our clients whose first names are "Joe" or whose last names are "Smith."

    After this conversation, I asked our supervisor to do something about The Little Prince.

    I explained that it is very frustrating for me when each time I introduce something "new"--whether it's within my area of responsibility *or* an update to an agency document in accordance with a program manual--the first words out of the mouth of whomever I am talking with are something to the effect of either "...but that's not what [The Little Prince] said" or "...[The Little Prince] doesn't want it done that way."

    I pointed out that The Little Prince is not my supervisor, and is not involved in developing or implementing my programming. (I am a program specialist; he is a program technician. In the hierarchy of our organization, I outrank him.) If someone has a question about something I am introducing or the way I want something done, they need to take it to my supervisor rather than suggest I have The Little Prince vet my idea.

    I explained that the situation has gone on for so long, I am no longer able to be gracious about it. It frustrates me to have the situation perceived as "MM versus The Little Prince" when it's not about that (and never has been). It's about what the program manual says, and what our supervisor has approved/authorized. There's no grey area, and there should be no argument about it. If there is to be further discussion, the discussion should involve our supervisor...not The Little Prince.

    I further explained that when I introduce something which reflects a change in the program manual, I don't care whether or not The Little Prince "likes" it or "wants" to do it that way. That's what the program manual says, that's the way it's going to be until the manual changes (which it does, every year...and sometimes twice a year if they've really gone and fouled things up).

    Our supervisor began to tell me that he was tired of the bickering between The Little Prince and me. I told him I realized that at one point it had been a two way street, but I am over it and have been over it for quite some time. It's too hard on my health, and I have too much else going on, to waste time arguing with The Little Prince. That is why I continue to reiterate "this is what the manual says" or "this is what our supervisor has authorized." I said that I didn't realize to what extent it made others feel like they were caught in the middle and I am sorry for that, and the only way I knew how to change it was to not engage in the first place and to mind myself better in future.

    Our supervisor mentioned that The Little Prince runs "everything" past him. I very carefully kept my tone of voice calm, neutral and conversational when I replied, "I'd say that's about a 60/40 split, and the 60 isn't in [The Little Prince's] favor." Let's just say among us friends that I was being quite generous.

    My annual employment evaluation is in 3 weeks. Last year, something came up at my evaluations that bothered me. In anticipation of that, and "just because," I'll be reviewing my posts on the forum to create an anecdotal record of those occasions which I feel are incidences of The Little Prince sabotaging my work.

    Having bad people skills and being a PITA to everyone is one thing. Deleting my work and substituting it with his own, interfering with my projects, etc. are behaviors specifically targeted toward me. You'll note The Little Prince doesn't delete files our Program Manager authored or uses frequently, or those of another Specialist, or our Program Director. He does what he does only where he KNOWS he can get away with doing so.

    What I've learned:

    Never grant a subordinate the respect due a peer. It will go to the subordinate's head, the two of you will forever be perceived as peers and any disagreement between you will be perceived as bickering rather than a legitimate disagreement.

    Never volunteer to "step down" temporarily to help address a situation. Let the guy who's responsible for dealing with it flounder, no matter how much poop will hit the fan as a consequence.

    Lovey says it sounds like poorly organized group sex. Well, that isn't *really* what he said; that's just how the profanity filters will let me put it.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 02-04-2014 at 02:24 AM.
    "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. #66
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    FINALLY!

    I'm able to "put my finger on" why interactions with this particular coworker bother me so very much.

    What Is Rape Culture

    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

  7. #67
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    FINALLY!

    I'm able to "put my finger on" why interactions with this particular coworker bother me so very much.

    What Is Rape Culture

    MM

    Very interesting article, but what do you mean in this context?
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  8. #68
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    My HR director, who knows both my coworker and myself, knew exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned that she might find this article interesting.

    I mentioned that I was shocked by the degree to which "rape culture" permeates our culture in the US. People think that in the US, women are equal to men. We're not. While American women enjoy far more parity with American men than women in other parts of the world may experience with their male contemporaries, we are far from treated as equals. The article gave me a great deal of insight as to why it bothers me so much when my coworker argues a point and argues a point and argues a point, and our male supervisor tells me to let it go and lets my coworker have his way.

    I feel the article is well done, where many articles covering this topic are sensationalist. I wouldn't spend much time reading the comments posted in reply to it. We don't need that in our heads.

    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

  9. #69
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    I did not read the comments, but the article was excelent.
    If you think that your case is because of your gender, what are you going to do about it? Because that is the one thing you cannot change.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

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