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  1. #1
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Default Bad coworker and a performance review...

    I'm not sure what kind of feedback I can get between now and 4:00 CST today.. but I thought I'd give it a shot, at least I can vent.

    I have this coworker that I've dealt with for years, and lately that means ignoring and avoiding and Te-ing her away. For a while I didn't have to work with here, but then I got dropped into her group, luckily not as physically close to the problem as others are.

    She's an unbalanced ESTJ, I think. She has loads of ambition. She works hard on making sure that other people solve her problems for her and then takes credit for them. She's territorial, blames others for her mistakes. She equates people not immediately attending her needs as 'not liking her', and takes it very personally. Constantly drags her personal life into the mix. She rags on her ex-boyfriend as if they were still dating, who is also a coworker in our group. And, probably the worst part, she's friends with our boss.

    Now, I've stayed out of her drama for the most part. But yesterday I got roped in. She sent me an e-mail, basically delegating to me the task of looking something up that she's perfectly capable of looking up herself and then have me tell her cronies the answer, because 'she's busy'.

    I answered them the best I could, because the question was somewhat nonsensical. Then, I proceeded to talk about about her 'shitty question' (yes, I called it that), and then told her she should come over to talk to me next time so I could know what actual problem they were trying to solve.

    This all snowballed into other events, eventually culminating with me running into her and my boss whispering in the hallway, and me interrupting them and asking if I should be involved in the conversation. They both looked surprised... and I estimate there's a 9.8% chance they weren't talking about me, revealing me to be an ass at that moment.

    It just so happens that my performance review is scheduled late this afternoon. Also, it happens that the coworker situation is one of the most unhealthy things about our work environment, and I've been waiting to have some reason to make my effort to resolve it.

    It is worth mentioning that I'm not exactly sure that my boss is willing friends with her. I think my boss may be an aspie and also easily gets railroaded, and doesn't do well with personal matters. I also have a track record of being uncomfortably brash about subject that bother me. I don't believe it's something appreciated by management.

    So at the very least I want to explain my side, but I'm definitely considering taking this to the next level. How would you handle this?

  2. #2
    violaine
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    Yikes. That's like a perfect storm for misunderstandings. The biggest problem is if your boss is Aspie-like. They don't read between the lines very easily. And I think they like being around people who will engage the world for them. I suspect he might find that more valuable than anything. So just be aware that if that is his situation, he probably depends on her heavily as his eyes and ears... :/ <--- No doubt, you know all of that if that's what is happening.

    If so, the good thing about that is you can take your cues from their interactions. If she is plain speaking, you could be too.

    If I were going to mention anything, I would first figure out if he works from a big picture POV (where he can see relationships between events pretty easily) or if he is more discrete/concrete. If he's more concrete, I would stick to concrete examples of your interactions with her only. Pick one thing at first. Just to introduce the idea to him that there's a problem. Perhaps you can chip away at it that way. You could say that you're concerned about the way communication takes place and point to the example you posted in thread. Pointing to it as a hurdle to clear communication and productivity. Something like that. I wouldn't overwhelm him with interpretations of currents in the workplace he might be oblivious to. You could go in heavier that way as well - if you kept it simple. Just tell it like it is, as it were.

    Otherwise, I guess you could try to supplant her. That sounds like it would be hard to do and exhausting though.

    Would there be harmful consequences if she thought you were trying to empire build against her? If so, even though she sounds annoying, might be more politic to keep the more nebulous frustrations to yourself.

  3. #3
    violaine
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    P.S. I used to work with an absolute horror of a woman. She played her grudges out openly at work. She had worked her way up to be the right arm of the boss. My department and I had a great deal of autonomy, but even so, she wasn't worth tangling with. The boss could see how she was. That she was capricious and unfair and that no one in the organization liked dealing with her. But she got things done and that's what mattered most to him. Losing her would have been a terrible disruption. (She had made sure of that along her way). She was indispensable and everyone just had to play her game.

  4. #4
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Ugh... a person like that would drive me crazy, too, and I'd probably also say something. I think you should bring the thing up with your boss, but maybe not at your performance review, unless the perfomrance review is also meant as a space for you to bring up any issues you're having in the workplace. Whether he is her willing friend or not, he is the boss and he needs to know about this type of behavior. Will he do anything about it? Likely not. But at least you've done your part to try to resolve the situation... and who knows, if other people speak up about it, too, maybe your boss will have to do something about it.

    Good luck!
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  5. #5
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    How would you handle this?
    i wouldn't be trying to solve co-workers issues during my performance review.
    most importantly i would be listening to how i'm are being reviewed. see if it
    lines up with my own analysis.

    you'd have to ask what it is that you want to get out of the performance review?
    raise, promotion, clarify past performance, emphasize traits and skills,

    what you are your short/long term plans for your positon/team the upcoming year
    how can you help improve the business: what are you going to innovate, improve
    or refine?

    --i think this is where you can perhaps squeeze in those co worker issues...
    but not so bluntly "my co worker is a cunt' won't really work. is it a communication
    problem? then talk about you've been looking to get your team to do some internal
    communication training to increase efficacy, it should be thought out a little bit.

    at mid-managerial level, at the very least if yu know there's a problem, you should
    be able to isolate it, identify it, and have a plan to deal with it, and a desired outcome.
    or else it just sounds complainy.

    above all keep it professional
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  6. #6
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I'm not sure what kind of feedback I can get between now and 4:00 CST today.. but I thought I'd give it a shot, at least I can vent.

    I have this coworker that I've dealt with for years, and lately that means ignoring and avoiding and Te-ing her away. For a while I didn't have to work with here, but then I got dropped into her group, luckily not as physically close to the problem as others are.

    She's an unbalanced ESTJ, I think. She has loads of ambition. She works hard on making sure that other people solve her problems for her and then takes credit for them. She's territorial, blames others for her mistakes. She equates people not immediately attending her needs as 'not liking her', and takes it very personally. Constantly drags her personal life into the mix. She rags on her ex-boyfriend as if they were still dating, who is also a coworker in our group. And, probably the worst part, she's friends with our boss.

    Now, I've stayed out of her drama for the most part. But yesterday I got roped in. She sent me an e-mail, basically delegating to me the task of looking something up that she's perfectly capable of looking up herself and then have me tell her cronies the answer, because 'she's busy'.

    I answered them the best I could, because the question was somewhat nonsensical. Then, I proceeded to talk about about her 'shitty question' (yes, I called it that), and then told her she should come over to talk to me next time so I could know what actual problem they were trying to solve.

    This all snowballed into other events, eventually culminating with me running into her and my boss whispering in the hallway, and me interrupting them and asking if I should be involved in the conversation. They both looked surprised... and I estimate there's a 9.8% chance they weren't talking about me, revealing me to be an ass at that moment.

    It just so happens that my performance review is scheduled late this afternoon. Also, it happens that the coworker situation is one of the most unhealthy things about our work environment, and I've been waiting to have some reason to make my effort to resolve it.

    It is worth mentioning that I'm not exactly sure that my boss is willing friends with her. I think my boss may be an aspie and also easily gets railroaded, and doesn't do well with personal matters. I also have a track record of being uncomfortably brash about subject that bother me. I don't believe it's something appreciated by management.

    So at the very least I want to explain my side, but I'm definitely considering taking this to the next level. How would you handle this?

    I work with women so I deal with backstabbing gossipers all the time.


    Your first mistake, imo, was responding to her bossy email. If she is not your boss, and you don't want to be ruled by her, you should have nicely avoided it and dealt with it on your terms, in your own way.


    Backstabbers befriending the boss is common where I work. I think they do it for a reason, not the least of which is feeding some power-hungry need to befriend those in power. Let them be friends and don't try to intermix in that, or be friends as well. That was your second mistake: Interrupting them. Let them gossip about you; they will anyway.


    Be kind, help people out, do your job well, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you, not letting you embroil you in their sh**. Over time this will serve you the best.


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  7. #7
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    @mmhmm That sounds like wonderful advice.. but my company is kind of messed up and doesn't resemble the functionings of other companies. I don't actually get a performance review, they are formalities required by corporate. My manager doesn't say anything about anybody performance-wise unless somebody has filed some sort of official complaint. And yes, it's pretty much the only time we can talk about anything not related to whatever projects we are working on. I would never go with the 'she's a cunt' route. And as far a goals.. well.. I'll get to that later.

    @Aquarelle @violaine

    I was originally not planning to make this thread, but I'm glad I changed my mind. My manager is female, and I think there is a little bit of a girl-power thing going on between them. As I read your replies, I realize that while I probably want to clear up the last 'event' because I want don't want to sound totally disagreeable to work with, but I don't think I'll try to address the greater problem. I know that a large portion in our group has had closed door complaining sessions about the coworker in question. One of the effects I hate most is that the existance of this person has created little blocks of covert gossipers that started with aiming their frustrations at her, but the targets are starting to vary. I hate this kind of environment. Anyway, I think that if my manager doesn't know that there's a problem, she purposefully has her head in the sand.

    The best thing about being in charge is that you have some measure of control, to a point. I have thought about trying to supplant her, but I'm not going to lie, my past few years have been about doing my job and being left alone, and I have it down to a science. It ended up that way because I clashed badly with the corporate environment early on, and I had so much else that I was dealing with. I've been attempting to move to a different department to try to get a 'fresh start', but I haven't made any headway. I'll follow up today. If not, something needs to be done.

    Corporate life really bums me out, but I've got chiluns and the economy is bad. I need to build some forward momentum. Grrr, the idea makes me cranky. I want to alternate between retreating to my workshop and create things that have never been made before, and then go trekking in far away lands.

  8. #8
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
    I work with women so I deal with backstabbing gossipers all the time.


    Your first mistake, imo, was responding to her bossy email. If she is not your boss, and you don't want to be ruled by her, you should have nicely avoided it and dealt with it on your terms, in your own way.


    Backstabbers befriending the boss is common where I work. I think they do it for a reason, not the least of which is feeding some power-hungry need to befriend those in power. Let them be friends and don't try to intermix in that, or be friends as well. That was your second mistake: Interrupting them. Let them gossip about you; they will anyway.


    Be kind, help people out, do your job well, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you, not letting you embroil you in their sh**. Over time this will serve you the best.


    <3~A
    Hah, probably.. but I just can't let certain things go. Maybe instead of an interruption, I should of gone with a smile. But I doubt I could've managed it without looking smartassy. I'd rather be brash than a smartass. I need a bigger toolbox.

  9. #9
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Ugh, sorry Qlip. I've had two low-level managers in a row that have that same habit of giving you their work to do then taking the credit, and it's incredibly frustrating.

    Edit, never mind, just read your update. I agree with mmhmm that your performance review might not be the best time to bring this up, unless you've developed a solid plan for it, or if you're asked if there seem to be any issues that could use to be tackled. It would probably just end up looking like you're trying to focus criticism on others instead of using the review time to focus on things you personally could use to work on. And if you got a good review first and then brought the issue up later, you would have a better foundation to stand on.

    Anyway, in my work, I've found that what works best is to figure out what the primary goals of the higher management are, and then using that as a tool to voice your frustrations in a way that you seem to be looking for effective solutions. As in, when my manager gives me her work to do as well as hers and goes and sits on the computer in the back for ours, I will find higher management and tell them that the productivity for the day is going to be low, because I know their #1 goal is sales, and ask if there's anything they can do to help me - and let them ask why the productivity is low. They will usually find out soon enough that my lower manager is slacking off, and give her a kick. Whereas they just get annoyed if I just tell them that she's not working, because it makes me sound like a whiner.

    Though also to be honest, if I were in charge of a group and someone told me that two people who used to be dating are having issues, I would address that pretty quickly. Most companies tend to have policies regarding relationships and that could be an HR violation (in other words, could be dealt with at a level higher than your boss). If your boss tends not to pick up on interpersonal currents then s/he might appreciate being informed of the problem.

    I know that a large portion in our group has had closed door complaining sessions about the coworker in question. One of the effects I hate most is that the existance of this person has created little blocks of covert gossipers that started with aiming their frustrations at her, but the targets are starting to vary. I hate this kind of environment. Anyway, I think that if my manager doesn't know that there's a problem, she purposefully has her head in the sand.
    This might be a useful way of addressing the problem... to say that you feel that there is animosity and division because [whatever] is happening and it is stunting communication and disrupting the normal workflow.

  10. #10
    violaine
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    Well, I guess it's done and dusted now. Hope it went well. (Mad at myself for assuming your boss was a dude too).

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