My stressful week....advice please!


#1

Why are some people so hard to get along with? I have been struggling with a co-worker for 2 yrs now and every summer about this time it erupts into an argument. Everyone else in the office is great. We have a very small office of 3 men and 2 women. The problem is with the other woman. I have always gotten along well with men, but I have never had such a hard time with any other woman either. For some reason this one feels like she can bully me around. I understand she has alot of insecurities and I have spent time praying for her and her lifestyle, but it becomes a struggle when she is such a bully!

About a week ago my dd was in the office with me, which the other woman absolutely hates, but dd is the favorite of everyone else there. The boss even calls her his protoge. Our newest addition to the office absolutely loves her and calls to take her to lunch because he doesn’t like to eat alone. Before anyone thinks bad things… it isn’t like that… I am very careful who my dd can do things with.

Anyway, I let my dd check her email on a spare computer and the other woman had a cow because she has “sensitive” documents on it. Well first off, she shouldn’t have any documents on that computer at all. Second, this computer is the one I use for any visiting employee that needs to use a computer so probably 20 people have access to her sensitive documents. The point is, she made a big deal about thinking my dd had her password… the actual truth is, everybody leaves that computer turned on and so dd never had to turn on the computer.

Next she got mad because I knew the boss made an emergency trip to AL and she was at a dr appointment when he went. She also got mad at me because she gave our new guy a cell phone but didn’t get the number or walkie talkie # off it before she gave it to him. After he charged it, I had him call and beep me so I had the numbers. The problem is, she leaves work early every day when the boss isn’t there. Tuesday she left early and at the end of the day the new guy decided to work from his lab the next day. When she came in on Wed. our network was down (my job) and as soon as I got in, I was busy checking on the network. As I was running around working, the boss called to talk to the new guy. She didn’t know where he was or why. I heard her saying she didn’t know and I called out, “He is working from his lab today, he had some stuff to get done before his vacation.” So now she is mad because I knew where he was and she didn’t. At this point she starts calling directory assistance to try to find out the guys phone #. I picked up my cell phone and I beep him. I hear her yelling into the phone at directory assistance because she isn’t getting what she wants from them. Just then, he beeps me back and I tell him to call the boss and he says OK.

She comes back to my desk and makes a sniping comment at me because I knew how to contact this guy and she didn’t. Remember, I am in the middle of fixing our network. So, I ignore her and get on the phone with our ISP support. We ran through the same tests I already did but this is standard. Finally tech support tells me I need a new cable modem and I have 2 choices; I can put in a service call with him or I can run over to the ISP local office and pick up a new one. So I leave to go get a new one since the ISP office is 3 blocks away. Now, it is 10:10 and there is a note on the door saying they will return at 10:50am. So I go back to the office. About 10:30 or so I see an ISP service truck drive by and I figure he is going back to the office because it’s just a few blocks away. Hop in my car and drive there again… still locked but there is a contractor pounding on the door. I see someone signal him to go around back and I follow… it was a sales guy that didn’t have access to the modems to replace mine so he made a note to have a tech bring me a modem as soon as they get in and I leave.

-continued-


#2

Back at the office I can only wait for the new modem now. It’s about 10:50 now and I am expecting someone at any moment to stop by with my modem. Well, I wait… and I wait, but it never comes. So at 11:45 the female worker announces she is going to lunch. She makes a point of to remind me she needs to check her email. I said, “I’m just waiting on a modem, they are supposed to bring it over to us.” She says, “What, am I going to have to go get it myself?” and she leaves. When she gets back, I grab the modem and I drive to the cable office and get the new one. As I go in, I find out the sales guy never gave my message and there are 2 techs standing around joking with the receptionist. So I get my modem, a different model than the one I had so I know there will be some installation process involved. Instead of going to lunch, I go back to work and get the thing installed. In the mean time, I hook everyone to an alternate network to just get on the internet to check email, then I go install the modem. Of course, after I plug it in, it doesn’t work right away! So back to testing everything… finally I hook my laptop up to the modem and a screen pops up saying I have to register it before I can use the internet…UGGGGGHHHHHH!!! It didn’t give me this screen through the network so I wasted time hooking straight into the network.

So I call tech support to get the registration #. In the middle of waiting on hold the office manager (other woman) comes over to my desk and decides this is the perfect time to bully me. She starts by telling me she can’t access the network. I said correct, you are just hooked to the internet, you aren’t connected to the other computers. She tells me she just was a minute ago, she was working on Quickbooks and then she checked her email, then she went back to her quickbooks and it didn’t work. I tried to tell her she isn’t hooked to the network so she can’t access the server. She started screaming, “Are you calling me a liar?” To which I respond… no you just can’t access the server and your email, they are on 2 seperate networks, still screaming… you are calling me a liar… I was on both and now I can’t get my quickbooks. I need to print an invoice NOW. So I said we can hook you back to the network but you can’t check email there yet. More screaming… Finally I said, I’m busy right now. This didn’t phase her… she kept yelling and this time she brought up my daughter and the password thing… so I told her my daughter never signed on and I am too busy to discuss this right now. So she looks at me and she says fine, we WILL talk later and she walks away.

I go back to the network and as soon as I enter the registration it comes up. So I hook the network back up and I notice we don’t have the same IP. I call the ISP again and I ask them why and they said we didn’t have a static IP set, I said I was sure we did. Well it turns out it never was, but we had been paying for it. So I put in a work order for it and hung up. Then I went to lunch… still shaking from being so upset I leave for lunch at 3:30. As I return at 4:30 I am bracing myself for the fight with the office manager, but she hasn’t even waited for me to get back, she slips out early once again…:mad:

So the next day I wait… she never says a word. I am busy all day reseting network settings and working on computers. Then Friday comes. She has this look on her face… ok today is the day… but then as a twist of fate, the boss comes back just as quickly as he left. He had a death in the family and made an emergency trip home and relatives are starting to arrive at his house so he is in and out. I am so stressed out between the office manager and all the stuff that needed to be done after a major network repair. To top it all off, I went and picked up my ds from his brothers house and ds1 starts roughhousing and dd1 get hurt… This is just normal stuff but I just about had a breakdown! All I wanted to do is go home and everyone else wanted to stay and socialize… can you say stress???

Anyway… any advice with how to deal with a bully in the work place? Sorry this was so long, but oh it felt good to vent!!!


#3

I think the best way to deal with bullies (and I have a lot of experience here) is to not give them the energy and attention they are demanding. Don’t let them steal your energy from your legitimate obligations. Realize that while they might be barraging you with accusations, they’re basically firing blanks, so it all pretty much bounces off. I deal with this quite a bit with my ex. I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need to worry about his threats and I don’t need to even respond to his ludicrous accusations. I have no control over his feelings. If he is going to be angry, there is absolutely nothing I can do to change that, so he can just wear himself out being angry. I’ll just go about my business. Sounds like that is what you need to do. I know this woman is completely annoying, but she is only going to be a real threat if she distracts you from doing what you need to do. If your boss has any sense he or she will see through this woman’s anger and martyr complex. The truth always has a way of coming out in the end. If you stay calm, I’m sure you’ll be able to sort it all out without a problem.

Praying for you though.


#4

No advice, but definitely praying for you, Blestone! I know how it can be, having a difficult co-worker who you interact with on a daily basis. :frowning: You will be in my prayers! :slight_smile:


#5

Is the office manager YOUR manager? (My understanding of an OM is that they do most of the secretarial work and stuff like that.)

Some things to remember, if I were you:

An office environment demands a certain expectation of decorum. If she’s going to scream at you, I wouldn’t respond except to say, “we can talk about this when you’re calm, and I have time.” Then I would completely ignore her and that sort of behavior. No matter what she says, if she’s screaming and you don’t have time to talk, I would not engage with her. I would also start privately documenting her interactions with you so that should this ever turn into a situation where your job is on the line, you can calmly produce your observations in a clear, concise manner to your boss. (They should not be full of emotions. Just facts. “Sue entered my office when I was working on establishing the network. She insisted I speak with her immediately. She misunderstood the network’s availability and when I corrected her, she accused me of calling her a liar. She then proceeded to raise her voice to screaming pitch while I was on the phone with (whoever).” Date/time.

Secondly, she sounds like she loves to make provoking and inflaming statements. She wants a reaction out of you. So whatever you do, don’t react. Just be calm and pleasant.

Furthermore, you don’t have have to be held captive by her in a discussion, either. You can set a time and set a limit. “I have fifteen minutes at 11am if you’d like to talk then.” You don’t have to agree or disagree with her. Just actively listen. Meaning repeat back what she says and interject things like, “I hear you saying…” or “If I’m understanding you correctly…” and let her use up her energy on whatever she needs to say. Then, when she appears to be finished, ASK if she’s ready for feedback (she’ll feel like she’s in control) and then you say, “This is my perspective on the matter. XYZ. I’m sorry if there was some miscommunication.” If she insists on saying things like, "But you called me a liar!!!’ The answer is, “I’ve already explained myself.”

HTH! Good luck.


#6

No she is not my boss, but I think she thinks so. I am the director of information technology…I am salaried, she is hourly. Her job is to answer phones and do payroll. She thinks everyones status is dependant on their seniority… of course she has been there the longest, but everyone else has a professional position (and is salaried).

She is the type that wants everyone to be miserable if she is and she loves to be the center of attention and I usually politely just indulge her but there are times when I just don’t have time and that seems to be when she acts the worst.
I pretend to be listening and keep working. I thought she would get the hint when I keep typing an email or fixing a computer while she talks, but she hasn’t. I try not to have any personal talk with her because our values are so different and she gets mad when she asks for advice then doesn’t like what I say.


#7

BlestOne, I cannot believe that you have to put up with such childish behaviour! I work in an organisation that if anything like this happened, they would be hauled into HR so quick and things would be sorted out. This kind of thing just does not happen where I work. Do you have a HR department? Sorry, don’t know how big the Organisation is.
I have never dealt with someone like this. I would be stressed too!
She has some big problems by the sound of it, and she is taking things out on you. Maybe she is jealous of you? Your job, your ability to get along with the males in the office? Women can act very catty with other women when jealousy comes into it.
Maybe look her straight in the eye and ask her what her problem is?
I really don’t know what I would do. You poor thing for having to deal with this.
Just what you need…


#8

Jules…there are only 5 of us in the main office. We have hundreds of employees at other locations, but because the boss loves the “small” environment, he doesn’t hire alot of people in our main office.

Yes, my husband and one of my co-workers think this is exactly the case. She gets very jealous even though I don’t do anything to make her that way. I think she is generally discontent with her life. She has a daughter that she basically has ignored until recently because she is too busy with her lapsed Catholic divorced boyfriend. She spends every night at his place and leaves her daughter to her own means then wonders why the 16 yo gets in trouble and got them kicked out of their last apartment. She has been doing this for at least the last 2 yrs that I have known her.

The problem is that she is a whiner and runs to the boss. Last year at this time we got into it too. She told the boss a bunch of half-truths and he ended up telling both of us if we couldn’t get along, we were both fired. The day he told us this she came to me and got up in my face and said she had no intention of losing her job so we BETTER get along. I told her then that she was bossy and pushy and not to push me around. Unfortunately it didn’t last.

She literally told our newest guy she was in charge one day… when the boss went out of town. He is our head chemist for a brand new business and he just looked at her and she backed down… for some reason, she doesn’t back down when I do the same. The other guy is Japanese and she doesn’t consider him worth her time, besides he makes about 5x what we make. I personally think this has alot to do with money. She is a bit overextended at the moment and she spent all day for 2 days on the phone arguing with a hotel she had stayed at for over charging her. Then she found out her daughter was volunteering hours at work and wouldn’t have enough money to give her money for the car mommy bought her when she turned 16. The Japanese guy and the Chemist always ask about my family and we all get along well. I think this bugs her because she always makes a point of telling me about doing things with other employees that don’t work in the office. She also gets really irritated that the bosses wife hires my dd to help her garden and takes her out to lunch. Hence why she lashed out about my dd using the computer.


#9

As an update, the Office manager tried to make it look like we were buddies in front of the boss so I guess she is more fearful than I about losing her job. That is actually a good feeling. While the boss was at home he sent me an email in response to an email I sent him that simply said… LOVE YOU! I laughed when I got it and read it out loud without thinking and she got mad (jealous?) again. I guess I can’t please everyone, and I choose the boss.


#10

I need a job and I could do hers. Can I come work with you, I’m not mean, I’m not jealous, I’m not insecure. I promise!:smiley:

And I love kids!:wink:


#11

If it were up to me…YES!!! I don’t even care if you can type! Speaking of which, I notice you are from PA… me too!


#12

And I can type! Bookkeeping, Payroll, Dispatch, I got all kinds of talent!

I just moved to PA from Baltimore. That’s why I’m looking for a job! I guess it would be quite a commute, huh? Darn! :smiley:


#13

Sounds like you’re dealing with a jealous “control-freak”… who’s insecure about herself, but gloats in the fact she “runs the money” (payroll).

Regardless of her “tenure”, she’s still an hourly employee… not expected to hang in there when the defication hits the rotary occilator… and can be easily replaced by an “Accountemp”…

Very diplomatically flip her comments around… “There is sensitive material on that PC”… Oh, well “WHY are your “sensitive” materials on the visitor/guest machine??..”

You’re dealing with a child in an adult’s body - use your intellect and value to the office to politely shut her down.


#14

I did when all this happened… why do you have sensitive documents on this computer that everybody uses when they need to??? She got really defensive and tried to blame it on me…Well because this was my computer before I got the new one… but I transferred all documents and programs to the new computer so that really isn’t an excuse.

As an update she has still been kissing butt… dare I think she knows she went too far??? I had a meeting with the boss about something totally different and she assumed it was about her…

So yesterday our Chemist came back and first thing he did was talk to the boss and then he came to me and asked me to do him a favor because we had a working demo of the equipment. The favor required me to leave the building… just before she had to leave for a dr appt(she has at least one or two a week between her and her child but this is a sore point because she leaves at noon on Fridays so I don’t see why she can’t schedule after she is off). As I was walking out she started the “what about me???” stuff… I just looked at her and said, “When you leave just let Paul know to answer the phones” Paul is the president, I was only planning on being gone 20 minutes. Well… I got hung up and was gone 2 hours… My own fault, I was truly mesmerized watching the demo combining chemicals, mixing them, processing…and viola! we made biodiesel yesterday !!! Anyway, the ceo came out at the end of the demo and asked when I was going back to the office… he wasn’t mad or even surprised I was there. So I did drive through for lunch and ate at my desk…


#15

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