Reader unsure how to handle coworker’s behavior

Reader unsure how to handle coworker’s behavior

Reader unsure how to handle coworker’s behavior

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by Rozanne "Roze" Worrell

WVEC.com

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Dear Roze:

I’m dealing with a co-worker who makes it part of his job to push my buttons.  As much as I try to ignore what he does, it eventually gets to me.  He rolls his eyes or stares me down when I speak at out department meetings.  He moves my insulated food bag from where I have it in the communal office fridge, and he rarely responds to my emails in a timely manner unless it benefits him.  Those are just a sampling of the ways he regularly torments me.  I know this probably sounds petty and juvenile, but having to put up with this for almost a year is ridiculous.  I’ve gone to my boss who is also his boss numerous times and she thinks I’m being overly sensitive and should concentrate on my work.  I think she needs to do her job and handle this.  What do you think?

Management needs to help

Dear Management needs to help:

I know it is not always easy, but I am a firm believer in individuals addressing such matters on their own before getting management involved.  I suggest you have a firm but respectful one-on-one with your co-worker whereby you tell him you want a decent working relationship, but for that to happen, his current behavior has to change.  If he continues with the unprofessional behavior, provide your boss with a written request for her assistance.  Be sure your written request not only outlines your co-worker’s behavior and the effort(s) you made to handle the matter on your own, but that it also clearly delineates your desire for the boss to orchestrate a meeting where the three of you sit down together to resolve the issue(s).

Best of luck!

Dear Roze:

I know none of us are indispensible, and I’ve heard people say that an employer has no use for you once you’re gone, but I really thought I had a unique relationship with mine.  I had worked at this company for 15 years; and not to sound cocky but I was an exceptional employee.  I was the #1 sales executive in the company!  I made it no secret why I decided to leave.  I wasn’t going to the competition even though I had had plenty of offers.  I let management know I needed to spend more time with my three kids while they were still young.  I tried to work out a deal in that I was more than willing and very interested in continuing to handle the major account I acquired for the company ten years ago, since I had such a terrific relationship and reputation with the account’s management.  But my boss and his boss wouldn’t even consider my request.  And since my departure, I have been made to feel persona non grata.  I wasn’t invited to the office annual Christmas party, nor was I asked to attend the retirement dinner for a guy I worked with the entire time I was with the company.  I had to read about his departure in one of our industry’s newsletters.  What the heck?!!  Don’t companies realize how stupid it is to treat their former employees in this way?

Persona non grata

Dear Persona non grata:

In as much as I understand your good intentions and hurt feelings, organizations have their own way of dealing with former employees; and oftentimes, so much of this depends on the culture of the organization and/or the management style of the person(s) in charge of such matters.  It is also not uncommon for organizations to differentiate the treatment they give to those individuals who have retired and those who have resigned for whatever reason.  And, of course, whenever there is a change in management, the manner in which people are dealt with after they leave can also change.  It is also important to recognize that the company may not have considered your offer to handle that one account, because allowing you to do that could open the door for a lot of requests from other employees.  As to you not being invited to holiday and retirement events since your departure, organizations, just like individuals, should not want to burn their bridges, but it would seem like some of the responsibility for your invitation to the retirement party would fall on the retiree.

Working for the same organization for 15 years is a long time.  It would not be unusual if a part of your identity is associated with your former employer.  Hopefully, in time, your attachment to this particular company will be considerably less; and if you decide to go back to work and/or volunteer, the new organization(s) will reap the benefits of all you have to offer.

Best of luck!

© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell

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