Temporary employee takes over office while other worker is on vacation

Temporary employee takes over office while other worker is on vacation

Temporary employee takes over office while other worker is on vacation

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Rozanne "Roze" Worrell

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Dear Roze:

I was on vacation for two weeks and when I returned to work I found out my company had approved a temporary relocation to our office for one of our Atlanta employees.  Her father lives here and is very ill.  She was placed in my department (billing), which made complete sense because that’s what she does in Atlanta.  She left last week, but what I didn’t like is the way she took over, especially during the two weeks I was gone.  She took it upon herself to make a lot of changes, like getting rid of files, making new ones, creating new spread sheets, and a lot of other things.  My boss thought she was a genius.  He called her “an angel sent from above” and a “lifesaver.”  I felt like an outsider in my own office.  I wanted to kick her butt back to Georgia, way before she finally left.  I know I sound unprofessional and jealous, but I feel like she made me look bad.  I can admit that some of her changes were good, but it’s the way she went about it.  I think my boss would have liked her to stay and for me to go to Atlanta in her place.  If you can’t tell, I need a pep talk.

Feeling worthless

Dear Feeling worthless:

Oh yes, I can definitely sense you are very down about your situation, and I can understand why, but as I think you know, focusing on how you think your Atlanta colleague’s changes made you look is not going to get you anywhere.  Instead, embrace this experience; look at it as an unexpected opportunity.  Her temporary assignment to your office not only improved your operations, but can also serve as motivation for you to be more engaged with your work and eager to come up with your own ways of improving your department.  Hang in there and go for it!

Dear Roze:

Mean Girls aren’t just in high school!  I work with a woman I had always respected for her talent and work ethic, but I’ve learned she went behind my back and complained to our organization’s executive director about something I did versus talking directly to me about it.  I’ve tried to look at what she did without emotion and objectivity, and I can see why she might have had a problem with what I did.  But she and I are senior staffers.  I don’t understand why she didn’t just come to me with her issues.  And just as bad, if not worse, I’m not sure how she presented the facts of the matter and what this has done to my reputation with our big boss.  Part of me wants to talk to my colleague about this, but I fear she might go behind my back again or twist what I say to her.  What do you think?  I’d appreciate your suggestions.  This woman and I aren’t in the same unit, but we do run into each other.  That doesn’t seem to matter to her, but it makes me very uncomfortable.

Still dealing with a mean girl

Dear Still dealing with a mean girl:

A discussion with the executive director should be at the top of your priority list.  I suggest you meet with him/her as soon as possible to explain and/or defend your actions and to repair, if needed, your reputation.  As to whether or not you should talk to your colleague about her decision to complain to the big boss about what you did versus dealing with you directly, I cannot comfortably weigh in on that without knowing exactly what the matter was and what she actually said.  I can suggest, however, that you always be careful and mindful of this particular experience whenever you deal with her and other colleagues from here on out.  

© 2012 Rozanne R. Worrell

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