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To get snippy with my colleague?

(17 Posts)
MortimersRaven Tue 06-Nov-12 09:28:58

I've endured almost 12 months of torture from a colleague who joined the company before I did. We both do the same job and it was supposed to get divided between us when I arrived. He wants to be my boss, he's very open about that - but they won't let him. As a result he hoards his work and tries to take over mine too. When I realised what was going on I started to keep my projects very close to my chest but every time he discovers I've done something on the quiet I get a lecture about being open and what's best for the team. Incidentally, my real boss is happy with my work.

Today I snapped.

There was an issue with one of my projects that I had contacted someone via email about, to try and fix. Some days later (today) my colleague overhears that this happened, and I get the usual lecture about copying him in. To which I retorted that it wasn't necessary, and that he never leaves me with anything to do. That's outspoken for me!

All quiet. Then this afternoon I am copied on an email from him, to our CEO and 4 others, none of whom were the person I'd told him was dealing with it, to say there's a problem and can it get sorted. I was fuming that he'd got involved but ready to let it drop when he started needling me with questions about it until I just exploded I DON'T CARE HOW THEY SORT IT OUT AND I AM SO HAPPY YOU ARE DEALING WITH IT SINCE YOU ARE SO MUCH BETTER QUALIFIED THAN I AM and stormed out of the room.

Feeling embarrassed since the office is now silent and I am hammering away at my keyboard and rather red. WIBU? blush

McHappyPants2012 Tue 06-Nov-12 09:34:42

I think your boss should be sorting out work relations TBH. 12 months is a long time to have put up with this.

redexpat Tue 06-Nov-12 09:37:01

Oh dear! He sounds like a knob.

i am generally a bit rubbish at dealing with stuff like this myself, but I think I would email the others that were copied in and apologise for them being involved with something that they shouldnt have. Apologies for the mix up, there's been some confusion in the offic, you hsouldnt have been CCed in that email. It's all in hand. That way you look like you are in control and he looks like a dick.

Make an appointment with your immediate boss and tell him/her about the situation. Ask what will happen as a result of this. Emails to the CEO probably shouldnt be happening, so I'd imagine that your boss will want to address this.

pictish Tue 06-Nov-12 09:40:00

He sounds like an entitled arsehole. You must speak to your seniors before this escalates further.

Raspberrysorbet Tue 06-Nov-12 09:42:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SullenCrescent Tue 06-Nov-12 09:59:02

MortimersRaven you have just described the woman I work with to a 't'. She has always wanted to be in charge, she is very controlling and wants everything done her way. She also used to hoard all the work and try to take over my work and would also redo things that I had already done. She would constantly undermine me and if I ever made a mistake she would only ever bring it up if a manager was around. Basically she was and still is an horrid person to work with.

Things came to a head when she made a complaint against me (!) but I think that was only because she had got wind of the fact that I was going to make a formal complaint about her. We had a meeting and it was decided that we would split our work and have control over different aspects which meant she had her own empire to lord over and this did make things better.

The people I work with including management all know what she is like and all dispair at her behaviour but for some reason won't do anything about it. I have decided she is passive aggressive and the only way to deal with her is to be assertive and stand up for myself.

You need to talk to your manager and explain the situation and how this man is making you feel before he gets in first and twists things. You also need to insist on dividing your work as was meant to happen when you started.

EllenParsons Tue 06-Nov-12 10:21:37

I hate people like this in the workplace, my sympathies OP! I think maybe someone does need to talk to him and out him in his place, e.g. a boss clearing up his boundaries and that he is not to get involved with your work.

MortimersRaven Tue 06-Nov-12 11:11:02

I had a very honest conversation with the boss a few months ago, and my colleague did get a talking to, which improved things for a while. The problem is whenever he gets stressed he just reverts back - he can't help himself! I'm left feeling stupid because I am a strong person with my own ideas, I just hate having to fight someone on every little thing all the time. I don't see the need to fight to push my work through, it gets very boring...
SullenCrescent your advice is very interesting and I especially like the bit about him getting in first to twist things - he tried this last Easter and I was still fresh enough to believe him. He told me the CEO was unhappy with my work and had asked him to oversee me personally, to make sure I didn't make any more mistakes. He wasn't banking on me immediately contacting the CEO to demand better feedback and in person, and what was the problem with my work?

Turned out the CEO had no idea what I was talking about - my colleague had made it up. So he stabbed himself in the foot with that one! grin

The CEO thing is part of the problem though - they are 'friends' although my colleague hasn't seemed to notice his friend won't promote him ever

MortimersRaven Tue 06-Nov-12 11:11:58

Thanks everyone for validating what I also think: he's a knob!

YouSeveredHead Tue 06-Nov-12 11:15:32

The fact it is still happening and still making you feel like this suggest perhaps your boss could have done more. He needs it lying on the line, he is not your boss, he is not your superior and unless asked by you he should butt out.

Jusfloatingby Tue 06-Nov-12 13:24:19

I cannot believe he wasn't disciplined over lying to you about comments made by the CEO. Surely he should have got a warning for that?

redredruby Tue 06-Nov-12 13:48:01

This is completely unacceptable behaviour from your colleague and from your manager for allowing it to continue when they were made aware it was occuring.
You must record absolutely everything that happens, what is said and when, keep all copies of emails etc. Identify the impact that this is having on you, and your work and thus the company.
Then request a meeting with your manager and a member from HR or a trade union (or at very least a witness) and raise this formally with your manager. Make sure that you get a commitment from your manager as to whether they think this is acceptable behviour and if not how they plan to tackle it.
In the meantime make sure your managers etc know exactly what you are working on so that this guy cant take credit or get involved. You can not allow this person to behaviour like this towards you - he needs firmally putting in his place! Good luck and let us know the result.
Ps i dont think ywbu for the outburst but beware that he might use the outburst as an example of how you cant cope - you must take control of this situation and not simply react to his behaviour.

whois Tue 06-Nov-12 13:52:33

Reply to all and Cc in the person dealing with the issue.

"hi team, name is dealing with this. Name, please can you give us a progress update. Thanks"

katiecubs Tue 06-Nov-12 13:53:55

i have experienced people like this too - copying people in on emails in an attempt to get them into trouble is disgusting behaviour (tbh i'm sure your seniors don't appreciate it either).

you really need to report his behaviour and how it is making you feel to your boss to cover your back as it seems clear he won't stop until you leave/he gets promoted. If he is this bad as a colleague imagine him as a boss!

CailinDana Tue 06-Nov-12 14:02:43

Sharing work can be an absolute minefield. Would it be possible for you two to sit down with the boss and clearly delineate your responsibilities? Then institute some sort of timekeeping or accounting system to make sure it's all above board? It depends on what the work is of course, but if everything is laid out clearly it should reduce "misunderstandings" (manufactured by knobcolleague) and make you feel a bit more in control of things. I've had to do this in previous jobs where colleagues were either knobbish or just vague and it worked really well. I am currently pushing for the same thing in my new job actually. Colleague is lovely but seems to assume I can read her mind.

MortimersRaven Wed 07-Nov-12 09:30:38

Thanks everyone these are all really good suggestions. I think if I was serious about staying in this job I would be trying to deal with it in a more constructive and long-term way.

I have tried cailindana's suggestion of clearly outlining what responsibility belongs to who but he is so pushy and overbearing, people just back down time and again and give him what he wants.

justfloatingby the bosses couldn't discipline him over the lie since I didn't want them to reveal I'd been talking to them about him - at the time I was afraid of rocking the boat although I'd feel very differently about it now. It was timid of me, but he and I are in an office in China and the managers are in Europe and very hands-off so I felt my day-to-day would become unworkable if he reacted angrily about it. I thought if I really cared I should talk to him directly, but I lacked the courage for that, too!

redredruby you are totally right he sees my boiling over as a weakness and in fact he needles our other colleagues into having similar outbursts when he can. This puts him in control, despite the fact he is very emotional himself, and anger seems to be his first resort to a lot of things.

As it is I've been job-hunting for some time now and I've had some great leads so I'm hoping to be able to hand my notice in very soon. It's not just to get away from knobcolleague, it's mainly because there are too many fundamental issues here for me to sort in order to carve out the role I would like.

I still very much appreciate your advice since I know I've dealt with this whole thing very badly and in future I hope I'll be more effective when dealing with similar people!

redredruby Wed 07-Nov-12 11:09:33

I wouldnt say you have dealt with it badly, i think we are all guilty of expecting people in a work environment to behave rationally! It can always be a surprise when we discover that they are in fact still displaying behaviour better suited toa playground. It is not your failing that you assumed that this was the best way to deal with the situation, but now that you know he is like this, make sure u adapt your behaviour - to one of a patient but firm parent! It is sad we have to do this in work enviornments but if it makes life easier........

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