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WIBU to have told junior colleague she was being ridiculous?

(116 Posts)
Purplemac Tue 15-Aug-17 12:16:03

She is driving me crazy!

Sweet young lady, only 18 and has been with us for about 9 months now. However as time has passed she has gotten more and more irritating. I was on her interview panel, she is intelligent and has some great A Level results etc but she really plays on the "pretty and dumb" thing to the extent where if you had a conversation with her you wouldn't think she had an education at all. Examples include asking me if potatoes had meat in them hmm (not a specific potato dish, just an actual potato), and asking if bacon comes from a pig.

The latest is she has suddenly developed an aversion to flies. Whenever there is a fly in the office, she jumps up from her desk, shouts "A BEE, A BEE" (and I mean really shouts), darts across the room, and refuses to calm down. We have explained to her that no, it is not a bee, it is a fly and it is harmless. "NO no it's a bee, it was buzzing". Yes, but it's still a fly.

She has lived in the UK her whole life, I really don't think this is the first time she has encountered a bloody fly hmm and I can't imagine she would have jumped up from her desk and darted across the room when she was at a private school. It has happened every day now for about a week and today I have snapped at her and told her she is being ridiculous and to calm down, it is not appropriate for her to make such a scene. She spent about an hour sulking and not saying a word, and then had a catch up with her line manager (who sits in a different office and who is also junior to me) and has complained that I am picking on her!!

She won't make a formal complaint as my manager, who is the head of the office, was sat right infront of me the whole time and witnessed it, and knows that I am not picking on her I am just increasingly irritated by her behaviour, as is everyone else in the office.

WIBU to have told her she was being ridiculous? I have told her every time this has happened over the past week that there is nothing to worry about, the fly won't hurt her etc etc so I have tried to be sensitive in my handling of the situation but I am fed up of having to treat her like a child when she is an adult!!

Moanyoldcow Tue 15-Aug-17 12:19:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ClemDanfango Tue 15-Aug-17 12:19:40

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Bobbiepin Tue 15-Aug-17 12:19:46

Maybe calling her ridiculous was a bit harsh but I don't think YWBU. She needs to grow up a little bit and some people react to tough love better than others.

ItsALardBaby Tue 15-Aug-17 12:21:12

Like a toddler.
Ignore the behaviour? She sounds like she wants the attention

NancyJoan Tue 15-Aug-17 12:21:14

God, that's sounds annoying. If she's going to work in a grown up job, she needs to act like a grown up.

Alpacaandgo Tue 15-Aug-17 12:22:23

If she was in my office she would annoy the hell out of me. I'm amazed it took you so long! She's a fruit loop.

GeillisTheWitch Tue 15-Aug-17 12:22:47

YANBU. Sounds like she needed to be told her behavior is inappropriate for the workplace and disruptive to people actually trying to work and she needs to rein it in.

Auspiciouspanda Tue 15-Aug-17 12:23:13

You know you can pick on someone even if you're 'increasingly irritated by her behaviour' right?

You can't snap at people and call them names at work whether you feel justified or not.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 15-Aug-17 12:23:32

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who think it's cool to be thick and attention seeking, irrespective of intelligence and education level. Those Essex programmes have a lot to answer for.

Gorgosparta Tue 15-Aug-17 12:23:35

We have a couple of this type at work.

It really annoys me when intelligent women do their best to come across uneducated and ditzy.

I have one on my team. I keep reminding her that google exists when she asks silly questions regarding life things. Not work things obviously.

Fortunately in our office no one panders to it so they slowly realise that showing your intelligence is the way to get ahead.

GrumpyInsomniac Tue 15-Aug-17 12:23:50

YANBU as she was being ridiculous. Maybe use 'unprofessional' next time? It'd be very hard for her to argue she wasn't.

Gorgosparta Tue 15-Aug-17 12:26:43

You can't snap at people and call them names at work whether you feel justified or not.

Actually she called her behaviour ridiculous. Not the woman.

Also picking on would imply its a regular thing.

Everyone snaps occasionally. Anyone who expects it to never happen at work is being optimistic at best.

SunnySomer Tue 15-Aug-17 12:27:00

You really need to tell her line manager that she maybe needs some coaching/support in how to behave in an adult (working) environment. She sounds like a silly child, and if her behaviour is tolerated or indulged will assume it's acceptable.

VaselineIsNotStylingGel Tue 15-Aug-17 12:27:05

You need to deal with this carefully as it is easy to slip into what could be construed as bullying behaviour. Ignore her completely when she starts, make no comment at all, do not even look up form your work. A performer starved of interaction from their audience soon feels like a fool if they get no feedback. If she continues with her behaviour, especially if your manager is present, ask to have a word with them and ask if they can approach her manager to have a chat about modelling professional behaviour in the work place.
She's relatively new to full time work seeing as she is 18 and has just completed A-levels so you could do her and her future colleagues a favour by training her out of this nightmare behaviour now before she starts to get bored of the low level attention seeking and becomes a real nightmare.

TooSleepyToCare Tue 15-Aug-17 12:27:19

YADNBU. She sounds like a nightmare. Have experienced similar but no solution unfortunately.
Good luck!

VaselineIsNotStylingGel Tue 15-Aug-17 12:27:36


StillStayingClassySanDiego Tue 15-Aug-17 12:28:23

Well,with any luck she's reflected on her 'fly' hysteria and is embarrassed by her reaction and the fact you told her what you thought.

KinkyAfro Tue 15-Aug-17 12:29:24

Auspicious where does it say OP called her names? She said she was being ridiculous, that's not calling her names

potatoscowls Tue 15-Aug-17 12:31:03

She does sound irritating - but being scolded is horrible, especially if youre a bit emotionally immature (which she seems to be)

morecynicalthanVimes Tue 15-Aug-17 12:32:18

Yes she is annoying but you need to ignore her totally. Don't even look up from your work. People "perform" like this because it gives them the oxygen of attention and whatever else they're looking for, so starve her of that and she'll either shape up or find another appreciative audience. If she asks you stupid questions, comment mildly, as a Pp suggested, "Google exists". If she asks again, ignore her completely as though she hasn't spoken.

But you really can't snap at people at work like that, no matter how annoying they are. Do it again and you will have given serious substance to her claim that you pick on her. Ignore and rise above.

SteppingOnToes Tue 15-Aug-17 12:32:46

The manner which it was handled was unprofessional. A better way would have been to have taken her to one side and explained that you are in a place of work and she is expected to act in a professional manner herself.

gottachangethename1 Tue 15-Aug-17 12:34:15

I have a young colleague who is very similar, in addition she tells people twice her age with decades more experience how things are! We've had 2 years of this, largely because she's very forceful and creates merry hell if challenged and also because she's very pretty (which allows her to get away with murder)I have a daughter who is a year younger and would have put her firmly in her place ages ago but I'm not her boss. She needs managerial support to calm down and Learn appropriate behaviour, as does the colleague of op. I pray she gets bored and leaves soon confused

pictish Tue 15-Aug-17 12:39:40

Agree she sounds very aggravating and immature...but you really can't tell her she's being ridiculous, even if she bloody well is. You expect her to behave in an appropriate, professional manner, therefore so should you. You probably wouldn't have spoken to anyone else like that and she knows it. You stepped outside of appropriate work conduct yourself.

Ignore her. Don't look up at her, don't explain what a fly is to her any more...just ignore it. Your silence will say it all without having to say anything.

dollydaydream114 Tue 15-Aug-17 12:40:04

She sounds like she's being absurd and annoying but the way to deal with that is to have a word with her line manager about her disruptive and OTT behaviour, not to snap at her as if she is an unruly toddler. She is behaving in an immature way, sure, but she is still a colleague and not a tantrumming child, and you weren't very professional in the way you've handled the situation. I don't lack sympathy as I have worked with attention-seeking, hysterical types too and they drive me mad, but you have to deal with it professionally instead of snapping at them. You're not her manager so it's her manager you should have spoken to with regards what is obviously an ongoing problem. (Or you could ask your manager to speak to hers, if you don't feel comfortable doing that yourself.)

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