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Bullied by work colleague, sly tactics, stress levels high :(

(26 Posts)
crushedintherush Sat 05-Jan-13 20:39:19

Please help, I need some advice about a work colleague who I feel is using sly tactics to discredit my work. It started 18 months ago when due to organisational changes, I and my colleagues had to re-apply for our jobs.

A few weeks after re-applying, I was informed by my then line manager that they were offering me redeployment.

She explained they took my previous/ present skills into account, and felt I'd be more suited to an alternative job role they were offering in a different dept. I had seen this particular job role advertised in the bulletin but I didn't apply for it because I didn't think I'd get it, so I was surprised when they offered it to me. A change is as good as the rest, I reasoned, so I accepted quite happily.

I had no idea that some of my colleagues had applied for that particular role, only to be turned down. Once people realised I was offered the job without actually applying for it, they felt that I had effectively stolen it from someone else.

One of the women who applied for the job, went to complain to the manager and was also offered a job in the dept I was starting in. Her friend had also applied but was turned down. So I ended up in this new dept with this woman who made it known to everybody else from day 1 that I had stolen her friends job and that I shouldn't be working there. As time went on, I thought she'd 'move on' from it, but she has continuously found little ways to make my life a misery, little things that only I can see, but nobody can't, finding fault with my work and just sitting there talking while I'm running round like an idiot trying to get everything done.

Her husband passed away 12 months ago. I felt sorry for her at the time and tried to make her working life easier for her but since then, she uses her 'sad eyes' and widowhood' status when I try to explain I need help myself.

I tried to tell my supervisor but it all came out wrong and I ended up sounding like I was being mean, and she hsn't spoken to me hardly since, like I'm a troublecauser. I'm ran into the ground totally stressed and I look it too, which my colleague takes great delight in telling me.

What can I do? I can't carry on sad

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sat 05-Jan-13 22:12:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NanaNina Sat 05-Jan-13 22:16:20

Think you might get more response in "Relationships"

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 10:54:58

Ohhelp, was thinking of starting a diary but just been soo tired and stressed that every time I try to think of examples, my mind goes blank.
Tomorrow is going to be horrible as we are full to capacity in the clinic and I know she will leave me on my own. Keep thinking of not going in, give her a busy day for once, but that is sinking to her level.

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 10:57:07

Nananina, you have a point, I'm new to Mumnset so still learning. How do I change my post to relationships?

WaspFactory Sun 06-Jan-13 11:01:47

I fear that due to the fact that her husband died 12 months ago, any complaint you make about her, unless it is a serious one, will make you look bad. She will be given a lot of extra leeway because of her bereavement, and rightly so, but it won't last forever. If she doesn't pull her weight, other people will realise eventually.

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 11:11:23

Meant to say, ohhelp, thanks for the advice. Maybe if I have the day off tomorrow, it might give me time to think of examples/incidents for my diary while I have the house to myself.

I haven't had a day off sick in 2.5 years, so it's not like I do it often. If I enjoy it, I might take Tuesday off too.

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 11:45:28


I agree she would be given some leeway because of her bereavement, and I feel for her because her and her husband were soulmates, but every now and again, she starts bragging to people how much money is coming in due to his bereavement (he had a business and she sold it after he died). And she likes to brag loudly...

I also feel for her that her job is all she has to keep her going, (her words), but I don't knowcwhat else to do, who to turn to, without sounding insensitive to her grief.

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 11:46:41

Sorry, waspfactory, got your name wrong.

WaspFactory Sun 06-Jan-13 12:32:15

Well she does sound awful to work with, but what can you do? You don't want to ruin your own reputation. Is there any chance of you both overcoming your differences and becoming more friendly?

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 06-Jan-13 13:21:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crushedintherush Sun 06-Jan-13 14:35:54

You're right, waspfactory, I don't want to ruin my reputation, I love the job and the rest of the people I work with. We both work in a confined space (small reception area) so it makes things that bit harder.

We do talk, we don't ignore each other, but even at our most 'friendliest', if you like, she still does things to make it look like I am incompetent at my job.

I know I'm not incompetent, but when a set of casenotes suddenly go 'missing' in between me preparing them for the nurse and the nurse collecting them, then suddenly
by some miracle, they are 'found' by my colleague, who then says to everybody loudly.. well its a good job I'm here isn't it? She becomes the hero, I look stupid. Yet I know for a
fact I hadn't mislaid the notes.

So no, if she is nice to me one minute, then goes out of her way to make me look small
the next, then I don't feel we can settle our differences, to be honest. Its a shame, it
really is. I think she decided from day 1 she wasn't going to be my friend anyway, what with the 'injustice' of me getting the job without applying for it.

Ohhelp, I am going to start a diary. If it doesn't get to a stage where I need to use it then I think it might help me get things off my chest anyway, and hopefully lessen the stress,
and its there if I do need to use it. Thanks for your help, both of you.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 08-Jan-13 16:25:01

Hi there

We've moved this to 'Employment Issues' now.

crushedintherush Tue 08-Jan-13 16:56:38

Many thanks x

hammyimo Tue 08-Jan-13 23:21:45

I think you should stick it out. Grief can make you react in funny ways and in time it kind of gets better. I'm a bit uneasy about some of the decisions I made following a period of grieving. Two years later - I know I wouldn't have reacted in that way had I not had the bereavement. I feel a bit embarrassed about it now. Hopefully in time, she will too.

Colleagues' attitudes can change. Sometimes overnight. I think if she knows you're not going to back down, you keep being consistent with her, eventually she'll see you're a good person as she gets to know you better.

Also other colleagues - they'll see in time that you're not the type to lose notes etc. I would advise to stay strong, keep being consistent with what you're doing and try not to be phased by it.

Go in tomorrow and show everybody that you can do it - on your own. Because you can and you know you can. Somebody, sometime thought you were right for this job. At the end of the day a job is a job. There'll be people you get on with, people you don't. But don't let anybody bully you out of your livelihood. Keep professional, don't sink to that level.

I think it would do no harm to keep the diary too, if only to keep yourself sane.

BettySuarez Tue 08-Jan-13 23:33:46

Are you sure that colleagues see her as a hero?

If someone I worked with was constantly saying things like 'well it's a good job I'm here isn't it?' I think I would smile on the outside but inside would be thinking 'whatever'

Do you think that maybe you are being overly sensitive?

Could you turn things around a bit? Perhaps when she makes the comment above you could respond with 'what would we do without you, always in the right place at the right time' maybe say it in a very friendly way that is 80% genuine 20% sarcasm. It might just be enough to make her wonder and think things through a bit.

It's a bit passive aggressive but probably the best situation given her sad circumstances

Oh and take in cakes for the whole department, they will love you wink

crushedintherush Wed 09-Jan-13 19:30:36

Hammyimo, I appreciate that grief can make you react in funny ways, but she has been awful since day 1, not since her dh passed away, so not sure if I could agree that its just grief with her, otherwise I'd leave it alone and muddle through.
Thanks for the positive advice about going in and showing eveybody I can do it. I know I can, I feel confident in my job, it's just 'not knowing what she's going to do next' that bothers me. I am constantly on
my guard which is tiring in itself...
Betty, I've tried the friendly/sarcasm response before, only to be shouted at like I'm a child, calling me rude and generally trying to make me feel bad for having the audacity to stand up for myself.
I've not been in this week due to stress, I am back in
tomorrow, see what I can pick up on the way in
foodwise...(good idea) She's not in tomorrow or Friday, so shouldn't be too bad...not unless she's hid the casenotes while I've not been there...

crushedintherush Wed 09-Jan-13 19:53:06

Also forgot to mention, when she starts making personal remarks, say for example, that my roots need colouring, she tries to enrol other people in the nversation to have one-upmanship over me. Some people join in with her but when she's not there, they're okay with me and we have a laugh
feel the crux of my post is 2 things really.
1.That I'm worried about what she is going to do next, and
2.What the Hell have I done to deserve this?

crushedintherush Wed 09-Jan-13 19:55:21

Sorry about last bit, things went daft with my typing..

Xales Wed 09-Jan-13 20:09:07

I would be inclined to stick blank paper in a folder saying they are case notes and pop the proper ones else where.

Then leave the room to let them go missing so when she amazingly finds them you can show her up for the devious cow she is.

Or just make sure you don't leave them lying around for her to remove, lock them in a draw/cabinet as you know you are not misplacing them and she is making you look unprofessional.

mincepiethighs Wed 09-Jan-13 20:21:47

Definitely start keeping a diary. Update it every night you get home while things are fresh in your mind.

Every time you walk away from your desk, lock case notes in the cupboard and lock your computer screen. You've got to beat her at her own game I'm afraid.

I had someone very similar to this. If it's any consolation she ended up getting the sack! Everyone then told me how horrible she had been to me (when they'd overheard her!).

EugenesAxe Wed 09-Jan-13 20:31:19

Xales - mwahahahah! I like your thinking. Good luck OP I have nothing more constructive to add.

Lovemynailstoday Wed 09-Jan-13 21:15:36

OP, you have done nothing to "deserve it". Bullies target the strong, efficient workers as they are perceived as a threat. Bullying is about a power struggle (in my unfortunate experience).

BettySuarez Wed 09-Jan-13 21:35:04

While I sympathise with this lady due to the loss of her husband, it does not excuse her bullying of you and you need to act.

I agree with other posters who have advised that you start to keep a diary of events - even if you are not sure whether it is imagined or real.

You can backdate some of it too.

If you work for the NHS then are you a member of a union?

Could you talk to them too?

You are a victim of workplace bullying and it is causing you a great deal of stress so you need to take steps to put a stop to this.

raspberryroop Mon 14-Jan-13 11:36:23

I would be inclined to speak to your manager sane say you think she may need help handling her grief as its made hee unreasonable / very controlling Tec and how should you handle it as you understand her grief but it's also now making you unhappy and stressed

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