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Hostile work colleague - anyone been there?!

(18 Posts)
motherofallhens Wed 16-Nov-16 21:23:52

Am having a relationship issue at work so thought I would come here for a bit of advice! A colleague on my team is being a little hostile towards me. Nothing major but it’s really starting to get me down. For example, last week she sent me an email to say I had failed to update on her on issue X. I discussed it with her in person on at least 2 occasions and also sent her an email about said issue. Then this week I get an email to say I have done Y without consulting her, when – again – I asked her advice about it & followed up with an email. This is on top of her popping into my office late one afternoon a couple of weeks ago for a friendly chat to point out some of my professional failings. Thinking back, that was perhaps my cue to tell her to back off but I missed it and was probably way too polite and just let her rant at me!

This seems to have come largely out of nowhere. She has had the occasional run-in with other people but I’ve always managed to get along with her but she suddenly seems determined to find fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are plenty of things I mess up on a daily basis but everything she’s thrown at me thus far seems completely made-up. Of course, if she were to take any of this any further I have the emails to show I’ve kept her informed throughout but tbh I think she’s just trying to make me feel a bit rubbish rather than raising a genuine issue otherwise she would presumably try a bit harder to get her facts straight first!

This makes me think there’s probably something else going on that might actually have very little to do with me so the last thing I want to do is escalate the situation. At the same time, it’s horrible having someone lie in wait for me – at least that’s how it feels just now.

I’m sure some of you have found yourself in a similar situation and I just wondered if you had any thoughts about how to handle it without making things worse???

Thank you very much!

Overthinker2016 Wed 16-Nov-16 21:51:09

When she is making stuff up are you setting her straight? ie did you forward her on the email where you had already updated/ consulted her.

Follow up every interaction with her in writing and set her straight every time in a very straight forward matter of fact way (rather than getting heated about it).

She needs to know you will push back but you don't need to do it in an aggressive way. Just be matter of fact.

LellyMcKelly Wed 16-Nov-16 21:57:01

I know where you're coming from. I once had similar treatment from a similar colleague who wanted my job and spent a lot of time trying to undermine me. Make sure you document everything - meetings, phone calls etc. Follow up conversations with an email if she pulls the 'you didn't tell me' stunt again, resend the email to her - keep all email exchanges. If it doesn't stop you could ask 'You seem to be stressed out lately. What's the matter?' Or arrange to see your line manager to discuss the situation. He/She might be aware of something else going on. You might want to request mediation if the situation isn't resolved. Proactively looking to resolve the situation will work in your favour.

SpeckledyBanana Wed 16-Nov-16 21:58:40

Hmm. I would suspect there was a BCC addressee to the emails.

redpeppersoup Wed 16-Nov-16 22:07:23

I get this a lot - I'm admin and when certain managers realise they've forgotten or neglected to do something they often try and point the finger at me, this week a particularly large error was pointed out and they copied the Director into their email hmm I always reply by attaching any previous email correspondence we've had to highlight that I've already asked them (sometimes several times) to clarify what they want me to do. They never acknowledge it but hopefully everyone else clocks it!

ShelaghTurner Wed 16-Nov-16 22:11:30

I've had this but it stemmed from resentment as I found out she had gone for my job and, as she was already working for the organisation, she expected to get it and didn't. All made sense when I found that out. She was still irritating and nitpicky as hell to work with and very hard to line manage. Thankfully she left.

OohhThatsMe Wed 16-Nov-16 22:14:05

I think you should BCC your boss - you can bet your life she's sending a copy to someone else. If you have to talk to her, back it up with an email. And next time she comes into your room, ask her if she's just come to criticise you, because if so, you're too busy to listen and she should put it in writing.

clmustard Wed 16-Nov-16 22:14:28

Seems like the week for it. I have had the same thing this week but behind my back! Twats

MotherOfBeagles Wed 16-Nov-16 22:17:10

I have a colleague in my office like this. It's someone's turn every few weeks and generally she's a bit of a nightmare. Everyone is on eggshells when she's around and when it's your turn she's just plain awful. When it's my turn i just pretend she doesn't exists outside of what I need her to. I do my job, pass on whatever needs to be passed - always making sure I have exact dates times and details in emails that I do not delete. And the rest of the time I literally either look through her, nod and smile or just pretend I'm so busy I can't hear her bitching about me. It sucks and it's shitty but like you I know I'm not the main reason for her being like that so no point kicking off. I just remind myself that she must be very sad in her life to feel like she needs to behave like that to me.

Keep your head up and keep a record of everything!

Patriciathestripper1 Wed 16-Nov-16 22:17:54

Don't have any more 'chats' with her.
Just say politely look X just email me if you have a problem with my work. Protect your back. Keep record of everything

HeddaGarbled Wed 16-Nov-16 22:49:28

Yes, agree with Patricia, try and avoid conversations without witnesses, keep communication to the minimum necessary to get the job done, and keep to emails as much as possible.

I have been there. I was protected to some extent by the fact that I already had a solid reputation with colleagues and managers but she certainly made my working life unpleasant and created the impression that it was a personality clash between us and six of one, half a dozen of the other, whereas, in my opinion, she had it in for me.

She was new and I was well respected and I think that was her motivation. She got promoted in the end which was good news for me as she moved to a different department and site.

I read a book which was called something like 'Emotional Vampires: how to deal with difficult people' which I found very useful.

scaryclown Thu 17-Nov-16 04:11:42

Agree re just sending email back saying 'copy of email I sent you, regards'

i had a prick like this in a project i was running. he said in front of me and others that I hadnt given him the project documents. They were circulated twice to all, we had discussed them at prev meetings, and he had a paper copy in front of him. he was an arsehole gameplayer.

I said 'would you like me to circulate your email to everyone so we know for sure who's right. He only sighed and said 'as you've not sent..' i ended up interrupting, focused right on his eyes and said 'I never want to hear that again' next time he tried it, a repeat of that look worked but he was an utter arse.

There's a very good book called 'disagreememts, disputes and all out war' that can be really helpful.

People who say they've not had info by email think that if you dont dispute back you've admitted it, so get straight back with copy email, but dont get drawn into doing this each time.

sonjadog Thu 17-Nov-16 06:10:01

I agree with the others - you need to take action on this now. Don´t ignore and hope it will go away, because it won´t and will most likely escalate. When she sends you mail saying you haven´t done stuff, reply with the email copied in. If she is attacking you in an email, reply with your boss copied in. If she tries to attack you verbally in her office, shut her down.

I have been through this and I wanted to be the nice guy and didn´t want a conflict at work. It went on for two years before I shut it down. One thing I learnt from the experience, is to take the conflict early and be done with it.

motherofallhens Thu 17-Nov-16 08:39:41

Hi everybody,

Thank you so much for your helpful advice. It is all very consistent! Much as it irritates me, I think you're all right that I need to keep correcting her each time she does it. I also agree that keeping it all in writing is the best way to go. I hadn't considered the possibility that she might be bcc-ing others in so will be mindful of that.

As Hedda has also experienced, another thing that really grates is that she is trying to portray this as a "six of one" situation. It is not. She is for whatever reason deliberately trying to undermine me and throwing in a few spiteful comments on my personality for good measure!

Thanks again - onwards and upwards. And very best wishes to all of you who have been through something similar - glad to hear you have all come through battered but wiser!

BubbleGumBubble Thu 17-Nov-16 08:51:12

Oh god this is happening to me too. Its been 10 months and its getting me down. I dread every work day.

motherofallhens Thu 17-Nov-16 11:46:55

Hi Bubble,

So sorry to year that. Hope you can take some inspiration from the good advice posted here. As pp pointed out, it's very sad for them that some people feel they need to behave in this way. At the end of the day, while it's horrible for those of us that have to put up with it, at 5 o'clock we get to walk away from them, whereas they don't have that luxury. Nonetheless, these flowers are especially for you!

sonjadog Thu 17-Nov-16 12:13:42

It really does get you down. Believe me, I `ve been there. That`s also why you need to stop it quickly before it goes on too long.

KatsutheClockworkOctopus Thu 17-Nov-16 12:42:01

Agree with others that it's important to take back some control of the narrative. In my old role, I was respected by management and enjoyed what I was doing. A new manager arrived and literally within 6 months had destroyed my reputation. She even marked me as inadequate on an appraisal but didn't tell me, so I had no opportunity to respond to her points. I wish now that I had taken the time to point out every unfair comment and action - petty as it felt it would have protected me and shown how personal/unjustified her attacks were.

Sorry for those who are going through this. I left and found a new role but still find my confidence is affected now.

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