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Dealing With Unpleasant Co-Worker

Ask Savvy: How Do I Deal With a Horrible Co-Worker?

Have you ever dealt with an unpleasant co-worker? If so, offer up your advice to a reader who is thinking of leaving her job because of her colleague. And if you have any questions of your own, ask them in the Ask Savvy group!

I work as the sole designer for a small company dealing with breast cancer patients. I love helping people and I love what I do! I have been with this company for three years, longer than anyone else on the current team. Six months ago, we brought in a few new employees in the production department. One of these employees has been consistently going out of her way to make inconsiderate remarks about any design concept and artwork I've worked on, referring to my work as "clip art," among other negative terms. Most of the time she just makes these comments in passing, when I am midproject or consulting someone else. She butts in and rips my work apart and makes fun of it in the process.

Read on for more.

I felt she may have been jealous of my position in the company, so I have reached out and asked her manager if she can assist me on a project, so she can get more time in the design department. That was a huge mistake, since she has been consistently talking up that one project and comparing it to everything else I did and saying how much superior it is. I am secure in my skills. On top of many years in the industry, I finished with honors at a prestigious art school and design program and I have had other job offers even in this job market. I realize this person may be jealous, but it is really unpleasant and it's making for a negative work environment. I take to criticism well and I like to improve my work, but her comments are neither constructive nor respectful. I don't want to be a tattle tale and report her to her manager, nor do I want to take her outside and beat her up (just kidding!). Since she joined the company I have begun to dread coming into work and have been trying to hide my work, which has proven difficult in an open office. I love my job, but this is making me want to seek employment elsewhere. Help!


Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

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springfellow3 springfellow3 5 years
Well, after the digestion of your resume, it looks to me that your life has not been rosy for quite sometime. Frankly after careful extrapolation and following recent events, my advice to you would be to encourage you to quietly continue with your work, irrespective of your colleague's behaviour and instead of focusing your energy to amplify your feel bad factor, try to divert your energy with a focus to try to understand carefully what stimulates your colleague to behave like that. This is the clue here. if for example your feel bad component encourages her to behave in that way, then fake it, and increase your feel good factor. Or it could also be due to some other causes and this you will have to figure out with careful observation, and hopefully, things will improve quickly for you. So you should combine your acumen, intellect and observation to discern the motivation factor that stimulates your colleague to behave in this way. And you should eliminate all organisational gossips, as that is bad. Once you've identified that then you have to take remedial actions to nullify its effect, and from the psychological point of view, you will no longer feel the hurt and this will pacify your work environment, as you would by that time had enough time to accumulate the necessary ingredients to do away with these negative feelings. You will no longer suffer. Am pretty sure that you are wise and witty enough to sort out this matter. Remember not to fall in the game that is currently being played around you. Step aside by becoming numb to the game and yet remain in observation mode. One last advice, do not speak about it to anyone working in your organisation. Stay clear from organisational gossips. Hope things are likely to improve for you. Wish you all the best. <3 SpringFellowHawk
Sus67110 Sus67110 5 years
Wow, when a woman treats another like this, it is a truly a sad day. I would invite her to lunch and have a frank discussion. I would ask what is it she wishes to gain by being critical of your work? Ask her if she has been treated badly in the past and somehow got the idea that this is how business is done? Also ask; Has this kind of behavior worked for her in the past? Explain that you have no intentions of leaving and would like to work in a friendly environment but she needs to do her part by being respectful of your talents. It could be that she believes that by making you look bad, feel bad that she will be viewed as the hot new item in the office and get all the "glory"! Not a good situation, but if you can clear the air it is better for everyone. It is also possible that someone in the upper management has told her something about you or made promises that you know nothing about. I'm just being objective here.... Don't mean to cause you more problems.
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