Friday, June 5, 2009

Help Wanted

Advice Needed.

I may have mentioned that I'm having a lot of difficulty working with my co-worker. We'll call her DPH (Dirty Pirate Hooker). This week I was co-delivering a team building session. The following are some of the things I experienced:
  • Slightly veiled arrows thrown my way (I've had 30 years of experience - I'm barely 30, so who do you think that was directed at?)
  • Deliberately left out of needs assessment and pre-facilitation meetings.
  • When I found out about the meetings, I told her I expected to be included and asked when the next one was - nothing.
  • Deliberate withholding the feedback forms (which I developed) for me to review.
  • When I finally was able to review them (I had to demand them) she told me she was going to review them with the two Senior Managers and share the feedback and observations. I told her that I should be included in this and asked when she planned to do it. She refused to answer. I thought maybe I may have had an email invitation for a time to do this, but nothing.
So I'm looking for advice. This is the same co-worker who has called me ignorant. She is the one who told me I was playing games and undermining her. She has insulted me and spoken to me in a demeaning manner.

But wait, there's more. My boss knows about all this & has her hands tied. DPH's husband in a VP in our company. Our President was called by DPH's Husband before she got her performance review (which was BAD) to tell him how great she is. So even though she sucks, she's protected.

If you have any advice or feedback on how to work with her, I would so appreciate it. I'm slowly getting to the point where I don't know if I can continue to work with her. Yet, I don't want to tell my boss that I "can't work with DPH". How would that look on me? I'm frustrated & upset because I've never been personally attacked in my workplace. I'm at a point where I dread working with her. My shoulders are always tense, I'm starting to get regular headaches.

Help Wanted.


Emily said...

I'm having issues with similar things at work. I wish I had advice but I have none! That really, really stinks when a coworker is related/married to someone higher up. Basically that gives them a free pass to behave anyway they want. I am in the EXACT situation as you - my problem coworker has been here 30 years, and I am 30 years old. So obviously I'm the ignorant child, and she's untouchable. :-/

Good luck!

lauren said...

First things first: you absolutely must document everything that is going on. This means an e-mail to your boss that you print out and save. Be up front with your boss. I'd e-mail her all those things you just said in your post - about how DPH did not include you in meetings you needed to be included in, etc. Although your boss' hands may be tied, I am sure there is some sort of protocol EVERY manager in your organization must follow to report repeated things such as this. You definitely need to document that she called you incompetent, etc. I'd start now!

Maybe being called out will be enough to make DPH straighten up. And, if her behavior continues, and you continue to document it, SOMETHING will have to be done.

If it's not, I would recommend finding another job. Not because you "can't work with DPH" but because you want to work in an organization with better values than that (i.e. protecting an employee that harasses others just because she's married to a VP).

Good luck!! Let us know how it turns out!!

Whitney said...

I agree with Lauren. Document EVERYTHING....EVERYTHING. I wouldn't worry about the trivial stuff like eyebrows, but being left out of meetings that you should be included in, etc you must take note of. Let there be a file so thick on her that she can't escape a terrible performance review. Also, I would CC the HR department in your company. Get this official. If she wants to play games then you need to make sure you win. And like Lauren said, if you have to start looking for another job I would let them know what they will be losing by having you as an employee because they don't want to do anything about DPH.
Also, another part of me wants to tell you to just lock her in the bathroom and ask her what her problem is, but seeing as though she appears to have the wits of a 5 year old, that probably wouldn't work!
Keep your chin up - SOMETHING will work out!

Colby said...

I agree with Lauren- document everything! Its the safest way to go and that way if things do implode you can show the history of the events leading up to it.

Jennifer said...

I just finished reading a book about this behavior in my book club called 'Tripping the Prom Queen'. It was fascinating! I would suggest to CYA - save emails, document confrontations, and try to be nice to her as much as possible. Its sad that women act this way towards each other in the work place and generation differences don't help. I hope things get better!

Brittany Ann said...

I agree with the above. Document the heck out of this thing. Back yourself up in any way you can. How much will you have to work with her in the future? Because nepotism is going to be a hard thing to overcome here.

Anonymous said...

Oh geez! I don't have a good answer, especially since the nasty little bugger's got ties in the company. I would say to make sure you document EVERYTHING! At least that would be a start.