Please tell me I'm not alone :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2008
Please tell me I'm not alone :(
7
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 4:52pm

So I had an outburst against a difficult coworker today. I've put up with her passive aggressiveness, rude comments, and general irritating qualities for several months now and today I finally couldn't take it anymore. 

I did my best to remain composed while trying to hash out her most recent offensive but whenever I get that upset over something I start crying. I wasn't sobing but it was hard for me to talk without my voice waivering, which I hate. And there were obvious tears coming out sporadically.

She didn't cry though or get that emotional. Which I hate. I hate feeling like she got the better of me, since I cried and she didn't and the stereotype of tears is that it signifies weakness. I never thought about it before, but now that I am, I'm really upset and worrying that that was how the whole incident was perceived. It began with just us and then we argued in front of my boss for a while, as my boss kept saying that I'm just a "sensitive" person. Which again, is another one of those things characterized as weakness or not good. 

I don't feel like I was being too sensitive at all though. She made a genuinely rude comment. I tried to tell her I found it offensive and it just didn't go well. I think the crying makes me seem sooo "sensitive" and it didn't help that when we got in front of my boss, she begun to explain "I hurt her feelings." 

It was disrespect. Not hurt feelings. It wasn't like she told me I looked fat or anything. It's a long story regarding what it actually was, so I will spare you that. I just need to know that someone out there knows what I'm talking about though and how I feel. If so, how do you handle it?? Has anyone ever been able to master this crying issue?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 12:25pm

I can totally relate, and absolutely hate it when it happens to me.  My anger and frustration tends to show itself in tears as well.    It's so hard to contain it, and I get what you are saying that others see it as a sign of weakness.    The only way I can handle it is to walk away with the initial anger, and wait until I can sort out my feelings to bring it up.  It also helps me to write it out, so that I can be coherent and get my point across.  Could you email your boss in a day or two and explain how her comment was rude, and that you can no longer keep quiet about her bad behavior?   If you stick to the facts and keep emotion out of it, I would hope he'll take you seriously.   If not, he's not a very good boss. 

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Wed, 04-03-2013 - 12:31pm

Ok, well, it's good that you know the crying is an issue for you. Now you have to figure out how to manage this, and honestly, it might be better for you to walk away than it ever is for you to confront a coworker, especially if you're not prepared enough to control the crying.

Regardless of the perception of being weak due to shedding tears or having hurt feelings, while it's likely very unpleasant to work with someone who makes rude comments, unless it's related to the actual work, I would really advise you to let it go. If more than one comment is made, excuse yourself saying that you need to focus back on your job. That's why you're there at your workplace; that's what the boss cares about.

If you would tell us more about what was rude or what the comments have been, it would help us help you, I think.

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2008
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 11:33am

Well we did take it to our boss that day. Our boss basically said to try to get along and we both do good work so we have to try to work together, etc. When we got in front of her though, this coworker completely downplayed our argument and wasn't honest about what happened and what was the cause. So that was frustrating. She was very phoney and gave me a hug at the end of that meeting, but she was only doing that for appearances. That's one of the things that drives me crazy about her. She is so fake and over the top sometimes.

As far as what was said, it was a lot of things. We disagree on how certain emails should be handled and can NOT reach a middle ground on it. That was the cause and main topic of the argument. I refuse to do things her way, she refuses to do things my way, so I've been tryinf to find this middle ground where we can meet and she simply won't compromise. I refuse to just accept that I have to bend to her style, because she's unwilling to compromise, when I feel it is ridiculous. LONG STORY. She took the opportunity to criticize other parts of my work that she truly knows nothing about too. And informed me that she went to our boss about a week or two ago with a list of things I hadn't done, which really pissed me off because I DID do those things. I just didn't leave my work in the place she was expecting it and the only reason she wanted to make that point to our boss was because of this email issue and she's dying to be right about and get her way.

Our boss did try to clear up the email thing and suggest a middle ground, so we'll see if this coworker allows that to happen, even after the boss has explicitly said "do this."

Just extremely frustrating. I've been festering over it ever since, dreading when I have to deal with her again. That will be tomorrow. Walking away is definitely a good suggestion. I usually do that, but this time I guess I'd had enough and just blew up about it. I couldn't control myself. Our boss said that instead of letting things build to try and clear it up at the moment, so I will attempt that I guess when I can. I feel like that's just going to cause a lot more mini fights though.

She just has a personality that I can't stand and she is the least adaptable person I've ever met, which translates to her not being able to stand me. We are just very different to the point where, in private, we actively dislike people who are each other's "type". It's going to be a struggle working with her.. She is new, by the way. She's been there 6 months. I've been there 6 years and never had anyone bring up a problem with emails before. She just has her way of doing things and can't handle it when someone has their own way or won't submit to hers 100%.

 

Sorry for ranting. :(

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 12:26pm

To address just the question of tears when angry or upset, YES - I used to be like a faucet going off under stress all the time.  It was very embarrassing.  I'd be mad as hell but crying which made me look like an idiot.

I can't tell you I ever stopped getting a quavering voice when angry because I still do.  But I did manage to stop crying.  I think when I became a partner in my firm 7 years ago at the age of 43 and stopped fearing my anger and stopped fearing that I could get fired for what I said and thought, I stopped crying.  I didn't notice it at the time though.  It came about as a result of having to tell other people hard things, such as "You need to improve your performance" and "We're letting you go."  You can't be crying yourself when you are firing someone or telling them they're doing a bad job.

I did have some big meltdowns but they were in private with only DH or my best friend.  And I can't say that shouting, which is what replaced crying, is better because it's still a loss of control, but other people may perceive shouting as being assertive while crying is often seen as vulnerable.  For a partner in a firm, it's much better to be out of control in an assertive or even aggressive way than to be seen as weak and unstable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 3:16pm

Are there actual written procedures about how to handle email, and other tasks?  The other question is if she is the new person, who trained her and why is she not following procedure?  If there are no procedures, why not go to your boss independently and discuss working on them together?  You could even put together a procedure list, explaining how the way you do it works better for the company's bottom line.  If there are no policies or procedures, what then is your work measured against when you have a performance review?  Unfortunately, the real issue here seems to be personality, you two sound very subborn (and possibly very simiilar!), and neither of you wants to bend.  I too work with people like this, but thankfully not in the same department, they call once in a while, wanting to be right, and a lot of the time they end up falling on their face.  I think you should concentrate on doing the best job for your BOSS that you can.  The last thing that bosses want to be doing is making peace between their staff, they expect people to be adults and to resolve their differences.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2008
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 3:38pm

Thank you. No, there aren't any written procedures or policies on how to respond to emails. It's more just a style difference. I don't care what she does beyond it being annoying when it's in my face, but she cares deeply about what I do and that drives me crazy. If I'm not talking to her and it has nothing to do with her, she should focus on her own work. We have two completely differeht positions! Oy - I could rant for days on this. I am being stubbon, in that I want to continue things my way, but I am definitely willing and have made efforts to keep her quiet on the issue. I just shouldn't have to send out every email according to her personal preferences. Especially when it has nothing to do with her!

 

Sigh... about the crying - Yeah I really wish I could control myself better. I don't think yelling would help me too much either, in that I do have to worry about my job and ideally I would just remain calm, cool, and collected. I want to be able to say my peace without emotion and just make my point. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of the issue, my "feelings" became the issue and that sucks. I've been off the past couple days, since this incident happened. I'm a little worried about going back tomorrow. Hopefully we made some progess on it.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Thu, 04-04-2013 - 7:01pm

"I just shouldn't have to send out every email according to her personal preferences. Especially when it has nothing to do with her!"

I'm not sure why, if it has nothing to do with her, you're letting her preferences affect you so much. I understand now that your boss has made suggestions about the emails, but prior to that, if what you were doing was working well and your boss had no preference, I would have advised you to let her complaints about your emails roll off your back. People don't have to do things the exact same way, especially if different ways are working for different people. Now, if she is sending emails that are more effective, you should want to pick up some tips from her.

Just because a comment is about an email sent at work, it doesn't mean that the comment is directly affecting your work.

I know you said she went to your boss with a list of work you hadn't completed, but you didn't say that your boss had told you this. You said she told you this. Who cares?! If your boss isn't coming to you with concerns, it's likely that your boss isn't taking her list seriously. Going forward, why not make a priority in your work week to just take 15 minutes, informally even, to just update your boss on what you've accomplished and what your future plans for your work days are. Then you will know that your boss knows you're keeping busy, doing your job, and it will give your boss a chance to bring up concerns if he has them. If he doesn't mention any concerns during your updates, you should feel more confident no matter what this coworker says with regard to what she feels you're doing incorrectly or incompletely.

Good luck!

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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http://www.