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Thread: am I being unreasonable at work?

  1. #1
    ~tom~
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    am I being unreasonable at work?

    There is a relatively new person I work with and they have been making work a living hell sometimes. This person is fairly aggressive, very persistent at getting what they want, and likes to argue their point all the time. They have been fairly effective and efficient, which is a plus and helps out the whole team IMO. Things like that I can appreciate; their attitude however I don't at all. Ever since they've arrived they've been changing things left and right. According to a personality assessment from my work I'm the type of person who doesn't like sudden change, who likes team or group discussions, and likes supporting other people in getting things done. I also can be slow and be overly focused on details. I'm just wondering if I'm taking things too personally and overreacting. Here are some things that have left me wanting to punch the wall:

    1.) Changing protocols and methods on the fly with very little or no discussion. The only reason it happens is because my other team members are super agreeable people and don't like fighting over decisions. Sometimes these changes make sense after I think them over, sometimes they were completely unnecessary but suited this coworker's style of working.

    2.) Asking for information but not even giving me time to find it. Being very demanding with requests. They are not my boss yet I feel like they are bossing me around. We are supposed to be teammates and work together as as group, or so I thought.

    3.) Complaining about how things are formatted but expecting me to just understand their formatting right away. Asking me to find random things when they should know where things are. Acting surprised that we use certain protocols when they should have read through them, etc.

    4.) Criticizing me in front of teammates over mistakes other people also make; they will say that this is helping me improve, that they care about how I'm performing. Funny, I don't see them criticizing my other team member in the same way. The criticism is putting me on the defensive, which just makes it impossible to sit down and have a nice relaxed talk with them like friendly coworkers. Indirectly, their complaining may be leading to my superiors to start doubting my abilities. I never publicly complain about them or throw them under the bus, yet I feel like it may be happening to me?

    Example: I have a quota of 15 papers to file and get criticized for making filing errors on 3 of them. The other team member needs to complete 25 but gets a comforting pat on the back even though they only finished 17.

    5.) Similar to #4, Refusing to take blame if they were involved in something. Their excuse: let's not play the blame game or start throwing blame around. Then as soon as I'm to blame for something that policy goes out the window and they criticize me for everything I mess up on.

    6.) Expecting me to adopt their new methods and ideas right away. If I don't they give me this disgusted look and roll their eyes. It can be over simple things like how to mix solutions or how to enter information. If I try to be assertive with them and defend my method of doing things they become less willing to work with me. It seems like they always want it their way, all the time and dislike people that stand up for themselves.

    So here I am not sure what to do. If I bring up all these points at work I'm sure it will lead to a pretty bad argument and put my job on the line. We've already had team discussions and my boss before to resolve stuff like this but it hasn't worked apparently. Not sure what I can do here that is productive. My boss knows that I want to improve the situation and it's been clearly communicated that we are slowly resolving this. Any advice on how to deal with a micro-managing, overly aggressive coworker?
    Last edited by ~tom~; 12-21-2016 at 12:02 AM.

  2. #2
    gebaird
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    This would drive me absolutely crazy. Are you the only one who feels this way? Are you being specifically targeted by this person?

    It sounds like you've made some effort to resolve the situation without success. I've gone through something similar, and when I tried to raise the issue it just made me look bad. Do you have the option of requesting a transfer or finding a new job? That might be the only way to remedy the problem.

    In the meantime, learn what you can from this abrasive person. In zen tradition, your enemy can be your greatest teacher.

  3. #3
    Starshine
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    Clearly this person is trying to be over-domineering and I am not sure but why is his/her interest targeted in you alone...
    I think the guy/girl is new at job trying to prove themselves and really anxiously trying to get themselves noticed. I've seen this before...so I can tell the symptoms are the same... Are you working as a team or something. If so clearly this person is not a friend/ on your side. I think he/she is trying to push you down to build his way up...the success ladder. Just be aware of this person in the back of your mind...Try not to show too much hostility but remember that they are not a friend. I think they might be trying to prove something to the bosses or you friend circle. Are you at a position above him/her It could be what he/she is after... Just keep your cool. Ignore the person and whatever they say to make you feel down. But if it is in public you must answer back... And Remember the key to surviving this is not arguing with him/her. They shouldn't mean anything to you. The BOSS and you other Colleagues are you Friends here those are the one you should care about!
    Why don't you give him/her a taste of their own medicine. Try to act the same order around a bit.

    Oh! Yes and you're being unreasonable! Clearly your focus should be on bigger things than just one person here.

  4. #4
    Moontiger
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    Is this person on the same level as you or do they outrank you in the company hierarchy? If they are just a coworker on your level it makes it easier to discuss this with him. For example:

    1.) Changing protocols and methods on the fly with very little or no discussion. The only reason it happens is because my other team members are super agreeable people and don't like fighting over decisions. Sometimes these changes make sense after I think them over, sometimes they were completely unnecessary but suited this coworker's style of working.

    "Hey (name) I heard we are changing protocol X. Could you run through with my why we are making this change?"

    2.) Asking for information but not even giving me time to find it. Being very demanding with requests. They are not my boss yet I feel like they are bossing me around. We are supposed to be teammates and work together as as group, or so I thought.

    "It will take me X amount time to find that." (They start bossing you around) "As I said, it will take me X amount of time to find that. Is there a reason you would needed it before then?"

    3.) Complaining about how things are formatted but expecting me to just understand their formatting right away. Asking me to find random things when they should know where things are. Acting surprised that we use certain protocols when they should have read through them, etc.

    This person is new right? How new? It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that they would ask you, the more experienced person where things are. You could say "I'm right in the middle of something. Check places X and Y."

    4.) Criticizing me in front of teammates over mistakes other people also make; they will say that this is helping me improve, that they care about how I'm performing. Funny, I don't see them criticizing my other team member in the same way. The criticism is putting me on the defensive, which just makes it impossible to sit down and have a nice relaxed talk with them like friendly coworkers. Indirectly, their complaining may be leading to my superiors to start doubting my abilities. I never publicly complain about them or throw them under the bus, yet I feel like it may be happening to me? Example: I have a quota of 15 papers to file and get criticized for making filing errors on 3 of them. The other team member needs to complete 25 but gets a comforting pat on the back even though they only finished 17.

    Pull them aside after they do this and calmly say "Hey, I need you know that what just happened right now made me feel very awkward. If you notice a mistake please discuss it with me in private." Then hold to this. If they start in on you again in front of people "Ok, let's discuss this later like we talked about before."


    5.) Similar to #4, Refusing to take blame if they were involved in something. Their excuse: let's not play the blame game or start throwing blame around. Then as soon as I'm to blame for something that policy goes out the window and they criticize me for everything I mess up on.


    6.) Expecting me to adopt their new methods and ideas right away. If I don't they give me this disgusted look and roll their eyes. It can be over simple things like how to mix solutions or how to enter information. If I try to be assertive with them and defend my method of doing things they become less willing to work with me. It seems like they always want it their way, all the time and dislike people that stand up for themselves.

    Again, ask them why they want things done a certain way. And explain why you do things certain ways.


    If none of this works there are a few of these things that would be worth brining to you boss "I have a situation with X I'm not sure how to handle. I've noticed when I make a mistake X will bring it up in front of other people. I've talked with him about discussing mistakes with me privately but he continues to bring it up in front of others." Frame it as you are looking for a solution and make it clear you have alreayd tried to resolve these issues on your own.

  5. #5
    ~tom~
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    Sorry for the slow reply. I've got an update to what's been going on. Apparently this person was supposed to 1.) become the team leader of our group and 2.) they are supposed to train us on new skills. No one bothered to tell me this so I assumed they were trying to boss everyone around. However, after talking to an another person on my team they also agreed this person can be overly critical to everyone and very blunt. They came from a grad school background where everyone criticizes each other it seems. They also don't like to take time to explain things because it slows them down. I talked with this team leader and they are trying to work with me better. They understand I tend to work slower and learn differently than them. Things are slightly better now but even after this talk I still feel they are not going to be easy to work with.

    That said, things are still going to be rough around this person. I'm not sure why but every since they got here I've been either making more mistakes than normal, or they are calling me out for every single mistake I make (or both). My confidence is almost hitting rock bottom. It's gotten to the point they don't really trust me to do basic tasks I've been doing for months. Now they want to supervise me almost all the time. There was one example a few weeks ago where I decided to be helpful/efficient and try working on something myself (no one else was coming in that day). When my team leader found out, they immediately freaked out over the phone and assumed I had made up numbers and data even before seeing the numbers. We ended up repeating the same thing with them supervising me and got the same numbers. Other times its assuming I entered data incorrectly when the data wasn't lining up to their expectations. I do legitimately make mistakes sometimes but my point is they tend to point the blame towards me first, then blame everything else second. Recently my supervisor asked me if I was interested in taking lead on a new side project and was confused when I seemed hesitant to do it. The reality is I felt like anything I do these days I'll just screw up and am worried that my team leader is going to criticize the out of me for it (which they probably will). I've been doing this job for 6 months now and I feel like I don't know anything anymore.

  6. #6
    ~tom~
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    Quote Originally Posted by gebaird [Register to see the link]
    This would drive me absolutely crazy. Are you the only one who feels this way? Are you being specifically targeted by this person?

    It sounds like you've made some effort to resolve the situation without success. I've gone through something similar, and when I tried to raise the issue it just made me look bad. Do you have the option of requesting a transfer or finding a new job? That might be the only way to remedy the problem.

    In the meantime, learn what you can from this abrasive person. In zen tradition, your enemy can be your greatest teacher.
    They criticize everyone, just not always in front me so it's I'm not really the only target here. They do tend to be friendlier and more helpful with other coworkers though. I imagine they just don't like me or my work. If I can get past this I'll have a good story of [problem--> resolution] when it comes time to go to another job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starshine [Register to see the link]
    Clearly this person is trying to be over-domineering and I am not sure but why is his/her interest targeted in you alone...
    I think the guy/girl is new at job trying to prove themselves and really anxiously trying to get themselves noticed. I've seen this before...so I can tell the symptoms are the same... Are you working as a team or something. If so clearly this person is not a friend/ on your side. I think he/she is trying to push you down to build his way up...the success ladder. Just be aware of this person in the back of your mind...Try not to show too much hostility but remember that they are not a friend. I think they might be trying to prove something to the bosses or you friend circle. Are you at a position above him/her It could be what he/she is after... Just keep your cool. Ignore the person and whatever they say to make you feel down. But if it is in public you must answer back... And Remember the key to surviving this is not arguing with him/her. They shouldn't mean anything to you. The BOSS and you other Colleagues are you Friends here those are the one you should care about!
    Why don't you give him/her a taste of their own medicine. Try to act the same order around a bit.

    Oh! Yes and you're being unreasonable! Clearly your focus should be on bigger things than just one person here.
    Yes we all work on a team. They are actually my team leader apparently, so it doesn't look like they are trying to take any job from me. It can be confusing with this person; they claim to be trying to help me and improve me but the way they're doing it isn't really conveying that. Must be their version of tough love. Not sure if they are ambitious but they seem very much like a workaholic or overachiever. I'm still trying to find that balance between listening to whatever they say and disagreeing with them occasionally.

  7. #7
    ~tom~
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    Replies are in bold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moontiger [Register to see the link]
    Is this person on the same level as you or do they outrank you in the company hierarchy? If they are just a coworker on your level it makes it easier to discuss this with him. For example:

    1.) Changing protocols and methods on the fly with very little or no discussion. The only reason it happens is because my other team members are super agreeable people and don't like fighting over decisions. Sometimes these changes make sense after I think them over, sometimes they were completely unnecessary but suited this coworker's style of working.

    "Hey (name) I heard we are changing protocol X. Could you run through with my why we are making this change?" It's worth asking. They can be open about explaining things when they aren't super busy.

    2.) Asking for information but not even giving me time to find it. Being very demanding with requests. They are not my boss yet I feel like they are bossing me around. We are supposed to be teammates and work together as as group, or so I thought.

    "It will take me X amount time to find that." (They start bossing you around) "As I said, it will take me X amount of time to find that. Is there a reason you would needed it before then?" I need be more assertive about giving them approximate times and asking for more information.

    3.) Complaining about how things are formatted but expecting me to just understand their formatting right away. Asking me to find random things when they should know where things are. Acting surprised that we use certain protocols when they should have read through them, etc.

    This person is new right? How new? It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that they would ask you, the more experienced person where things are. You could say "I'm right in the middle of something. Check places X and Y." They have been their about 1.5 to 2 months now. Fairly new but they know there way around for the most part. I did try that one time over a small task and they were persistent about getting me to find it for them. In the end I did find it for them because I felt bad and they didn't even say thank you.

    4.) Criticizing me in front of teammates over mistakes other people also make; they will say that this is helping me improve, that they care about how I'm performing. Funny, I don't see them criticizing my other team member in the same way. The criticism is putting me on the defensive, which just makes it impossible to sit down and have a nice relaxed talk with them like friendly coworkers. Indirectly, their complaining may be leading to my superiors to start doubting my abilities. I never publicly complain about them or throw them under the bus, yet I feel like it may be happening to me? Example: I have a quota of 15 papers to file and get criticized for making filing errors on 3 of them. The other team member needs to complete 25 but gets a comforting pat on the back even though they only finished 17.

    Pull them aside after they do this and calmly say "Hey, I need you know that what just happened right now made me feel very awkward. If you notice a mistake please discuss it with me in private." Then hold to this. If they start in on you again in front of people "Ok, let's discuss this later like we talked about before." They have the decency to not bring it up in front of my boss or supervisor but I kind of wish they used more constructive criticism instead of what they currently do.

    5.) Similar to #4, Refusing to take blame if they were involved in something. Their excuse: let's not play the blame game or start throwing blame around. Then as soon as I'm to blame for something that policy goes out the window and they criticize me for everything I mess up on.


    6.) Expecting me to adopt their new methods and ideas right away. If I don't they give me this disgusted look and roll their eyes. It can be over simple things like how to mix solutions or how to enter information. If I try to be assertive with them and defend my method of doing things they become less willing to work with me. It seems like they always want it their way, all the time and dislike people that stand up for themselves.

    Again, ask them why they want things done a certain way. And explain why you do things certain ways. I will work on that. They have been more willing to explain things lately... treating me like I'm a 5 year old when they do unfortunately.

    If none of this works there are a few of these things that would be worth bringing to you boss "I have a situation with X I'm not sure how to handle. I've noticed when I make a mistake X will bring it up in front of other people. I've talked with him about discussing mistakes with me privately but he continues to bring it up in front of others." Frame it as you are looking for a solution and make it clear you have already tried to resolve these issues on your own. Some of what I mentioned before has been resolved. I'm not sure what else I can bring up with my boss. The situation has turned from having a difficult coworker to me appearing incompetent at my job.

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