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Catty turned crazy(long post)


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At my job, there is a(now former) friend that works there.  She moved up the ranks rather quickly to team lead.  There are 3 of them, and she’s not often a lead. 
 

Shortly after I started, she made a completely inappropriate comment.  We have a relaxed dress code at work, but short shorts are on the no no list.  No one has ever worn anything inappropriate since I’ve been there, but she took it upon herself to attempt to police it.  One day, someone came in with shorts.  They were a tad short but not a big deal.  I am outside in the parking lot and I happened to glance at my colleague with the shorts.  Former friend looks in the direction I am and states they are too short, and that she had already taken this up with another team lead.  And in that conversation, she said “can you imagine if cheetarah wore those kind of shorts with her body?  Crawling on the floor or squatting?”  For reference, I’m overweight.  

I immediately told her my body has no effect on the ability to do my job, her comment was completely out of line and she has no business or right making any sort of comment like that.  
 

I took it to my boss.  He took swift, corrective action.  Former friend sent me an apology note in the mail.  Said she did not want to discuss in person.  I decide for the sake of work peace, I’m not going to walk around with a grudge so I opted to let it go.
 

Ever since then, she has been finding everything wrong with how I perform at the job.  None of it has ever been serious, most times it’s a non issue and because I don’t do it the way she does.  The micromanaging is real, though. 
 

Now it’s gotten out of hand in the past week.  I reached out personally to her to ask if we needed to talk about anything as she seemed short/angry with me lately.  She wrote back two days later and said no, she’s just trying to get in and out with no BS. 
 

We had a staff meeting the other day, and after that I have several colleagues come up to me and ask if something is wrong with former friend.  I tell them I do not know.  They say they sense a tension from her to me and it’s making the work environment uncomfortable when she’s around. 
 

At this point, I decide to ask a higher up team lead if there’s a problem with my performance, and I tell them I’ve now been asked by colleagues about an escalating tension.  
 

She states no, but does bring up what she’s noticed.  About a week and a half ago, former friend left in a tizzy.  I noticed it but figured she was having a bad day.  It was a day that she confronted me about our suggestion box.  I was upstairs with another colleague seeing if they needed help at close and found a comment card, went to stick it in there.  She told me not to, it had just been emptied by higher up team.  I peered inside and told her there were more.  I don’t have the key for the box.  She ripped off her mask and snarled (literally) and asked me what I was trying to say.  I put the card down and said okay, there’s a grumpy vibe up here.  I’m going downstairs now.  
 

Well, evidently former friend went to higher up team lead and said she needed to leave early, she was furious.  Former friend told lead that I had asked who empties the suggestion box.  When I found out who it was, I had stated “well, it certainly will never get done in this case.”  And told her that I think she doesn’t do her work.  I told her my story, she called up the colleague I was with that day who told her an identical story to mine.  
 

Unfortunately, this now had to go all the way up to my boss because said team lead had brought it up to him.  When the team was made aware and asked if they had any grievances , several people stepped forward and mentioned feeling mistreated by former friend, but primarily that they were uncomfortable with the tension in the air from former friend towards me.  
 

I think she’s gone off the rails.  Evidently, she’s been sharing my social media with people and looking for “hidden messages” that might be about people at work.  I don’t even post on social media other than memes.   This has gotten so ridiculous, and because it was brought up that I was doing this amongst my coworkers,  I had(well, he didn’t request it but I felt since it was an issue, I should) to send my boss a screenshot of one of the posts that was the alleged culprit - it was a meme I tagged my fiancé in about how when you start a new job, the first thing you do is look for a place to poop in private.  Ok, embarrassing.  Luckily my boss has a good sense of humor.  YES, I unfriended her immediately. 
 

So we all had various phone conferences yesterday with boss, minus former friend.  Boss was simply collecting information.  He will be discussing with former friend next.  
 

This went from catty to nutty.  Catty is one thing, something that’s affecting the whole team and getting just plain creepy, with blatant lies as a team lead who should be trusted to give accurate information - I mean, it’s bewildering.  I’m under the impression this is carry over from the comment about my body.  At the end of the day, that is HER problem and I would do it again in a heartbeat no matter who it came from.  It feels…retaliatory. 
 

Im simply waiting to see what happens next.  Museum is closed on Mondays, other than administrative which I am sure will be brought up to speed on this.  I go in tomorrow, and yes former friend is on the schedule.  
 

You all know I’ve already been looking for another job.  The thing is, I STILL love it here.  I’m also of the mindset that no one is going to run me off my paycheck.  Does it stress me, not in a way that’s affecting my mental health.  If it was, I’d be gone already.  But obviously it is bothersome.  
 

Now if this isn’t dealt with appropriately, I will leave as that’s poor management and I’m not staying for that.  However, what exactly is dealt with appropriately in this case?  What would any of you do in a situation like this?  If you were in my shoes?  Or even in my boss’s? 


 

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Oh my goodness. First you are a better person than I am in how you let her first bizarrely awful and inappropriate comment go.  I'm so sorry this happened and good for you for moving on.  

I have worked with people who are off the rails like her (is that the PC term for it?).  You are doing all the right things IMHO but it doesn't make it any less toxic for you.  Also your poop in private post - I mean sure I get it, embarrassing but lighthearted and not inappropriate or harassing, etc - like she is being to you.

Who else can you go to -is there an HR? Does the museum have a board of trustees or some such or some liaison? Certainly clue in your boss to any steps you take and cc him on emails but I say keep a paper/email trail and go address this with someone else -just not sure who the someone else is 

I'm sorry. I wish you the best.  I hope this is resolved quickly.  I hope you don't have to quit over this.

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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Oh my goodness. First you are a better person than I am in how you let her first bizarrely awful and inappropriate comment go.  I'm so sorry this happened and good for you for moving on.  

I have worked with people who are off the rails like her (is that the PC term for it?).  You are doing all the right things IMHO but it doesn't make it any less toxic for you.  Also your poop in private post - I mean sure I get it, embarrassing but lighthearted and not inappropriate or harassing, etc - like she is being to you.

Who else can you go to -is there an HR? Does the museum have a board of trustees or some such or some liaison? Certainly clue in your boss to any steps you take and cc him on emails but I say keep a paper/email trail and go address this with someone else -just not sure who the someone else is 

I'm sorry. I wish you the best.  I hope this is resolved quickly.  I hope you don't have to quit over this.

Thank you!  Right now my boss(also the executive director) IS HR.  Because of the pandemic, the museum was closed for 8 months.  Our staff is getting filled out again.  So we don’t have a janitor, we don’t have maintenance (my fiancée does volunteer though as she’s an engineer), and I know they’re going in order of pressing need.  An HR department is at the top of the list.  The whole museum team takes turns with cleaning, and my fiancée fixes things.  So until that happens, the executive director said these types of situations should be brought to him.  And indeed it was, when I say boss I am referring to him.  
 

We have a board of financial directors but that’s it right now. 

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8 minutes ago, Cheetarah said:

Thank you!  Right now my boss(also the executive director) IS HR.  Because of the pandemic, the museum was closed for 8 months.  Our staff is getting filled out again.  So we don’t have a janitor, we don’t have maintenance (my fiancée does volunteer though as she’s an engineer), and I know they’re going in order of pressing need.  An HR department is at the top of the list.  The whole museum team takes turns with cleaning, and my fiancée fixes things.  So until that happens, the executive director said these types of situations should be brought to him.  And indeed it was, when I say boss I am referring to him.  
 

We have a board of financial directors but that’s it right now. 

Oh goodness. I get it.  You know, talk to your boss one more time and if you get no real substantive response I'd tell him you may have to seek assistance elsewhere because of the harassment (I mean, do you know anyone on the board -is that even a sort of option).  I can say "what a mess" but I get it -not their fault -pandemic did a number on so many organizations especially arts-related/museums!!

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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Oh goodness. I get it.  You know, talk to your boss one more time and if you get no real substantive response I'd tell him you may have to seek assistance elsewhere because of the harassment (I mean, do you know anyone on the board -is that even a sort of option).  I can say "what a mess" but I get it -not their fault -pandemic did a number on so many organizations especially arts-related/museums!!

No, not their fault.  Finances are very transparent and they had just enough to keep the heat on when they were closed so nothing freezes over.  They are coming into numerous grants now, which will speed up the process.  
 

I know the Secretary on the board, but I’m guessing as they are finances only it wouldn’t do much?  I know my boss will follow through - he was on top of this yesterday.  I just don’t know how he will handle it.  I don’t think watching more closely is enough in this case.   

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Just now, Cheetarah said:

No, not their fault.  Finances are very transparent and they had just enough to keep the heat on when they were closed so nothing freezes over.  They are coming into numerous grants now, which will speed up the process.  
 

I know the Secretary on the board, but I’m guessing as they are finances only it wouldn’t do much?  I know my boss will follow through - he was on top of this yesterday.  I just don’t know how he will handle it.  I don’t think watching more closely is enough in this case.   

So - loose connection - but harassment issues - I mean can you see a museum getting grants if word gets out? I'm just guessing -no experience with this but it can't hurt maybe to at least tell your boss that you are so appreciative of him trying to handle it but this environment is not a safe/healthful one, etc.  I'm sorry!!

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So - loose connection - but harassment issues - I mean can you see a museum getting grants if word gets out? I'm just guessing -no experience with this but it can't hurt maybe to at least tell your boss that you are so appreciative of him trying to handle it but this environment is not a safe/healthful one, etc.  I'm sorry!!

Very loose.  Lol.  I have great political connections, though.  And two of these grants have been secured through officials I have previously worked with pre-pandemic/are casual friends.  In fact, I brought them in to the museum.  I do have a big card to pull out if I absolutely needed to.  I know that sounds so snobby, and I don’t want it to.  But if it got THAT BAD I would certainly consider using it.   
 

I did tell him yesterday that I’m not going anywhere.  He said he certainly hopes not.  But I did tell him I absolutely will not stand for a work environment with growing toxicity.  He said you absolutely should not have to.  He stated this is now his problem.  
 

I just hope he makes some good choices.  

Edited by Cheetarah
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I will maybe tell you something that you probably wont like it, but what I learned from working in a collective. Often times, for the sake of the work, you need to let a lot of things slide. Meaning, go in one ear, left in another ear. You couldnt let her innapropriate comment about short shorts slide, OK. But what did you expect to happen next after you took it to higher ups? That she would curl her tail and be nice to you? She is your boss, ofcourse she would make things difficult for you after. All you did was making your work environment more difficult. 

1 hour ago, Cheetarah said:

I did tell him yesterday that I’m not going anywhere.  He said he certainly hopes not.  But I did tell him I absolutely will not stand for a work environment with growing toxicity.  He said you absolutely should not have to.  He stated this is now his problem.  
 

I just hope he makes some good choices.  

Meaning what? That he will fire her or else you will go? It doesnt work that way and you know that

You need to be able to see what other people at workplace think of you. By innapropriate comments, stalking your social media and other stuff, that person is not your friend and you saw that. But collective work environment requires even balancing people like that. We often work with people who we cant stand. Especially when it comes to our bosses who are often idiots. Sometimes we have to let some things slide, others even kiss ass. In private life we get to choose who we hang out. In collective, well, you need to able to "swim". Meaning to whitstand even people who we dont like for the sake of work. You couldnt do that. Instead of just stop being friends with her, you outed her to higher ups. And after she created more problems, you demand her fired or else you will go. I am not saying its your fault, she was being an idiot. Just that, for the sake of your current and future work, you need to know that not every action demands severe reaction, especially toward your boss. It wont bring you good there or in some future work environment. 

Edited by Kwothe28
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9 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

I will maybe tell you something that you probably wont like it, but what I learned from working in a collective. Often times, for the sake of the work, you need to let a lot of things slide. Meaning, go in one ear, left in another ear. You couldnt let her innapropriate comment about short shorts slide, OK. But what did you expect to happen next after you took it to higher ups? That she would curl her tail and be nice to you? She is your boss, ofcourse she would make things difficult for you after. All you did was making your work environment more difficult. 

Meaning what? That he will fire her or else you will go? It doesnt work that way and you know that

You need to be able to see what other people at workplace think of you. By innapropriate comments, stalking your social media and other stuff, that person is not your friend and you saw that. But collective work environment requires even balancing people like that. We often work with people who we cant stand. Especially when it comes to our bosses who are often idiots. Sometimes we have to let some things slide, others even kiss ass. In private life we get to choose who we hang out. In collective, well, you need to able to "swim". Meaning to whitstand even people who we dont like for the sake of work. You couldnt do that. Instead of just stop being friends with her, you outed her to higher ups. And after she created more problems, you demand her fired or else you will go. I am not saying its your fault, she was being an idiot. Just that, for the sake of your current and future work, you need to know that not every action demands severe reaction, especially toward your boss. It wont bring you good there or in some future work environment. 

I don’t see where you got that.  I am 99.9 percent certain he will not fire her.  That’s not a blip on the radar.  
 

What did I expect?  Professionalism.  It’s a documented complaint that she was written up for.  She evidently is holding a sorts of grudge about it.  Purposefully doing these things in a retaliatory way, in position of a lead is…bordering on illegal here.  
 

We weren’t friends anymore…that comment ruined it for me.  But again, for the sake of a peaceful work environment I let it go.  I did not alter my behaviors.  I treated her the same as every colleague.  
 

Why shouldn’t I seek out constructive feedback on my performance?  Why shouldn’t I ask if there’s something that needs to be addressed with her regarding my work?  Where did I demand her fired?  She’s got a documented strike, and that’s all on her.  Clearly the first action he took didn’t alter her behavior so of course I would think he’d realize the first approach didn’t work and perhaps it’s time to take a different one.  

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Yup, I feel it was good you spoke up .. how she's been reacting is on all her - and not 'professional'.

Good the big boss is on her 'paying attention', and it seems her behaviour is affecting the whole workplace - no good!

Hopefully, she either gets a stern talking to, or removed from there.  She knows fully well what she's done.

Remain for a bit longer, see how this pans out.

 

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3 hours ago, Cheetarah said:

What would any of you do in a situation like this?  If you were in my shoes?

 

3 hours ago, Cheetarah said:

I took it to my boss.  He took swift, corrective action.  Former friend sent me an apology note in the mail.  

Maybe best to leave it at that. 

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28 minutes ago, Cheetarah said:

I don’t see where you got that.  I am 99.9 percent certain he will not fire her.  That’s not a blip on the radar.  

I dunno, yours "I will not stand for this toxic environment" speech to your boss seem like that. That either she goes or you go.

29 minutes ago, Cheetarah said:

Clearly the first action he took didn’t alter her behavior so of course I would think he’d realize the first approach didn’t work and perhaps it’s time to take a different one.  

What different one except firing her? Because none other will go your way. OK, maybe she would be reprimended again, but do you really think a person who stalked your social media and found a meme(funny one, I like it lol) to tell on you at work will change her behavior afterward? She would still be difficult to you, even more now after you escalated it to this point. That is why I said its about "swimming" there. Because if you dont, you create a situation like this. "Lose- lose" situation where you either stay and have to deal with pissed off boss idiot again. Or you need to find different job. 

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First of all, I think something is wrong with your former friend. As soon as I read this, I remembered something similar that happened to me way back 20 years ago:

3 hours ago, Cheetarah said:

One day, someone came in with shorts.  They were a tad short but not a big deal... Former friend looks in the direction I am and states they are too short, and that she had already taken this up with another team lead.

In my case, the owner of the company had sided with me in disagreement with the office manager about workflow. The office manager later retaliated by complaining that my shorts were too short. I saw it for exactly what it was. She was trying to make things difficult for me because she didn't get her way. It was an eye-roller. 

Your former friend's comment about your coworker's shorts, and the fact that she's actually complained about this before, suggests to me that she been on that girl's ass for a while. Normal people don't act that way. People with mental problems act that way. 

I know that you didn't want to be friends with her after her rude comment towards you, and I totally understand that. But why did you feel the need to file a complaint right then and there? I understand what Kwothe is getting at. A formal complaint was basically "gloves off." And with someone who is as volatile and belligerent as your former friend obviously is, there are better ways to manage and mitigate that situation before filing a formal complaint. What made you go straight to the top?

Edited by Jibralta
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It wasn’t the first off hand comment made about my body and others, from her.  
 

She previously said colleague with shorts was looking for “ a certain kind of attention”,  another time she suggested I would be “showing more than what needs to be seen” if I wore such shorts. In each scenario I told her this was not workplace ethic, not cool and did my best to shut it down.  

So in this situation it was just bold, less vague and obviously she had no intention of stopping. 
 

Guys, I am going to update this in a bit.  I have an impromptu conference call with my boss and one team lead in 20 minutes.  

 

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I had someone who was a close friend try to get me fired. She was trying to be best friends with our supervisor so she thought she'd get kudos for tattling on me. Problem was, I didn't do what she'd claimed I'd done and I was able to prove it.

I reacted by working my butt off. I performed over and above what was required. This resulted in me getting promoted. The ex friend? She got promoted too...2 1/2 years after I did.

It's not easy when someone has it in for you. But it seems you are a valued employee. Try to let the petty BS roll off you and just go in there and kick butt. This job with it's accompanying child care benefit is way too good for you to leave it over an unprofessional buffoon.

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Be patient and let management go through the process.  This person sounds like she is on a power trip and is vindictive so they will need to go by the book no matter what they do.  It starts off with simple discussions and de-escalation if possible, reminders of workplace rules, job descriptions and duties and authority level.

  If rules were broken or bent it depends on how serious but this could come down to a talking to with a verbal warning on employee interaction, treating others with respect and conflict resolution.

  Don't be surprised if you are spoken to as well.  Let them say their piece even if it seems like you are getting a talking to as well.  I don't know how many times I got called upstairs and just stood there while one of my bosses tried to dress me down.  I would say "Okay, is that all you wanted to talk to me about"   I don't care how wrong they were I would just walk away letting them think they had told me what for. 

  The next time you have an issue like this here is some advice that works great on upper management.  Say this happens again so instead of making it official by reporting it go to a boss and ask them for "Advice" on a problem you are having at work.  Then tell them a coworker(don't use the persons name) did this or that to you and you need to know how best to handle it the next time it happens.  They love this stuff and now they are on the look out for this "coworker" that is acting that way.  It makes it more of a big deal because you are taking the high road and not officially reporting it but you are trying to resolve it with their help.  Usually they have heard things and will know who it is and start adding things to their list about them.  Then when the crap hits the fan she is already looked on as trouble.

Unfortunately this crap happens all the time so learning to navigate and steer your bosses is a valuable skill to have.  

 Lost

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5 hours ago, Cheetarah said:

Very loose.  Lol.  I have great political connections, though.  And two of these grants have been secured through officials I have previously worked with pre-pandemic/are casual friends.  In fact, I brought them in to the museum.  I do have a big card to pull out if I absolutely needed to.  I know that sounds so snobby, and I don’t want it to.  But if it got THAT BAD I would certainly consider using it.   
 

I did tell him yesterday that I’m not going anywhere.  He said he certainly hopes not.  But I did tell him I absolutely will not stand for a work environment with growing toxicity.  He said you absolutely should not have to.  He stated this is now his problem.  
 

I just hope he makes some good choices.  

Not snobby.

On the collective /play nicely in the sandbox at work comment from above.  Yes. I agree.  Not when it crosses certain boundaries.  This is one of those boundary-crossing situations IMHO and your boss agrees.

Many years ago I think I made a mistake.  A coworker was inappropriate to me including inappropriate comments on my work voicemail "I missed you today" and comments about how good I looked in a skirt -  and tried to kiss me twice. He was married I was single.  We didn't work together but he worked nearby.  I'd made the mistake of being friends with him and having pizza with him for lunch - no flirting!! - but he I guess took this as an invitation to up the ante.

I called a lawyer-friend of mine to ask what to do when he tried to kiss me.  She advised me to do self help first. That it just wasn't going to work out well if I went to HR.  She hated to say this but wanted to be real with me. So I did self help.  I told him to stop.  He asked me "because of the marriage or the office" I stammered "both" (stammered  -when he did what he did I froze -really unusual of me -but it freaked me out some and it was hard to find my voice!)

So  He did stop.  But.  A short time later he threatened to hit a female boss in the office.  He was mad at her.  He was immediately fired.  My point  - I mean, if I'd spoken up perhaps she wouldn't have been in that threatening situation?? It all "worked out" -he didn't hit her and he was gone.  But you know...

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3 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

Don't be surprised if you are spoken to as well.  Let them say their piece even if it seems like you are getting a talking to as well.  I don't know how many times I got called upstairs and just stood there while one of my bosses tried to dress me down.  I would say "Okay, is that all you wanted to talk to me about"   I don't care how wrong they were I would just walk away letting them think they had told me what for. 

OP you know this reminds me of  the times my son was bullied at school but he also was called to the principal's office -he was not in trouble per se - like, he didn't hit back- but I know he got the impression he was in trouble.  It always concerned me that the victim should be treated this way and I hope this has not happened to your child but it's kind of like this situation. I agree- just be cheerful and stupid (this is from the late Doctor Joy Browne -she always advised to pretend to be cheerful and "stupid" when you know you're not gonna win any points by pointing out that the boss is wrong)

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Conference call was gathering information on possible…bullying, they didn’t use that word but I don’t remember what one they did, something very plain and non accusatory -  of a fellow colleague with a developmental disability.  I didn’t have any information to give as I don’t observe former friend and her together enough.  
 

This is a bigger fish to fry than me.  I’m not sure what happened there nor do I need to be privy to it.  
 

I certainly do come in and sparkle every day, and do my job. Even when I’m mad I’m still laughing.  It’s a fun place.  And the parents coming in with kids, who knows what they had to deal with that day…I certainly wouldn’t want them to feel anything other than welcomed warmly.  We’re encouraged to mingle with parents, to play with kids - the emphasis is on that vs. being cleaning machines.  Heck, I got a good steak marinade recipe yesterday from a dad.  


We’ll see what happens.  It’s not in my hands anymore.  If it continues to a point where it’s affecting my mental health, I will leave.  But we’re not there yet.  

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1 hour ago, Cheetarah said:

Conference call was gathering information on possible…bullying, they didn’t use that word but I don’t remember what one they did, something very plain and non accusatory -  of a fellow colleague with a developmental disability.

Sounds like they're building a case against her. A lot of people must have a problem with her. Unsurprising, given what you've described.

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Ah good ol' Museum drama, had my fill of it once upon a time, the gears always turn slower.

It sounds like this <your favorite insult> is digging her own grave with a steam shovel. I would not be surprised if the Executive Director has been noticing a trend from work place performances, and observations. If my previous experiences with that sort of data collection bear on this, he and the rest of the higher ups want her gone with cause. In order to make it improbable for her to sue the museum, which she seems vindictive ans shortsighted enough to try.

Keep Pressing on!

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