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Unable to function

Dear Office-Politics,

Please help me deal with my situation at work.

My company hired an old employee a few months ago, who was fired before from another company under our present bosses or so I was told by my boss.

I am supposed to be in charge of this employee’s day to day work and reporting in terms of issues with customers and clients.

Since she started here she has been giving me a hard time. First she tried to be my ‘best friend’ by bringing all her emotional baggage to work (you know boyfriend leaving and all that nonsense). Then she started bringing sweets every Friday to impress the bosses and coworkers.

Now she is constantly trying to make me look bad, as if I am not doing my job, and she yelled at me in front of every one present today for undercutting her work that I was handling from the beginning.

Last week my boss was ready to fire her after a warning as she didn’t show up to work without calling.

Please help as I am unable to function at work and at home like this I feel like I am going to blow up one day and have a nervous break down.

I don’t know how to approach my boss on this as I have already complained about her behavior with me in the past to him. I don’t want to loose my job but I am so fed up I am ready to quit at this moment.

Please advise ASAP.

Unable to Function

timothy johnson

Dear Unable to Function,

I’m sorry to hear that you are being so adversely affected by this individual. This sounds like a basic power play. She’s not taking power, as much as you appear to be giving it to her. This is an individual who has already proven herself to be ineffective, both at her previous employer and again at your job. She is toxic, underhanded, and unproductive and it sounds like she is on her way out already.

My question for you is, ‘Why you are letting her affect you?’

Is management not being straightforward with you about removing her? Were you so disgraced by her one-upping you publicly that you’re having trouble getting past it? And if you are responsible for her day-to-day activities, what have you been doing to document her behaviors and her (in)effectiveness?

She might be difficult, but you’re going to need to become a little more assertive with her. Let her know in no uncertain terms that yelling at you publicly is not acceptable (remember: she answers to you). Document her activities and her performance, and share it with HR and management on a monthly basis. You need to regain the power in your job and regain ownership.

Thank you for writing Office Politics.

Best wishes,

Timothy Johnson, Author

Timothy Johnson is the author of the newly released Gust: The “Tale” Wind of Office Politics (Lexicon, 2007) as well as Race Through The Forest – A Project Management Fable (Tiberius, 2006). As Chief Accomplishment Officer for his company, Carpe Factum, Inc. (Latin for “Seize The Accomplishment”), he also is a dynamic speaker, providing keynotes and workshops on the accomplishment-oriented topics of project management, creativity, process improvement, systems thinking, and (of course) office politics. His consulting clients have crossed multiple industries and have included Wells Fargo, Harley-Davidson, ING, Teva NeuroScience, and Principal Financial Group. In addition to writing, consulting, speaking, and coaching, he is also an adjunct instructor for Drake University’s MBA program in Des Moines Iowa, teaching classes in Project Management, Creativity for Business, and Managing Office Politics.

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