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Because of my lack of involvement in her game, she does not talk to me, which is peaceful, but now she sends sticky notes to tell me something or will stand in front of me and tell another admin to tell me...
I work in a small office with about 15 people. There
are four women in the office 3 administrative assistants, which I am
one of and one executive assistant.
Recently the president asked where one of the admins was because he needed some books made for a meeting that was about to take place. The exec assistant was having her weekly meeting with “her” team (no I am not invited to them) when I knocked and informed them of the president’s needs.
The exec assistant rolled her eyes and told the admin “Wait, if the president wanted them, he will come tell you not her.” This behavior has been going on for about three months.
She is infamous in our office for becoming angry when someone interrupts her. Interrupting in her opinion is answering a question she asked or just acknowledging that you understand what she said. I have had her put her finger in my face and say, “don’t say another word”. She once told an admin to zip it.
Her other favorite thing to do is send emails to inform someone of anything they have done wrong (i.e. you didn’t fill the sugar bowl up completely). Just letting that person know would be okay but the exec assistant like to CC the owners, the president, the VP and occasionally a coworker.
Email war as we call is a hobby for her. I refuse to respond (which my boss has agreed it is for the best) and this infuriates her even more.
Because of my lack of involvement
in her game, she does not talk to me, which is peaceful, but now she
sends sticky notes to tell me something or will stand in front of me
and tell another admin to tell me. She talks about subordinates’ job
performance to another subordinate; she badmouths the owners and other
coworkers to her subordinate and to anyone who will listen.
Dear The 'Other' Admin,
It sounds like the Executive Assistant is definitely on a power trip of some kind and making everybody miserable in the process. It is a shame that this person has been allowed to get to this point and has not been addressed by someone higher up (like her boss). The good news is that you don't to report to her. However, you need to make sure that she doesn't find ways to make herself look good at your expense.
In that regard, I do think that you have already done some positive things to deal with this situation. Specifically, you have let your direct supervisor know about the problems you are experiencing dealing with her. This is good because your boss needs to understand the challenges you face trying to get things done around her.
The other thing that I see that you have done is to set at some "rules of engagement" in dealing with her. You do have choices that you can make concerning how and when you respond to her. Not replying to her emails is one thing you do have in your control.
I would suggest that you do respond to legitimate professional emails from her. This tells her that if she acts professionally with you that she will get what she needs from you. If not, then it might be a different story.
You have a bit more flexibility than the others because you don't work directly for her but can be a little more direct with her about what are acceptable and not acceptable behaviors towards you. For instance, you might politely tell her not to stick her finger in your face or tell others to give you messages in front of you. Bullies usually back down when confronted. However, I believe that the other woman you mentioned need to be careful not to let her draw them into the same kind of unprofessional behavior as hers.
For whatever reason, the Executive Assistant has been allowed to behavior this way. Others may not be given the same breaks. All of you need to keep you composure around her and don't take her "bait" by reacting in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner. Hopefully this contrast will be seen and recognized by the upper management. Finally, I wonder if it would do any good for you to discuss this problem with your supervisor explaining the affect that this person's behavior has on the entire office?
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Office-Politics Review: 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss
100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of Your Boss by Peter R. Garber is an entertaining and humorous read designed to help you improve your relationship with your Boss. Garber, who is the author of over 40 books, draws on his 25-years experience as a Human Resources Professional, to give readers ‘tips on how to deal with difficult bosses’. He says, “The challenge is to find ways to deal with even the most difficult bosses you may have to work for during your career.” Read the full review
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