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Thread: How Do You Deal With Problem Co-Workers?

  1. #1
    Evil Slash Crazy Miss Filangi's Avatar
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    How Do You Deal With Problem Co-Workers?

    I'm talking more about a personality conflict here.

    We have just hired a new employee. He's a very nice man, but he's older, (in his late 50's, I'm in my last 20s, very late)

    My job is essentially all the administrative work for a relatively small company. (20 employees) It runs the gammut from payroll to IT and everything in between. Despite my FORT time, I'm very busy and yet, very important to this company. I'm proven myself to my bosses and when I say I do everything, I do EVERYTHING. Including secretarial, at times.

    With that being said, this new employee, let's call him Tom, is driving me insane. He's one of those people that talks about his old job incessantly and how wonderful it was there ad nauseum. I can handle that. However, he treats me like I'm stupid. He's always 'surprised' that I am handled tasks and more than once has referred to me as 'the girl' Not girl, not secretary, 'the girl' every office should have one

    I'm in the unique position where I am the most computer literate person in the office and he is the least. So, when he has problem or needs to find a 'folder' for the 80th time, I'm the person who has to show him. He never listens to me. Ever. It's like I have nothing valuable to say.

    He seems to think I'm stupid, invaluable and little more than a secretary, AND NEVER listens to me.

    Short of ignoring him, (my patience has grown VERY thin) I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with personality conflicts in the workplace. It could be an interesting and helpful thread.

  2. #2
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd approach my boss, explaining that it's costing you a lot of time and aggravation having to repeat basic instructions to "Tom" because he doesn't listen or pay attention the first time through. Maybe suggest that perhaps Tom needs more training on some of the more basic functions of his job.

    I work alone, in my house, and it's so nice to get away from all of that personality conflict stuff. I did it for too many years.

  3. #3
    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    MissF, I feel your pain!

    I used to have the most computer illiterate person hounding me all the time (probably because I was the only one that woudl bother to ever help him)

    Finally I just wrote a "how to" email about as many topics as I could think of and sent it to him. Then when he would ask for help I would refer him to that FAQ.

    But I also like John's idea of suggesting either to him or to his boss that he take some training courses.
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
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    Premium Member Bumpkin's Avatar
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    Miss F. - you have me cracking up at work.

    Only because I've worked with "Tom" so many times during the years I can completely empathize with your situation.

    Questions: In the most general terms, what type of work does your company do? I'm guessing Tom is in some sales-related function.

    What are the attitudes of your management toward you and toward this new hire?

    I have - somehow - always worked for very small, very close knit companies - and the personality conflicts take on a different nuance in those environments. You have to be very careful.

  5. #5
    FORT Fogey
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    Take John's good advice!

    There is nothing more aggravating than having to deal with a person like the man you describe, Miss F. He keeps you from being productive and I'm sure the annoyance factor is sky-high.

    He also sounds resentful and misogynistic. Describing you as "the girl" is downright insulting and meant to be. Humph.

    Having said that I feel that John's advice is the best course to take because the last thing you want is a direct confrontation with this man. Besides, does your job description include spending valuable time repeatedly giving unheeded instructions to "Tom?" I don't think so.

  6. #6
    Evil Slash Crazy Miss Filangi's Avatar
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    Well, on the upside, my bosses love me and I love them.

    Without giving too much information, it's contruction related (all males) and he's an estimator. At his last WONDERFUL PERFECT place of employment (Go back, I say!) he did everything with paper and pencil. My boss is really not happy with that and has done his best to gently encourage him to use the computer. Of course, where is my boss when he needs this help? Out in the field.

    On the flip side, the person he is replacing is someone I also had a personality conflict. (She was difficult, everyone had a problem which is why she's gone) However, she and I worked very closely together and the final straw was when she blamed a MAJOR error on me and it was proven that I had nothing to do with it whatsoever... just an out and out blatant attempt to shift responsibility and screw me over. I just don't want to appear to be the problem since my bosses have gone to bat for me in the past.

    Tom is a very nice guy and does his job VERY well, I will give him that. However, he doesn't know how to use email or do the most basic of tasks and it is time consuming (and FORT consuming)

    I love that suggestion about training, though. Some people are always going to see all women as incompetant and I don't care. My bosses know different and I am VERY fortunate that they give me the appreciation and respect that I feel I deserve. You can't change attitudes.
    If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don't think it necessarily means you're a hard worker.
    It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.


  7. #7
    get it off! StevieM's Avatar
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    Hi Miss F.
    I think John's advice is the best. So far as him saying "the girl" I'd correct him right then and there and say in a very polite way,
    my name is.......that should shut him up on that one.

    Good luck with it. I work at home and at a company and have been going to the office more and more and I really got to like being at home.

    I'm not good without supervision though. I was spending too much time here and playing chess....

    I wish I had some good advice.....What John said though is great and I really hope it helps if you use it.

    Keep us posted!
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    Evil Slash Crazy Miss Filangi's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the advice, by the way.

    I also like the suggestion about 'the girl' Somehow, I don't think my bosses are going to see that nearly as offensive as I do.

    Um, my name is MISS FILANGI, buddy.
    If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don't think it necessarily means you're a hard worker.
    It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.


  9. #9
    get it off! StevieM's Avatar
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    Miss F. You go girl! (um....I mean WOMAN)!!
    So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?
    ~ Christina Aguilera

  10. #10
    FORT Fogey eldee's Avatar
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    Miss Filangi,

    You definately have a legitimate complaints from his lack of knowledge to his condenscending remarks. I hope you address them both and don't let your manager or H.R. person get away with, "well, I'm sure he doesn't mean anything by it" or "it's just his generation", etc.

    Depending on the type of person your boss is, you might want to have written examples of basic things he does not know or has repeatidly asked you for.

    I'm the type of person who addresses the person myself, but that hasn't always worked out well (sexual harrassment from a co-worker). It's best to address your issues with "Tom" ASAP because time does not cure everything. John is probably right in suggesting you let your manager handle it because if you don't know that man well, then he can make up anything regarding what you said to him and your attitude. Plus, there will be at least a record of the complaint.

    Definately let us know how it goes with your report and if he changes his behavior. If he remains a jerk, we'll all back you up and kick his cyber butt! Oh, bad plan, he doesn't know how to use a computer.

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