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Coworkers are two faced


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 1st September 2016, 11:04 AM   #1
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Coworkers are two faced

I am 41 years old, had many jobs and worked in many settings in my lifetime. And I have this to say about working with coworkers : coworkers are not friends, they are coworkers. Don't believe me? I have many tales, and here is the most recent one...

I now work two jobs, one as a care supporter at a group home for developmentally disabled adults and as a substitute teacher in the afternoons / weeksdays off from the group home. I have a subbing job at a charter school in their special ed class. Yesterday I walk in and find two students and two adult women in a bare room. Long story short about 40 people were fired by management and in his final act of "stick it to the man" the special ed teacher walked off with all his plans and paperwork, had the self contained room kicked out of one location and now in another. I sat there with the two other women and let them rearrange the room as appropriate, then at lunch another special ed teacher came in and said she had things in her room in case I needed them. I said thanks. Then she said to watch out for the two of them who were in the room with me (the other two teachers), they are backstabbing b*****s. I said thanks I will keep that in mind. Then when the other two returned from lunch they said watch out for that other special ed teacher who was here, she'll choke the life out of me. I said thanks I will keep that in mind.

Who to trust? NO ONE they are telling me. And I am also taking it to the next level. I am putting on an Irish wedding band with the heart flipped to the closed side so others think I am taken at least. That will diminish certain things.
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Old 1st September 2016, 4:51 PM   #2
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This kind of thing is pretty standard in many places.
More often than not it's inspired by a history of not taking responsibility for ones own mistakes/actions.
Some see this kind of thing as added fun to their work day though.

I know one manager who I just had a bad vibe from the first moment I met her - she walked me into the office for my then temping role.
She ended up becoming a manager as they decided it was cheaper to give her the role when the last manager left than finding someone new.
I am going to sound like one of the women you speak of but now and having known her and worked with her for many years I wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her.
I always went in plainly, to the point and with good business intentions with her and soon it became obvious to me that she would (without our boss's knowledge) basically cock it up for me at every point possible.
Myself and my boss ended up opening up in slight ways about this and he now knows exactly what is going on. he will ask me to ask her xyz and then pull himself back and say - 'nope, I'll speak to her about it - you'll only get a crap answer - I'll update you once I've spoken to her'. Our boss (as we both report directly to him complains about her quite a lot to me - he knows it won't be spread elsewhere - but he does express his angst to me about her.
He is a great boss btw - straight up - aside from his odd memory lapses and cheekiness! Lol! I get him back on a regular basis on the cheekiness though!

She currently has only two of her team on disciplinary threat - meaning it goes to HR and is investigated.
It's only been 3 months since the whole team were under the same threat over a period of 8 months - but four of them just left the company.
I actually don't think our boss knows anything at all about all this disciplinary threat. I think she just thrives on knocking people down. She is very good at it too.
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Old 1st September 2016, 8:24 PM   #3
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Yep, no one taking responsibility. And I agree that with the rare exception, you cannot trust workmates and can't be sure a work friend is a real friend until you're not there anymore. People must look out for themselves first.
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Old 1st September 2016, 9:44 PM   #4
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I think most people at heart are well-meaning and go to work with good intentions. The breakdown comes because people's ideas of what is "best" in a particular situation will vary widely. Now, is there the occasional person who, if they thought it might get them ahead, would eagerly stab their own dear, sweet, trusting, doting grandmother in the back and throw her under a semi truck? Absolutely. But I've also found many truly sincere, nice people among my co-workers. Many remain very close friends years after we've both left a company. I was the maid of honor in a former colleague's wedding. There's another foursome of us who have an annual tradition of traveling somewhere fun together. Among my friend's who are also colleagues/former colleagues, we confide in each other. We advice each other. We support each other in the inevitable power struggles at work. Most are happily married, so they're also my go-to advisors when I'm unsure about continuing with a guy or when I'm crying and unsure after a breakup. Our friendship and support of each other extends way beyond work.

The key is to recognize who the back stabbers are early on. Ditto regarding fair weather folks, who are only there are long as it suits their purposes. They'll turn on a dime. And finally who among the crowd are genuine and will be in your corner when things get rough. This last set are the ones who are critical to enjoying work and the work environment.

It's really no different than dating or any other human interaction between two or more people. It's on us to discern the other person's true agenda and motives. If we can't do that well, we'll get burned.
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Old 1st September 2016, 9:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GemmaUK View Post
...Our boss (as we both report directly to him complains about her quite a lot to me - he knows it won't be spread elsewhere - but he does express his angst to me about her.
He is a great boss btw - straight up - aside from his odd memory lapses and cheekiness! Lol! I get him back on a regular basis on the cheekiness though!
Sorry, but I beg to differ. He's not a great boss. Quite the opposite! He's the epitome of unprofessional and passive-aggressive. If he has an issue with his subordinate, address the issue with her directly. Don't whine about it to her peer. Don't be surprised if he's complaining "confidentially" about you to her. Nothing about his behavior makes him a great boss. He's, at least in part, responsible for the turmoil in your work environment.
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Old 1st September 2016, 10:24 PM   #6
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Most people will turn into back stabbers if it will be advantageous to them. So it's not like you can really tell early on. Sure, you can tell the obvious ones that do it just for fun.

It can all work well if there is not much competition or much advantage to be gained. However if say someone's job was under threat or they have a shot at a promotion given that they back stab you; all these people you confide in, travel with and go to their homes WILL do it.

The key is to accept this about human nature and even if you become after- work friends keep some of your work related thoughts private.
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Old 1st September 2016, 10:45 PM   #7
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In general, I don't trust people at work. I smile, act polite, do my job. I don't go to their houses, I don't meet their spouses, and I don't hang out with them at the bar (much). Beyond the facts of what I do at work and the fact that I'm a lesbian, they know little to nothing about my personal life. And the address I used to get my job is the street address of my Post Office box.

One thing to keep in mind - it is always helpful to listen more than you talk at work. You find out the most interesting stuff just by staying alert. And if you feel like your coworkers are a threat to you, start keeping a "dirt box." I like to collect the evidence of my coworkers' misdeeds. I never report on anybody, and I don't rock the boat. But if I sense something coming, there's a file ready to be left in a convenient spot.

Above all, never accept someone "complaining confidentially" to you at face value. Mark them down in your mind as someone to avoid. They will either complain about you behind your back, or simply start problems or drama that you don't want to be associated with. If you do hang with people from work, hang out with the happy, positive, upbeat people. It makes your day better, and your boss will see you in a better light.
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Old 1st September 2016, 10:46 PM   #8
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They've all had numerous...numerous...opportunities to back stab me, and they never did. I have always worked in highly competitive, cutthroat environments. The foursome I mentioned--our friendship was forged in a highly toxic work environment.

Sorry, not my experience with colleagues and former colleagues who were true friends.

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Originally Posted by Eternal Sunshine View Post
Most people will turn into back stabbers if it will be advantageous to them. So it's not like you can really tell early on. Sure, you can tell the obvious ones that do it just for fun.

It can all work well if there is not much competition or much advantage to be gained. However if say someone's job was under threat or they have a shot at a promotion given that they back stab you; all these people you confide in, travel with and go to their homes WILL do it.

The key is to accept this about human nature and even if you become after- work friends keep some of your work related thoughts private.

Last edited by angel.eyes; 1st September 2016 at 10:48 PM..
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Old 2nd September 2016, 3:16 AM   #9
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The military wasn't perfect, but I felt more cohesion than when I returned to civilian life.

And, women are so catty and petty.

Even when you try to stay away from drama, it finds you.

Yes, trust no one. I have to remind myself of this. Now and then I let my guard down and open up and loosen up my lips.

But I'm getting better. I am learning to be friendly w/o giving them too much info.
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Old 2nd September 2016, 4:01 PM   #10
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Sorry, but I beg to differ. He's not a great boss. Quite the opposite! He's the epitome of unprofessional and passive-aggressive. If he has an issue with his subordinate, address the issue with her directly. Don't whine about it to her peer. Don't be surprised if he's complaining "confidentially" about you to her. Nothing about his behavior makes him a great boss. He's, at least in part, responsible for the turmoil in your work environment.
he absolutely does address issues with her directly where he can and when people let him know about things that she does. Many folk are too scared of her to say anything as she is good at making people's work lives hell. I don't work closely enough for her to make my life hell but she loves to make my life difficult wherever she can or she will vocally assume responsibility for taking care of some problem when she didn't have any input and actually only viewed a mail she was copied on.
It's happened so much I just find it laughable when it's directed at ma and our boss knows this - so we do have the odd laugh about her behaviour. He says the odd thing to me here and there about her - he is a great boss and he is professional but he is also only human just like all of us and sometimes venting a little eases the load - plus he knows whatever he says won't go anywhere to anyone.
She is a 'known issue' for want of a better term.
She skirts just within - literally only just within legal boundaries for sick time - long periods of it and very regular to the point where none of us know whether she is off sick again, working from home or on holiday.
Last time she was signed off sick she had another member of her team (who was also signed off sick at the time) stay at her place to look after her dog while she spent a day out shopping at a store miles away which requires a good full day and a lot of energy even for a 'well' person. She told the person who works directly for her who flipped. She told us - we all flipped too - it was way out of order to do that. We all work damn hard and it's just not on when someone - even a manager such as she is thinks this is OK for her to do.
As a team we all spoke about it and I said that if they wanted anything said I was happy to as the boss already knows mine and her relationship and that there's not an awful lot she could do to wreck my reputation. Everyone else has to work much more closely with her so I offered to say something, Each member of the team came to thank me privately but also a tonne of other info came out from each of them too - eg: she has to leave early to see her doctor regularly. It turns out that that is the reason she 'gives' but this is actually when she has a hair and nail appointment. She tells people this stuff too!
Yesterday was her work from home day but by 11am she told one of her members of staff that she was feeling tired due to her exercise class the night before so would take the day as holiday instead. She didn't go online to book the day as holiday though. Instead (and this is what she told that staff member she sat playing bingo online so that her messaging system would show continually as online.
This is how this woman rolls..and if she is addressed about what she does after telling xyz in her team then you can be 100% sure she will do something to make their work life hell. It happens over and over and over.
She is just a bully. Bullies are often too tricky to fire or deal with. They slip between the rules - only just and partly because people know the net result if they say anything to anyone of what they know is actually going on.

As for me, any issue he has with me or my work he tells me straight away and directly to me.
His last somewhat serious complaint to me was back in July for which he took me aside into an office. The complaint was that I work too hard - he told me to leave an hour early that night when I was planning on staying late to make sure I didn't miss his deadline. I was on hols the following day as I had family visiting and I only rarely get to see any of my family. He extended his deadline and told me to bugger off home, relax and be fresh for my day of fun the next day with my folks.

Things, people and professionalism isn't always quite so cut and dried - we're all human too - as is our boss - and he struggles with her too. He can do nothing at all if people don't speak up but he has a strong sense that not all is right - plus he trusts that if it's bad enough and I know about it I will speak up - which is why I think he vents to me to some degree so that he knows I know that line of communication and subject is always open.
I have never vented to him over something daft/minor and he knows I won't.
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Old 2nd September 2016, 4:45 PM   #11
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Yes, work bullies are a nightmare. Eventually though, they step on the wrong person's toes.
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Old 3rd September 2016, 11:44 AM   #12
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he absolutely does address issues with her directly where he can and when people let him know about things that she does. Many folk are too scared of her to say anything as she is good at making people's work lives hell. I don't work closely enough for her to make my life hell but she loves to make my life difficult wherever she can or she will vocally assume responsibility for taking care of some problem when she didn't have any input and actually only viewed a mail she was copied on.
It's happened so much I just find it laughable when it's directed at ma and our boss knows this - so we do have the odd laugh about her behaviour. He says the odd thing to me here and there about her - he is a great boss and he is professional but he is also only human just like all of us and sometimes venting a little eases the load - plus he knows whatever he says won't go anywhere to anyone.
She is a 'known issue' for want of a better term.
She skirts just within - literally only just within legal boundaries for sick time - long periods of it and very regular to the point where none of us know whether she is off sick again, working from home or on holiday.
Last time she was signed off sick she had another member of her team (who was also signed off sick at the time) stay at her place to look after her dog while she spent a day out shopping at a store miles away which requires a good full day and a lot of energy even for a 'well' person. She told the person who works directly for her who flipped. She told us - we all flipped too - it was way out of order to do that. We all work damn hard and it's just not on when someone - even a manager such as she is thinks this is OK for her to do.
As a team we all spoke about it and I said that if they wanted anything said I was happy to as the boss already knows mine and her relationship and that there's not an awful lot she could do to wreck my reputation. Everyone else has to work much more closely with her so I offered to say something, Each member of the team came to thank me privately but also a tonne of other info came out from each of them too - eg: she has to leave early to see her doctor regularly. It turns out that that is the reason she 'gives' but this is actually when she has a hair and nail appointment. She tells people this stuff too!
Yesterday was her work from home day but by 11am she told one of her members of staff that she was feeling tired due to her exercise class the night before so would take the day as holiday instead. She didn't go online to book the day as holiday though. Instead (and this is what she told that staff member she sat playing bingo online so that her messaging system would show continually as online.
This is how this woman rolls..and if she is addressed about what she does after telling xyz in her team then you can be 100% sure she will do something to make their work life hell. It happens over and over and over.
She is just a bully. Bullies are often too tricky to fire or deal with. They slip between the rules - only just and partly because people know the net result if they say anything to anyone of what they know is actually going on.

As for me, any issue he has with me or my work he tells me straight away and directly to me.
His last somewhat serious complaint to me was back in July for which he took me aside into an office. The complaint was that I work too hard - he told me to leave an hour early that night when I was planning on staying late to make sure I didn't miss his deadline. I was on hols the following day as I had family visiting and I only rarely get to see any of my family. He extended his deadline and told me to bugger off home, relax and be fresh for my day of fun the next day with my folks.

Things, people and professionalism isn't always quite so cut and dried - we're all human too - as is our boss - and he struggles with her too. He can do nothing at all if people don't speak up but he has a strong sense that not all is right - plus he trusts that if it's bad enough and I know about it I will speak up - which is why I think he vents to me to some degree so that he knows I know that line of communication and subject is always open.
I have never vented to him over something daft/minor and he knows I won't.
Your boss is out of line and unprofessional in complaining to you or making snide comments to you about this coworker and if I had a boss who did that I would not trust him.

It doesn't matter what this coworker does, what matters is how the company deals with what she does. Does your company deem it acceptable for an employee to use a sick day for all day shopping excursion? If not then your boss (if he's this coworker's boss too) needs take disciplinary action with her. Simply complaining or venting to you about it does nothing to address the issue. If he doesn't have the authority to discipline her then he needs to take it up with someone who does. If there is no policy against abusing or misusing sick days, which I find unlikely, then that is the fault of the company and again your boss whining to you about it does nothing. If he were a leader and a professional he would know how to deal with these things without lowering himself to complaining to his subordinates.

My manager deals with difficult members on our team too and I have never once heard him bad mouth or complain about one employee to another. When an employee does something against company policy he deals directly with that person and takes disciplinary action if necessary but he never discusses or badmouths that employee to other people. I would lose all respect for him if I ever heard him make disparaging comments about an employee or another manager. I would assume that he must be inept if that's the only way he knows how to deal with a difficult employee.
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Old 3rd September 2016, 4:46 PM   #13
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Precisely! It's just astounding that a boss would actually mishandle basic management issues as poorly as he does!
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Old 3rd September 2016, 8:59 PM   #14
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First experience was 2 managers having a feud. 2 managers teamed up to get the second out.

Second was in retail. No matter how nice you are coworkers will put you through problems because they can. Some of them know the tricks to staying there. I thought it was disgusting that they would backstab and use threats and of course when the mngr was not around. Only then do they act like angels.
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Old 4th September 2016, 10:56 AM   #15
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Your boss is out of line and unprofessional in complaining to you or making snide comments to you about this coworker and if I had a boss who did that I would not trust him.

It doesn't matter what this coworker does, what matters is how the company deals with what she does. Does your company deem it acceptable for an employee to use a sick day for all day shopping excursion? If not then your boss (if he's this coworker's boss too) needs take disciplinary action with her. Simply complaining or venting to you about it does nothing to address the issue. If he doesn't have the authority to discipline her then he needs to take it up with someone who does. If there is no policy against abusing or misusing sick days, which I find unlikely, then that is the fault of the company and again your boss whining to you about it does nothing. If he were a leader and a professional he would know how to deal with these things without lowering himself to complaining to his subordinates.

My manager deals with difficult members on our team too and I have never once heard him bad mouth or complain about one employee to another. When an employee does something against company policy he deals directly with that person and takes disciplinary action if necessary but he never discusses or badmouths that employee to other people. I would lose all respect for him if I ever heard him make disparaging comments about an employee or another manager. I would assume that he must be inept if that's the only way he knows how to deal with a difficult employee.
He dealt with the whole shopping day issue - massive changes made once he knew about it.

He doesn't make snide comments. Only daft comments and only to me - why? Because when I know for sure he knows I will speak to him and he knows I don't pass things on nor make mountains of molehills.

A manager - or in this case the boss is a director actually - can't sort out things he has no awareness of.

Too many people are too scared of her to say anything and not just that but because the boss is a director of the company some are too low down the pecking order to know/realise that they actually could talk to him.
Me, I'm not. Plus I don't give a fig if my life is made more difficult by this 'lady' as the director already knows all too well that she tries it with me.
I can deal with the latest disciplinary warning as I am pretty much 100% sure he has no idea it happened. This means I'll talk with him in a way that first totally undermines him and could wreck my own reputation.
Whatever I do say I know he will act upon within a couple of days so - once he has found a way to do it and without there being a backlash this time to the colleagues involved.

However, this isn't my thread so I will bail out at this point as people seem to be responding to my example and not the OP.
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