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difficult colleague told me off


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Old 13th April 2017, 3:27 PM   #1
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difficult colleague told me off

This is a long story so bear with me. I live in a country where permanent contracts mean A-LOT. I moved here to be with my then fiancÚ now husband and I found a teaching job at a very prestigious private school. Starting at the same time was this other girl let's call her Jen. Jen and I are the same age and we both started on short term. We got along on thesurface but deep down I didnt appreciate how competitive and fake she was.
Anyway secretly she was pregnant so she had to go. My contract was extended anda year passed. I was still on a non-perma contract. anyway i find out my friend who worked w me (lets call her jane) was preggo so i call jen telling her that jane is pregnant spo she may have a job! to which she says "I hope she doesnt lose her baby because i really need the job". like this is the type of person she is. So though she was hired to cover jane, i kept my distance as i didnt like her energy. I was NEVER mean to her, always professional but not very friendly either.
anyway, the coming september, as a new school year began, jane decided to quit days before the first day of school leaving a new position and permanent contract open.
boss calls Jen of course as she was desperate. jen, knowing i gave in more time to the job and was next in line for a contract, tells boss she cannot come back without a permanent contract.
boss gives it to her, i tell boss I was upset with my boss for making such a decidion when I was next in line and remain distant-perhaps even more so than before with jen. jen was super difficult to work with as she would never listen to me when i told her things professionally and was an all-around B.
I confided in one person let's call her linsey regarding Jen as that person was a friend so i thought i was safe. I never said anything bad just that it was unfair that she got the contract when she is unqualified.

Anyway time goes by, I get pregnant and at the end of the school year my boss finally gives me a contract. before I go on my 4 month mat leave, Jen comes up to me at lunch and says infront of everyone "oh r u happy u finally got a contract?"
so i confide in linsey that how heartless and linsey tells a bunch of people. one of which asks me about it via text. lets call her theresa. i respond that i have no issue w jen that i want to work w her professionally and theres no issue at all.

anyway i go on mat leave and Although linsey and theresa see my baby, i have them over for lunch, drinks and went often to do my nails w theresa, she tells jen idk what! because when i came back from work jen would not speak to me nor invite me to any meeting, was SUPER RUDE w me. I tried to kiss her hello on my first day and she wouldnt bother she just walked away.

I work for six weeks with all of my colleagues being totally evasive w me and off,
then on the 27th of march, after an observation by the science head, jen approaches me and TELLS.ME.OFF.

she says that colleagueS have approached her out of concern for her reputation
that i was saying hateful and vindictive things about her, that i am an awful person who always gossips, and that she just wants me to know she knows.

I was so confused I said what did i even say about u? she said "how can u even ask"
i said have u ever thought people could be spreading things because they have nothing better to do? she said "LIKE YOU?"
she continued attacking me where i kept going on that i appreciated her as a colleague and wanted no conflict. but since she continued attacking me i had to ask her what she wanted. she said an apology. i apologized for NOTHING.
but apologized nonetheless.
but we left things up in the air because class had to start.
i was so shaken up the entire day from being attacked this way. she kept calling me fake for saying hi to her everyday etc.

anyway the next day, she makes BROWNIES for staff members and was all happy but i couldnt even look at her. i am also suffering from a bit of ppd so i cant handle conflict like this. i havent been able to face her since as we started vacation sat the 30th of march but we'll be back at work the 18th of april.

since she attacked me, i havent been able to speak to the other english teachers esp theresa. linsey and others arent even talking to me! i dont know what is going on or what went on during my mat leave but i cant eat or sleep knowing this is my work environment.

I am NOT a confrontational person so i do not want to deal w this at-all. i know i am not guilty but i dont want to approach this situation in any way. my boss is also a total B SO i dont even know how much i can trust her.
plus i am dark haired tall thin and she is blonde chubby short and very manipulative whereas i am not. she uses her "angelic looks" to her advantage and will do so w boss. how do i deal w this when i go back??? please help.

Last edited by girlwhohasaquestion; 13th April 2017 at 3:33 PM..
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Old 13th April 2017, 3:45 PM   #2
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You deal with it by rising above it. You do your job beyond reproach -- come in early, stay late, volunteer for extra duty. You behave like a professional & you keep your distance from Jen. It's that simple
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Old 13th April 2017, 4:02 PM   #3
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sounds like a plan but how do I behave with her and fellow colleagues? as though nothing happened? do i just ignore the fact that no pne is speaking to me?
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Old 13th April 2017, 4:12 PM   #4
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i also have to share a room w jen
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Old 13th April 2017, 4:15 PM   #5
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You act like it ever happened. If someone is dumb enough to ask you about it, you quickly say that you did not do the things Jen accused you of & that you expect the person who raised the subject will never gossip about it again.


Sharing a room with Jen is not the same as sharing your life with her. You be cool to the point of being frosty but polite.
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Old 14th April 2017, 1:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girlwhohasaquestion View Post
i know i am not guilty but
Eh. I mean, you did talk negatively about her to colleagues. You did complain to your boss that she was promoted before you. You were a bit fake with her - calling her to tell her there was an opening in your company when you don't even like her.

However you choose to deal with this at work, I think you should own up to your own role in this situation so you can learn some lessons from it. Don't complain to coworkers about other coworkers. You never know whether it's going to get out, and if it does, you have no idea how it will be presented - whether it's exaggerated or taken out of context. Don't complain to your superiors about someone else getting promoted. Be very selective in spending time with coworkers outside of work - in fact, it's probably best to make it a rule to not be friends with coworkers, with very few exceptions.

If I were in your position, I would take Jen aside next time you see her and actually apologize for talking about her and tell her that moving forward, you'd like to have a cordial and professional working relationship with her. As far as the rest of your coworkers who seem to be avoiding you, say something similar to them. "I'm not sure what exactly happened, but if I put you in an awkward position here at work, I'm sorry. I hope we can have a cordial and professional working relationship moving forward." And then focus on doing a good job and working well with others, not on being friends with these people.
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Old 14th April 2017, 1:26 PM   #7
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hi there! i appreciate your message, you are right about alot of things. I do want to clarify that I was "trying" with her when I called her about the job, not being fake. Also not once did I complain to my boss about Jen, I complained that my boss was unprofessional to promise it to someone else and them give it to another. my boss deserved the criticism, even if jen needed the contract more than I did. But also I have already apologized and told her i wanted to work w her professionally. do you think it necessary I reiterate all of this? and take each colleague aside to say that? I get what you are saying, it is great for a fresh start. and for a lesson learned.
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Old 18th April 2017, 8:43 AM   #8
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In your comment following others' comments on your posting, you ask: "do you think it necessary I reiterate all of this? and take each colleague aside to say that?"

No, and no. Put it behind you.

You've already gotten good advice and insight from other commenters on your posting. You consider Jen to be fake, and she considers you to be fake. You share fault for the condition of your relationship. That relationship is broken, and will never be a happy and trusting one, but you can both behave professionally going forward. You aren't the first who held a colleague responsible for being passed over, but you now realize that was wrong, and you misidentified the actor in that situation - should have been boss/higher-ups, and not colleague.

The point of all this seems to be your drama around work, and that of your colleagues and boss. The whole point of your situation at work is supposed to be the work: your students and their learning experience. The point isn't pregnancy, breaks, maternity leave, and conversation among teachers - focus on the students and their learning. Make it work for the students and their families.

If each day at work was a day at a Disney theme park, you'd be paying them, instead of the other way around. You get a paycheck, and have to accept some unpleasantness for that - when it gets to be too much, you move on. Your boss's job absolutely isn't to make you happy, but to get the work done and to keep you engaged in the work, and to let you go if you're not getting the work done or otherwise not engaged in accomplishing the organization's mission.
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Old 18th April 2017, 10:17 AM   #9
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What about pretending it never happened?
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Old 19th April 2017, 4:04 PM   #10
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THANk you for all of your advice.

As suggested by most of you I've been getting on by focusing on my work and not this ridiculous drama.
I didn't confront anyone, instead I've been extra professional and cordial.
With Jen, she walked in the room yesterday and when I said hello she gave me a dirty look and did not respond. she then urged that we all have a meeting in the school cafeteria when she knows I bring a lunch and do not eat there. the immaturity is beyond me but I went anyway to the cafeteria where I sat there and spoke to all colleagues about strictly professional matters.

The whole "hello" thing bothers me though. Do I continue saying hi and receiving no response or do I just ignore her?

Sigh...
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Old 10th May 2017, 2:05 PM   #11
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Sso to update you Jen has been extremely rude and unapproachable since the event where she confronted and attacked me. I reported the incident to my boss last week as the whole thing has been overtly unprofessional. ok I may have said she wasnt my favourite colleague when asked about her or that she was difficult to work with, but I have ALWAYS treated her with cordiality and professionalism. Speaking about her in a non-hateful manner does not warrant an attack in the workplace. My boss was extremely supportive and has mentioned Jen seems a bit off and has been for a while. Boss will approach her and I'm just dreading the aftermath. Any advice on how to deal?
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Old 10th May 2017, 4:14 PM   #12
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tell boss not to approach but just to assign you a different room.
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Old 10th May 2017, 10:52 PM   #13
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The boss needs to bring you both into the office together and talk to you both and work through this, and help you both get over it so then each of you can act professional and respectful towards one another while at work.

Stop confiding in so called work friends...They are your professional collegues not buddies. Unless you connect and build a true friendship with a few people outside of work, keep it professional and don't say anything to them unless you want it repeated.
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