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Co-Worker Is Taking Over My Job


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Old 19th September 2017, 9:39 PM   #16
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I feel your pain. I work in a nearly all-male environment. I hate to say it, but you have to be WAY tougher than they are. Ruthless, even. It is difficult to do, especially if you are not naturally assertive. Since you've broken down and cried in front of everyone, it looks really bad and makes it so much harder to get their respect. My usual technique for dealing with men at work is sarcasm and dry humor - I can't let them see a crack in the armor. Plus, being lesbian, it's doubly difficult....

My GF#1 is a designer - not of web pages, but of other things. I don't even pretend to understand the work that she does, but she has been happy and successful working as a contractor. She is able to work from home, set her own hours, and rarely has to do a video conference with the people she is working for. She can break her work into 2 hours blocks, go for a run, or whatever she wants to do. Perhaps you would be happier looking for a situation like that?

If you have to stick with your job, here's a couple of things. First, learn what the company wants, not what you would prefer to do. It sucks, but if Kevin's style is their thing - be Kevin, but be a better one. Second, get ruthless. Kevin has got to go! I believe it was John D. Rockefeller who said that "competition is a sin." Engineer Kevin's way out the door....whether that means he leaves, gets fired, transferred, or his contract expires. Any way to get him out of your space. You will definitely need a friend to help with this. Since you are female, sexual harassment is always a good way, but it has to be believable.

Fortunately, if he has no degree and they can't hire him, then they will probably choose you if they don't have other candidates. If I were you, I would find out if there are other candidates. If so, then I might be more worried about that than Kevin.
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Old 20th September 2017, 12:36 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
I feel your pain. I work in a nearly all-male environment. I hate to say it, but you have to be WAY tougher than they are. Ruthless, even. It is difficult to do, especially if you are not naturally assertive. Since you've broken down and cried in front of everyone, it looks really bad and makes it so much harder to get their respect. My usual technique for dealing with men at work is sarcasm and dry humor - I can't let them see a crack in the armor. Plus, being lesbian, it's doubly difficult....

My GF#1 is a designer - not of web pages, but of other things. I don't even pretend to understand the work that she does, but she has been happy and successful working as a contractor. She is able to work from home, set her own hours, and rarely has to do a video conference with the people she is working for. She can break her work into 2 hours blocks, go for a run, or whatever she wants to do. Perhaps you would be happier looking for a situation like that?

If you have to stick with your job, here's a couple of things. First, learn what the company wants, not what you would prefer to do. It sucks, but if Kevin's style is their thing - be Kevin, but be a better one. Second, get ruthless. Kevin has got to go! I believe it was John D. Rockefeller who said that "competition is a sin." Engineer Kevin's way out the door....whether that means he leaves, gets fired, transferred, or his contract expires. Any way to get him out of your space. You will definitely need a friend to help with this. Since you are female, sexual harassment is always a good way, but it has to be believable.

Fortunately, if he has no degree and they can't hire him, then they will probably choose you if they don't have other candidates. If I were you, I would find out if there are other candidates. If so, then I might be more worried about that than Kevin.
Yes I need to grow a thicker skin fast. Kevin doesn't care that he is hurting my feelings at all. I called him out on sniping my work again yesterday and then he turned it around on me. He said I wasn't being professional. I was like WTF?!

I am not the one stealing and redoing someone else's work here. I was trying to stand up for myself and get more assertive. He is friends with most everyone on the team and they all love him too so I have no support. I bet he told everyone I got upset with him.

I'm on friendly terms with someone hirer up than my boss so maybe I can report Kevin's behavior. He isn't being a team player, is stepping on my toes constantly and is so difficult to work with. He doesn't want any input from anyone else and thinks only his opinion matters. I am just so sick and tired of his poor attitude. I get along with everyone else on the team and heard that he was stealing the ideas of one other person.

It has been 2 months already so countdown to 10 months until he is gone hopefully. There is a chance he could get his contract extended another year. I fear if I report his toxic behavior then I could be seen as someone who is whiny and difficult myself.

I have been confirmed that I will get hired once the hiring freeze is over with here. The job is really great and I like the laid back work environment. The only negative aspect is this toxic co-worker.
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Old 20th September 2017, 1:18 PM   #18
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Kevin is obviously taking advantage of the laid back work environment, and is being assertive.

It would seem you cannot over-ride him, unless you come up with better and/or more aggressive ideas for the projects.

It would also seem that you cannot depend on his leaving or your staying, this far ahead.
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Old 20th September 2017, 2:53 PM   #19
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Kevin is obviously taking advantage of the laid back work environment, and is being assertive.

It would seem you cannot over-ride him, unless you come up with better and/or more aggressive ideas for the projects.

It would also seem that you cannot depend on his leaving or your staying, this far ahead.
Yeah so true! I have been here 10 months already myself and was told I'd be hired on once the hiring freeze is over. I don't think they will hire me if they knew that I'm just no longer of any value to this company. Kevin has made sure of that.

I found out today that he manipulated his way into getting to redesign another of my projects that I had done since starting here. I thought of submitting some redesigns as well for it but I don't want to stoop to his level if he has already been officially tasked with it. I have class unlike him.

Thanks for all of the feedback here, I think my next steps is to look for another job. I'm just throwing in the towel on this toxic individual. I have been in the business 15 years and have NEVER encountered someone so devious and hell-bent on destroying another's job as Kevin. I try to be nice to him but it backfires the next day. God forbid I will run across such a creep like this in a future position.
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Old 20th September 2017, 3:50 PM   #20
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Well... sounds like you are leaving - but don't just blame this on Kevin, use it as a learning experience.

You know that movie where Tom Hanks yells “there is no crying in baseball!!”

Yeah that – you really got to get control over your emotions.

I too work in a male dominated field, often with men 15-30 years my senior. I had to learn how to be assertive, to be HERD, to demand respect.

Part of that is getting a handle of your emotions. DO NOT CRY AT WORK.

Again, do not cry at work. It makes you appear weak, unable to control yourself, unstable and not dependable.

You can’t let this guy get under your skin. You can’t arrive at work in a bad mood. I have a saying “attitude affects everything”.

It affects the way you carry yourself, the way you are received by others, your emotions, and your performance. If you are coming in with a bad attitude – well, that is someone people don’t want to work with. Its also important to be a team player. Recognize the work of your coworkers and freely give them accolades. Make alliances, even with people you may not “like”. Work is a place to be professional – these aren’t your friends, they are your colleges and they demand a different kind of interaction.

The best thing you can do is arrive every day with a positive “have the tiger by the tail” attitude and do your best to kick butt! That also means no whining. And supporting your team.

Instead of blurting out and crying during a meeting (which is mortifying for everyone) – you need to be able to keep it together. Go to your boss in a CALM demeanor and explain how you love the work, and how you are eager to get on more projects and prove that you can exceed their expectations.
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Old 20th September 2017, 4:37 PM   #21
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Thanks for all of the feedback here, I think my next steps is to look for another job. I'm just throwing in the towel on this toxic individual. I have been in the business 15 years and have NEVER encountered someone so devious and hell-bent on destroying another's job as Kevin. I try to be nice to him but it backfires the next day. God forbid I will run across such a creep like this in a future position.
I don't know if he is hell bent on destroying your job or just a go getter who doesn't let anyone get in the way of his goals. You will meet more people like this in your professional life so it is best to learn now how to handle them and how to leave your emotions at home.
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Old 20th September 2017, 7:03 PM   #22
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I found out today that he manipulated his way into getting to redesign another of my projects that I had done since starting here. I thought of submitting some redesigns as well for it but I don't want to stoop to his level if he has already been officially tasked with it. I have class unlike him.

I..... have NEVER encountered someone so devious and hell-bent on destroying another's job as Kevin. I try to be nice to him but it backfires the next day. God forbid I will run across such a creep like this in a future position.
OK... not to deepen the wound here, but it might be time to get over your ethics. The whole "stoop to their level" comment is usually made by someone who is powerless in their situation, and uses ethics as an excuse not to step up and do the dirty work necessary to make changes.

Work in almost any environment is a screwed up mess. Chances are, you will encounter another Kevin in another workplace. You will need to pick a time to stand up and fight. Yes, Kevin is devious. That's why he is succeeding!!! You don't get much in the world of work by being nice....but you still have to look like you are nice, even when you are nasty. In other words, in the world of work it is quite often the liars, cheats, sociopaths and hypocrites that rise to the top. Also, work usually isn't about what you know, but about who you know. By your description, Kevin has spent his time catering to the client's needs and making connections - what you should have done.

As I said earlier, if you can't change the way you work, you might need to change where/how you work. My GF#1 simply can't work in the kind of environment where I work - she's too sweet and she can't deal with the nasty nature of people. She found an alternative - so can you!

Wherever you go from here, and whatever you do, you have the power to make changes. There are other jobs out there if you choose to leave. If you take some of what you have learned with you, then it won't be a loss.
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Old 21st September 2017, 3:27 PM   #23
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I know the feeling OP. I have someone trying to take over a project I own. Luckily in my case my boss knows and will defend that project is mine. But this guy is still trying to take it over.

I agree with the others in that don't cry. These guys work on the respect system so you need to demand it.

If you can't be of help in that team, would you boss either be able to carve out something you own on that team? Can you at least get a user story or two of your own?

Could you take another project or switch teams? Is there something else web-based that's going on where you could contribute?
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Old 28th September 2017, 3:57 PM   #24
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Here is an update on the situation:

I decided to have lunch with Kevin and told him he has been doing some things that are making it hard to work for me. He was really understanding and we have been getting along better.

He confessed that he has a brain disorder that causes him to act slow sometimes. He also said he didn't think working together was beneficial for the product to launch. I explained that it was necessary so I think he got it. This was last week so I haven't had many problems with him. His personality is controlling and overly perfectionistic. I am the opposite so it is no wonder we did not get along.

I read this book called "Impossible to please: How to deal with perfectionist coworkers, controlling spouses and other incredibly critical people" and it has really helped. I recommend everyone get a kindle copy if they are having the same problems.
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Old 28th September 2017, 4:01 PM   #25
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I know the feeling OP. I have someone trying to take over a project I own. Luckily in my case my boss knows and will defend that project is mine. But this guy is still trying to take it over.

I agree with the others in that don't cry. These guys work on the respect system so you need to demand it.

If you can't be of help in that team, would you boss either be able to carve out something you own on that team? Can you at least get a user story or two of your own?

Could you take another project or switch teams? Is there something else web-based that's going on where you could contribute?
There is only one team here because it is a small company. I don't think that is an option. It would be great though. While Kevin and I will never be friends, I understand him better and the book I mentioned in the previous post helped me.
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Old 29th September 2017, 4:00 PM   #26
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Yeah so true! I have been here 10 months already myself and was told I'd be hired on once the hiring freeze is over. I don't think they will hire me if they knew that I'm just no longer of any value to this company. Kevin has made sure of that.
You have mentioned about your skill set being UI/UX. So do you know Angular or React ?? If you know ReactJS, I don't think you should be groveling for opportunities or projects. You can easily earn $100,000+ with ReactJS specialization.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 5:12 AM   #27
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I totally sympathize with you. People that have any power in my company are 100% male. I find it frustrating that they would often act like they are listening and appreciating my opinion and go and do what they want. This is when it comes to my specialty area that they know little about. Like, why come to me in the first place

I also tend to bottle things up and then have an over-reaction to a relatively minor thing. When I have an outburst, mine is usually anger rather than crying. I can also make insults that are somewhat personal. It's not the best look. What I found to work best after is:

1. Don't apologize. Never apologize or explain yourself away unless your boss directly confronts you about your behavior. If nothing is said, you say nothing. Apologizing in any way will only further invalidate your point and make you appear even weaker.

2. Go about your work like absolutely nothing has happened. Appear calm, polite and smile. Pretend like absolutely nothing is out of place. The more you do this, the faster it will blow over.

3. Keep a low profile for a while after. Fly under the radar.

4. Find an outside of work ally and outlet for your emotions. It will help with keeping it together at work. Don't try to gossip or get people on your side. This only looks unprofessional.

5. I found that complaining to bosses or HR or similar isn't really effective. Basically, either fight or get out of the ring.

6. If outbursts happen often (like more than once a year or so) and if you feel frustrated 80% of the time, it means that the job or company culture is a bad fit for you. There will always be Kevins, but some environments will be an overall better fit than others.

7. Always be aware of better jobs and opportunities.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 2:51 PM   #28
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You have mentioned about your skill set being UI/UX. So do you know Angular or React ?? If you know ReactJS, I don't think you should be groveling for opportunities or projects. You can easily earn $100,000+ with ReactJS specialization.
Yes I know both quite well with 3 years of Angular and 2 years of React. I am earning more than that right now with this job. I have been offered an interview with a job paying $79/hourly that is way too far away. It would be a 1.5 hour commute but the pay looks good. It is probably a very stressful job, however.

This company is really laid back like me as in you can work from home and there isn't any structure. It fits my personality. Kevin is not liking the atmosphere here and complains how laid back it is. He wants them to implement some structure with a project manager. I wish he would STFU! lol!
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Old 2nd October 2017, 2:52 PM   #29
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I totally sympathize with you. People that have any power in my company are 100% male. I find it frustrating that they would often act like they are listening and appreciating my opinion and go and do what they want. This is when it comes to my specialty area that they know little about. Like, why come to me in the first place

I also tend to bottle things up and then have an over-reaction to a relatively minor thing. When I have an outburst, mine is usually anger rather than crying. I can also make insults that are somewhat personal. It's not the best look. What I found to work best after is:

1. Don't apologize. Never apologize or explain yourself away unless your boss directly confronts you about your behavior. If nothing is said, you say nothing. Apologizing in any way will only further invalidate your point and make you appear even weaker.

2. Go about your work like absolutely nothing has happened. Appear calm, polite and smile. Pretend like absolutely nothing is out of place. The more you do this, the faster it will blow over.

3. Keep a low profile for a while after. Fly under the radar.

4. Find an outside of work ally and outlet for your emotions. It will help with keeping it together at work. Don't try to gossip or get people on your side. This only looks unprofessional.

5. I found that complaining to bosses or HR or similar isn't really effective. Basically, either fight or get out of the ring.

6. If outbursts happen often (like more than once a year or so) and if you feel frustrated 80% of the time, it means that the job or company culture is a bad fit for you. There will always be Kevins, but some environments will be an overall better fit than others.

7. Always be aware of better jobs and opportunities.
Great tips. Thanks!
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