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Old 3rd March 2006, 7:27 PM   #1
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-- dealing with difficult superior/coworker

I need help here. This is hurting my daily work and I'm ashamed to admit it because I feel weak about it. However, there are 2 other girls I work with and they are weaker about it than I am, so at least I know it's not "in my head".

I work for a company and our department is small. Everyone reports to someone different. I am the only American out of about 10 brits / scots. I love the small differences in personalities, etc...FOR THE MOST PART.

I just started 3 months ago in a sales position. My immediate boss is from London and is GREAT...he lets me do my thing and doesn't hassle me about every little thing. However, his best mate of many years, is our editor and also my superior. I don't report to this guy, we will call him Larry...but Larry seems to me bipolar and I walk on eggshells around him. He is moody, arrogant, etc and sits 2 feet from me.

It has gotten to the point where I can barely make cold call sales calls near him and it hurts my work. He is a highly critical and judgemental person and it's hard because sometimes he tries to be nice. However for the most part, he is moody. I ask him a question and he either bites my head off or clearly doesn't even respond. He is so condescending I can barely make it through a conversation with him.

I feel like such an immature loser about this whole thing because it has affected me so greatly.

Right now my immediate boss is in London so I don't really report to him and I am in a tough position because if I complain about his mate, my coworker Larry, I am complaining about his best friend.

Any advice? I am a really confident, dimplmatic and strong person and yet I don't know how to deal with this. I decided against my better judgement and stayed home today for a "doctor's appointment" as an excuse to avoid him. I am not acting like a victim visible in ANY way, I deal with him as directly as possible. Yet it's become so difficult for me. I can NOT change my seat, there is no where to go.

Should I just confront him personally? That was my initial though but I'm REALLY afraid. So sad to admit it, though...

HELP! I don't want to lose my job.
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Old 3rd March 2006, 7:49 PM   #2
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How do other people in the office deal with him? (apart from the two women you mentioned - you said there were 10 of you - or are most of them working out of the office?) Would it be possible to ask others how they work with him? And I wouldn't be that afraid to say something to your boss. It doesn't have to be criticism, just ask him what's up with this guy & if he has any suggestions about how to work with him better.

Once upon time I took a course of different personality types in the office & how to deal with each of them. It was rather simplistic, but it really worked. I can't remember the details - there are 4 types & you get the best results by dealing with each of them in specific ways.

I found it helpful because I had to work closely with a woman who was superior to me & kind of like what you describe. She was moody, aloof & condescending. When I applied the principles suggested for her personality type our relationship improved immensely. To the point where she would seek me out personally for problem solving & information.

Sorry, my success story is not really helping you & I have no material to refer you to.

Suffice to say, that you can't deal with individuals at work in the same way & expect the same results from them. You have to figure out what is the best way to deal with Larry & act accordingly.

Could it be as simple as he might need a friend? Would it be possible to jokingly ask him in the morning when you come in, "So what mood is Larry in today?" Or when he snaps at you, brush it off & say something like, "Come on now, no need to be surly, I'm just asking so I can do my job better." Then again, he is your superior so you'd have to be careful there I guess.
~~~ I'm not young enough to know everything.
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