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snugasabug

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Self Centered in the workplace...
« on: September 28, 2012, 07:53:23 AM »
I'm sure we all work with one or two self centered people in our places of employment.

What strategies do you use to maintain your composure and grace while dealing with these people?

I work with someone who is extremely self centered in every way possible. She feels that the earth revolves around her. She will attend meetings that start at 1pm, with a full and complete take out meal.  She chomps away on her McD's french fries in the board room, where the other 10 people in the room are sipping on water.  When confronted or asked to refrain from eating, she will whine "but I'm HUnNnnNnnNnnnngry!!!!!"

I'm having a hard time staying polite with her. I want to scream "It's NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!" 

She is an only child....and acts like a 30 year old toddler, complete with temper tantrums, tears and the works.

My current method is to interact as minimally as possible, and let someone else do the complaining about her for now.  I have to work closely on a project with her, and I think I will take the "First Snugasabug will do this...THEN SelfishOne will do THAT..." and be positive and directive.   I think sharing the work is asking for trouble.

Any other tips from my likeminded friends?  My lip biting is starting to hurt!

RebeccainGA

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 09:02:16 AM »
I have decided not to acknowledge the insanity. We have a few of those sorts around, and they make me insane - especially with the eating and drinking in inappropriate places. I mean, I sort of graze at my desk most of the day. This is better for me than eating a great big lunch. But I do it AT MY DESK, never with a bunch of stuff spread out even, and NEVER anywhere else. Eating in a meeting? That's INSANE.

I usually just pretend they aren't there. If they speak, I imagine they're on the conference call line and not in person. I just totally act like they aren't there, doing what no one would do.

Good luck!

Yvaine

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 09:21:30 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

O'Dell

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 09:27:03 AM »
acts like a 30 year old toddler, complete with temper tantrums, tears and the works.

If she pulls that on you, you might try "Oh dear. I'll give you some time to compose yourself. Come find me once you have done that." And then leave the area. If you can't leave, then direct her to somewhere private or back to her desk.
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Cami

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 09:36:46 AM »
I'm sure we all work with one or two self centered people in our places of employment.

What strategies do you use to maintain your composure and grace while dealing with these people?

I work with someone who is extremely self centered in every way possible. She feels that the earth revolves around her. She will attend meetings that start at 1pm, with a full and complete take out meal.  She chomps away on her McD's french fries in the board room, where the other 10 people in the room are sipping on water.  When confronted or asked to refrain from eating, she will whine "but I'm HUnNnnNnnNnnnngry!!!!!"

I'm having a hard time staying polite with her. I want to scream "It's NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!" 

She is an only child....and acts like a 30 year old toddler, complete with temper tantrums, tears and the works.

My current method is to interact as minimally as possible, and let someone else do the complaining about her for now.  I have to work closely on a project with her, and I think I will take the "First Snugasabug will do this...THEN SelfishOne will do THAT..." and be positive and directive.   I think sharing the work is asking for trouble.

Any other tips from my likeminded friends?  My lip biting is starting to hurt!

For the record, my dd is an only child and hasn't acted that way since she was 2. For the record, the most narcissistic and immature coworker I've ever had was the oldest of six. Being an only child has little to do with narcissistic and/or immature behavior.

AustenFan

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 09:40:14 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

Right, but in OPs office her coworker is the only one eating and has been asked to stop. This goes beyond office culture.

Yvaine

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 10:02:47 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

Right, but in OPs office her coworker is the only one eating and has been asked to stop. This goes beyond office culture.

Absolutely. I was only addressing the idea that it's insane to eat in a meeting. In this case she should definitely not be doing it.

Twik

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2012, 10:08:26 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

Right, but in OPs office her coworker is the only one eating and has been asked to stop.

I must ask, why? The meeting has been scheduled at what is, for many people, lunch time. It seems unfair to take up CW's lunchtime, and forbid her to actually feed herself. Is she actually eating at the only time she is allowed?

One might argue that the rest of the group are being special snowflakes by trying to force her not to eat. They sound rather puritanical - "We only sip water in this meeting, not even coffee! How dare you EAT?!?!"

The only solution I see is asking her to take her lunch before the meeting. But she may well feel that this way she is actually benefiting the company by not taking a separate lunch break.
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Shoo

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2012, 10:11:23 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

Right, but in OPs office her coworker is the only one eating and has been asked to stop.

I must ask, why? The meeting has been scheduled at what is, for many people, lunch time. It seems unfair to take up CW's lunchtime, and forbid her to actually feed herself. Is she actually eating at the only time she is allowed?

One might argue that the rest of the group are being special snowflakes by trying to force her not to eat. They sound rather puritanical - "We only sip water in this meeting, not even coffee! How dare you EAT?!?!"

The only solution I see is asking her to take her lunch before the meeting. But she may well feel that this way she is actually benefiting the company by not taking a separate lunch break.

I agree with this.  Is she taking a lunch break in addition to the meeting?  If not, then when is she supposed to actually eat? 

NyaChan

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 10:19:19 AM »
Eating in a meeting isn't inherently insane--at our department meetings, for example, everybody eats. Sometimes they all bring their own food, sometimes we order as a group. But you have to take your cues from the rest of the office, and if nobody else eats during meetings, one has to take care of that before or after the meeting. It's an office culture thing.

Right, but in OPs office her coworker is the only one eating and has been asked to stop.

I must ask, why? The meeting has been scheduled at what is, for many people, lunch time. It seems unfair to take up CW's lunchtime, and forbid her to actually feed herself. Is she actually eating at the only time she is allowed?

One might argue that the rest of the group are being special snowflakes by trying to force her not to eat. They sound rather puritanical - "We only sip water in this meeting, not even coffee! How dare you EAT?!?!"

The only solution I see is asking her to take her lunch before the meeting. But she may well feel that this way she is actually benefiting the company by not taking a separate lunch break.

I agree with this.  Is she taking a lunch break in addition to the meeting?  If not, then when is she supposed to actually eat?

Add me in as well.  Drives me crazy when people schedule things right around lunch time.  I either have to scramble to find a sufficient snack right before, eat during, or just sit there and feel embarrassed while my stomach loudly rumbles.

Bexx27

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 10:30:39 AM »
I'm sure we all work with one or two self centered people in our places of employment.

What strategies do you use to maintain your composure and grace while dealing with these people?

I work with someone who is extremely self centered in every way possible. She feels that the earth revolves around her. She will attend meetings that start at 1pm, with a full and complete take out meal.  She chomps away on her McD's french fries in the board room, where the other 10 people in the room are sipping on water.  When confronted or asked to refrain from eating, she will whine "but I'm HUnNnnNnnNnnnngry!!!!!"

I'm having a hard time staying polite with her. I want to scream "It's NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!" 

She is an only child....and acts like a 30 year old toddler, complete with temper tantrums, tears and the works.

My current method is to interact as minimally as possible, and let someone else do the complaining about her for now.  I have to work closely on a project with her, and I think I will take the "First Snugasabug will do this...THEN SelfishOne will do THAT..." and be positive and directive.   I think sharing the work is asking for trouble.

Any other tips from my likeminded friends?  My lip biting is starting to hurt!

For the record, my dd is an only child and hasn't acted that way since she was 2. For the record, the most narcissistic and immature coworker I've ever had was the oldest of six. Being an only child has little to do with narcissistic and/or immature behavior.

Yes, let's please not perpetuate pernicious stereotypes of any group on this site. Here's an interesting article about the myths surrounding only children: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2002530-1,00.html

This coworker is whiny and self-centered because it's worked for her in the past. I agree with O'Dell's strategy of disengaging immediately if she starts to throw a tantrum; she  needs to learn it won't work with you. If she acts like a toddler, treat her like one, using the equivalent of timeouts and "I can't understand you when you use that voice." I would communicate by e-mail whenever possible and definitely divide up tasks instead of working together.

As for eating lunch during the meeting, her supervisor or the meeting organizer should clearly state that eating is not allowed during the meeting. If that's an unofficial policy, make it official if the majority agrees. So what if she whines? If she knows that people won't confront her about bad behavior because she'll whine, that makes whining a winning strategy for her and perpetuates the problem.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 10:32:58 AM »
I would definitely eat my lunch at a meeting scheduled over my normal lunchtime.  But I wouldn't eat McDonalds!  (or any other exceedingly smelly food)

And when people protested my eating, I would let them know that if they wished to schedule the meeting for a time that was not over lunchtime, I'd be happy to comply.  But until that happened, I would be eating as necessary.  (Unless, like Bexx27 says, they make a rule about it.)

But then, I'm not a whiney self centred person in other ways.  I just need to eat when I need to eat.  Or you're looking at passed out Outdoor Girl.

I'm so glad my office is pretty laid back.  Everyone brings snacks to meetings; I bake for our monthly meetings - usually a loaf cake or scones or something reasonably easy to eat.  And if a meeting is scheduled over the lunch hour, usually food is provided.
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TheaterDiva1

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 12:30:59 PM »
She will attend meetings that start at 1pm, with a full and complete take out meal.  She chomps away on her McD's french fries in the board room, where the other 10 people in the room are sipping on water.  When confronted or asked to refrain from eating, she will whine "but I'm HUnNnnNnnNnnnngry!!!!!"

So what does everyone else do?  I'm guessing they take lunch before the meeting?  Why doesn't she do that?

lilfox

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 12:42:07 PM »
acts like a 30 year old toddler, complete with temper tantrums, tears and the works.

If she pulls that on you, you might try "Oh dear. I'll give you some time to compose yourself. Come find me once you have done that." And then leave the area. If you can't leave, then direct her to somewhere private or back to her desk.

This.  I don't think the issue is that she's eating in a meeting, it's the tantrums and childish responses to what are probably reasonable requests.  I also vote disengage as above, or redirect ("Let's move on from Tantrum-Inducing Issue, what does everyone think about Neutral Issue?"  and ignore the undesirable behavior as best as possible.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Self Centered in the workplace...
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2012, 01:16:46 PM »
If she's going to behave like a toddler I'd be sorely tempted to treat her like one.  Example: (said in a sing-songy preschool teacher tone)  Okay Annoying One, you have to do this, this and this and be sure to show it to me before you do anything else.  I know you're hungry, but we don't eat in the meetings.  You need to eat your lunch before the meeting starts.