Author Topic: Working with a Bully  (Read 7926 times)

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Millicent

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Working with a Bully
« on: October 25, 2012, 02:40:09 PM »
Hello!

My DH has worked in a theater production every Christmas season for the last 7 years.  It's hard work but he enjoys it quite a bit.  There is one person who has worked on this same production with him for the same number of years. Three years ago, she began correcting everything he did. If he moved, it was the wrong move. If he went left, it should've been right. He didn't put things away properly for the next show. He blocked her movement for the next scene. Just a constant stream of corrections that got worse as the season went on. Others noticed that he was the main outlet for her frustrations and while they said they'd bring it up to the director, I'm not sure they did. I know my DH did and he seemed to be sympathetic.

This year he was asked to do the production on the weekends like he has done in previous years but he REALLY doesn't want to work with her again. Is there a way he can tactfully ask if she is working with him or ask not to work with her?

In the past she worked 7 days a week for the length of the production with 2 or 3 random days off here and there. Separating them would mean she would work 5 days a week while he did his usual weekends. There are generally 2 or 3 people working on this production at a time. 

In a way I would understand if he choose to keep her over him. She'll be there every single day while he's just a part timer. But I would be really disappointed for him because he enjoys this so much and she was so miserable to him. I feel like it would be rewarding her nastiness.

alice

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 02:42:56 PM »
is this voluntee work, or is he a paid employee?

WillyNilly

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 02:46:59 PM »
"Thank you so much for asking me back to do the weekend Christmas production again.  I'd be happy to.  There is one issue however I'd like to clear up before I formally accept.  There was a bit of an issue last year with Ms Bully.  She really made my work quite unpleasant.  I know several cast members were upset by it, not to mention it took quite the toll on me.  I mentioned it to the Director last year; I was just wondering what changes have been implemented to prevent a repeat."

All said with a smile and pleasant upbeat tone.

Millicent

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 03:01:24 PM »
This is a paid job. They actually pay quite well considering it's theater work.

WillyNilly, I like the way the question is presented. I'll see if he can use this. Hopefully, they can all make this work.


artk2002

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 05:51:37 PM »
I like WillyNilly's suggested wording. One slight modification might be "... what can we do together to keep this from happening again?" The point being that your DH shows a willingness to work the problem. He just needs to make sure that his job isn't "put up with her."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Danika

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 11:34:22 PM »
POD to all of the above!  ;D

Millicent

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 12:00:24 AM »
I read him WillyNilly's reply and he liked it. He just made a few changes to best fit the situation. He wanted to add an 'I'm sorry,' sort of line in there and I suggested that he not since he didn't do anything wrong. I suggested that he remind the director that he's willing to work on a solution with him so that the show runs smoothly. I think his reply had the right tone. Nice, helpful, happy to be working with you again type of reply.

We chatted a little about it and he mentioned that this has been going on for a few years. He found an email to the director from 2010 mentioning her behavior. He'd also said that she'd managed to annoy some of the other performers last year. I really hope they talked to the director, too.

I guess we'll see what happens when he replies! I hope it all works out, I'd hate to miss the show this year.


PastryGoddess

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 02:13:14 AM »
Has your DH actually told her to back off?  I'm not saying your husband is a pushover, however, the time to address the behavior is when it's actually happening.

If bean dipping doesn't work
"I've got it"
"Ok"
"Thanks for the advice"
"mmmm hmmm"
"wow, you're really negative today"

Then it's time for the cluebyfour
"is there a reason you think I can't do my job"
"stop telling me what to do"
"enough Brunhilde, I know what I'm doing"
"leave me alone and get back to what you were doing"
"you seem to have a problem with my work, maybe we should talk to the director about it"

Millicent

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 10:50:09 AM »
He has addressed it while it's happening. Most of it happens during the show, so it's kinda tough. She's just convinced she knows better than he does. She won't back off.

No one wants to have a big fight at work. Especially when it's supposed to be a fun side job. That's what he's trying to avoid.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 11:04:52 AM »
Rather than a letter to the director, maybe an in person meeting with the director is better.  That fun side job is turning out to not be so fun.  And the director needs to know that one person is affecting the morale of the entire cast by her actions.  I don't think this is something you can fully explain in writing. 

grannyclampettjr

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 12:38:25 PM »
Hmm...I've been on both sides of this issue.

I just quit working for a guy who insisted on alternately making the employee he's working with do everything, and acting like it's your first day in front of customers.   (And he's frequently wrong...his employees know more about the business than he does  ::)).  So I can understand your husband's frustration.

On the other hand, I have worked with and managed people who really truly couldn't do anything correctly and reacted to the most gentle correction as if I had beaten them. 

Is there any possibility whatsoever that your hubs is not very good at his job and is truly doing things wrong and getting in the way and she's the only one speaking up?   That would explain why the director hasn't done anything about it.  I *have* had bosses that were too soft to have hard talks with incompetent people, and it's difficult for everybody. 

I apologize if this isn't the case...just had way too much experience with people who are in the wrong position and won't pick up hints that they need to bow out gracefully. 

GrammarNerd

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 12:51:53 PM »
Hmm...I've been on both sides of this issue.

I just quit working for a guy who insisted on alternately making the employee he's working with do everything, and acting like it's your first day in front of customers.   (And he's frequently wrong...his employees know more about the business than he does  ::)).  So I can understand your husband's frustration.

On the other hand, I have worked with and managed people who really truly couldn't do anything correctly and reacted to the most gentle correction as if I had beaten them. 

Is there any possibility whatsoever that your hubs is not very good at his job and is truly doing things wrong and getting in the way and she's the only one speaking up?   That would explain why the director hasn't done anything about it.  I *have* had bosses that were too soft to have hard talks with incompetent people, and it's difficult for everybody. 

I apologize if this isn't the case...just had way too much experience with people who are in the wrong position and won't pick up hints that they need to bow out gracefully.

That's an interesting thought (and I mean that honestly, no snark intended) and should be considered.  But at the same time, if he's that bad, why do they keep asking him back?  And why did she only start doing this within the last 3 years, when he's been doing this show for 7 years?

I like the idea of having a talk with the head person about this.  If it turns out that hubby has to work with her, then perhaps suggest a probationary period?  That is, he'll make the effort to work with her for a week, but unless she stops with the bullying, 'you are always wrong' behavior, he's gone after that week is up.  And stress that other people have noticed it, and it's not just in his head.  He's tried to let it go in the past, but he's finding that while he loves the work, he's actually kind of dreading it this year just for the sole reason of potentially having to be the outlet for her snark, rants and criticism.

yokozbornak

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 12:56:00 PM »
Hmm...I've been on both sides of this issue.

I just quit working for a guy who insisted on alternately making the employee he's working with do everything, and acting like it's your first day in front of customers.   (And he's frequently wrong...his employees know more about the business than he does  ::)).  So I can understand your husband's frustration.

On the other hand, I have worked with and managed people who really truly couldn't do anything correctly and reacted to the most gentle correction as if I had beaten them. 

Is there any possibility whatsoever that your hubs is not very good at his job and is truly doing things wrong and getting in the way and she's the only one speaking up?   That would explain why the director hasn't done anything about it.  I *have* had bosses that were too soft to have hard talks with incompetent people, and it's difficult for everybody. 

I apologize if this isn't the case...just had way too much experience with people who are in the wrong position and won't pick up hints that they need to bow out gracefully.

Even if her husband was truly incompetent (which I don't think he is since he has been asked for 7 years), it is still not her job to correct him.  The show has a director and instructions should come from him/her especially when it concerns staging. 

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 12:59:52 PM »
I've been on both sides of this situation also...with team sports, players that won't play with certain players and I've been one that would rather not play with someone specific.

If DH has spoken to the director, then DH should be told what days (if any) he will be working with MissBully and make arrangements from there to adjust his schedule and let the director adjust his or suck it up to play with MissB. 

Volunteer or paid employee, no one wants to be miserable, if this has been an issue before perhaps someone (director) should speak with her, it's ridiculous for this to continue, perhaps she would like to bow out.   


bopper

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Re: Working with a Bully
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 02:14:09 PM »
I have had instances where I really preferred to not work with a certain person all the time.  I would write requirements for software, and they would test it.  She wasn't a bad worker, in fact she was very good at testing, it was she didn't always know how to prioritize her findings and always seemed a half step behind.

I did ask my boss if it were possible not to be paired with this person EVERY time because she just drove me nuts. I would take a turn, of course, but just not ever time.  My boss had no problems accomodating this.

I think your DH could talk to the boss and say that he is very interesting in working on the next project, but that he seems to be having an issue with Ms Bully.  She seems to find fault with everything he does...If boss and others also see the same issues, please let him know, but she just seems displeased with EVERYTHING he does and he wonders if it is more some kind of personality conflict and that last time others noticed he seemed to be the outlet for all her frustrations. He would prefer to minimize the number of days he has to work with her and quite franly avoid her all together.