General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Hostile Coworker

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lynnetteleigh:
Sorry for this being so long but I feel the background is neccessary.

I need advice on how to politely deal with a toxic coworker.

BG: I have been working for a company in an IT position for slightly over a year. During that year I went 6+ months with 0 work to do. They hired me because they had a position approved and knew I had the skills they would eventually need. After about 9 months I put in my 2 week notice as I had asked for more work multiple times and was told to "appreciate the lull".

When I put in my 2 weeks my manager(3rd one in a year) gave me the option to switch to part time(3 days a week) instead of full-time. I decided to stay with the company working part time and have done so the past 2 months. Even with the reduced schedule though I am still underworked with maybe 1.5 days of work on an average week.

End BG

Since I have switched to this part time job one of my project managers has changed from loving working with me to,in my opinion, trying to drive me out.

She is well aware that I do not work on Mondays or Fridays but consistently tries to get me to schedule things on these days. I have told her I'm willing to shift my schedule to those days as needed(and have done so in the past).  I watch my stepson on my days off and also schedule things like doctors appts for me and him on these days. So I have mentioned multiple times that I need advance notice. However lately she has been waiting to until Thursday at 5:01 to request something on a Monday. Or in the middle of a week for something on a Friday. 

The kicker is she also cc's her manager, mine and our mutual VP on these emails. She does not try to work things out with me on a one on one basis.The fact that she goes straight to notifying the upper management leads me to believe that I am being set up.

The latest example of this was when I contacted her about a meeting early Wed. morning. She said she was not able to make it but would like to do it on Friday. She automatically cced her manager, mine and the VP?

I have started consulting my manager on all of the emails that include these ccs and he has been responding to all of them.

However since these aggressive emails have started I have not had to deal with this coworker in person since she has canceled every meeting I have had with her in the last month.

My initial reaction as an anti-confrontational  person is to figure out a way to avoid all future meetings with her because at this point I feel like I will have trouble even making eye contact with her. She is also one of those people that is fake nice and seems to expect me to share my life with her even though our working relationship is not great. She got angry with me recently for not sharing a major life event with her(I got married, something that does not interfere with my job performance and not something I would go share with someone who has been this hostile towards me). However I know that if I want to keep my job I need to adjust to this.

Which leads me to my dilemma of how do I deal with this coworker in person in a polite manner?

YummyMummy66:
Since she is copying all top people, when I reply, I would hit "reply all" and let her know that you have talked to her repeatedly about the days you work and meetings.  You have stated that you are more than willing to rearrange your schedule to come in on days that you normally have off, but you need advance notice as you usually have personal appointments arranged on the days you have off.   Is there something you are missing in that she is constantly arranging meetings last minute on those days that you have scheduled off and that she has cancelled every meeting in the last month that she herself arranged?"  How would you like to recitify this situation?

Call her out on her own behavior, but in a way, that turns it around on her behavior and by being polite and trying to find a solution. 

I am sure others might be able to phrase it better than I could.

But this lets the top people know the situation and that you are trying to do your best in handling it.

Bast:
Also be sure to give a time frame for what constitutes "advanced notice."

misha412:
Good advice so far. I have seen similar situations before. You are right to be worried about her actions.

Keep all of your communications with her in writing. If you ever have a face to face with her, send her an email restating what you talked about, and copy her normal cc's. If you send her an email about the weather, copy her normal cc's.

Be sure to talk to your manager about the situation. Outline how you have tried to handle it (emails, requests for meetings, etc.) You need to verify with your manager that you are not under the microscope for something.

I would also request a meeting between you and her, with your managers attending. I would state to the manager, "I have been trying to speak with her in person for X amount of time. She keeps cancelling the meetings with me. I want to clarify if there are any problems we need to address."

cicero:

--- Quote from: YummyMummy66 on November 16, 2012, 06:37:44 AM ---Since she is copying all top people, when I reply, I would hit "reply all" and let her know that you have talked to her repeatedly about the days you work and meetings.  You have stated that you are more than willing to rearrange your schedule to come in on days that you normally have off, but you need advance notice as you usually have personal appointments arranged on the days you have off.   Is there something you are missing in that she is constantly arranging meetings last minute on those days that you have scheduled off and that she has cancelled every meeting in the last month that she herself arranged?"  How would you like to recitify this situation?

Call her out on her own behavior, but in a way, that turns it around on her behavior and by being polite and trying to find a solution. 

I am sure others might be able to phrase it better than I could.

But this lets the top people know the situation and that you are trying to do your best in handling it.

--- End quote ---
yes.

when she tries to schedule a meeting, reply-all and say:
"Dear Idiot,

Friday morning 8 AM will not work for me.

I can meet Wednesday at 9 or Thursday at 11.

Please let me know which is suitable.

Please note: As of [date], my weekly schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9-12. If you need to schedule a meeting at other times, please give me XX hours advance notice and I will try to re-arrange my schedule."

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