Author Topic: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker  (Read 9632 times)

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Phoebe

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2014, 01:21:33 PM »
Nancy has a problem - I'm not sure what it is - but she apparently has an attention span shorter than a butterfly's, no filters about eavesdropping on listening to other people's conversations, and a seeming inability to multi-task at all, if anything going on around her means that she has to stop working (at work) to watch and listen (really, moving her head back & forth like she's watching a ball going back & forth from one end of a court to another?), and then trying to interject herself into the conversation (back to the eavesdropping interjecting herself into any conversation that she's close enough to overhear).

How does any part of her job get done at all if she spends so little time at work, you know, *working*?

We've already had issues with her not completing tasks when she needed to have them done. She once took a week to make a simple set of name tags because she kept stopping her work to talk to people, or watch people. Then she accidentally closed the file with the name tags without having saved all day and lost a day's worth of work. I warned her that she needs to save as much as possible because our system crashes a lot, and if it crashes, you might not get your work back. To which she replied "yeah I know, last time it crashed I lost all of the vacation requests I'd been working on because I hadn't saved them yet".

So there are more issues with her than just the whole watching/interrupting thing.

If she's very new, it sounds like she won't get past her probationary period.

weeblewobble

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2014, 02:01:41 PM »
I agree with asking Nancy what she needs.  Do it every single time she stares. Look puzzled if she doesn't need anything or interjects something random.  If she does make a random comment, reply, "oh, okay, but that has nothing to do with ____, so we'll talk about that later."

I suspect Nancy is extremely socially awkward and needs some training.

She is very socially awkward and also inappropriate at times. She will do things like pull up pictures of shirtless men and say "Hey, look at this guy. I'd like to wake up to him every morning. I'd be late a few times though, if you know what I mean..."

I say go to your supervisor and highlight how Nancy's behavior is disruptive to your work flow:

-She interrupts conversations about chemical orders to the point where the people who come to you with invoice requests feel they have to email you with their queries. Rather than one quick, direct conversation, this could mean an extended period spent sending multiple emails.

-Your coworkers are reluctant to come near your office, which reduces your effectiveness overall

-She stares at you while you're on the phone, which is disruptive and unnerving

-She interrupts your work to show you pictures of shirtless men and hint at what she would do with them, which is super inappropriate.


weeblewobble

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2014, 02:48:17 PM »
Sorry, just saw the part where you said the supervisors refuse to intervene. Then I would go with the "Nancy, do you need something?" approach.

lowspark

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2014, 03:04:30 PM »
I would start out with the "what do you need?/can I help you?" routine. And when she says "nothing", stare at her till she turns around. And do it every single time.

If a couple of days of doing that doesn't get her to quit doing this, at least to you, then I would talk to her along the lines of what Kaypeep suggested.

And if that still doesn't work, well, I'd be blunt and just say, "This conversation doesn't concern you so please stop listening in and go back to your own work." Again, every time, and stop your own conversation until she complies.

As far as looking at shirtless guys, I'd definitely report that to my supervisor and hers. It's completely inappropriate office behavior and can get her and the company in trouble if she does this with the wrong person. If the supervisors ignore it, run it by HR.

JenJay

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2014, 05:15:11 PM »
"Nancy, do you need something?" - repeat each time she stares, up to maybe 3-4 times. After that, I would wait till after the conversation that prompted her staring, and say to her directly "Nancy, it's distracting to me when you turn your attention to my conversations with our coworkers. I don't know if you realized that you were doing that?" Give her a chance to respond and correct her behavior. If that doesn't work I'd get more forceful: "Nancy, I'll let you know if I need anything from you." "Nancy, I have this handled, you can go back to your work."

I would consider requesting a work space trade with someone either not bothered by Nancy's behavior or willing to be very assertive with her if this doesn't work.

I agree

bopper

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2014, 06:10:13 PM »
Every time:  "Nancy, do you need something?"

kitkatswing

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2014, 09:31:32 PM »
When you notice her staring, stop, turn around and stare right back at her, not uttering a word..


AliciaLynette

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2014, 07:00:12 AM »
I agree with KitKatSwing, just stop your conversation and stare back at her every time she turns round to watch.  SHe is being incredibly immature, and I cannot understand why HR/supervisors aren't getting involved!
Children are natural mimics; they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners.
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2014, 08:57:59 AM »
Warning: years ago, I worked in an environment where the Supervisor was trying to be nice.  So nice that when it was apparent that a new hire was not working out, did not address the problem.  So nice that when it became obvious that not only was Ms Not Working Out not working out, but actively causing lots and lots of extra work for everyone, only to discover that the probationary period during which it is easy to get rid of someone was over.

So then began the long period where you have to document and take specific steps to prove that the person needs to be fired.  It even resulted in Ms Not Working Out performing an emergency shutdown of the entire computer mainframe ("What is this big red button?  I think I'll hit it.") and the accounting department losing a day's worth of work before the nice Supervisor had to step up and do something.
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Redsoil

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2014, 09:30:16 AM »
Document it so something can be done (such as firing her).  How on earth do people like this get jobs?  From my understanding, it's pretty hard to find work in the US at present, so what gives with dill-pickles snapping up (and keeping!) jobs they can't do?
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SciFiLeslie

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2014, 10:27:16 AM »
Is it possible that Nancy falls on the higher spectrum of the Autism scale or has other mental issues?  I am a member of a hobby group and one of the members is high functioning.  Not everyone knows this because it is really nobody's business.  In group conversations she will sometimes make somewhat non-sequetor comments on the given topic.  Perhaps HR is aware of whatever the issue may be (if there is indeed one) but do to privacy can't share.

Plus if there is an issue and she is fired, there could be a backlash and/or negative publicity for the company.

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2014, 11:01:15 AM »
When you notice her staring, stop, turn around and stare right back at her, not uttering a word..

I'd stare back at her, then do that little finger twirl that you do to children, indicating that they should turn around, sit down, and get back to whatever they were doing.

Momiitz

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2014, 11:19:07 AM »
Is it possible that Nancy falls on the higher spectrum of the Autism scale or has other mental issues?  I am a member of a hobby group and one of the members is high functioning.  Not everyone knows this because it is really nobody's business.  In group conversations she will sometimes make somewhat non-sequetor comments on the given topic.  Perhaps HR is aware of whatever the issue may be (if there is indeed one) but do to privacy can't share.

Plus if there is an issue and she is fired, there could be a backlash and/or negative publicity for the company.

Please, let's not turn this into an armchair diagnosis thread. 

wolfie

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2014, 11:38:03 AM »
Is it possible that Nancy falls on the higher spectrum of the Autism scale or has other mental issues?  I am a member of a hobby group and one of the members is high functioning.  Not everyone knows this because it is really nobody's business.  In group conversations she will sometimes make somewhat non-sequetor comments on the given topic.  Perhaps HR is aware of whatever the issue may be (if there is indeed one) but do to privacy can't share.

Plus if there is an issue and she is fired, there could be a backlash and/or negative publicity for the company.

I don't think it matters if she is or isn't. She is acting in a inappropriate way.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2014, 12:11:17 PM »
Is it possible that Nancy falls on the higher spectrum of the Autism scale or has other mental issues?  I am a member of a hobby group and one of the members is high functioning.  Not everyone knows this because it is really nobody's business.  In group conversations she will sometimes make somewhat non-sequetor comments on the given topic.  Perhaps HR is aware of whatever the issue may be (if there is indeed one) but do to privacy can't share.

Plus if there is an issue and she is fired, there could be a backlash and/or negative publicity for the company.

Please, let's not turn this into an armchair diagnosis thread.

While I agree that we shouldn't armchair diagnose, I do also think that it's a good point to raise that there might be some disability or other (that they employer might know about or not) in play.  No matter what that disability is, if there is one, that could affect how OP approaches the problem and what management might be able to do about it.

It wouldn't be appropriate for OP to bring up anything she thinks this co-worker might have, either to her or to the employer, but if the employer knows what Nancy's actions are and how they are affecting others, the employer or Nancy herself if it is  pointed out, might be able to request the accommodation of a more private space or having a wall put up or something.

ETA: Also, depending on the disability if there is one, the technique of just staring back at her might not work, and the OP might have to escalate things more quickly.