Author Topic: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker  (Read 9764 times)

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whatsanenigma

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2014, 12:13:55 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.

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

I agree, it doesn't matter in the sense of this needs to stop.  It might matter somewhat, though, in how OP should approach it.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2014, 03:11:39 PM »
So the supervisor doesn't want to hurt Nancy's feelings, but doesn't mind that she's creating an uncomfortable work environment?!

Telling someone they have to stop doing something that causes delays in work is not the same as insulting them.

Document each time Nancy does this.  I would also go with "Nancy, do you need something?  No?  Okay, please turn around and go back to your work so I can get on with mine."

LadyClaire

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2014, 04:31:03 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.

I actually do know the answer to this. No, she does not. She has a son who apparently has asperger's and has talked extensively about dealing with his disability. She had said she had a lot of difficulty at first because she had no experience with any kind of mental health problems, since her other children are fine and she and her husband didn't have any of those issues themselves. She's a very chatty sort and talks about a lot of pretty personal things at work. Health issues are a favorite topic of hers (for example, I know she has tendonitis and bunions and that her husband had heart problems).

Wordgeek

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2014, 04:38:17 PM »
As you all should know by now, armchair diagnoses are completely inappropriate.  Absolutely no more medical discussion.

LadyClaire

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2014, 06:53:56 PM »
So the supervisor doesn't want to hurt Nancy's feelings, but doesn't mind that she's creating an uncomfortable work environment?!

Telling someone they have to stop doing something that causes delays in work is not the same as insulting them.

Document each time Nancy does this.  I would also go with "Nancy, do you need something?  No?  Okay, please turn around and go back to your work so I can get on with mine."

My work is pretty bad about actually guiding people or reprimanding them when they're doing something against policy or that isn't appropriate. For example, there was a woman who worked there last year who would show up to work in velour track pants, a hoodie, and sneakers. Our dress code is business with a heavy leaning towards corporate business attire. Still another co-worker goes out shopping while on the clock and is never at work on time. Nothing is ever said to them, and I doubt anyone is going to say anything to Nancy.

Today someone stopped by my desk to ask a question and I just guided them to the break room so that we could discuss it. I think I'm just going to either do that, or ask Nancy if she needed something every time she turns around to eavesdrop.

veronaz

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2014, 07:36:57 PM »
OP, since management isn’t going to do anything you have to stop Nancy yourself.  That’s all there is to it.

Asking her if she “needs something” – even a hundred times – isn’t a solution.  She’ll just say “No” and keep staring and eavesdropping.

You need to be direct.  “Nancy, I need you to stop staring and turning around listening everytime someone comes to my desk.  What we’re doing doesn’t concern you.  It’s annoying, disruptive, and rude.  You’re also slowing down your own work performance.  Please stop doing it.”

Don’t apologize.  Do not say you are sorry.

Afterwards, make a note document what you said to her.  If she continues, say “Nancy, we talked about this.  Please turn around.”

YummyMummy66

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2014, 07:49:44 PM »
Every time Nancy turns around in her chair to watch you or listen to you or interrupt a conversation, I would say nothing.

Stare back at her.   If you are with someone, both turn and just stare at her.  Each and every time.  Phone conversation, I would completely ignore if I could.  If I could not, I would say, "Nancy, don't you have your own work to do?" and turn away. 


Aquamarine

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2014, 11:02:12 AM »
I would stop speaking and stare unblinking and directly at her until she turned around.  If she didn't I would ask if there was something she needed and then resume staring.  I would ask several friendly coworkers to come and talk with as well as call you so you can do this to hopefully get the point across to her.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2014, 12:22:10 PM »
I think I'd talk to her - once - and try to be polite but blunt. "Nancy, you need to stop staring and interrupting when people talk to me about my job. It's never anything you need to worry about, and it's very distracting." After that, if she kept staring I think I'd stare back and do the finger-twirl somebody mentioned earlier... and then if she still didn't stop I think I'd make a sign. Nothing special, just big letters on a sheet of paper, saying "Stop staring!" (Possibly in caps.) I would have it on my desk face down, ready to brandish in her direction when the Stare Of Doom started, and even if it didn't help at least I would have amused myself briefly.  >:D

(The first two parts of this comment are serious. The last part is the product of me posting after 2am, and is probably not something anyone should actually do in the workplace.  :P)
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LadyClaire

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2014, 12:40:02 PM »
Well, I've tried the "Can I help you?" with absolutely zero effect on her turning around and staring. I guess my next step is to ask her to please stop and to turn around when she's doing it.

Now, she is also doing a new thing. She likes to tell me when I have a missed call. Our phones are set up so that if someone is receiving a call, a little notice scrolls across the bottom of everyone else's phones. It's an unnecessary thing that was left over from when they only had 6 employees total here, but IT has never re-configured the phones to not do it. So every time I come back to my desk, if Nancy sees that my phone was ringing, she says "Sara tried to call you. You also had a call come in from someone named Tonya." If I'm at my desk and my phone starts ringing, she will say "Oh, it looks like Maggie is calling you. What does she want, do you think?"

Yesterday I was actually on the phone and someone tried to beep through, but I couldn't switch over to them because the call I was taking was important. While I was still on the phone, Nancy loudly said "Hey, it looks like Wendy Smith is calling you!" and when I hung up, she said "Wendy Smith tried to call!" Yes, I know..I can see when a call is coming in on my line just like I can see a list of any missed calls I had when I look at my phone. Our system is also set up to send an e-mail notification of any missed calls.

I told her "Nancy, I can see when I have a missed call so I don't need you to inform me when someone has tried to call me". But she continues to do it. I'm glad she hasn't yet figured out that she can pick up calls from my line.

They are discussing re-arranging offices at work, so I put in a discreet request to the HR contact for our campus that if they do indeed re-arrange offices and departments to please swap Nancy with Mary, who is another new assistant who is much quieter and far less into what everyone else is doing.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2014, 01:07:59 PM »
Looking at you, talking about your phone calls...whatever: every time she intrudes, I'd calmly ask her "Nancy, how is this any of your concern? Please, leave me alone."

whatsanenigma

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2014, 01:09:57 PM »
Looking at you, talking about your phone calls...whatever: every time she intrudes, I'd calmly ask her "Nancy, how is this any of your concern? Please, leave me alone."

And maybe also, "If you've run out of things to do, I am sure [her supervisor] will be happy to help you out."

MrTango

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2014, 01:20:00 PM »
I'd stop with any pretense of being nice or pleasant with her.

"Nancy, if you don't stop listening in on my conversations and monitoring my phone calls, I'm going to have to report this to HR as harassment."

I'd also suggest that you go to your manager and let your manager know about all of these behaviors, your attempts to redirect her away from monitoring your workspace.  Focus on how her behavior is distracting you and others and therefore affecting your and others' ability to do your/their jobs efficiently.

lowspark

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2014, 03:09:05 PM »
I'd stop with any pretense of being nice or pleasant with her.

This. Quit asking, suggesting, or being vague in any way.

Instead of
I don't need you to inform me when someone has tried to call me"
or the like, come right out and tell her to stop.

Stop telling me about my calls.
Stop staring at me. Now.
Stop listening in on this conversation or any of my conversations.
Turn around and mind your own work.

This woman is totally OTT and I would just look directly at her and tell her, point blank, to stop the specific behavior, every single time. And if she doesn't do it, tell her again until she does it. Don't wait for her to finish the sentence. Interrupt her and say, "stop doing xyz." I know it's rude to interrupt but I don't see this as retaliatory rudeness as much as stopping the behavior in its tracks.

She's not just rude, which is bad enough. She's intrusive and counterproductive. In a work environment, I think it's ok to take steps to make this stop if the supervisors aren't helping. So, stay calm but be firm and insistent. Don't let her get out any more words than it takes for you to tell her to stop the specific behavior, then make sure she stops and don't go back to what you were doing until she does stop.

Good luck on getting her moved away from you, though, as that will no doubt be the easiest solution for you.

Amara

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Re: Nancy the Nosy Co-worker
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2014, 03:13:39 PM »
I agree. Get blunt, get direct. Tell her to leave you alone, stay out of conversations, deal with her own work. And yes, add a firm statement that if it doesn't stop immediately you will go to HR with a harassment claim. This is not a woman who will hear anything less.