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Author Topic: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?  (Read 6624 times)

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Lady_Belle

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"Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« on: January 27, 2017, 09:38:07 AM »
I've worked for the same company for 5 years. I've been in the same role for majority of the 5 years. A woman I'd started with (Let's call her Jackie) with whom I've become close friends with over the years, encouraged me to apply for a coveted role in her department. She helped me immensely with the application process and I've now gained a 12 month maternity leave contract - with a strong view to permanent.

The thing is, I'm 2 months in and I've never been so stressed. Its heavily managerial (compared to my last role) and there are a lot of administrative systems and sales jargon that I'm completely unfamiliar with but am expecting to pick up - FAST. There has been no formal training whatsoever - I was simply shown to my desk and told to refer to one of the guys either side of me if I have any questions.

When I have questions, the guys give me very "roundabout" or vague answers. This is where Jackie has come in... Jackie has a tendency to be a bit blunt and outspoken... but she has always "had my back" and been there to help me. I have been conscious of not taking up too much of her time though and only asking her for help when I've exhausted all other options. Now that I'm in this department however, she has taken to berating me...

Today was the tipping point.

I was over at Jackie's desk, having her look over a contract with me. A few parts weren't adding up. She told me what she thought I should do, but admitted she wasn't sure and had never come across it before. Another coworker (Jim) was nearby. I had actually spoken to Jim briefly earlier in the day about the same contract. At this point, I was conscious of taking up too much of Jackie's time, so engaged Jim in conversation (with Jackie) about the issue at hand. Jim went on to give his input. Jackie then let out a SIGH and began rolling her eyes, rubbing her temples and even slammed a fist on the desk. I wrapped the conversation up pretty quickly with Jim and once he was out of earshot, Jackie said (verbatim)
"I've told you before about seeking second opinions. You CAN'T do that HERE. When someone takes the time to tell you something, you don't go and ask someone else. Its disrespectful. Thats the main complaint with YOU."
I was stunned...
Firstly, I genuinely cannot recall a time where i have "sought out a second opinion" in this department and if I had, it was because I'm trying to learn as much as I can and have had no structured training/am being brushed off by those assigned to "answer my questions"

This is just one of many similar remarks/criticisms Jackie has made since I came into this department. I feel our friendship is now strained beyond repair but MORE IMPORTANTLY... I don't think I can continue in this role.
I have decided that I really want to resign. I am genuinely and severely very stressed. I dread going into work all day and feel a sense of "isolation". But I'm all too aware that resigning a few months in to a contract is a bridge burned...
Returning to my old role isn't an option (restructuring)

How can I address this with Jackie and repair our working relationship at a minimum? However long this working relationship lasts?

guihong

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 10:03:35 AM »
Is Jackie your supervisor?  And is this department in the same company you were working for?  Was your old position as stressful?

If you still have a good relationship with your old boss, despite restructuring, I would consider going to that person.  Not necessarily about Jackie, but about how to pick up more training and whom you should go to with questions-surely he or she knows that if you try to "wing it" in frustration, it will cause even more problems.






FauxFoodist

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 11:21:38 AM »
I've worked for the same company for 5 years. I've been in the same role for majority of the 5 years. A woman I'd started with (Let's call her Jackie) with whom I've become close friends with over the years, encouraged me to apply for a coveted role in her department. She helped me immensely with the application process and I've now gained a 12 month maternity leave contract - with a strong view to permanent.

The thing is, I'm 2 months in and I've never been so stressed. Its heavily managerial (compared to my last role) and there are a lot of administrative systems and sales jargon that I'm completely unfamiliar with but am expecting to pick up - FAST. There has been no formal training whatsoever - I was simply shown to my desk and told to refer to one of the guys either side of me if I have any questions.

When I have questions, the guys give me very "roundabout" or vague answers. This is where Jackie has come in... Jackie has a tendency to be a bit blunt and outspoken... but she has always "had my back" and been there to help me. I have been conscious of not taking up too much of her time though and only asking her for help when I've exhausted all other options. Now that I'm in this department however, she has taken to berating me...

Today was the tipping point.

I was over at Jackie's desk, having her look over a contract with me. A few parts weren't adding up. She told me what she thought I should do, but admitted she wasn't sure and had never come across it before. Another coworker (Jim) was nearby. I had actually spoken to Jim briefly earlier in the day about the same contract. At this point, I was conscious of taking up too much of Jackie's time, so engaged Jim in conversation (with Jackie) about the issue at hand. Jim went on to give his input. Jackie then let out a SIGH and began rolling her eyes, rubbing her temples and even slammed a fist on the desk. I wrapped the conversation up pretty quickly with Jim and once he was out of earshot, Jackie said (verbatim)
"I've told you before about seeking second opinions. You CAN'T do that HERE. When someone takes the time to tell you something, you don't go and ask someone else. Its disrespectful. Thats the main complaint with YOU."
I was stunned...
Firstly, I genuinely cannot recall a time where i have "sought out a second opinion" in this department and if I had, it was because I'm trying to learn as much as I can and have had no structured training/am being brushed off by those assigned to "answer my questions"

This is just one of many similar remarks/criticisms Jackie has made since I came into this department. I feel our friendship is now strained beyond repair but MORE IMPORTANTLY... I don't think I can continue in this role.
I have decided that I really want to resign. I am genuinely and severely very stressed. I dread going into work all day and feel a sense of "isolation". But I'm all too aware that resigning a few months in to a contract is a bridge burned...
Returning to my old role isn't an option (restructuring)

How can I address this with Jackie and repair our working relationship at a minimum? However long this working relationship lasts?

Believe it or not, it sounds like Jackie is trying to give you a heads-up and is getting really frustrated with *you*.  The fact that she is your friend and tends to be blunt and outspoken seems to mean the delivery is going to be honest but holding back no punches and as often as necessary and since you said you're having a lot of trouble with this new role, it sounds like it's needed to be pretty often.  The fact that you seem to think you haven't asked for a second opinion yet Jackie is telling you there's a big problem with you and that you ask for a second opinion is clear that you two are looking at how and what you're doing quite differently.  For example, you spoke to Jim earlier for help with this contract.  You then decided to ask Jackie for help also.  Jackie didn't know what to do so then when you saw Jim, you decided to engage both of them simultaneously about the same contract.  I can see why Jackie said what she said.  You said she always has had your back in the past but admitted you're having a ton of trouble in this new position.  It sounds like she's at the end of her rope with you and that you're just not getting/not admitting to yourself that you're going about things the wrong way (or in a way other employees may find offensive, hence telling you '"I've told you before about seeking second opinions. You CAN'T do that HERE. When someone takes the time to tell you something, you don't go and ask someone else. Its disrespectful. Thats the main complaint with YOU."').  It might be best to say to Jackie (since she is your friend), "Hey, can we have a meeting?  I seem to be doing everything wrong and not getting what I'm doing wrong and maybe I just need to stop and have a sit-down to go over these things.  I'd really like your help to get everything on track."  It really does sound like the problem here is your progress in this new job and that rather than hearing what Jackie is saying while trying to help you and guide you, you view these as criticisms.  Given what you've stated here, I don't think you friend has turned volatile.  I do think she's really trying to help you and, being your friend and not just a CW, is trying to give you more info about how you're doing than you would normally get but that you simply aren't getting it and can't see past her input more than considering it criticism.  Again, look at your example.  She tried to help you with your question about the contract, told you she really wasn't sure what to do but gave you her assessment as to what she thought maybe you ought to do.  You spy Jim and bring him into the discussion and it was either clear to Jackie that you were now asking for his opinion as a second opinion or it's clear to both that you spoke with both of them already and so Jackie was a second opinion after talking to Jim and now Jim was another opinion after talking to Jackie.  Jackie waits (she *waits*) until Jim is out of earshot and then tells you what you did just then was not cool and that it's considered disrespectful.  Rather than take that to heart, you try to justify your actions here.  Nothing necessarily wrong with that, except that Jackie is telling you the others in your shared environment do not think this is okay, which you view as yet another remark/criticism from a "volatile coworker," rather than her trying to let you know what you're doing that's going against your corporate culture.  It does sound like she's seeing things you're doing that aren't okay to do and trying to tell you, but you don't want to hear it/will not accept it and feel she's the one who's wrong and not being your friend.

Anyway, in answer to your question and since *you* don't think you've done anything wrong, try going to Jackie and admitting, "Hey, nothing seems to be going right in this position for me, and I'd really appreciate your advice.  Could we schedule a time to meet later today or tomorrow and go over where I might be misstepping so I can get back on track?  I know you've always been there for me in the past and am hoping I could rely on your assistance this time as well."


GreenBird

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 12:27:45 PM »
From your example, it sounds like you did exactly what Jackie said you did - you called Jim over for a second opinion while Jackie was still standing there giving you her opinion.  That could be construed as disrespectful because it implies that Jackie's answer and time aren't good enough for you.  Then she probably found out that you'd already asked Jim his opinion earlier as well, so this was the second time you were asking him about the same issue.  This could imply that Jim's opinion isn't good enough either.  It sounds like asking everyone around you to chime in on a problem you're having is not a good approach at your workplace. 

I like FauxFoodist's idea of going to Jackie and just laying out that you know you're having trouble, feel like you need some more formal training, and want her feedback on how to improve.  And try very hard to listen to what Jackie says and ignore how she says it.  Constructive criticism can still sting, but try to set that aside and focus on the feedback you're getting.  Let her know that you never intended any disrespect for anyone; you're just trying to get your arms around this job and are struggling to figure out how.  Ask Jackie what steps you should take when there's something you don't understand.  Maybe make a list of the types of things you're not understanding, and do some research on what kind of training would help you understand better.   


auntmeegs

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 12:33:46 PM »
From your example, it sounds like you did exactly what Jackie said you did - you called Jim over for a second opinion while Jackie was still standing there giving you her opinion.  That could be construed as disrespectful because it implies that Jackie's answer and time aren't good enough for you.  Then she probably found out that you'd already asked Jim his opinion earlier as well, so this was the second time you were asking him about the same issue.  This could imply that Jim's opinion isn't good enough either.  It sounds like asking everyone around you to chime in on a problem you're having is not a good approach at your workplace. 

I like FauxFoodist's idea of going to Jackie and just laying out that you know you're having trouble, feel like you need some more formal training, and want her feedback on how to improve.  And try very hard to listen to what Jackie says and ignore how she says it.  Constructive criticism can still sting, but try to set that aside and focus on the feedback you're getting.  Let her know that you never intended any disrespect for anyone; you're just trying to get your arms around this job and are struggling to figure out how.  Ask Jackie what steps you should take when there's something you don't understand.  Maybe make a list of the types of things you're not understanding, and do some research on what kind of training would help you understand better.

Except Jackie admitted that she was not completely sure, as she had never come across that particular issue before. 

rashea

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 12:34:42 PM »
I think I see what she was trying to get at. You were asking her for help, and in the middle of it you turned and asked someone else. There's a sign on my door that says "moving at the speed of crisis" (I'm a mental health crisis clinician). I have a lot of people who want to shadow me right now for training, and that's great, I love to teach. But if things are busy, leave me alone and watch.

I think maybe I get it, because my supervisor does this. I'll ask her something, and then halfway through that conversation she'll start off on something else, or someone will walk in and ask her a question. If I have time, that's fine. But if I'm in hurry up mode, that 30 seconds that you took answering someone else grates. I can do a lot in 30 seconds in that mode.

I think you should go to your boss and admit that you are struggling. Is there anyway that someone could take some of your responsibilities for a short time to let you master a few things. Even offer to do those tasks for someone else if possible to make it up. Can you learn the jargon and such after work? Has anyone made a list of things you need to know how to do? If so, work your way down the list and see if you can write yourself a cheat sheet on each task.

You might also ask someone if they have the time to explain something to you, or if it would be better if they would ask someone else.



All that said, if you're at your limit, it's ok to walk away from a job that isn't working out. It took me 3-4 months at my current job to feel like I had the pace of it. And there was very little new for me to learn as I had been doing similar work on-call. What was, and is, brutal is the pace. If that's what's going on for you, then as you learn the tasks it will get easier. If not, you have to see if you can work faster, or if it's time to move on. If you can, I'd go to your supervisor and ask for help. And then give it another month or so. After that, leave if it isn't working. If nothing else, you can say you gave it all you got. It sounds like you got thrown into the deep end without being taught to swim. I wonder if they realized how much you were going to need to pick up.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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Margo

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2017, 01:10:47 PM »
I think speaking to Jackie and asking for her help, as Greenbird suggests, would be a good start. You could also flag up that she told you that she wasnt sure, about that particular contract, and ask her what she would suggest in those circumstances.

If you don't feel that would work, or if you don't want to stay in any event, could you speak to your boss and ask whether there is any possibilty of reverting to you previous role?

Who is your current boss / line manager? have you asked them for advice or support?


lilfox

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2017, 02:26:12 PM »
My gut reaction is to stay very clear of Jackie.  She seems to be completely out of patience with the OP, and whether or not that's justified her response was pretty unprofessional.  While she apparently waited til Jim was gone before chastising OP, it sounds like she openly let her frustration be known while he was still part of the conversation.  To me it would seem more stressful to go and try to talk to her, and risk another dressing down, than to handle the situation differently by going to the manager for help.

I'm not sure why second opinions are not an option in that department's culture, but if they are, that should come from the manager and not a colleague, perhaps along with a discussion of when is it okay to ask follow ups or clarification questions, and who can you ask if the original source isn't available.  But that's more like window dressing for the main issue, which is whether this job is worth staying at.

Ultimately, I would remain professionally distant from Jackie for the time being, but address the bigger issue of being at your wit's end with the job and see if there are any ways to solve that before you commit to resigning, or more specifically, so you can keep working under more reasonable conditions while you try to line up another position.

GardenGal

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 03:03:14 PM »
Quote
It might be best to say to Jackie (since she is your friend), "Hey, can we have a meeting?  I seem to be doing everything wrong and not getting what I'm doing wrong and maybe I just need to stop and have a sit-down to go over these things.  I'd really like your help to get everything on track."
  This sounds like a good idea, but is Jackie your supervisor?  It appears she's trying to help you, but when she said she wasn't sure about how to handle your problem I can certainly see why you'd want to ask someone else.

How odd that your company would promote you and then not provide any training so you could do a good job - this is hugely frustrating and counter-productive.  I'd go to your direct supervisor and ask how you should handle your questions and if there was any kind of training or written manual available. And I'd also start a manual of my own to keep track of all the info I needed to do my job.

Good luck!
"No matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Banzai

GreenBird

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 09:24:41 PM »
Sorry, I thought Jackie was your supervisor.  If she's not, then I think you need to talk to your supervisor about all of this. 

Lady_Belle

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 11:18:22 PM »
Sorry, I thought Jackie was your supervisor.  If she's not, then I think you need to talk to your supervisor about all of this.

Jackie is not my supervisor, no. She has the same position as me, but she has been there 4+ years. My problem is, I have no real support and am on the verge of resigning.

iridaceae

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2017, 01:12:37 AM »
No training but they believe  you can "pick it up on the fly" and this is all your fault?  I'd be out of there.

It's not wrong, when the first person you ask says "I don't know" to ask someone different and frankly, why isn't Jackie saying "but go ask Bob-he should know"?

Nothing to see here.

cicero

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2017, 05:30:46 AM »
For the moment,  put the friendship aside and focus on the job.

Of course,  you can always resign.  You weigh the pros and cons,  and make your decision.

Personally  I would give it another shot.  I know what you mean about being thrown into a sink or swim situation with no instructions,  btdt,  and you might be able to succeed here.

First, make a list of your tasks,  the ones you know how to do,  the ones you partially know,  the ones that you don't.  Check what resources are available for the ones that are still fuzzy - shadowing a co worker,  taking training classes,  having time to do online research,  etc.   Then go to the person who *is* your supervisor and figure out together how to make you a more valued team member.

But since she pointed out that *doing what you're doing* is not OK,  then stop doing that.

Good luck

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Bales

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2017, 08:08:33 AM »
I think you should just stop asking your friend questions and advise your boss that you need to clarify resources.  I've been in a similar situation and when a few folks aren't sure of how to handle something - especially for an unusual situation - it's normal to ask several team members for input.  Like a prior poster said - your friend should be helping you identify other resources instead of chastising you for pursuing correct information.  That being said, not every situation requires input from multiple people, so the only thing I would take from friend's outburst is to be sure you actually need to keep pursuing an answer.  And your friend certainly seems to be done being helpful, so I wouldn't ever ask her a question again.  Maybe she's stressed, maybe she's sick of answering questions, but either way, she is not acting professionally which is ironic when she finds it appropriate to lecture you on internal professional norms.

miranova

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Re: "Friend" turned volatile coworker - Time to resign?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2017, 08:09:50 AM »
I don't think Jackie's response was entirely fair, since she said that she wasn't sure and had never seen that before.  You didn't have an answer yet.  Asking someone else isn't getting a 2nd opinion in that situation.  In my workplace that would simply be a meeting of the minds.  Many people might get involved because it apparently is a complex question with no simple answer and we would WANT many people to weigh in before doing something that might be wrong.

This doesn't sound like a healthy working environment.  No training, just sink or swim, and an unhealthy dynamic when you do have questions.

You may be able to sufficiently learn this role if you hang in there, but you can't change the culture.  I'd give that a good deal of thought.  Would you be happy there if you no longer had to ask questions?