I may or may not have posted on this subject before, so forgive me if this sounds familiar, but I just get so MAD that I have to get this off my chest.
I was hired at a small company about 3 years ago that was purchased by a larger company last year. When I worked at the small company, I performed administrative duties and was generally treated like the person everyone dumps on when they don't want to do their job. I worked for a woman (I won't name her because she is insignificant in this story) who spent her days showing people the little flowers she had painted on her toenails. I had ambitions of filling a need for an editor at this company (they NEEDED it, just didn't want to admit it or pay for it), and worked my tail off marketing my skills (English degree and 9 years of editorial experience) and building my internal clientele in the hopes that someday somebody would listen to my pitch to make it a full-time position. I was starting to feel like a broken record that nobody paid any attention to (least of all my supervisor), when larger company purchased smaller company.
Larger company doesn't have an editor either. General manager from smaller company was put in charge of integrating smaller company and offered me an administrative position with an incredible supervisor who ended up championing my cause to institute an editorial process at the larger company. I was brought into the fold of the larger company before anyone else at the smaller company was moved. I had a unique opportunity to get to know everyone before anyone else had the chance to move in. I immediately began marketing my skills to this new audience, and rapidly started receiving all kinds of promising attention from important management-level people. I started to get really excited that maybe all of my hard work would finally pay off.
Then I got word from someone at smaller company that one of my co-workers (I'll call her Connie) from smaller company is trying to get people there to let HER edit their documents. Connie used to be on the admin team, but re-invented herself into a highly specific role that was created just for her. Larger company didn't have a need for that role, so she was facing going back to the admin team (something she didn't want because the admins are treated like dirt). I didn't think much of it at first because a) nobody at smaller company took editing seriously anyway and b) she is completely unqualified to do the work and everybody knows it.
So some time goes by, I'm gaining momentum in my quest for the perfect job, and smaller company personnel finally move into the building with larger company and the teams merge. My cohort at large company, Maggie, has been with the company longer than any other member of the admin team, and is the natural choice for the Team Leader position. I had absolutely no problem with this, as I had already worked with Maggie for almost a year by that time, and we had developed into an incredibly efficient team. Maggie shares my vision of having a full-time editor in the employ of the company, and pledged her support to helping me reach that goal - to the tune of volunteering to take on all of my administrative duties so that I can be available to pursue an editorial job.
Connie cannot stand the fact that she is now back on the admin team. She has told everyone else in the office that the Team Leader position was promised to her (which it wasn't) and that she should be in charge of our team. I laugh at this. Connie has never done a day of honest work since I've known her. When I worked at smaller company, I had an office right down the hall from hers. I could tell you what every one of her family members got for Christmas both years, what her husband ate for dinner every night, what she was planning for the weekend, and what her favorite songs were (because she sang them at the top of her lungs while I was trying to work). She would let all kinds of deadline-driven work pile up, then panic at the last minute and walk around demanding that everyone else stop what they were doing and pick up some of her work - and then spend her time walking around "supervising" everyone instead of sitting down and helping. Not exactly management material.
For some completely unknown reason, she lasted at the smaller company for 8 years this way. She hasn't changed one bit. She acts the same way at the larger company. She spends all of her time walking around talking to people, or sitting at her desk talking to people, or sending out email jokes, and she turns right around and bills to people's projects like she is working. The project managers complain to the admin staff, but never to the people who can actually do anything about it. When I tell them I'm sorry, I have my own workload and can't help, they get mad at ME because I won't rescue them.
Connie is becoming more and more resistant to Maggie's leadership, and it's about to bite her because now management has decided that Maggie will become the official supervisor of the admin team. But they haven't announced it yet. Meanwhile, Connie is running rampant all over the office talking trash about Maggie, saying that Connie is in charge of this project and that project. She is dumping work on a third co-worker who has a hard time standing up for herself, and telling third co-worker to go to the project manager with questions about the work, not Maggie. She is taking time to go to one of our satellite offices to help out and not notifying Maggie, which is a HUGE thing because Maggie is supposed to be responsible for our workloads and whereabouts. Management has viewed the whole thing as girls being catty and will not step in and put a foot down.
I don't get it. I don't understand how someone can be so blatantly insubordinate and get away with it like that. Maggie went to one of the managers (Tim) for advice on how to deal with Connie having no respect for our weekly meetings (showing up half an hour late and not participating, but bossing everyone around), and Tim suggested that Maggie "give her some time to adapt." Adapt to showing up to a meeting on time? She's been with the company for 8 years! How long does she need?
Now I have to get involved with the whole situation because people are telling me that she is strong-arming project managers into letting her edit their deliverables. I don't know what she's telling these people, but I know at least one project manager who hasn't spoke to me in months and suddenly stopped using me for editorial work. Connie does all of his admin stuff, which used to be Maggie's work, but apparantly she took that too because Maggie was never notified that she was off the project. I worked 3 years to build my reputation. She came in, and now in 3 months has already taken one of my hard-won clients away. I am not going to take it lying down, but I have to be very careful about how I handle it because bringing it to the attention of management doesn't work. I understand that there is a plan in place to formalize my editorial position at the company, and I do NOT want that loudmouth cow standing between me and the brass ring. I am hoping that the announcement of Maggie's new empowerment and ability to officially discipline Connie will straighten her out to some degree, but the coming weeks are going to be a challenge nevertheless.
I know that Connie is not afraid to tell lies about people, but that doesn't explain the hold she has over EVERYONE in a position to make a decision in this place. Can anyone take a stab at why everyone is so afraid of her? What is my best strategy for dealing with the problem of her trying to steal my work?