Rachel, my co-worker drives me crazy
The writer complains this woman's behavior is obnoxious
May 4, 2012
I know this sounds petty of me, but I work with a woman who has the same effect on me as chalk on a blackboard. She talks over me constantly and wastes hours rattling on about nothing to do with the job, as if I cared. One result is that it takes longer to get everything done. I am reluctant to say anything because she has been here longer and manages to get along with our superiors. They either find her not so annoying, or they’ve gotten used to her. I never will. What should I do?–
Earful in the Midwest
Sorry to have to tell you this, but your options are few.
I would advise against going to your bosses for the obvious reasons. They clearly don’t mind her, A, and B, they appear happy with her work.
Bosses, managers in general, like to give the impression that they like people to be happy in their work, and I’m sure that’s true most of the time, but their first concern is always getting the work done and out the door. If that’s happening, they’re not going to be inclined to step into something that’s not going to have an effect on that work flow.
But more to the point, most managers are reluctant to get into interpersonal issues for the simple reason that they seldom can be resolved.
People who just don’t get along can’t be turned into friends. Life doesn’t work that way.
And there’s always the risk that if the manager does get involved, things will get worse. The people put their beefs with each other onto the table and realize they dislike each other more than they realized.
They stop speaking entirely or worse, break into open warfare, and the work flow goes from smooth to sputtering and the manager wonders what was in his or her head when he or she decided to step in.
I see just two courses of action for you.
One, go find another job. And when you do, hope that this woman doesn’t follow your lead and join that same agency. Also, hope there isn’t someone just like her at your new agency.
Your second option, and I think the more sensible one, is to figure out the one thing this woman does that drives you most crazy. Say it’s her way of always talking over you.
In a friendly way, bring this to her attention and ask her to stop doing it.
If you approach her in the right way and are persistent, she may well stop talking over you.
That will ease some of the burden of having to work with her, and it may cut down on the unnecessary hours spent at work when you could be having fun.
The point here is that you can’t change people and it’s foolish to try. But you can change some behavior, and that’s, in the end, what you really want to do.
Will life suddenly become so much sweeter? No, but certain parts of it will become more bearable.
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