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  #1  
Old 09-18-10, 07:46 PM
QuantumIguana QuantumIguana is offline
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Venting about an annoying coworker.

I have a coworker who is a real problem. He's in the cubicle next to me, and we work on the same projects, so I can't avoid him. Jobs are very tough to come by, so finding another job isn't much of an option.

This guy keeps inviting me to his church, despite me telling him to stop. He criticizes the neighborhood I live in, the car I drive, the house I live in, the clothes I wear, what I do for fun and how I raise my family.

Let me get this out of the way, I KNOW THAT ALL I HAVE TO DO IS GO TO HR. It's just that I have my anxiety issues, and the principle that "the hammer that stands up gets nailed down" is pretty deeply ingrained in me. All I want to do is work quietly in my cubicle.

He's also a moron. He's supposedly an experienced software test engineer, but I had to show him where to find the "My Documents" folder. I had to show him how to print to a file instead of to the printer. It can take him months to remember the simplest of things. Yes, although I despise this guy, I've been carrying him for ages. I work later than most people in my shop, so after everyone else has gone home, he asks me all the work-related questions that would raise a lot of eyebrows if other people heard him ask, because it would raise red flags that he didn't know such basic things.

But he keeps asking me the same things over and over again. For example, my wife stays at home with our three year old. He keeps asking me when she is going back to work. He's asked me this question more than 20 times what every other person in the world has asked me. It's deeply offensive to have this kinds of intrusion. I've tried telling him to stop asking. I've tried ignoring him -that was always what they taught in school, after all, ignore taunts and they will get bored and move on. Not this guy. He also keeps asking when I am going to sell my house: I have no intention over EVER selling my house, I've been crystal clear about that. I'm sick of his constant unsolicited opinion of my neighborhood, I live in the city, he lives in the suburbs.

I believe I mentioned that he is a moron. He offers me unsolicited financial advice, which I tell him that I don't want. It's the stupidest, worst financial advice in the world. He also keeps asking me if I want to buy a BMW. I have no interest whatsoever in a BMW.

He belongs to some bizarre church that holds meetings at 3 in the morning, and keeps inviting me to their meetings.

I'm not afraid of this guy in the slightest, I could put him through a wall if I wanted to. The last time I got into a fight was 1980. But I was so angry at his last barrage of idiocy, that I had to storm out of work and leave. I was angry all evening.

It's going to HR that I'm afraid of. Don't get me wrong, I know it is totally irrational. But don't complain, don't make waves is just so burned into my brain. I can't shake the feeling that if I complain, I will set in motion a sequence of events that will just get me in trouble. When things come at me out of the blue, I have difficulty responding.

Ignoring it has worked most of my life. Most people get a clue. Not him. Telling him to stop hasn't worked either. I just have to go the extra step and say "Stop or I am going to HR." And then follow through, because I don't think that he will stop. I'm probably the one person in the company who would have gone this long without making a complaint up the chain of command, and I had the bad luck to be placed working directly with him.

But just thinking of going to HR to complain raises my stress levels through the roof, by chest tightens up. Just venting, I guess, I know that I have to go to HR.
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  #2  
Old 09-18-10, 09:36 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Oh goodness, that would be terrible! I don't trust HR either, so I feel your pain....

a good friend of mine uses a pretty effective technique for wriggling out of such situations. Someone asks her an inappropriate question, she says "why do you ask??" I've tried it, and it gives me a bit of time to think about how I feel about what they are saying... this is a big struggle for me, I get lost in the question posed as opposed to how I FEEL about the question.

you don't owe him any sort of answer or explanation. it's your life, this is a free country, live as you wish.

Good Luck to you.
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Old 09-19-10, 02:20 AM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

You could also try "None of your business" Repeat this answer and only this answer like a b every time he asked some thing that is none of his business like a broken record - actually it is called the broken record technique

When you get fed up just before punching his lights out walk off literally It sound like doing your project would take less time without him "helping"

Is he new - I mean could other workers have had some of the same issues and that is how you got stuck with him?? Ten employees in HR decrease the chance of any one of them being a target???
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Old 09-19-10, 02:29 AM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Good vent!

I have learned in work situations like that...

Is the person in your shoes ends up looking like the fool, no matter how much you're not. If you have exhausted your personal resources to communicate and deal with this coworker, giving HR a heads up that you're having issues is a smart move in comparison to letting the situation stew. The pot's lid can only stay so long clinging and clamoring before the contents explode in an unsightly mess... I am glad when the coworker issue came up that I reported the simple concerning patterns of behavior and communication towards me. When crap finally went down -- I didn't look crazy. The meeting was awful. The fallout was that the meeting did not reflect poorly on me, tho I looked bad also was emotional, weak and unprepared.

It may take a talk from HR to get the guy to realize that all subjects but work are off limits.

It took that meeting to get my coworker to actually WORK with me instead of inhibiting me from doing my job.
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Old 09-19-10, 02:04 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Yikes! well I understand, I would hesitate to go to HR too. but you should if you TRUST them.

remember, at work (if you are in a pretty normal company) - what goes around comes around. Someday you won't be in your cubicle for some reason and he's going to be on the spot not knowing how to do a basic task. He can't hide these things forever.
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Old 09-19-10, 03:48 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

document document document. Send him an e-mail and keep it for yourself. Outline your issues kindly. Tell him exactly how it makes you feel. If this doesn't work you can follow up with an e-mail and take the first and follow up e-mail to HR. Little needs to be said, as it's already detailed out.

This way, HR can get a handle on just what has happened and can direct him to more appropriate behaviour.

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-19-10, 03:50 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

if you continue to answer his questions and engage him, then he will continue to ask you these personal questions.

IMO, meadd823 gave you great advice. Always respond with, "none of your business" and that's it nothing more, nothing less. Then, you establish that boundary and he will get bored asking you questions and inserting himself into your life.


ginniebean also gave excellent advice if you eventually want to see HR about him.
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Old 09-19-10, 04:24 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Along with Meadd's excellent advice regarding responding, and Ginnie's excellent advice about documenting, I would ask if there is a higher up that you can bring this up with.

Start from the standpoint of, "I'm not out to make trouble, but some of this communication is simply unacceptable. When or if my wife goes back to work or I sell my house is not work relevant and I am tired of it. Can you give me some input as to how to handle this co-worker situation?"

Two things have been accomplished here. Your boss has an opportunity to share some coping strategies and he is also now aware that the situation exists. Now he is watching it too.

Do you know off hand if your co-worker has some mental health issue?
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Old 09-20-10, 12:38 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

It's just this constant stream of idiocy. The inviting me to his church over and over again, inviting me to 3am meetings (really, really creepy) is something I know I could nail him on if I go to HR.

Most of his other questions are reasonable, if asked once or twice. But he asks them dozens and dozens of times. Like asking me over and over if I shop at Macy's or Saks 5th Avenue. He does quite well I don't. It's just this constant stream of judgement. And judgement from a moron. He claims to be a financial advisor, perhaps he offers financial advice to people when they are gathered at 3 AM. I don't believe half of what he says, but 3 am meetings sound like brainwashing to me.

I don't think I have ever made a complaint about a co worker. "Ignore it and it will go away" has usually worked. My stress levels go off the scale when I even think about going up the chain of command.
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Old 09-20-10, 07:02 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADHDTigger View Post

Do you know off hand if your co-worker has some mental health issue?
*tee he he* my original post asking if the OP had ADD or his co worker, lol!

Quantum, I can totally undertand why you would be concerned about going to HR. If you don't trust them, then go with your gut. I think the suggestion about the e mails is a good one as well. Gives you time to think and puts you in control of the convo.
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Old 09-22-10, 02:21 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

It's not that I don't trust them, it's just that part of my coping mechanism is "the nail that stands up gets hammered down". Going to HR involves being asked questions that I am not prepared for. Other people are good at handling those questions, I am absolutely TERRIBLE at handling them. You can't leave and come back with an answer later. It feels like I am the one getting the third degree.

Maybe it's too many years of school where you're told "ignore them and they will stop", which of course translated to "you're on your own".

Frustrating to go home with a headache and the muscles on my chest as tight as a drum. I know that I could go to HR and take care of it, but my anxiety won't let me. I'd be a hyperventilating stammering mess.
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Old 09-22-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: Venting about an annoying coworker.

Ok, so instead of going to h.r. here are some other things you can try.
1) Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling (or any) headphones and if the coworker talks to you when you have them on, remind him that you have them on to get work done and he should only interrupt you if work-related.
2) Talk to a higher-up at work. Maybe not the boss, but a coworker that you consider to be a mentor of sorts and trust. Or an equal, who may have suggestions.
3) Talk to your manager. If you don't feel comfortable discussing your coworker, tell him you need a quieter environment than you are getting and can you change your cube location or shut a door or otherwise indicate to people to not bother you.
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