General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

How do I deal with a passive-aggressive, subtly bullying colleague?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5663points) March 20th, 2014

I’ve worked at a small organization for about 8 months now and have really assimilated well to my new position. I’m youngish (25) and still learning the ropes of a new industry but I’m happy, productive, eager to learn, and very cordial to my coworkers—with whom I mostly get along well enough.

One of my coworkers is a woman in her 60s who is very good at her job, and outwardly appears very friendly and likable. When I first met her, I thought she seemed great but I quickly realized that she’s one of those people who can insult you with a smile on her face, leaving me hurt, confused and frustrated.

For example, while she smiles at me and seems to be kind, she’s actually very condescending and talks down to me like I don’t know how to do my job. Keep in mind, that this woman is senior to me but she’s not my boss or my supervisor. She’s even gone as far to describe my job description to me like I don’t know what I’m doing and need her to hold my hand.

Whenever I have to work on a project or assist her with something, I dread it and actually feel anxious. Number one, she’s a notorious bottleneck —she’s never satisfied with anything I do and I’m starting to think that it has more to do with the fact that she doesn’t like me and is trying to set me up for failure or sabotage my career. Simple tasks take forever to work through with her because good enough is never enough.

She’ll come to me with a seemingly simple request but then complicate it with confusing and contradictory directions, leaving me stressed and bewildered. Then, she acts like I’m an idiot if it’s not exactly what she wanted on the first attempt and take the opportunity to demean me and make me feel like an idiot for not “comprehending what she wants.”

Tonight, I actually left work crying. She held me hostage until 7:30 pm with another one of her harebrained marketing requests. This one seemed simple enough—copy for a promotional flyer for a conference she’s attending.

Except, as always, she starts rambling on with her excessively complex directives. I grab something to take notes with and she asks “Um, are any of my directions going to make it to the final product? Because that’s something you struggle with. Just some feedback for you!” Like it was the most natural thing in the world to insult me and went on to take further little stabs at me as well.

I’m so sick of this behavior and I’m at a loss for how to deal with it. Naturally, I’m shy and not good at confronting people directly. I stutter and I’m afraid I’ll even burst into tears. :( I almost want to say something to my boss who I have a good relationship with but I’m not sure how to approach this because this woman has been with the company for years and has plausible deniability.


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34 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

First document everything she does, so if you need to take it higher you’ve got a clear pattern of behavior. Then grow a pair. She can only take advantage of you if you let her. And give her crap back to her. I’ve always found the best defense is a good offense. Shut her down. Tell her you appreciate her attempts at help, but you prefer to do it your way. Say she gave you the assignment, let you put it together. And smile sweetly at her. It’ll drive her nuts if she sees you aren’t letting her get to you.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Going by what I said, is it possible I’m overreacting? Is her behavior passive-aggressive or how else could I define it?

She really did upset me and make me cry and usually, I’m pretty good at absorbing constructive criticism.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace She’s screwing with you and taking great enjoyment in making you miserable. Some older women are threatened by younger women. Sorry for the gender call, but it’s true. My sister in law manages an office of a lot of women. They drive her nuts, and usually it’s the older women having issues with the younger women. I’m going to duck and cover for a bit to see how that comment flies.

Coloma's avatar

I so feel for you, I too have a passive aggressive employer. You MUST work on your assertiveness as hard as it can be. Yes to @Adirondackwannabe‘s suggestions. Just the other day my boss came in and tossed down a bunch of supplies and went to leave them for me to put away ( um..excuse me, I am not your gopher girl ) when the storage room is only another 5 feet away. I cheerily, but firmly spoke up and said ” Oh, would you please take those boxes into the storage area.” haha

She looked peeved but did it! Yay! bitch! lol
However…her passive aggressive “payback” came yesterday when she deliberately left more stuff on the counter when I was out and also….classic….left spilled coffee all over the little kitchenette zones counter. I KNEW she did it on purpose!
Truthfully…the best thing you can do is start looking for another job, I am.

These types are so fucked up that even years of therapy will not help them.
In the meanwhile try to keep the mindset that she is a very angry and screwed up person and her behavior is not “personal”, meaning this is her preferential mode of “relating” and she will do it to anyone, not just you.

Cruiser's avatar

First you are not there to make friends and work is not a popularity contest…you are there to do a job. Since this lady is throwing down marbles and tacks to trip you up…beat her at her own game by paying attention to every detail of her instructions and then repeat them back to her by saying…“just so I am clear here, you are expecting this and that to be achieved and I am to do this and then that??” Then thank her for the clarity of the task at hand and you will be looking forward to her review of this task/assignment. Doing this will allow you to defend any critical complaint she may throw at you as you can say that she was very clear in wanting it done this way.

Sucking it up and stroking the ones you want to stroke the least is one crucial element of succeeding in your career.

pleiades's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace Look, you’re young 25 and in the work force. I recommend growing thicker skin because this probably won’t be last intimidating person you’ll meet. Sharks can smell blood in the water and your mannerisms probably show toward her.

Some questions I have for you.

I want to go through facts before jumping on board the pity party.

1. Do you have to do the work she asks of you?
2. Is she passive aggressive for reals? Maybe she this is her way of trying to get you to learn things.
3. Do you feel harassed when she talked down to you? If so, simply call HR department. First talk to your boss.

Also realize it’s not just you. When I’m in the work place I always have my professional mindset on and am not really in the joking mindset at all!

Is this your first job?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe. It’s potentially part of it. She likes another of my coworkers who’s in her early 30s, but she doesn’t have a lot of collaboration with her. Sadly, my position requires me to work closely with everyone in the organization so I can’t avoid her!

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@pleiades It’s not my first job. My position isn’t entry level as I started working in my field right out of college. While my resume isn’t as impressive as hers is at this point, I wasn’t exactly born yesterday.

I’m shy, but reasonably friendly and that could be why she targets me. But I’m also competent at my job so she should really step the fuck back since she has no actual reason to criticize me. Her directions suck and would confuse anyone. From observing her interactions with other people, I would say I’m not the only one who feels that way about her communication style. Also, I don’t need her to school me on my tasks when I’m very self-directed and capable of doing high-quality work which I’ve proven time and time again, to my real bosses—the ones who sign my damned paychecks.

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say it’s “harassment” at the level that HR should get involved, but it’s certainly frustrating if it makes me angry enough to cry.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You’re asking me to walk the plank here. :) There’s a reason women are known as catty. It’s tough, but try to thicken your skin without becoming hard and mean. I have a skin like rhino hide, but I’ve managed to still be sensitive when I need to be. It’s a trick, but it’s very helpful in the business world. And document everything as she’s working with you. Note the instructions, then her counterorders, anything you think is relative. That’s pretty key to showing a pattern. Good luck. I always hated this shit.

punkrockworld's avatar

My motto in life is always: Stand up for yourself. Because if you don’t, no one else will. Also, you got the job without her help, meaning that you both went through the same interviewing process, so you are just as capable as her. You don’t need her help. But you will have to find a way to be more confident and speak up when you are being mistreated. That will for sure make her gain respect for you and see you as an equal.

Coloma's avatar

She sounds more like a control freak. Some people just cannot accept there are multiple ways to connect the dots. Their way is the only way.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Coloma That’s true. She’s also rude and condescending. And a bully.

CWOTUS's avatar

One way that might work for you – as it has worked for so many union workers in the past who work under job rules that prevent strikes (and believe me, I’m not knocking them for this!) – is “work to rule”. What that means is that you do work “” with zero deviation. It will help you immensely if you have a complex and complicated employee handbook, extremely detailed job description, safety regulations, legal requirements, etc., that others (and you yourself) may in the normal course of things find ways to skirt or pay lip service to… but now you need to do in a careful, methodical – and un-reproachable – fastidious manner.

You won’t get a thing done, if you do it right.

So where she has currently been the stumbling block for you to get work done, you can become her nemesis by working exactly and only according to your job description.

For example, when she comes to you with interminable lists of requirements for her project, where is it written in your job description that you have to take the notes? that you have to work untold (and I’m presuming as well “unpaid”) overtime? Know exactly what your job entails, and do only that. And work your hours to the minute with her – and then leave when it’s time to go, though she may be in mid-sentence. Be sure to be completely obvious about that, too, by looking at your watch or clock in a very obvious way, and above all be coldly polite to her.

Give her no grounds for complaint in terms of your performance, and if you feel like it, be perfectly exact in duplicating all of her errors, too (make sure that they’re documented, which they should be if she is providing the notes that you’ll have to work from).

Let her know that the street runs both ways, and she may cut you the slack you need to do your work in a more professional and businesslike way.

In reading over some of the other responses here, I think that @Cruiser and I are on the same page, more or less.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace You’re getting her personality. My rule is if you are rude to me, I’ll give it right back.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@CWOTUS Interesting. See, my position is interesting because my job description is still growing with the company’s needs and I’m in the process of defining myself professionally. I think I’ve really risen to the occasion and my boss is pretty happy with my work. This woman is the only one I struggle with and who ever has a real complaint.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my job description is so complex it would be hard to work “to rule” without hurting myself professionally and just making myself look incompetent.

pleiades's avatar

Ok here’s what you said, “I’m shy, but reasonably friendly and that could be why she targets me. I’m also competent at my job though so she should really step the fuck back. I don’t need her to school me on my tasks when I’m very self directed and capable.”

Now tell her what you told us, albeit, “professionally.”

funkdaddy's avatar

I’m a nice guy as well, some people take enthusiasm and politeness as naivety and spinelessness. I think you have to be true to you and find a way to work around an obstacle like that in a way that doesn’t compromise who you want to be. Don’t change your morals because it’s a challenge.

If you want to be someone that is easy to work with, comprehensive, and excellent at what they do, then you’re also taking on the fact that sometimes that won’t be easy. Some people will take advantage of it. Sometimes it won’t be the most immediately rewarding path, but you’re building a toolkit to maintain who you want to be and each time you decide to return some negativity in kind that’s what you’re learning instead. There are ways to let them know that won’t be tolerated without being anything less than what you want to be.

People notice when you take the initiative to handle things with grace. A little thing like eye contact can change the mood of a conversation and if she’s truly a bully that might be all it takes. Don’t return the passive aggressive cycle to her. Decide if something is important and then either try to ignore it completely and truly or address it with that person in the best way you can.

Just from reading through here it’s hard to get a handle on what alternative to tell her off might work for you. Play to your strengths. Here’s some ideas that have worked for me in the past

- have a third party present, even if they’re just there to meet with you afterwards. That makes your interaction “public” and people are a lot less likely to be snooty when others are around. They’re also less likely to come back and contradict what they said earlier.
– it sounds like creative work and that’s always a bit subjective, run it by someone else first and have their feedback handy when you let her review. Written notes are awesome for this and if you have some kind of project management shared space (online, whiteboard, word doc, whatever) if she can see someone had a positive reaction to your work, or you’ve already run through one round of revisions, she’s less likely to undo your collective work. Especially if she trusts the other party’s opinion. If you want to play dirty, get her boss to “take a quick look”
– Make her a mentor in some area. Ask her as formally as you’re comfortable with to help you with some area she’s good at and proud of in her work. It lets her know you value her experience and makes your success reflect well upon her rather than your failure making her feel better about herself. You’re at about the same level but she has many more years experience, that can be threatening.

I know, none of these are moves that will “put her in her place” or make you immediately feel better and they can be more work, but they help you, help her, and dissipate the situation or even gain an ally rather than making you an enemy that isn’t going anywhere. You don’t have to tell someone off to let them know you mean business.

If you try a few things earnestly and she’s still lame, or tries to take advantage of you, then there’s a good chance others know she’s tough to work with and she deserves whatever she gets.

zenvelo's avatar

I’d go along with what @Adirondackwannabe says. When she starts giving you instructions, whether you agree or not, make sure you have them down, repeat them back to her and make her confirm them. Then follow exactly what she wants. She’ll either be okay with it, or you can ask her what part of her instructions she found wanting.

In this day and age, ask for her to send you an email with her instructions. And make sure you cc: your boss in any replies to her. You need to subtly let her know that you’ll follow her guidance, but she better not complain if you do exactly what she says.

rojo's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I noticed you asked @Adirondackwannabe whether you were overreacting and that is exactly what I thought when I read your description. I am not saying that your coworker is not being a royal pain but I am saying that it is only as bad as you make it out to be internally. Just remember that she does not have an exclusive on that. You too can be condescending if that is what it calls for but sometimes in situations like this it requires more blunt trauma and less deft slicing skill. You may just have to come out and say something like “I am truly sorry that you have that opinion but perhaps it would be better if you did this yourself without my input. Goodnight” and go do something for someone who appreciates what you do.

Buttonstc's avatar

Another possibility you might want to consider is any of the free apps available for smartphones nowadays to record things.

When she starts giving you a boatload of instructions, ask her to pause for a moment while you take out your cellphone, open the app, smile sweetly at her and say something like “you wouldn’t mind me recording this, would you? That way I can be certain I do everything just like you ask” just remember to be exaggeratedly polite.

Keep all these recordings (I think most of the apps store them as mp3s) so that if there is an opportune time in the future and you end up discussing this with a boss, you’ve not only got a record of her icky picky requests but likely her tone of voice when issuing her demands as well. That can go a long way toward making your case if the need arises.

Hopefully it won’t have to come to that if you can learn how to assert yourself a bit more.

Stop personalizing this whole thing. She’s a miserable person and will act out to whomever she thinks she can get away with it. I guarantee you she doesn’t dare do this with those who are higher than her (supervisors and bosses).

She perceives you as shy, hesitant and unassertive so thinks she can steamroll over you.

You will meet plenty others like this all your working life. Might as well learn how to handle people like this now while you’re in a situation where you know that the people who are your supervisors are happy with you and your work rather than a more precarious situation.

If necessary, go look for books on assertiveness training. You need to figure out how to put people like this in their proper place. You deserve to be treated with respect. Figure out how to demand that. You are her equal. Don’t forget that.

And whatever else you do or don’t do, never let her see you cry or let her know in any way that her demeanor is getting to you.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I just woke up at 3am and pounded out a solid copy draft for her marketing request. Looked it over and cross-referenced it against her jumbled notes to ensure its unadulterated perfection. It’ll be interesting and slightly amusing to see what she finds wrong with it (and me) tomorrow.

Also, I’m a weirdo and did some casual Googling on this woman tonight. Found some interesting stuff about her slightly nefarious legal past. Hmmm…

LornaLove's avatar

You have gotten some really great tips and insights here, not sure what I can add. Except to say offices and their dynamics are most often tricky. In a way it is a learning curve that sets you up in your career.

Someone mentioned assertiveness and probably this is the best strategy for you at this point. That means, not allowing her to upset you, get this woman in proportion (she is just an insecure person who likes messing with minds) and learn to say no in various ways that sound professional). Waking up at 3am to do something for her is called, getting under your skin.

Professionalism is about handling all sorts of people with a great attitude. If this is really too much for you then do look for another job, you might meet some other difficult personalities there though too.

Oh and when you do a task for her, do write it down as you are doing. Then read the check list back to her. For example: You want it on pink paper, correct? You need it by 10am, correct? You are an idiot, correct? (Just joking)!

noodle_poodle's avatar

Gosh I have met so many women like this. You have my deepest sympathies they are always tough to deal with. I can only offer you the advice of what I found worked for me.

Firstly be good to yourself its probably not your fault and though it seems unbelievable she might not even be consciously aware that she is doing it. People often don’t really ever step back and question their own feelings and actions and possibly she is just insecure about her age/looks and future and seeking away to bump herself up a bit in her own eyes and everyone elses. A la “gosh aren’t these young girls so stupid who are they letting in these days” a lot of deeply insecure people attack as a means of defence without ever knowing they are doing it.

I found it works best to call them on it. But to fair you are going to have to learn to be a little manipulative yourself in order to do it in a way that’s going to work out. If you just say something like “look why are you being such a bitch”, she will just hate you and the whole thing will escalate.

If poss take her out of her control zone, not while you are working. Find a minute of calm on another day or time and deliberately seek her out. Say something like “Have you got a minute? We need to talk” if she says yes just smile and say “good come on, i’ll buy you a coffee” if you can do this you have already half won the battle. If poss don’t discuss any of it and make casual chit chat until you get there…show an interest, ask her about her personal life, it will throw her off guard and make you both more human. (she might at this point revel whatever major malfunction is making her take it out on you so be prepared to actually listen try not to loose focus if they are having a real rough time or a divorce or something. If you are a nice person you will find it impossible not to care a bit but try to remember why you are there.)

When you get there just throw it right out and be honest. Something like “ look this is a bit awkward for me but I feel like we haven’t been getting along very well” ..then take the opportunity to be a bit kind (and flattering) if you can and say something like “I am new here and I can see that you are very good at your job and well respected around here” ...(IMPORTANT BIT) say

“I find you a bit intimidating” (doesn’t matter if in your head you mean…total bitch)

People might disagree with me on this but I have found that as soon as you actually state that out loud it basically takes all the power they have over you away. 9 times out of ten that will completely stump them, so you hopefully get to say something like,

“I’d really like it if we could get on, because I feel we could learn to work well together” (doesn’t matter if that’s true or not and making it “we” is important ). If possible, and you reckon you can take it, lay it out and say “Have I done something to offend you?” then try and talk it out. Don’t cry, don’t shout and don’t tell her any specific thing she has done because that makes you sound childish and will start you an argument. If she goes all bitch on you an reams off a list of all your personal faults just listen calmly and say “oh I didn’t realize you felt like that…I can see I have a lot to think about” ...I’d say thats the unlikely option.

I have only ever had one person actually do this and the only option is to just let them get off their chest and then say “well so how can I fix this” If they give you anything there its up to you whether you follow it or not. If they don’t then you really are free to cut your looses and take whatever work related protocol is in place because they are clearly a lost cause of doucheness.

Normally though,

In my experience the previous bitch will actually have a bit of an “oh” moment and rethink you. Your technically admitting a weakness but your doing it in a way that is very much showing you are not going to allow it to continue. Give her a clear “out” of the situation in a way which is not detrimental to her. say things like “I find you confusing sometimes, but I will work hard to understand you if you give me the chance”.

That is how I make it work for me anyway. It depends on your personality but, I find that even if you completely think its her fault, make it about you not her. Never couch something to a possibly insecure person in a way that makes them have to defend themselves. They will put all their effort into attacking you rather than questioning themselves. Anyway I hope it works out for you its true my way is a little underhanded but if it creates a situation where you can both work well without being stressed out I find that’s worth it. I butted heads with so many people before I realized that if I had just said “look can you help me out a bit here” they would open all doors if only to feel like they were the one in control. Allow them that its a much easier path.

GloPro's avatar

Argh! I just typed the most intelligent book ever for you and Fluther ate it! Argh! Let’s see if I can summarize it:

Don’t even think about going to HR. Even though everyone else probably sees she’s catty to you no one likes a whiny tattletale. Deal with this head on.

Don’t take the advice of those suggesting you take meticulous notes on her suggestions and criticisms. Although she is your superior she is not your boss. Remember that.

Don’t pull her aside and ask her to talk. Don’t even continue to show her she affects you. I agree she most likely genuinely thinks all of the things she says to you. The woman is a bitch, bottom line. You probably aren’t the only one that feels belittled. Ask her husband.

Go to your boss. Sit down with him and tell him how much you appreciate being empowered with such an open job description. Tell him it feels good to be able to grow your position and feel like you are helping develop the company. Ask him how much rope you have to do your job as you see fit and when he would like for you to come to him for advice or feedback. Most bosses love self-starters and prefer you just do your job and leave them alone. You already said he is satisfied with your performance. Make his priorities yours (actually ask him what his priorities are, bosses love that, too). Confirm his approval of your performance. Tell him you love your job and appreciate being trusted to do it well.

The next time this woman starts in on you with nitpicking directions, make sure no one is within earshot (for her pride), and make direct eye contact with her. Say “I appreciate your feedback but prefer to do this my way. If I have any questions I will be sure to ask (your boss) what he would like.” Then smile, excuse yourself, and walk away. Be direct, but nice.

The NEXT time she criticizes you, repeat the above. Always thank her for her suggestions, tell her you will consider them, and reiterate that if you have questions you will be sure to check with your boss. Then excuse yourself. Do not embarrass her by standing up to her in front of others if you don’t have to. She will take it personally if you do.

After not jumping through her hoops a few times she will most likely avoid you unless she has to work with you. She’ll never like you, not everyone will, but if she gets shut down and reminded that she is not your boss and you don’t answer to her she’ll shut the fuck up.

Side note: She has experience just because she’s been there forever. Some of her suggestions may be good ones. Consider them, then remember that you are good at your job, and do what you feel is best. Also, make sure to ask her about her weekend, her grand kids, etc. pay attention to her as a person. You may get along after a bit, you may not. Respect her as a person either way. Good luck!

+1 for @LornaLove and @Cruiser.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@noodle_poodle Thank you for that.

You probably aren’t the only one that feels belittled. Ask her husband.

It’s funny you mention that. For a long time, I let her backhanded comments slide because I figured she’s a pretty unhappy person. Her husband is dead and she once told me that her adult stepchildren want nothing to do with her. She works from 9–9 every night which I used to think was just becasue she’s dedicated to her career. Now I think it’s indicative of the fact that she doesn’t have much else waiting for her and her job is her “life”.

Last night I was overly curious and decided to Google her and found some legal articles about some something shady she’d tried to do regarding her husband’s estate. Now, it’s none of my business but I found it interesting and it kind of supports my opinion of the kind of nasty bitch she is.

GloPro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Me-Ow! You think so highly of us catty bitches! I’ve seen dick-swinging men in the office too, ya know.

noodle_poodle's avatar

I like Glopros answer better actually. I work hard to make my enemies my friends but its not actually necessary to do so.

hearkat's avatar

She seems to need to belittle you in order to make her self feel superior – classic bullying personality. Work is her life and she’s nearing the end of her lifespan, so she has to make herself appear valuable to the company by ~bestowing the knowledge of her experience on the whippersnappers.~

I can completely relate to what you’re saying about being non-confrontational and stuttering and bursting into tears. I’ve been in that position when I was about your age, and 20 years later, I’m really not much better at it.

I agree with what @GloPro says about talking directly to your boss and confirming that your job performance is good in their opinion. I have a feeling that the higher-ups are aware of this woman’s personality quirks. I think you should suggest to your boss that project communications occur via email so that everyone on the project has easy access to them and can review them and be on-board with suggested changes. This way, you’ll have documented proof of what is needed and who is giving the directions; and if she tries to change it up her suggestions would have to be documented, so there’s no way she can blame you for not listening or taking good notes. Some businesses have ‘workflow’ systems for this purpose to improve efficiency, and they do help illustrate where the true ‘weak links’ are.

GloPro's avatar

Asking her to email directions to you for the projects you work together on is definitely the way to go. When she begins to rattle off all of those nitpick details, interrupt her and tell her you prefer that she emails her wishes so you can make sure you get them all. Doing so will get her objectives met but will not waste your time jotting down notes. It also cuts out the ability for her to throw in snide comments.
Tell her you are very busy but will keep an eye out for her email. If you have any questions you’ll be sure to find her. Then excuse yourself, and walk away.

I don’t agree that you should mention any tension with co-workers to your boss. Frankly, he doesn’t want to hear it. It’s fine to copy him on your email interactions if you wish, and most likely he will understand why you are doing so without you having to mention you’re being bullied. Just remember that as long as you keep him satisfied with your performance then all is good.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro Yes, good point. I’ve seen that too.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

There is a lot of reading above, a lot to sort through, I did a lot of skimming. Here’s my take.
1) My daughter thinks I do too much reminding and double checking when it comes to her assigned household chores. I have to keep reminding her that I double check myself ALL THE TIME. The more important tasks, the more people you will have breathing down your neck. Look at Barack, the whole world watches closely his every move.
2) As people age, we require constant checking of details, because we’ve covered so many details in our life, they eventually become a streaming blur. It could be she is checking herself as much as she is checking you. When you show impatience, I’m sure she feels like choking you.
3) When someone is expected to move up, those above them want to first make certain they are well in tune with every detail they currently handle. She may feel pressure that she hasn’t the time to cover everything she’d like before SHE moves on. It sucks to have questions after the person to answer them has moved on, and now you are the person to ask.
4) I had a man I worked with who was similar. I was doing my job well. One day, when I was caught up, I looked over his shoulder a bit. What he was doing was specialized stuff, and he’d been the only one there to be doing it for thirty years. He gave me a dirty look. I apologized for staring, and then told him I couldn’t help but watch, because it looked impossible, and I was curious how he knew what to do. He invited me to sit. He warned me that he didn’t have time to piss away, so I could watch and listen, but he wouldn’t waste time with kindergarten questions. I watched, I listened. He handed me his calculator and told me to work through the first stage of the next project. I did. He turned around to the rest of the office and stated proudly, “Hey guys, she gets this!” He was proud of me. He’d only been ticked previously because he expected me to bother him with a lot of stupid crap, as had other ast newbies. He began sharing details of his projects with me after that. I never transferred to his division, though I had some later regrets. My point here is that she may be frustrated that you aren’t asking some questions she’d hoped you would, which would prove to her that you are special.

There are many reasons why you may feel pushed around that, someday when you can step back and look from a different angle, are not at all what you think now.

KNOWITALL's avatar

With people like that I have them send directions to me in an email, and if they tell me I did something wrong, that also needs to be in an email for future reference. Then it’s really easy to show people her originals and the end product.

Distance yourself. She sounds like a perfectionist but maybe she doesn’t realize how contradictory she’s being. Good luck!

chelle21689's avatar

Wow I feel you. I went through this today…..see my post

jca's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace: Can you please update the Collective as to how things are going for you, if you’d like?

Thank you.
The Update Lady

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