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Steer clear of co-worker's madness
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Dear Alma,
I was recently informed by my unofficial supervisor that a co-worker wants to confront me. The co-worker said I didn’t speak and may have been influenced against her by someone else. My initial reaction was disbelief. This co-worker is in her 40s and losing sleep over this? When I first took the job, a mutual friend said I should reach out to her because we come from the same area and know some of the same people. So I was a little thrown when, at our initial meeting, she came with attitude. Since then, I’ve worked with her on several projects, only to be burned with little to no explanation. My co-workers and I have noticed that she uses her gender and race to blame others for her shortcomings. She even accused me of being friends with “them." I try to interact with this woman as little as possible since she is like a Teflon pan when it comes to responsibility. How do you remain the bigger person when she’s making preemptive strikes against you to people in authority? Should I tell crazy to kick rocks with a witness present or should I begin my own plan of attack, knowing this could go horribly wrong?

Kick rocks, toss rocks, bury rocks in the sand? …Hmmm, let me ponder.

First, never make a move because of something you “heard” from somebody else. This applies to situations inside or outside the workplace. Usually, what you hear from others has been added to like a cake baked from scratch. Deal with people based on what they say to you directly, face to face, and what they do in your presence.

Now, on to your co-worker. It’s clear that you don’t like woman and you’ve made up your mind that you don’t want much to do with her -- for good reason -- and that’s ok. Still, you should maintain a respectful work relationship with her. You aren’t obligated to do anything more than that.

If she decides to “confront” you, be prepared. If she asks why you didn’t speak to her, say it was probably because you didn’t see her and that it was nothing more than that. Don’t include yourself in her madness. And above all, stop participating in office whispers. When others start to roll that gossip wheelbarrow, you should walk away. Remember, when you aren’t around, they may very well talk about you, too.

I’m thinking nope, there’s no need to tell crazy to kick rocks or begin a plan of attack. Be you, and be the most sophisticated you that you can be. If all hell breaks loose, let her know she’s not your kind of “road dog.” LOL. You can say it without being mean, but light-heartedly and with a smile on your face.

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October 6, 2015
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