09 January 2009

What Do You Mean, Strangling Isn't an Option?

Ever notice that no matter where you work, there's always someone whose toxic behavior makes your teeth clench? In any other venue you could avoid these toxic troublemakers like the plague; at work, however, the best you can learn to do is cope, because strangling isn't an option.

I am, of course, referring to the mousey, dumpy, self-esteem deprived, socially inept, intrusive, boundary-ignoring, eavesdropping, *filthy* C-U-Next-Tuesday with whom I am unfortunately forced to work. This yotch feels so threatened by me that she has to inject passive-aggressive digs at me into EVERY conversation. Yep, that's right - every. Single. Conversation. And if you try to call her on it, she gets self-righteous and defensive, and storms off in a huff. You cannot reason with her. Believe me - others have tried.


In speaking judiciously with some other members of my department, I discovered I'm not alone in my pain: no one else can stand her, either. And, apparently, she's been called on the carpet by our superiors about her behavior in the past. Well, I tell ya - if she doesn't shut her yap, she's going to get called on it again.

I'm not going to confront her; I've learned that doesn't work. I simply refuse to rise to the bait when she comes at me on one of her fake-nice info-seeking forays. They're pitifully obvious, and it just frosts her cookies that I don't give her any more than monosyllabic answers. But I've learned the hard way that I need to protect myself from her - given the chance, she will go through documents on your desk (even when you're sitting there!), eavesdrop on conversations, read e-mail over your shoulder, all in the search to "get something" on you so she can use it to get ahead.

Case in point - for the past few weeks our department has been wrapping up our 2008 personal development plans and drafting plans for 2009. She's been relentless in trying to find out what I've got on my plan, but I hadn't divulged any information, voluntarily or otherwise, until yesterday. It's my fault, really; I had left a voicemail on a colleague's phone about a particular certification exam I want to take this year. While I was passing the Yotch's desk, this colleague stopped me to answer my question. When I turned around, Yotch was busily looking up the website for the organization that offers this certification; upon hearing that I wanted to take this exam, suddenly SHE wanted it, too. She's already taken this exam and failed it, but she feels so threatened by my successes that she needs to bolster her pathetic little ego any way she can. Junior high, much?

It's even more frustrating knowing there's nothing I can do about her behavior; I can only change my own reaction. I realize that I'm on the right track - being polite but distant, responsive but uninformative - and that she will eventually hang herself with her own dysfunction in front of our supervisors.

I just wish there was some way to give her more rope.


Nan said...

Ugh- I am so NOT looking forward to reentering the work force. Hmmm, do you think that might effect my ability to get a job?