How to Handle Complicated Co-Workers

How to Handle Complicated Co-Workers

Each of us must learn how to deal with other people - especially those we work with. Good relationships with co-workers ensure you have someone you can turn to for help when you are confused or lag behind. Every employer makes it clear how important it is to have teamwork in the workplace. What do you do, however, when you have a co-worker who refuses to get along with anyone? When someone doesn't want to get the job done, how can you expect teamwork to succeed? 

Over the past year, I dealt with a complicated co-worker. Until it became a clear pattern of toxic behavior, I did not realize how complicated they actually were. For months, they bossed me around because they've been doing the job longer than me.

I used to be friends with this coworker before we worked in the same department. We always chatted and had lunch together. However, before the pandemic hit, I realized this co-worker was simply taking advantage of me. They were constantly trying to manipulate me. During the last two times I worked with them before they were furloughed, I slowly distanced myself from them. 

After this co-worker returned from a 5-6 month furlough, everything changed for the worse. It seemed that they weren't happy that I took over their role. Once they returned, they made it extremely difficult for me. They had seniority over me because they had worked in the department longer than I did. My days were chosen by them, so I was forced to work weekends, which was not pleasant.

Throughout the months, I kept receiving passive aggressive emails and texts about minor mistakes I was making. It seemed like there was a new problem every week. After I started doing things to their satisfaction, they added more work. This could be as simple as printing something extra every day. The subtle conflict irritated me. The final straw came when they constantly asked me to cover for them since they weren't feeling well. It became a weekly occurrence, to the point that they needed to be fired. I felt angry and frustrated. 

In what way did I respond to this situation? When this occurs, the first option is to address the issue directly with the coworker. You need to let them know that their behavior disturbs you and makes your job experience very unpleasant. Please do not shout or cuss at them. Just speak calmly with them and see what happens. If they do not respond as you expected, you should contact management. 

In a situation like this, management has the final say. Explain how your co-worker isn't cooperating enough to help you get the job done, which is making your work experience unpleasant. Management should be able to sit down with your co-worker and handle the situation professionally. Once management steps in to handle the situation, there is no need for you to continue trying to manage it yourself. Maintain professionalism and calm at all times at work. Do not let this co-worker prevent you from getting your work done and having a good day. 


Written by: Audre Arnett

Instagram: @infinityaudreee

1 comment


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