Friday, January 23, 2009
Conniving & Calculating Co Worker
Dear Pop Shrink,
A few months ago, a new girl, let's call her Loren, was hired to work in our department. I thought Loren was nice and funny, so I hung out with her during our breaks and sometimes for happy hour after work. Most of our conversations revolved around work and she was constantly asking about the company, especially about the management and owners, and my advice about how to deal with them. At work, she was constantly asking me to help her get situated as she was pretty slow in understanding what she was hired to do. Feeling pretty confident about my abilities to do our rather complicated projects, I more than happily shared my expertise. Sean, my co worker who is normally a very sweet and friendly guy, kept his distance. A few weeks after Loren started, Sean came up to me during a break and offered this warning "Mark (a coworker in another department) went to high school with Loren and told me she's a total conniving bitch, be careful" Ever the optimist, I thought that being that she is now 24, she must have matured. Wow, was I wrong. A few weeks after this conversation, (during which Loren had been spending less and less time hanging out with me) I found out that she had been cozying up to our supervisors, AND the owners of the company showing off "what a sharp and fast learner" she was. Soon enough, they moved her up to supervise Sean and me and she showed her true colors. Suddenly, this once sweet girl is now condescending, impatient, and just all around bitchy. I hate that I helped create this monster, who is now my "boss". HELP!
Right away your problem reminded me of an episode of Brady Bunch where Marcia helps the nerdy girl, Molly, with her confidence and social status by giving her a make over and introducing her to "cool." One of my favorite lines comes out of that story, when Molly lets her newly found popularity get to her head, becomes competitive and bitchy with Marcia and proceeds to tell her, "It doesn't matter how I got here Marcia, the point is, I've arrived!" As with all Brady Bunch episodes, there is a happy ending (Molly realizes and acknowledges that Marcia was a good friend to her), but in real life, this is often not the case.
As for your co worker, unfortunately in real life, sometimes we do run into unscrupulous characters like this "Loren". As far as your role in creating a monster, methinks this person was a monster already...you may have just helped her rear her ugly head a bit sooner. If Loren is as obvious and perhaps incompetent as she seems, eventually the truth comes out. Your bosses didn't get to where they are by being stupid. Of course there is always a bit of office politics involved, so I would say, try to stay on the good side of the people who have power over this "monster" as well. That way, if she tries to make you look bad, you have allies in the people above her. In the meantime, show your company your best work and keep a positive attitude. Why don't you relax by inviting some friends over to build a house of cards, or go to a movie with your boyfriend George Glass? Or better yet, cleverly pack some beans and hot dogs in a few flashlights and take a quick trip to the Grand Canyon! Whatever you choose, just make sure you do not play ball in the house, because mom always said...