My Coworker Is Sabotaging Me Daily, What Do I Do?

6 days ago
Oliver Thomas Klein/Unsplash

Question:

I face a huge, perhaps insurmountable, problem at my work. One of my coworkers lies to my boss about me and also takes documents off my desk and hides them, making me look like an unorganized employee who can’t get my work done in a timely manner. I can’t complain to my boss because he thinks she’s perfect and I’m jealous.

I don’t know what to do, and try to pretend I don’t mind this. There’s this weird vibe every day, because she knows she’s getting away with murder and I have to suck it up. She also lords it over me in other ways. She takes long lunches, but when I leave to handle my son’s necessary medical appointments, I get “where are you?” messages from my boss.

I want to keep this job. What can I do?

Answer:

Take three steps when you face a deck stacked against you: get centered, get help and if the first two steps don’t bring results, get out.

Get centered

Those who “suck it up” simmer in resentment. Getting centered requires you to “rise above” the “weird vibe.”

Right now, you risk sinking into the swamp, and becoming a casualty of your coworker’s sabotage efforts. Aim for solid land. What do you like about your job? Whatever it is, focus on that and let your talent show. If, however, your only answer is your paycheck, why stay in a job in which you’re miserable when you need a job that gives a psychological as well as a dollar paycheck.

Getting centered means focusing on doing a good job without expecting the perks others receive. Your coworker’s long lunches don’t give you the right to expect you can disappear to a medical appointment without informing your boss. Your boss shouldn’t have to text “where are you messages,” and you give your “gotcha” coworker ammunition when you leave without notifying your boss.

Do you do your work with integrity, so that when you tell others a coworker lies about you, they’ll believe your word?

Get help

When someone takes documents from your desk or lies about you, you can’t just grin and bear it.  Find a way to document what’s going on, and then go above your boss to either his boss or your HR representative.

Your comment that your boss thinks you’re jealous worries me. His view of you undercuts your ability to fix this situation. How have you portrayed yourself – as a straightforward employee with integrity or as a person with an edge who’s always talking about what others have that you think you should be given?

Does your desk and how you present your work to others look organized – so that your boss or HR representative believes it when you say someone took documents from you? Or, given the mess on your desktop, does your boss have to decipher what he believes based on “she said versus she said” testimony?  

Get out

Finally, if you can’t get help, you need to leave, before you’re asked to leave. When the deck is stacked against you, you can either vote with your feet or you risk being “cast off the island.”  © 2017, Lynne Curry. If you have a career questions you’d like Lynne to answer, write her @ lynne@thegrowthcompany.com. Lynne is an executive coach and author of Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM & Solutions. You can follow Lynne through her other posts on sheknows.com, via www.workplacecoachblog.com, www.bullywhisperer.com™ or @lynnecurry10 on twitter.      

   

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