A few days ago I went into work expecting it to be a good day and it was beginning to feel like it had been. That is until I had to deal with my coworker who likes to start fights every now and then. I could tell my coworker was getting irritated and usually when that happens, he comes at me verbally with full force. To avoid confrontation, I attempted to move on to the next topic, just hoping that he would calm down. Unfortunately, that is not what happened and he exploded.
This has been happening for a few years. This coworker decides that our normal everyday tasks are suddenly an issue or he decides that I shouldn’t be completing certain tasks because he has been there longer and feels he should be in charge. He will begin to refuse working with me as a team, degrade me and my work, and even berates me in front of customers.
So what am I supposed to do when he freaks out like this? I still need to finish the task and I needed this coworkers help. Well, I end up just doing it all by myself and decide that I will go to my manager to inform him of the situation. In the past few years, my manager had never done more than tell me they will speak with him. I am sure they did speak with the coworker, but I do not believe any written proof of this exists. I had requested HR be involved about a year and a half ago, and it never happened. A few weeks ago I informed my manager of a situation and I let him know I was fed up, I told him to contact HR. I was informed that HR had a light discussion with the coworker to help them avoid this in the future and to guide them towards better communication.
So here we are, another day, another situation. I decide to send the scene that played out to my manager so it can be sent to HR. To which I am told by them that I WAS TO BLAME! I sat there stunned that I was being blamed for my coworkers' aggressive behavior over a small task I needed help with. I was told that there was nothing wrong with his behavior, but if he had called me a name or cursed at me, then he would be in the wrong. I could not believe what I was hearing and broke down into tears after trying to hold it all in. I tried to remind them that this has been happening for years. I was told that the past is the past and to focus on now and the future. Basically, their lack of record taking on past instances meant that they didn’t have enough evidence. They tried to give excuses for the employees' behavior and mostly focused on how I need to talk to this coworker a special way. I agreed that I will implement more tactics when communicating, however for them to blame me? For them to ask me to tiptoe around him? I was heartbroken and speechless. The problem is that I already do walk on eggshells with this employee. In fact, several other employees have had the same issues with him and managers have been aware of it, but never physically recorded it. And now I am expected to continue tiptoeing around his irrational behavior?
During a job interview for a promotion, his poor behavior and attitude towards myself and others were even brought up as an example where my job asked me how I would handle it. So why now are we acting as if this has never happened before, and also, why am I suddenly the one to blame?
I have been sitting here slowly piecing my mind back together. I left my job questioning who I was. Was it my fault? No! Of course, it wasn’t. I had several outsiders see the situation (as it happened by email) and all agreed it was not my fault. I am beginning to learn that documentation is very important. Without it, your situations may be swept under the rug. What is also important is knowing that their truth is not always your truth. I won’t let them treat me like I do not matter and let them sweep this under the rug. I know who I am and I know what I am about. I will rise above this and I will not let them walk on me. Time to get ready to show them who I am and that this will not be tolerated. If you ever feel this way, don’t let the outsiders get in your head. Remember that you are strong and you are worth more!