Friday, June 22, 2012

The coworker issue

I was actually going to post about something else today, but something just happened and I need to write about this because it's bothering me.

Okay, so I have this coworker. CW#7. He's an okay guy. I would dare to say that I don't mind his company. But he has some odd behaviors, like he's one of those people who will tell a story where he did something and then everyone clapped for him. He also exaggerates stuff that happens in the office to create even more drama when there is enough drama, trust.

He started with me really oddly. He would come to my cube, where I have two counters that are about the right height to lean your elbows against and talk to someone. He would come here, lean against my counter, and take a packet out of his pocket. From that packet he would produce a tiny little pill. He would bring it to my attention. "Look at how small this thing is." So, thinking he wanted to talk about it, I said, "Oh? What's it for?" And then he would hedge. "'s just something I need."

I am not someone who is dying for information about other people, so I started ignoring him, and he eventually stopped taking his pill at my desk. Apparently, though, my silence got to him so he finally told me it was for blood pressure. Big whoop.

He will also come to my counter and prop himself up and then just stare at me. When I finally say, "Yes?" he'll say, "Oh yeah?" back. I've started just igorning him, and he'll go, "Fine!" and then slap my counter and leave. He does this several times a day.

About two or three weeks ago, he told me that a position would be opening in the Emergency Operations Unit of the public agency I work for. I said, "Oh? That sounds interesting." He asked me if I would apply for it and I confirmed that when it opened, I would submit an application. (HoweverI believe I'm on the list for that position and will probably be asked if I want an interview.) Last Friday, he called me into his office. He does this a lot. He'll call, "Hey, Heidi!" from his desk and expect me to walk to his office. I usually say, "Yes?" and he'll say, "I need to ask you a question, so I say, "Okay." and ignore him because I know he wants me to stop working, get up, walk to his office, and then either look at something really stupid and inconsequential or ask me a question that isn't a huge privacy killer that he totally could have asked from my desk. Anyway, one of my other coworkers was in his office and said, "Can you come here?" so I went. CW#7 asked me again if I would go for this position.

"Oh, is it open? I'll go apply," I said and I turned to leave.

"No, Heidi, come here," he said. I turned around. "It's not open yet, but are you going to apply when it does?"

"I might as well," I answered. "I mean, why not?"

"Well, if you want the job, I'll put in a good word with you to [Manager]."

I said, "Oh, okay, that's nice of you." and turned to leave again.

"Heidi," he said, and I had to turn back. "But do you want the job?"

I don't know if I want the job, but I may as well apply for it. Right? I mean, what could it hurt? So I said, "I will apply for it. If you want to tell [Manager] about me and put in a good word, that would be nice."

"But do you want the job?" he asked again. Okay, what's his thing?

"Yes, I will apply for the job," I said and left.

Later that day, he asked if I would go for a walk around the block with him, so I got my walking shoes on and went with him. He broached the subject of the job yet again.

"So, are you going to apply for that job at Loma Ridge?" he asked for the hundredth time.

"Um...yes. I've already told you that I would when it opens."

He then started telling me that I would not have a flexible schedule there and that it was a really long drive and a few other bad things about the job. He didn't mention the scorpions and snakes that other people who work at Loma Ridge have to deal with, but maybe he doesn't care about that. I dont' know. I do. Anyway. I just really hate it when people pull crap like that, and then he kept on about putting in a good word for me.

"I'll totally talk to [Manager] about you if you want me to."

"Yes," I said, feeling really frustrated and surly, and trust me, that's not a hard thing to do, but in this case I really do think I was past the limit that most people would have cracked at. "If you want to put in a good word with [Manager] for me, it would be very nice of you."

I went home and told my mom about the conversation and how it, combined with the other stuff, was making me feel "fifty shades" of creepy (see what I did there?). My mom was totally on my side as all moms should be and even thought maybe he was expecting favors in return from me.

Honestly, I don't think that's what he's after. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to have clandestine romances with coworkers, and he certainly should know that I'm not the kind of girl who has romances with married men. I do think he wanted me to jump up and down and make a big deal about him offering me the job and putting in a good word, like he was giving me a huge gift or something.

So, anyway, this week started out really badly. There were some issues with some things and I was getting really upset with my coworkers who talk all day and with myself for making a mistake, and I just wasn't in the mood to deal with this guy. I finally confided in Coworker #5 on tueday, who is a nice person and business savvy although she can be a bit sanctimonious at times (I'll have an example of that in a minute). She nodded and told me he pulls the same crap with her, but that like me, she's just started ignoring him. She said she gets uncomfortable with people when they watch her work, but if she asks him if he wants something, he just says, "no," and goes back to staring.

It's important to note that he does not do this stuff with Coworker #6, who is a guy. He does other stuff to him.

On Wednesday, CW#5 said, "You know, Heidi, I think CW#7 is just insecure."

"I know he's insecure, but I don't care, I just want him to stop this behavior," I said back.

"Yeah, but insecurity is a really big thing. Like, I know I earned my job, but I think he feels he didn't earn his, you know?" (See what I mean? She literally said that.)

"Um...I don't think it's necessarily a work-related issue, his insecurity," I answered. "I think he just is insecure and he thinks that if he doesn't talk to us every five minutes, then we aren't going to like him any more or something." I mean, honestly, it's not my job to make everyone in the world feel good about themselves.

Anyway, she said that since she's in the office a few hours before me, and so is CW#7, that he goes to her when I'm not there, but after I show up, he leaves her alone, and she said she just wanted me to know that it really is apparently me he wants and he uses her as a crutch when I'm not available. This is even weirder. And even creepier. And I'm even more ready now to get out of this office.

Yesterday, CW#6 (the dude) asked me if I wanted to go out for Pho today. I said, "Yeah, that sounds really good! Should we ask CW#5 to join us?" CW#7 was not supposed to be in today. CW#6 said we should ask her, and we all three said it sounded great.

Today, it was just the three of us and we were discussing how Pho just sounds really good today.

And then about an hour and a half ago, CW#7 walked in. Immediately after he came in, I went for a walk with the other two. #7 couldn't come because he had just walked in. #5 said, "Well, I was having a really good day, and then something happened to make it bad. But, I'm going to stay positive and say that this is still a good day." I thought she had read the e-mail I sent to her when he walked in that said, "WTF?? I was totally looking forward to a quiet day today!" No, she didn't see it until she got back and we had a quiet laugh about it. "I thought so too," she said to me.

Okay, maybe you see where I'm going with this. But come on, this is crazy! Why is he here today? Is it really because we were planning on going out to lunch together without him? Is he here because of me, or is it some other huge thing that I only factor in in a small way? I'm just really feeling confused, and my desire to leave this job is getting stronger.

Anyway, I don't know what to do. I just don't.


Okay, we went to lunch. CW#7 was all up in my grill. He kept just making inane jokes, like if you say "We're going for Pho", he'll come back with, "You're going to flow? Where?" like that. No, it's not funny. But he does that shit all the time.

Anyway, CW#5 is Peruvian and loves futbol, so when she saw that the restaurant had the futbol game (Germany against Greece) playing on the TV, she decided to sit at this ginormous table by the TV. There were tons of seats. CW#7 decided he absolutely had to sit next to me. He kept commenting that I just didn't think he was funny today or something, I don't. I don't think that taking something someone says and turning it into something else not even remotely funny is funny at all. Anyway, #5 is like, "You need to just go with it." and I was like, "FU." So I started swearing in German at the TV everytime the guys missed the goal and talking smack about the Greek team. (Oh, they're greasy? Huh! Did you say those players were greasy? Or did you say they greased the field?--CW#7)

So, anyway. I think...I think this guy is okay in small doses. But he's been overdosing me lately, and I'm just not in the mood. I just want to get my work done. That's all.


  1. It sounds to me like he wants to be important to you in some way. He wants you to notice him, to feel as if he matters, to feel him making an impact on your life.

    The pill thing = trying to make you curious about him
    The walking-across-the-office thing = trying to make you feel like you have to do what he says
    The putting-in-a-good-word thing = trying to make you feel he has power over whether or not you get the job
    The that-job-sucks thing = trying to make you think he knows more than you do and is an authority whose advice you should take

    If he's tripping your radar, then definitely definitely DEFINITELY keep doing what you're doing and stay out of his way as much as possible. We have instincts for a reason. V glad you're listening to yours.

    1. Thanks. It's really comforting to see that someone else has drawn the same conclusions as me. I have an interview this Thursday for a transfer out of here, so hopefully that'll go through.

  2. I fully agree with cassandraparkins here. Some people need attention, even if not specifically seeking any 'favors', as your mother pleasantly phrased. Such behaviour is both sad and dangerous. It is sad, because people acting like that are obviously trying to fill a void of some sorts in their existence- and their perceptions of the outside world are flawed, otherwise they should be able to read signals clearly saying 'stop' or 'this is my private sphere, not a touristic attraction'. It is dangerous, because their need of attention expand into invading other's privacy, up to their whole life, without even acknowledging they're doing something wrong. Those who fall into their reach are usually defenseless, for this distorted perception of things makes using rational arguments against them almost impossible - most of them are unaware of the very notion of privacy, or apply them to themselves, while never thinking of it as a right other also deserve.

    I'm twenty years old, and moved from my natal France to Canada a few days ago. There I live by my landlord, in his house literally, and I found out from the very start there was something really unconfortable about him. Now I'm aware he's one of those- the first one, in fact, I've ever gotten to deal with. Now I'm hiding my keys, and trying to meet him as rarely as humanly possible, despite his constant attempts to check on what I am doing, and his adjusting his timetable to constantly match mine.
    I'm stuck with him for several months, and I live in fear, instead of enjying my time in this whole new coutry. I'd planned inviting friends for Christmas, but I don't want our meeting to be spied on.

    Sorry for all the rambling- I just wanted to thank you. I discovered your blog through the Fifty Shades Chapter-by-Chapter scenery (I'll need another three hundred lines comment in order to tell you all the good I'm thinking of it) and happened to read that post, and I was oddly comforted by discovering others than me had been through the same sort of events.
    -While really I shouldn't be. What you've lived is dradful, uneasing and frightening, and being comforted by bad things happening to others is more than a bit egoistic.- Thanks nonetheless for being brave enough to speak this issue out.

    And I truly hope you're out of this right now.

    If not, though, try keeping as much distance as you can.
    Stay nice, for such people are highly versatile, and it can backfire at you the minute they're not pleased with you, but don't be afraid of stand or speak up to defend your privacy. Don't let him win you over.

  3. *And that was 'Chapter-by-Chapter synopsis', of course. Man, I feel dumb.

  4. I think I'd take snakes and scorpions over that tool. At least snakes are supposed to act that way. Jesus.