I suspect a colleague, let's call him Bob is undermining me. Bob is above me in the company hierarchy and works in an office in another country.

I was trying to set up a project that Bob gave me and encountered an issue. I sent him an email along the lines of: "Hi Bob , please help, here is the error message I am getting when trying to build your project" to which Bob replied: "Hi X, you need to do this: step 1 instructions" I did what he suggested and ran into another problem. "Hi Bob, now I got this error, please advise. It would help if we could discuss this over Skype and sort it out." "Hi X, you need to do this: step 2 instructions". He ignored my request for a Skype conversation. "Hi Bob, now I got this error, please advise" This went on for a week until we got to step 4 at which point he claimed that he could not help me anymore, as he did not know how to fix my issue.

I contacted some managers about this, claiming that I am not getting anywhere with this project and asking for some one-to-one technical help. One manager shared an email with instructions on how to set up the project. The shared email was written by Bob a few months ago and it contained: step 1 instructions, step 2 instructions ... step 6 instructions

So Bob had all the instructions! He wrote them, and he did not share them with me, instead decided to share them one by one over a week, wasting both of our times and in the end decided to stop sharing the instructions!

The few instructions that he did share were IDENTICAL to the ones in the full instruction email, word by word, so he copy-pasted them from his original instructions. Note that his original instructions were not public, they were sent via email to someone, so I could not have found them myself.

I am thinking of reporting this to my manager. Given that I am new in this company and that Bob is higher up in the hierarchy, I am a bit afraid of the potential consequences. What do you think, should I report Bob, or just let this slide?

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    TheSaltyBadger, I just saw that another user with the same name tried to edit the question. I'm assuming this was you. In the future, please edit the question from the account that posted the question so your edits do not need to be approved. If you would like this question associated with a different account you can flag the question for a moderator, or if you need to merge two accounts see this help center page. – David K Oct 31 '17 at 19:38
  • @DavidK I don't think they'll move the question to another account - that's a rare operation, and I don't believe regular mods can even do that. Flagging requires 15 reputation. – Dukeling Oct 31 '17 at 20:50
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    I am sure that after recess and a nap you’ll all feel better. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Nov 1 '17 at 3:20

There's always two sides to the story, and it may very well be that Joe has nothing against you personally.

If Joe is everyone's first contact for technical issues, it may well be that at one point he's gotten very tired of answering the same questions, assumed you were given the document, and was copy pasting lines in his emails in a sarcastic manner. I'm not endorsing his behavior, but I've seen some similar shenanigans from techs who think you're asking something very basic, and see your questions as a waste of their time. They typically don't realize how helpless you feel, and how much their help would mean to you.

I would suggest bringing it up to your supervisor in a casual manner, perhaps when you're discussing a timeline for deliverables.

I've been delayed a little bit in getting my project running. I was missing some documentation on how to solve problems X,Y,Z. Joe provided some information, but it fell short of fixing the problem. It was finally John who remembered he had a document, forwarded it to me, and now everything works.

Furthermore, in the future, refrain from sending emails asking for help at each step of the setup. Start off by asking if there's any documentation on the subject, and if the information you receive is incomplete, set up a phone call where you can solve all the problems in a single session instead of following up with endless emails.

That way Joe has an expectation that if he takes an hour out of his day to help you, you'll eventually leave him alone.

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    I think it's better to state your problem in addition to asking for documentation. If there is no documentation, or the documentation doesn't cover this specific problem, it could just waste everyone's time to ask for it. – Dukeling Oct 31 '17 at 20:37

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