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I've started a job in a small company a few months ago, I really like the role but there's a colleague who's been here a few more months than I have that I work with whom I have been experiencing some difficulties with.

While I'm presenting in our weekly strategy meetings, this co-worker constantly chimes in with ideas that aren't fully relevant or will then try to summarize what I said after I said it and poorly. I've also noticed that when I talk with the CTO and they assign me tasks, this co-worker tends to verbatim say what the CTO said, which I find annoying and inappropriate and they aren't my superior.

Another problem: I was assigned to validate the performance of something they wrote. I tested it and found that it had performance below what my colleague had claimed. They offered thousands of reasons why my assessment was wrong, I went ahead and decided to indulge them here by going through my assessment and seeing if they had a point. They claimed they had extensive tests for the module. I informed everyone involved that I would continue with evaluation and begin building a better module unless they would supply me with their assessment data, code, setup, etc, etc. I ended up finishing the new module as they never actually provided any of the asked for resources above.

What is this behavior? How exactly do I proceed and how do I bring this up to superiors, or even how do I have an effective conversation with my colleague here?

  • The first case sounds like they're trying to artificially increase their contribution in the meeting by ... well, not contributing much. Might be insecurity (does he chime in when others are presenting?). The second case sounds fairly distinct from the first, and it might be better to separate those into 2 separate questions. – Dukeling Dec 7 '17 at 18:52
  • @Dukeling No, he only chimes in when I present, though we're the only 2 on the data science team so other presentations are more unrelated. – TheM00s3 Dec 7 '17 at 18:57
  • The first part (of the first part) of your question appears to be answered in How can I get my colleagues to stop interrupting me? – Dukeling Dec 7 '17 at 19:05
  • Don't make your co-workers problems your problems. If your supervisor is at all engaged with the team, eventually he/she will realize who is making valuable contributions and who is not. Focus on your work and things will work themselves out. – AffableAmbler Dec 7 '17 at 21:07
  • IMHO, try limit your peer communication to job required level, some personal, if you like. About professional duties, report your findings in writing (email) to you immediate supervisor, any question you have to colleague also put in writing, possibly CCing the manager (not required) This way you could get your point across, and have a record of doing so. – Strader Dec 8 '17 at 15:33
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It sounds like they could be insecure about their performance and the fact that the company just hired someone new to fill a similar role. It's a small company, and the coworker sounds relatively inexperienced.

This is a tough one to answer without being in your shoes. Do you get any one-on-one time with the CTO or direct superior? I would talk to them about being concerned about butting heads with your coworker after evaluating their code and coming to different conclusions. Chances are, the CTO (and others in those meetings) is aware of the same things you are.

Just don't try escalate things by trying to publicly show off, and things will work themselves out. Either your coworker will relax as they get used to another dev, or their superior(s) will talk to them about it if it continues to be disruptive.

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I suspect this is not personal. They would have done this to anyone that came in as they want to be #1 on the data science team.

Have your presentation rehearsed and if they interrupt tell them "please let me finish my presentation."

As for the performance test just turn in what you have. Note the person does not agree but failed to provide information to dispute your findings.

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Based on your question, it sounds like you are a developer or similar role. Let me first say you probably won't like my answer and it is not meant to be offensive.

Developers have very poor social skills. Typically they are very shy and reserve especially when speaking to others in a meeting. I've seen situation where people sit there with blank looks on their faces. Otherwise smart people, just really poor verbal/communication skills. Sometimes they see helpful people as someone who is trying to attack them or that people dislike them. One of the key trait of this I've seen is that they say, "But they don't understand or said it poorly."

With that said, I would first try to look at your co-worker as a helpful person. Perhaps he/she is seeing you struggle or unable to key in on social cues and trying to help. When you sat with the CTO, was the CTO giving confused looks or long pauses? That could have been a time where he was expecting an answer or maybe he didn't realize you were done speaking. Your co-worker could be trying to help. Did others seemingly started to understand everything after your co-worker spoke?

As for the code review, have you tried seeing what he/she did on their workstation? Perhaps you have a environment configuration wrong or maybe something simple you missed. Share results like screenshots, input data, etc and ask if that is correct. If no, explain that the error is confusing/misleading and then be done. Many first time developers suffer from the "it works on my workstation" excuse and that can be both ways. If you are certain the environment is correct, explain that it does not work. Try to prove it by putting it on a shared test server/environment where it cannot be disputed and be sure to clearly explain that it simply gives an error. Do not try to disprove them by saying their code is wrong, but disprove them by the expected results, and don't go into codes or where they are wrong.

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