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I work in a small business with relaxed management, where work gets done at a none pressuring pace. I'm pretty quick however and get most work done way before schedule and often have a drought, pestering my managers to get back to me with more work to do.

In my free time I'll play chess online or something else. I was caught out once, my manager stating 'You playing chess? You got no work to do?' I said 'No', and carried on playing chess. I'd already messaged him saying I had no work and such.

Anyway, the manager leaves the room and a coworker speaks up 'You shouldn't be playing games at work. If you want work, come to me and I'll give you tasks to do' (by tasks, he means projects with no relevance to the business). He speaks to me in a belittiling tone and definitely doesn't treat me as an equal when doing so. It couldn't be considered 'friendly advice', more like getting chewed out by your boss.

Later as part of my course, I was developing an iOS App, and so I got to download the relevant virtual machine software. He speaks up again 'You can't be downloading unauthorised software. This software you've downloaded has viruses in it.' I defend myself, explaining I had a discussion already with my manager about downloading the virtual machine and such, and that the software being downloaded is commonly used, probably once by everyone in the room.

Also, unfortunately he's not incredibly smart either. I am required to work with him at times and ask for advice occasionally, I don't always agree with him and will discuss if I feel it's not the right approach, however he'll go out of his way to be right, and outright lie about things at times, stuff that is obviously untrue. I don't feel he is being intentionally malicious or slippery, just he doesn't like me or can't admit he's wrong, one of the two.

He also makes jokes that are outright offensive towards myself and others, which can frustrate me sometimes, I don't see the comedy in making fun of others abilities or weaknesses.

I don't want to report him, I'm not that sort of person, but his behavior can be unacceptable at times, and he only crosses the line when there is no management within earshot. I will argue with him if I feel he's being intrusive.

I can't say that I've had the direct conversation with him 'I would like you to stop treating me like crap and stick to your own business', but again, I don't like showing people disrespect.

I don't plan on staying at the business for long (6 months minimum), would like to move to somewhere a little quicker paced, so perhaps the answer is to tolerate it.

Also, for anyone about to tell me that he's right, I know it is, but it's not his place to tell me, it's managements place and by him doing so has created a hostile relationship between us to the point when I'm told to work with him, I tip toe around and try to avoid as much contact as possible.

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    To be completely honest with you, if I was given the choice between working with you or your coworker, from what you've told us, I'd probably go with the coworker. You shouldn't be playing chess at work; it you don't have a task, go find something to do. I can totally understand why a coworker that's older than you and probably wouldn't just play games at work himself, might get pissed when he sees you do just that. Remember that you're being paid to be there; earn your money; – DarkWiiPlayer Feb 19 at 11:48
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    I don't know if you read the full question but I actively seek out work to do if I have none. I'll offer to help with things, I think it's wrong to start doing someone elses work without them knowing and have been warned before not to overstep what work has been given to me. – DubDub Feb 19 at 11:55
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    For what it's worth, I'd prefer to work with you than with your colleague :-) It's not up to you to earn your money, it up to your management to ensure they get enough work done for the money they spend on you. By being straightfoward and requesting for more work, you've already done more than enough. Good thing also that you turned this time into something more productive than chess (although this is somewhat less unproductive than just wandering on youtube) – Laurent S. Feb 19 at 12:00
  • Also, I don't particularly take issue with someone spending time in the office not doing work all the time, but if it makes you feel any better, 4 of us downloaded a FPS not long ago and had a LAN party, the relevant colleague included, while in work hours. He wasn't complaining then. So he isn't quite the 'Only professional' kind of colleague, I wouldn't be complaining if he was. – DubDub Feb 19 at 12:03
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I don't want to report him,

Well, don't, at least not immediately.

Ask him for a friendly chat, and mention

See, I can understand your urge to suggest and guide what you think is best for me (or us), but sometimes I honestly feel you're overstepping a little. Also, not all the unnecessary comments you make are acceptable by me. I tried ignoring / overlooking it couple of times previously, but it's not getting any better. We're in a professional environment and I'd like to maintain a professional decorum. Please let me know how I can be of help to maintain a proper working relationship.

They should get the message.

If the behavior changes, all good.

If not, you may want to collect evidence (from peers, co-workers) about the bad behaviors and report to your manager/ HR.

Simply "tolerating" is passive encouragement to workplace bullies - Don't help creating one (more).

  • "[...] workplace bullies - Don't help creating one" Did we read the same question? How is that coworkers behavior in any way similar to that of a bully? – DarkWiiPlayer Feb 19 at 11:52
  • @DarkWiiPlayer ...."He also makes jokes that are outright offensive towards myself and other".... "he'll go out of his way to be right, and outright lie about things at times, stuff that is obviously untrue"... these are early signs – Sourav Ghosh Feb 19 at 11:54
  • @DarkWiiPlayer Simply stating: Don't try to manage someone who is not reporting to you. Friendly suggestions are welcome, however bossing around is not acceptable. You can advise, and then report - but passing on judgement / commands is not acceptable, IMHO. – Sourav Ghosh Feb 19 at 11:57
  • I fear for the consequences of an approach like this. I can see it leading to me being told to back off if management doesn't side with me and as a junior in comparison, I doubt they'll side with me. Similar issue with MlleMei's answer. They know the issues already and I think they ignore them to keep the peace. – DubDub Feb 19 at 13:33
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    @DubDub If that's the case, you've done what you could and the best way out is the way out. – Sourav Ghosh Feb 19 at 14:14
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This is something I'd rather discuss with Boss.

Repeat that every time, in a matter-of-fact tone, and then move on to show him the subject is closed. Hopefully he'll get the hint after a while. You could also have a big picture conversation with him like Sourav Ghosh suggests, but often the type of people like your colleague won't respond well to that. If you'd prefer that approach though, I'd again focus on the fact that those are subjects you're more comfortable talking over with your boss.

Can I talk to you for a minute ? Sometimes you ask me to do X or comment on Y, and it makes me uncomfortable, since those are things that I discuss with Boss. I understand you're trying to help, but I'd rather you don't comment on those things to me in the future, thank you.

And when he does it again later on, use the first script. It is important to keep it short and to have a neutral tone, you don't want to give him anything to latch on (an opportunity to give excuses, complaining about your tone and attitude,...). That's also why, even though you'd probably love to tell him how annoying he is, this would only create more awkwardness and tension in the office. Focus on what you need and want, not on him.

About working with him, you're going to have to suck it up. Ignoring him, and because of that not doing your work on time, isn't good. If the problem is just his personality, you'll have to get over it. If his shortcomings are related to his skills, then that is something your manager should know.

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You seem to blow this out of proportion (unless his tone is blatantly condescending, insulting or otherwise inappropriate)

His comments were valid (granted, not his business but could pass as friendly advice) and all you needed to say was, "Boss approved the download" or "I asked Boss for work, still waiting".

On that note when your boss asked you about the chess you should have answered

"yes, or did you find some work for me ?."

Though I think there is always something you could suggest to do while waiting for a new task.

Regardless, once you legitimately shot down your colleagues comments, that should've been that without the need to ask us.

Only if he keeps pestering you afterwards with the same, should you say something to him or your boss if he won't stop.

  • Tone is hard to describe for we all interpret it differently, but I wouldn't have taken his comments as friendly advice in any scenario. Across the room shouting it was more akin to. – DubDub Feb 19 at 13:24
  • @DubDub well,it's not uncommon to "talk" across the room in open office spaces or rooms with multiple desks.Though it would have been appropriate for him to speak more discreetely.If you felt it was hostile you should describe it in your question.Oh btw.could you please shorten your question?It's a tad long and on the ranty side...(; – DigitalBlade969 Feb 19 at 17:24
  • Thanks for the feedback, I think that's a little shorter now and less ranty. I thought I got across the point across that he spoke in a hostile manner to me in the original question but I get what your saying. Since working here, he's the only person who has spoke to me in such a manner, my bosses usually will have a word if there is an issue. – DubDub Feb 20 at 9:17

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