We just moved our hardware into a new location shared with other projects. Prior to the move, I was talking to the move coordinator, and he asked me what workspace I was going to use in the new location. I said I did not know, so he randomly picked one (Workspace 5) and wrote my name onto a diagram showing all the workspaces in the new location.

On the day of the move, I went into the new location and saw a guy (let's call him John) from another project that was moving into that location. He had just finished setting up his workspace, and he had seen the workspace diagram, so he pointed me to Workspace 5. I noticed that Workspace 5 was far from a component that one of my devices needed to connect to, and I mentioned to him that I might move to Workspace 3 to be closer to that component. Workspace 3 had a few stray unconnected devices on it, and no one's name was on Workspace 3 on the diagram. John seemed opposed to me changing workspaces though, for some reason. I didn't want to argue with him about it, so I just said "ok", and then he left.

I started setting up our hardware on Workspace 5, and determined that our device definitely would not be able to reach the component it needed to connect to from that workspace. So I decided to move the stray devices from Workspace 3 onto Workspace 5, and I set up all of our hardware on Workspace 3. I did not think it was a big deal, and I was going to mention it to the move coordinator the next time I saw him.

The next morning, I received an email from John that was addressed to me and also CCed to his manager, my manager, and the move coordinator. In the email, he stated that I had been assigned to Workspace 5 and that I had "usurped" Workspace 3. He chided me for moving the stray devices that had been on Workspace 3 without asking anyone. He then said my actions were "rude", "uncouth", "unbecoming", and "unprofessional". I was shocked at the harsh language and the fact that he decided to CC all the managers.

I replied to everyone on the email in a civil manner. I explained why I had switched workspaces, how I had already told John I was thinking of switching to Workspace 3, and how Workspace 5 had been picked randomly for me and that there was no reason I needed to be at that particular workspace. I apologized for not getting approval before switching workspaces, and I offered to move everything back to Workspace 5.

Later my manager called me and I explained the situation to him. He said he had been talking to John about it, and he didn't think I had done anything wrong. He said John was being overly sensitive and felt entitled to whatever workspaces he wanted. Shortly after that, he told me he had reached a compromise with John that was satisfactory to both of us.

So my manager didn't think that I had done anything wrong, but what about John's manager and the move coordinator, who had also been CCed on the email? My reputation may have been tarnished in their eyes. At my company, sometimes projects end and you have to look for an opening on another project. There's always the possibility that I'll want to join John's manager's team or the move coordinator's team in the future, and they might reject me if they think I am rude and unprofessional. Is there anything I can do right now to ensure I remain in good standing with them?

  • 2
    Hopefully those other managers see the obvious unprofessional-ness from John... if they really side with him after that, I wouldn't ever care to work under them.
    – GB1553
    Jun 1, 2021 at 17:59
  • Where did @JoeStrazzere's comment about having my manager do a Reply All on my behalf go? I was gonig to suggest he post that as an answer.
    – user20925
    Jun 2, 2021 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


You stated your reasons. You replied to everyone. That's all you can do.

Do not try to control what others think of you. You will drive yourself crazy if you're always trying to second-guess whatever everyone else thinks of you.

Assuming you're telling us the truth about what happened, it doesn't sound like anyone would think you did anything wrong. If anything, John's email only made him only look bad. And if his current behavior is any indicator, he has probably done the same thing to others.

With that said, I do hope you do not join John's team, even if they want you to join it. John could be a toxic co-worker. Let that be your warning. Only join his team if you really have no other option.

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