I have an over-ambitious colleague that keeps pressuring people who work with her.

She has a spectacular plan which is in order to please the top management, that I am ok with it. I chose to get out of her way, shut up and let her play. Even that I don't like her "political tricks".

However, her plan took her so much time that she cannot finish what she is supposed to do in the agenda. Thus she turned to me, asked me to do part of her job. She made it like it is my responsibility to achieve it. Although, according to the plan, my work is already finished.

Technically, she's the user of my work. However, I already handed over what she needs, she only has to read my work (I guess she doesn't have the time) and she can proceed. But she still asks for more, which should be done by herself. She put her aggressive face to me, looks like she's not happy with my uncooperative attitude (FYI, I am not the first one to suffer this). Come on, that is YOUR job! Don't push other people because you have a tight deadline which is due to overspent your time on some "super plan"! Everyone has their own schedule to follow. Why should I give my way to you!?

I don't think it is possible to just ignore her and focus on my work. She keeps pulling people to her desk, asks a lot of questions that can speed her work without caring if people are busy with their own work, like the office should only serve herself. The whole team is interrupted time and time again.

Anyway, I am fed up with her arrogance. How could I deal with this without making it ugly?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a rant; not a question.
    – Jim G.
    Dec 12, 2013 at 0:16
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    @JimG. I am sorry that I complained in the post. But I believe most of it is not off-topic. If you insist, I can get rid of the complaining part. Thanks. :) Dec 12, 2013 at 0:17
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    @Jimg - doesn't look like a rant to me, this is a legitimate issue. Dec 12, 2013 at 0:21
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    @JimG. It's not really a rant, he's asking about what he should do with it. If he didn't include the line How could I deal with this without making it ugly? then yes, it would be a rant.
    – Jon
    Dec 12, 2013 at 1:54

3 Answers 3


'Grand plans' are often diversionary - 'I've got the plan to save the world and you will serve me as I do this'. This is some kind of hero complex and most likely isn't going to get anywhere. It appears from your post that she's dragging a lot of people into this - it might work if she is charismatic, but if everyone else is burning out she'll end up left with nothing when it's time to count the chips.

The best thing to do is stand back and watch. Take care of what you're supposed to be doing, and nothing more. If you and her (as well as others) are in weekly progress meetings with higher level managers, prod her to describe to her managers the demands she's making on her co-workers. They should get a sense of the fact that she has turned into a bull in a china shop.

Things not to do: first, don't try to 'defeat' her plans. People learn by making mistakes, and some companies encourage or even demand experiments with potential for failure. Maybe this is a good idea, and it's possible she's being cultivated for higher roles. You might see something in all this you respect, later on.

Second, don't organize or participate in a 'revolt'. If several of the other workers are cooperating to 'bring her down', stay out of it. Each of you should do what you can and make your own choices, but there is no point in trying to undercut constructive efforts, even if they're misguided. Ms. Ambitious will have to learn to get what she wants done with limited resources. As do we all.

  • Thanks a lot, Meredith. Your answer is very helpful. I don't want to defeat her or what. I am a pure technique staff, and will not to be involved into anything other than my work. You are right, I will step back and watch. Maybe give some friendly help that I can afford. Thanks a lot! :) Dec 12, 2013 at 0:49
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    -1: political commentary not needed Dec 14, 2013 at 20:25
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    @kevincline - It was incidentally political, as is the original issue in this post. Someone has volunteered an edit - I'll let it stand. Dec 14, 2013 at 22:14

Anyway, I am fed up with her arrogance. How could I deal with this without making it ugly?

Your answer should be: "I'm sorry, I can't help you right now because I am busy with my own work."

That is all you need to do. If she is not your boss, she has no rights to re-prioritize your work or tell you how to do your job. Be nice, but firm. Some people need push back in order to respect your boundaries.

Whatever you do don't start getting into arguments with her. For example, don't let her ask you what it is that you are busy with and whether it is more important than helping her. People like that tend to latch on to whatever 'lifeline' you give them. She will only sucker you into doing her work so long as you let her.

  • And if she keeps bothering you, just tell her: "If you believe this has a higher priority than my other work, please talk this trough with Manager x responsible for you. She can decide what other project I can stop to help you.
    – Josef
    May 18, 2016 at 7:33

This often happens to most people in the office. Some people have a nature to be over smart and make complains of their colleagues to the boss. Manage your reactions. If someone annoys you, don’t show your reactions to him and don't focus on his behavior. Keep it to yourself.

  • Hey Kimmy, can you please explain why one should keep these reactions internalized? What makes this the correct choice of action over some other action?
    – jmort253
    Dec 17, 2013 at 4:02
  • Obviously, you can't change other's behaviour, let them do what they want to do. Focusing on your work only take you to places. Dec 21, 2013 at 19:04

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