I have been in this team for about 8 months now, as a consultant.

I got into a project that did not give me sufficient time to know the domain know how in detail. I had to perform with the limited knowledge that was given to me as I had immediate deadlines.

Later another new team mate joined us in the same role as me. He started asking me about specific questions on the domain that I myself hadn't had the chance to dive deep into. So he moved to another more experienced colleague for the same. He had the time to ramp up unlike me and was able to document everything in detail.

But slowly I started realizing he has started showing mistrust in my and my skills and knowledge. And had publicly started saying things to the same effect, thankfully in my presence. He doesn't know what situation I was in and why my domain knowledge was limited. he had the privilege of time to only learn, unlike me who had to learn and perform at the same time.

It really makes me feel bad and incompetent. My other new team members now have the same opinion about my skills and don't trust me or respect me. I am working hard to get good grasps of the domain meanwhile, but the new colleague has started using this image of mine and openly telling things in the teams presence that I am doing this wrong, or I'm not organizing right, or that I am not completing my task correct.

How can I deal with this?

  • 10
    Wait, so you and a peer were hired into the same environment with the same role. You had a head start, and still have been less successful at getting up to speed than the other guy? Unless you have something else to show (being successful at fixing things for example) it seems as though there's some meat behind the distrust...
    – Telastyn
    Jun 15 '14 at 17:16
  • Have you considered not doing things improperly and organizing it correctly? Jun 16 '14 at 17:52
  • edited the question such that it is more generic and can be applied to similar generic situations people may face. Please remove the hold, as i need more opinion
    – nysa
    Jun 18 '14 at 1:16
  • @Chad - I am good at organizing and havent had a single complaint from peers or superiors about incompetent or mediocre work. ITs just that the new joinee has a faster way to ramp up and is more creative at organizing. I am learning from him, but for these 2 areas i dont believe my team mates doubt my abilities. its just that i lack detailed domain knowledge overall, and as someone here has mentioned, may be i need to learn how to ask for help effectively
    – nysa
    Jun 18 '14 at 1:18
  • 1
    I am doing this wrong, or I'm not organizing right, or that I am not completing my task correct. - Those sound like complaints about your work to me. It doesn't matter what the reason for the complaints is. Jun 18 '14 at 13:18

You've been at it for 8 months and you still don't have a good grasp of what's going on. The other joins later takes the time to learn and decides that you are not up to snuff. In fact, you are admitting that you are up to snuff.

It's good that you're working hard now to get up to snuff and it's about time you did. The question is, why couldn't you do earlier what you are doing now, given that you have the same set of constraints on your time that you had earlier? It's going to take some time before you get to the level that the new guy is at, and I assume that if he could do it, you can do it.

Just cut out the excuses and do what you have to do to get yourself up to speed. As for the negative commentary you're getting, you'll have to live with it until you know what you are supposed to know. In your quest to get yourself up to speed, eat your pride and use the new guy's documentation and pick his brains if you have to - Be careful about how you go ahead and ask him, because he can use anything you say against you. It took a while for this situation to build up and it's going to take a while before this situation dies down.

Follow-up comment from nysa "The reason i was not upto snuff was because i had too much work on my plate. The new guy only has a ramp up time for now with little to no assignments since 2 months. Whereas i had to join in the project at a time where deadlines were already in place and there was a lot to do. Not that i did not do my own homework, i did as much as possible. Also, as i was a consultant (a temporary hire, my priority post 5 months on this job, was to find another job as my contract was ending). Later i got an offer from the same team to join them as a permanant employee. It is then that my priorities changed"

You set your own priorities. You made your own choices. You paid the price. I have no sympathy for your plight since you made your choices as an adult, with your eyes open. Just buckle down, cut the excuses, and get up to speed. Right now, everybody's perception is that the new guy was able to do in two months what you were not able to do in EIGHT months. The question is, how many more months do you want to get yourself up to speed?

Follow-up comment from @nysa "u r right. whats wrong is wrong. facts are facts. i know my priorities were different. but now looks like if i don't buckle down, i will never gain the respect. just that until that time, i will have to go through hell"

it's hell when it's hopeless. As long as you're determined to turn this situation around, you'll get better and better and you'll be a moving target. It's not a comfortable situation, but you'll get through this and put this episode behind you

Follow-up comment from @nysa "Any advice on what my approach should be on: 1) updating my gaps 2) dealing with colleagues that now have an opinion about me 3) analyzing where i can add more value"

  1. If you are out of ideas on updating your gaps, follow the new guy's recipe. Use his documentation. If you have any question about it, ask him. If he asks why you are reading his documentation, play it cool and tell him that you are reviewing it. In point of fact, you are reviewing it;

  2. roll with the punches and accept their opinion for the time being. Eventually, the impact of your self-improvement should kick in, at which time, you'll be able to claim that you got distracted without your claim looking like an excuse;

  3. Your brains are in working order. Use them. Seriously.


One lesson you can learn from all this: you need to learn how to ask for help more effectively. Seems that ability to ask for help effectively is what makes difference between you and your colleague.

You have permanent position, so you trusted your skills. On next project, use them, and find faster way to learn new area. Ask for help - unless you are very cut-throat, everyone of your colleagues want you to succeed, because if you don't more work for them.

  • U have got it so correctly. I think i was always afraid of asking questions thinking that the others will think that i know nothing. How lame was i!! thanks for that insight friend!
    – nysa
    Jun 17 '14 at 4:19

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