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A coworker and I started within a week of each other. We both interviewed for the same position and he is at a different level since he is a fresh graduate. We never had a good working chemistry and I did not report his faux pas to my manager in the past. Fortunately, we no longer work on the same projects.

Recently, things got worse. He was supposed to get some packages via mail. I also got some packages the same week(both are work related). The office personnel told him that I might have them since I signed for some packages this week. I told him that the received packages were mine (my packages were from a place that does not sell the stuff he wants). He wanted to open packages worth thousands of dollars as if I was lying. I sent an email copying the manager, office personnel and this coworker. The office personnel apologized after realizing that this coworker's package never arrived.

As silly as my previous case sounds, this person has been passing unwarranted criticisms at my work. I brought this up to my manager and he told me that:

He is a very young person, just out of college and he probably does not mean the things he utters.

I decided to ignore this coworker but he did not stop there. I don't know how we landed up talking about my personal life but he recently passed a remark about my personal life. He said:

If you don't get married in a year or two, you will end up with divorcees or women with children. I am just saying...

a) I consider it is an insult to all women and b) he has no respect for me.

These aren't just 2 incidents. He has made remarks about my weight, eating habits, my work, religion and where I come from. I am appalled by his remarks.

I was concerned that these remarks could have been provoked by me and I asked people close to me whether I am insensitive during my interaction with other people. They told me that they never had any problems with me.

This coworker is insensitive while talking to everyone else in the organization. I have seen him utter stupid things and get snubbed, pass remarks about his own religious practices to others etc.

I have decided to completely ignore this person as I have found myself worked up about this person(It is affecting my personal life. I have caught myself venting my anger on the car while I am driving on the freeway). The problem is that he sits right next to me. I really don't want to greet him or have any form of conversation with this person. I walk in wearing my headphones and pretend that I am listening to loud music.

I don't want to bring this up to my manager as this coworker turns out to be manager's favorite (My manager can't stop singing praises about how much work he does than the rest of us). I don't want to sound like a whiner either. I really don't want to discuss this with my coworker. I firmly believe that it is not my job to teach workplace "no-no" to this person.

If I do ignore and stop talking to this person, I would have to work with this person in the future. I strongly feel that I should stop interacting with this person as I should focus my energy on my work/life. I have been contemplating if I should switch jobs and move on. This job is not working out in several aspects but it is still better than my previous job.

How do I navigate this situation?

  • i would start looking for new jobs. there isn't anything wrong with having a look at what is available. can you ask to move desks for a non-this-person reason? – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 18:08
  • No DON'T look for a new job, you'll regret running away and have the same issue in the next job if you let him drive you out. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 18:17
  • @TheWanderingDevManager why will he have the same issue? That assumes this dev will follow him to the new place? – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 18:26
  • @bharal - no, but leave a job like this the first time, next time the OP meets someone similar it'll be easier to run again. People who run from bullies, will always be running from bullies, you need to stand up/ or find a way to nullify them. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 18:34
  • @bharal I cannot ask for a new desk location. My office has a serious space crisis. – Confused Employee Feb 22 '15 at 20:01
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Let me start by saying that I understand if you are offended by things he has said to you but there seems to be something bigger here. It seems that he has little need to interact with you and also is as unpleasant with everyone.

So I'm at a bit of a loss why YOU are getting so worked up about him, if this is a general issue aren't there others who you could rally to management about him? Or is it that he seems to be getting recognition from management (you do take great pains to point out he is straight out of college and started the same week, but the manager can't sing his praises highly enough).

You've talked to management and I would normally advocate ignoring him and his unprofessionalism (unless he makes specific comments to you of course), you seem to be listening to conversations that are nothing to do with you, and it's going to drive you to a point where it starts to colour working relationships which could be detrimental to YOUR career.

The alternative is to channel Sun Tzu (and Michael Corleone):

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

Make your peace with him, it'll take the pressure off you and maybe give you the chance to learn something you can actually use to get rid of him (or promoted off somewhere he can't upset you), got to be better than letting it fester.

  • -1 i wouldn't keep people i don't like who are sneaky and nasty anywhere near me. be aware that "your enemies closer" rubbish is a two way street, and the villain in this piece is more likely to benefit from it. – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 18:04
  • @gnasher729 - yeah, he's getting recognition and the management are making excuses so a head on assault won't work, need to do a bit of the Frank Underwood stuff. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 18:05
  • @bharal - it's not rubbish, I had an MD who took a dislike to me as he knew I didn't fall for the bs he spouted, was the shouty/sweary/insulty type, and would lock horns whenever he could. I found by playing the game I got into a position where I became too vital to his plans (and knew where the bodies were buried) and things smoothed out massively. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 18:12
  • @TheWanderingDevManager i would not hang around someone who murders people and then buries the bodies. – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 18:27
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    @ConfusedEmployee - sorry, House of Cards. Underwood is a master political puppet master and manipulates his enemies to get the outcome he desires. I was meaning the getting closer isn't you giving in, but keep on the right side until you can use it to your advantage. But if you can deal with keeping out the way, fine, but don't run away – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 20:46
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So, I have a disagreement with @TheWanderingDevManager's solution.

When you find yourself venting in the car on the way to work about someone, you've probably taken a figurative wrong turn.

This isn't healthy, and you're not going to work to maintain a veneer of professionalism, nor really for the money - you are actually going to work to afford a life that you would like to live.

When you find that the means to living that life inherently conflict with the ideal of the life you would live, you are in literal trouble.

There are only two solutions to this issue - the idea of "keeping your enemies close" is wrongheaded. You have to realise that that is a two-way street, if you keep him close he's also arguably keeping you close. The loser in this kind of politicking is 99% of the time the person who has the most to lose. Which is you. College grads have nothing to lose.

So the solutions

  1. elevate to the manager. Express in terms of how it is affecting you and your happiness. If you have any email correspondence from him that illustrates the point, use that. Phrase it like this "Hey Bob, I just got this email from Chav, I don't quite know how to deal with this. I understand that Chav is new, but his attitude is affecting my work. Could you help me out?"

  2. start looking for new work. Remember point 1. should this ever happen again.

Update I have had three experiences with this nonsense.

The first... the first, i did not handle well. I worked on, finished the project, then left.

The second, I raised to my manager. As it happens, this particular manager had also gone through a rough patch with a nuisance coworker, so was v. understanding, and had coincidentally received a separate complaint the week prior. He pulled the problematic coworker aside and had a word in their ear. No problems after that.

The third, well, was chronologically in-between, but was where I was the nuisance. I was pulled aside, told to calm down (I was a young, annoying "hot-shot" developer) and be respectful. I did, and was respectful. Most anyone will be if they're told to by a superior, but some superiors just lack experience.

As much fun as it is to imagine mangling someone's neck, there is a fairly high chance that Chav just doesn't realise how upsetting he is being - hell, I didn't. When it was expressed to me - and thank god this manager was understanding, it was explained twice to me, that is how stupid i can be - and finally sunk in, I grew up and took responsibility for my actions.

  • Let's say do find another job. Is it okay to highlight these problems while leaving? I did bring this up with my manager in the past. He was not interested in intervening in this matter. Repetitive complaints would make me look like a child. – Confused Employee Feb 22 '15 at 20:00
  • @bharal - "I brought this up to my manager" the poster has already escalated it. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 22 '15 at 20:40
  • @ConfusedEmployee how many times have you mentioned to your manager? Once or many? You may need to back with something substantive (ie email, if you have any). If you do leave, I would not bother mentioning. No point rocking a boat you are out of, just forget about the guy and move on. Also updated answer. – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 21:20
  • @bharal The package incident (mentioned in the question) has a well documented trail. I wrote to the person-in-charge of purchases copying my manager and this coworker regarding the package. The office personnel apologized to me immediately. My manager and this coworker pretended as if nothing happened and never bothered to respond to the thread. I brought this up with my manager at a face-to-face meeting. He asked me to ignore it. After that, the other incident happened 2 weeks ago. I really did not want to write another email to my manager. – Confused Employee Feb 22 '15 at 21:32
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    @ConfusedEmployee In this particular case, I'd somewhat recommend you completely ignore this too. It has been mishandled, because your manager doesn't have the necessary experience to deal with this properly. On the one hand, congratulations! Now you have such an experience. On the other, it isn't anybody's fault. Chav probably doesn't realise he is an idiot, and your manager happily missed out on the experience you have now. The next time Chav irritates you, raise to your manager. Each time he does something, politely mention to your manager that you are upset, and don't know how to deal. – bharal Feb 22 '15 at 22:31

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