I've been for 2 months in my current job and I have a colleague who defines what I should do next with respect to my everyday duties. E.g. "today you can focus on this", "now you can do that as it has higher priority".

First of all, is this a common situation from your experience ? I've been around in the IT business for several years so I'm not a newbie. On the other hand, each company has its own products and it's obvious that someone who has been working there for 3 years will know all the ins and outs of his job.

Anyway, I find it hard to deal with, given that the colleague's position is equal to mine. By the way, the rest of the team is in a different country. Along with the line manager who is not really interested very much in what I do on a daily basis (guess it would be a dream job for some of the people).

  • Are you guys working on the same project? Is his work dependent on your results or anything along those lines? Or has the manager in any way, shape or form asked him to show you the ropes? Last but not least, how much more senior is this person, in terms of experience, or age? What do you mean when you say you're not a newbie? – AndreiROM Oct 19 '16 at 13:08
  • It all start on how you ancred in your job. Sometimes it is hard but being too nice ends up making you hurt – MopMop Oct 19 '16 at 13:09
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    Does his instructions make sense or do they seem arbitrary. To me it looks like he's trying to help you. – Kilisi Oct 19 '16 at 13:18
  • VTC company-specific. First step is to ask your actual manager what your colleague's role is supposed to be, we can't beging to guess at that. – Lilienthal Oct 19 '16 at 14:02
  • Is he being rude or disrespectful? Why is it you have a problem with the senior colleague directing your work activities? Is he giving you direction that conflicts with direction you are getting elsewhere? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 19 '16 at 14:33

Two months isn't that long, and it sounds like your colleague is trying to help. Consult with your manager and see if he has a problem with it. If your manager isn't giving you bad reviews, then take your lead from your colleague.

When you feel your in firm command of your position, turn your colleague's recommendations into a dialogue and begin to push back. "Thanks for your input, but I really need to concentrate on XYZ today." or "I'm currently working on "A", "B", and "C" today, send me an email telling me which one I should put on hold to do "D".

Be assertive, but not aggressive.

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    I got the same impression that he's trying to help – Kilisi Oct 19 '16 at 13:20

There's a few details you're leaving out, such as whether this person has been asked to watch over you in any way.

When you start a new job some guidance is typically something to be desired, and you should be thankful for the input. However, you don't want to allow a know-it-all employee to hijack your schedule.

If your manager told you to work on something, and this person suggests something else, politely, but firmly inform them that you've already been assigned work.

Similarly, if you've decided that you're going to sit down for a few hours and work out how a certain piece of code works, and this person tries to get you to do something else, feel free to refuse, and explain that you're already have objectives for that day.

You must be very careful how you define the relationship you have with this person. If you act subservient now, they're going to boss you around forever more. If you set boundaries and let him know that you are your own person then hopefully he'll get the message and let you be.

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