I started working with my present organization 3 months ago. It's a very rural, conservative company. I'm in my late 20s and a foreigner of color and the company doesn't exactly have diversity.

My boss hired me due to my educational qualification and I am here to help him on projects and things that the rest of my teammates don't work on, on a day to day basis. I was also hired to train on certain specific things that a co-worker, (let's call her Carla) does. I am her back up as she's approaching retirement (which she dreads.)

Carla has been with the company for 18 years. She knows a lot about the company, the way things work here, and everybody naturally reaches out to her because that's what they are used to, also they might think she's more approachable due to the fact that she's a local. She's mostly pleasant and helpful to the others.

I work hard to do my job and have received positive feedback about my work from my boss, and others. But Carla feels otherwise. She constantly sees the need to micromanage all my activities (especially because she gets copied on all the emails) and is rude to me at times. When asked for training on what she does, she puts it off by saying "I'll help you later, I'm busy" She either feels like I'm threatening her job, or she feels like my work ethic isn't acceptable (due to age or ethnicity)

My boss doesn't know of all this and I'm unsure how to approach my boss. I got laid off from my previous job and it has left me a little under confident and scared. Should I tell him at all or just grin and bear it? I am obviously more disposable than Carla is, to my boss.

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    This question isn't about her long service, but about how she is micromanaging you. If she isn't your manager and you aren't assigned to support her, you can say "thanks" and mostly ignore her, ordirecther to your manager. If she is in your management chain, or is otherwise supervising you, see past answers about micromanagement.
    – keshlam
    Dec 15, 2016 at 16:33
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    How close is Carla to retirement - a year, two years, six months? If it's two weeks, I'd tell you to grin it and bear it but you already know that :) Is it painful to work with her every day or do you feel that pain once in a while? Dec 15, 2016 at 17:46

3 Answers 3


My boss doesn't know of all this

That's a mistake.

This is something your boss needs to know, and something your boss most likely would want to know.

If you don't have regular one-on-one meetings, ask for some private time. Talk about what is going on, and what you should be doing about it.

You were hired partly to learn from this colleague, but your work is being blocked. Tell your boss so you can accomplish the tasks you were hired to do.


Without explicit proof of malice, you should always assume positive intent. It makes stress easier to bear. Consider things from Carla's side: She is a high ranking employee, about to retire, and she probably has a lot to do in wrap up. She is unpleasant, but it could be because she has a lot on her mind and not have to do with you. Set up your training sessions in advance so that they are never a variable in her or your schedule. I agree with the poster who said to include your boss as an optional attendee.

As for the micromanaging: I've never had a good boss or a successful student who wasn't a micromanager. Carla's success is probably due in part to being so fastidious. While it is very annoying, it is a habit that some successful people have and there may not be ill will in it.


I would suggest that you set up knowledge sharing meetings, and include your boss as an optional attendee. This way if she keeps blowing you off, they will see it too, without you actually having to say anything. This way you don't appear to be "trying to get her in trouble".

People who have been with the company a long time typically have a few powerful friends. I would tread cautiously here as if she says she cannot work with you, you could be in trouble. She may just be a bit nervous due to the fact that she is retiring soon, and may not mean you any ill will -- but better to be cautious.

Another point I would make is document, document, document.

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