I'm in a team of Trainee/Associate software Engineers in their early 20's. I'm over-experienced to my role, so I handle a major part of the project. My tech lead / Seniors and Heads are much closer to me and value my inputs. The company let me re-engineer the whole process and lead the project by myself.

Since things are going quickly, a few colleagues have become jealous. I have observed an inexperienced and introverted colleague who is older than me demonstrating that and trying to associate bad nicknames and stereotypes with me behind my back. Being my next table, this distracts me from work.

I have told this person various times on various occasions in various tones that I don't want this and this is unethical. I have said this even in front of my tech lead, but this person is desperate. He gives a fake positive answer and continues the behaviour. How can I approach this colleague to be professional and follow work ethics?

EDIT: I don't want my boss to know about this because he promised to promote me in another 4 months. If I escalate or let escalate this "childish" behavior of the colleague, it will make me look immature. After promotion, this problem will be gone.

  • 1
    You have definitely taken the correct first couple of steps. Having to deal with unpleasant folks is part of being a human being. You should usually give a person the chance to self correct before going to management.
    – Neo
    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:40
  • 3
    Jealousy, if present, is irrelevant. Focus on fixing the actual problem.
    – keshlam
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:32
  • I have told this person on various occasions on various tones - can you elaborate on this part? What was the conversation and response like? Did he say "my mistake; I'll watch my behaviour" or did he say "I'm not doing anything wrong!"
    – Brandin
    Jan 12, 2017 at 14:15
  • "Jealousy" is probably not the right word. That word gave me the thought that this was going to be some sort of office romance drama. Name calling is called "unprofessional" or "childish". Stereotypes would be considered childish at best and racist at worst.
    – Brandin
    Jan 12, 2017 at 14:18
  • 1
    "After promotion, this problem will be gone." - why? Jan 13, 2017 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


If you can wait four months and have the problem solved for you, do that. You're four months away from already winning this battle by default.

If it becomes unbearable because he is insulting you to your face, just say, "can we keep it professional? Thank you."

"If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.” - The Art of War, ― Sun Tzu

  • 4
    Or have a notebook and when anything happens, you just write it down in a very obvious way.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 15, 2017 at 10:27
  • 1
    @gnasher729 or just pretend you are writing it down ;)
    – Alic
    Jan 27, 2017 at 19:58

This kind of behaviour should be flagged to your boss if it's causing issues at work.

Personally, I would go for an approach like:

Hey boss, could youhave a word with xyz?

I'm trying to get on with this project, but xyz seems to have taken issue with this and is making it harder by constantly trying to undermine me. I'm open to constructive criticism, but this just seems petty and vindictive.

Then it's in your boss' hands to deal with.

You don't need to tell your colleague that you've spoken to the boss. Just keep a log of what they do and if it doesn't improve, go back to your boss in a more formal manner, ie by email.

  • 1
    This is the correct answer. You can speak to your colleague, but if he doesn't respond and it could affect your output, you need to raise it with your boss. I would also agree and suggest logging every incident, as this could easily be treated as bullying in the workplace, should the situation not improve Jan 12, 2017 at 11:37
  • 2
    This is the best way to go. I would emphasize the paper trail (EMAIL) portion of the answer, especially if this situation get's worse.
    – Neo
    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:38
  • 2
    I would also add that it's possible the boss will come back and tell you that you are overreacting, in which case you may need to reevaluate whether your observations are accurate or not.
    – David K
    Jan 12, 2017 at 15:29
  • 1
    Or he could wait 4 months and then have his revenge ;)
    – A.S
    Jan 12, 2017 at 17:58
  • @Aymor, if this person is undermining him now, he may not get that promotion in four months.
    – HLGEM
    Jan 20, 2017 at 20:03

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