I work as a remote technology specialist for a US based company. My colleague is a senior salesperson with 20 more years of experience. I replaced a friend of hers who used to work for the same company, in the same region as me. He got fired from his last job and wants his old job with us back.

My colleague interacts with executives all the time. For the last 7 months she has been trying to sell them on a scenario where we hire her friend back to do management, and I focus on technology instead of business. She started using mistakes in my expenses and my being late to a few meetings as proof that I don't have a career in management. She made me do psychometric tests and goes around discussing the results with other managers.

I feel under her heel, I feel manipulated and my only chance of keeping this job would be giving up my ambition and accepting her friend taking over for the most interesting parts of my job.

My real manager, in the US, tells me I am being too negative. I obviously disagree but I don't have the tools to navigate this situation.

How can I navigate this situations and protect my job and reputation?

  • 4
    Dropped an edit in to streamline your prose and give it a descriptive title. I'm still not clear on the reporting structure here. You're working at a satellite office? For a subsidiary? Are all people involved part of a single company/unit?
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:33
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    Also, you should try to find out why her friend still hasn't found another job yet, or if so, what went wrong, and why does he want to come back? Jun 15, 2017 at 0:57
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    On a side-note, please tell us how big were the mistakes in your expenses? And if those mistakes were in your favor? Or in the company's favor? If those mistakes were significant and in your favor (not the company's), I would probably try to replace you too (with someone else I already knew and trusted). This is not favoritism. This is just good business. Jun 15, 2017 at 1:03
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    Just one thing - "She made me do psychometric tests and goes around discussing the results with other managers" - THAT very well could be a criminal offense, depending on your location.
    – Jasmine
    Jun 15, 2017 at 20:55
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    @Jasmine I'm glad I'm not the only one who found that highly unusual.
    – Pharap
    Jun 16, 2017 at 3:18

4 Answers 4


The fact that the topics of these interactions with executives are getting back to you indicates you have allies either among the executives or people influential with them. I know you're in defense mode, but trust me, your colleague scheming for months in support of someone who performed badly enough to get fired looks worse for her than for you. It wouldn't have gotten back to you if it didn't.

My suggestion is to take the high road. Identify those allies, and the next time something happens, just ask them if they wouldn't mind doing a little damage control.

Yeah, I was late to that meeting, but I was on a critical call with a client. That's when I solved that crisis I told you about earlier. Next time you see Executive Bob, would you mind "mentioning in passing" that's why I was late?

If this colleague is truly as bad as you think, she does this to other people too in other situations, and everyone knows it. Lots of offices have someone like her. People who get taken seriously would have gotten results sooner than 7 months. Mostly you have to avoid an overreaction or stooping to her level.

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    We don't really know what's going on behind the scenes. But I tend to think this is more likely to be true than the answers predicting doom.
    – user45590
    Jun 15, 2017 at 14:34
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    Absolutely agree. I just posted something similar to the 7 month thing in another comment before I read this.
    – JMac
    Jun 15, 2017 at 16:50

Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked and never well mended.

Your only option here is to be above reproach and document everything. You may want to get a copy of Brag! How to toot your own horn without blowing it.

Then, wage war. Never be late, triple check your work, document everything, and dramatize your ideas.

The best way to let management and executives know about your work is to tell them "Gee, we had this challenge (a) and then I did (b) so, as a result(c)"

then repeat, repeat, repeat. Get everything in writing from the troublemaker when possible. If she refuses to give you anything in writing, send an email "as per our conversation..." with details of what you talked about to her, and then CC the boss.

That's pretty much the only way.

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    Agreed -- you want to show presence and you want to let management know that what you're doing is bringing a lot of value. The truth is, you telling them directly won't convince them. You want them to formulate their own opinion of you because ultimately that's all that matters. Also idk how good of an impression the execs have on your colleague but I'm sure any person with some amount of common sense will know she's just trying to get her friend back on the job and putting someone else down rarely goes well.
    – Kevin Xu
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:41
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    Seem slike sensible advice. And nicely written, so it gets my upvote anyway :)
    – Fattie
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:45
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    Nicely written, but only a stop gap measure IMHO. ( still upvoted )
    – Neo
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:49
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    @MisterPositive yes, but if he has to leave, he can do so without further damage to his reputation. Jun 14, 2017 at 19:13
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    @AlexandreAudin I used this successfully once. The other person was forced out for making too many false claims because once it was seen that this person was lying about me, they checked into what that person was saying about other people. But yes, I realize it's a long shot. Jun 15, 2017 at 14:37

How can I navigate this situations and protect my job and reputation?

There is virtually no way for you to win this. Start looking for another gig ASAP.

Any efforts on your part will only delay the inevitable, and trying to be perfect to avoid providing ammo will not happen. You're a human being and are going to make mistakes.

Start looking for a new job now, while you're still employed.

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    OP may be making this bigger than it is. Perhaps the persecutor is becoming a pariah because of these disloyal activities? Where's your sense of optimism? Of course, you're quite right about looking for a job while employed - but that applies to anyone with a lick of sense.
    – Aaron Hall
    Jun 14, 2017 at 23:49
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    I disagree with this answer, because the question is not : "How do I fix this right now". Leaving a good job to avoid conflicts is rushed IMO. By the way, I love your nickname in this context. Jun 15, 2017 at 9:44
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    -1 this is too negative (with far too much certainty). We don't know nearly enough about the situation to be sure the OP is going lose out. Who knows whether the senior colleague really has anyone's ear? And given that we don't know, "Just give up" makes for terrible advice.
    – user45590
    Jun 15, 2017 at 14:30
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    @MisterPositive On a side note; if she has spent 7 months so far trying to sell them on it; she's either a terrible salesperson or they really don't see the need right now (which may still fall under bad salesperson). They must see some value in the status quo if 7 months has gone by and the situation is still unchanged. I think it's pretty poor advice to say there is no way for OP to win. The salesperson could actually be slowly pushing themselves out with this attempted sell; we really only have 1 persons perspective and it's inadequate to make such definitive claims.
    – JMac
    Jun 15, 2017 at 16:49
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    I don't think the fact they haven't managed to achieve what they're going for within 7 months is a clear indicator that they are a bad salesperson or can't influence things. On the grand scheme of things, things like this (performance reviews, human resources) may only be checked on a yearly basis. I think JMac is onto something though, that they may actually be forcing themselves out by constantly complaining.
    – bg49ag
    Jun 15, 2017 at 20:12

I would tend to agree with @MisterPositive personally if there is any certainty of what they're saying actually happening, even though it can seem kind of negative or isn't the 'can do' attitude. Another way to look at it is decisiveness and drive. At the very least, they are slowing down your rate of progress by constantly complaining about you without their friend returning to take over parts of your own role, which is only going to make the chances of yourself progressing even lower.

I'd say Mister Positive's answer is actually being overly generous because if they're actively trying to find mistakes you don't even need to be making them to begin with, they'll find something to justify it, whether its a mistake or not.

There is merit in knowing if and when you're fighting a loosing approach and changing that approach earlier rather than later, if possible. Something worth considering is that you may be 'more valuable' to an entirely different company. Endlessly pouring effort into a situation that won't improve isn't a great idea; I've learned this the excessively hard (going to end up having a heart attack if I keep doing it) way.

Only you can really assess that situation because we don't know all the details of it. Personally I would be looking at it from the perspective of how likely it is they can actually interfere with something like a promotion, how long they are likely to be around, is a location change possible. If the answer is 'likely, years and no', go with Mister Positive's plan.

Another possibility with the situation could be trying to turn it around and gauging the response; e.g. trying to find if maybe they're planning to go themselves if they can't get their friend re-employed soon.

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