It’s a workplace, it shouldn’t be a…


At the moment, my revered work colleagues and I are having to deal with a very disruptive member of the team and it is exhausting, no energy here, we are all feeling the effects.

She has been with us for four years now, but it feels like yesterday when she started, seemingly charming and eager to contribute. Since then her true colours have been exposed, it’s been up and down and all angles in between. The floor seems unstable and the goalposts are continually shifting, sometimes it’s good, often we are walking on egg shells and the other times we are having to deal with an unstable, erupting volcano. We are having to put out spot fires with soothing words, encouraging smiles and all the time we are wondering when the next tirade or flood of tears will be.

We are workplace bullies, we don’t care and we micromanage.

Well Sweetie, reap what you have sown!!! angry_old_woman

I know, I am disgruntled and it is not okay to talk like this. We have had a fortune spent trying to help our little team achieve some semblance of cohesion, but it is futile when the cause doesn’t accept her contribution to the unrest. I am off to another mediation session soon with HR, but tbh HR haven not been very much help. In fact we were told there were at least 90 other people in the organisation all wreaking the same type of havoc, in essence, out situation just isn’t that special…

None of us have ever worked with this kind of person before, our little team just wants to work harmoniously and get our contribution done accurately, precisely and with enjoyment.

So dear readers, have you ever had to cope with someone like this? Please don’t tell me she needs to be sacked, in the public sector that is extremely difficult and isn’t up to me anyway (no matter how much I wish it).

Hints, tips etc etc pleeeeeease. Help


12 thoughts on “It’s a workplace, it shouldn’t be a…

  1. Oh Jenny, I feel your distress. I can’t really offer any help – that really is HRs job, and they need to do it – but I have been in this situation quite a few times, so understand your feelings.

  2. We are blessed with an education and training department that will come out and do a hands on ‘dealing with different people ‘ or similiar workshop with us if we need that help- sometimes we learn to cope, sometimes the issue learns something about themselves

    • A thoughtful comment, thankyou. I was speaking with someone this morning, I value her input because she too is thoughtful and measured in her reactions. She presented a different interpretation about what has been happening and it motivated me to read up on working with people with personality disorders. I wouldn’t wish anything but a good life for everyone, butIi think we deserve one too. I am off to mediation soon with some more knowledge and although not a great deal of optimism, perhaps a lightening in my mood and outlook.

  3. It’s an awful situation, isn’t it? I feel for you. I’ve worked with a disruptive element in the past and it’s so difficult; in fact, I found the worst bit was that I constantly felt it was my fault. It was a similar situation to yours, too, in that the person who caused the problems was quite happy to be indifferent to the fact.

    I don’t know that I have any helpful tips for you though. What I tended to do was just walk away if I noticed the mood had suddenly changed and to tell myself it wasn’t my fault. If this person chose to be rude and difficult, it was their choice and nothing to do with me. It became tricky if I needed to work with them for something, of course. In that case, I’d just grit my teeth and do it and just do my best to ignore the attitude. If I felt I was being professional and mature, then at least that made one of us!

    Best of luck with your situation. It doesn’t sound like HR thinks they can do much, but I hope something good happens soon. Maybe they’ll find a new job that’s a matter match for their personality!

  4. Personality disorder (PD) people are frequently manipulative and deceitful. What is so hard is that they twist what they say/do to make themselves feel good or justified. When confronted they really truly believe their own version of things. They are exhausting to be around!
    Step 1 is to acknowledge how grumpy and upset they can make you.
    Step 2 is to make sure you have boundaries around your soul that cannot be breached.
    Step 3 is to ensure every dealing with the person is witnessed and all interactions are followed up by a confirmation email. A paper trail is vital. Don’t underestimate how useful a paper trail is. Everyone can look back and check what was said & who had to do what.

    Finally, team up with your colleagues and make time to debrief regularly. Focus on strategies that worked & kept things clear. Develop some discreet relaxation techniques & share them.

    I left one workplace because of a toxic colleague. I later heard of her new workplace where everyone thought she was terrific until she started work and then they found her difficult. Her new colleagues all left too.

    Wishing you well – PD’s are hard work.

  5. I have been there, too. I can’t give you any advice. I just tried to keep my vital organs out of the line of fire. I told myself every day that the people who really counted were in my home, and that I got to go there at five o’clock no matter what happened during the day.

  6. I really sympathise. It really is awful having to put up with a difficult colleague. I had a slightly different situation with an extremely lazy colleague. My boss delegated myself and another colleague to work out between ourselves what work he should be doing. For weeks he would profess that he was doing some work for my colleague which I took at face value. At the same time he was telling my colleague he was doing work for me. Sadly it took us a while to work this out, as due to the nature of our work, we were often at client sites and it took a while before we worked it out.

    Finally after he boasted on Facebook that he was taking a sickie from work, he got the sack. I would agree with Step 2 of accordion’s comment – pull in your horns and make sure you look after yourself. With the lazy colleague I pursued a policy of avoidance after a while and refused to go to client sites with him. After all, he just sat and texted his friends when we were in meetings with the client!

  7. Sometimes HR stands for How Rude!
    Perhaps its time to leave your current employment. Your leaving may make HR look a little harder at the folks they need to keep. They may even hire you back as a consultant at twice the pay…and little miss muffet will be gone :o)

    • Hahaha! No more money in the public coffers for consultants! I have the respect and backing of my work colleagues as I go into mediation next week, she is just having more time off. I don’t wish her ill, but I don’t take responsibility for her miserable life. I love my work and will not leave because of her.

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