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My Nasty Co-worker Is The Boss's Pet: What Can I Do?

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “One of my co-workers is a bitter, miserable, snide person. “Judy” hates her life, her job and everyone around her. She does no substantive work and treats everyone with disdain and disrespect. So why is Judy still working here? Because no matter what she does, the owner of our company protects her. When other employees complain, he accuses them of failing to get along with her.  He has even threatened to fire people. I'm certain there is no "hanky-panky" going on between them, so his tolerance of Judy’s attitude is completely baffling. What can I do about this?” — Fed Up

Marie's Answer: Based on your description, you have two choices: leave for a new job or stay and cope. As you make that decision, here are some points to consider:

• If you remain, your odds of changing the situation are slim. Since the owner refuses to see Judy’s flaws, nothing you do is likely to alter either his opinion or her behavior. 

• The one thing you can control is your own reaction. Fretting and fuming about this woman will just raise your blood pressure and waste emotional energy. 

• Instead, try to view your aggravating colleague as the sad and pathetic person that she is. This may help you shift your feelings from anger to pity.

• If you choose to stay, you must let this go and focus on whatever you like about the job. But if that’s too difficult, then redirect that emotional energy toward a job search.

Unfortunately, this dilemma is simply another example of “life’s not fair.” You will undoubtedly encounter many more during your career.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Phil October 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for the great advice as usual Marie. I was in a similar situation many years ago and developed an effective strategy to eliminate the problem. I became a vocal proponent of the creation of a goals process and a culture of accountability. I even pushed for everyone’s goals to made public. A variation of my proposal was adopted and after just four months, it became clear to everyone (including the boss) that someone wasn’t meeting their goals. That person is gone, I’ve been promoted, and everyone is much happier.


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