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Job switch leaves co-worker in a snit

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in Your Office Coach

Question: Two weeks after joining a small medical practice, I was directed by the senior physician to switch positions with a co-worker. My job involved filing medical records, while “Carol” managed the front desk. The senior physician switched us because several patients had complained that Carol was unfriendly. I was absolutely stunned and told the doctor that I did not feel prepared to handle the reception duties. Despite my concerns, he moved Carol to the back office. She was very upset. Now the environment has become tense and hostile, because Carol seems to feel that I’m responsible for this change. She has said that I should either do the job that I was hired for or leave.  How can I fix this?  Not My Fault

Answer: Blaming you is easier for Carol than accepting the fact that she has disappointed her boss. To help her recognize that you played no part in this job swap, try making a direct and unambiguous statement. For example: “Carol, I know you’re upset about Dr. Smith switching our jobs, but I want to make it clear that I was just as shocked as you. I did not want the front desk position, but he gave me no choice. I just hope that his decision won’t ruin our working relationship.” If Carol seems determined to hang on to her anger, just continue to be friendly and helpful. Eventually, she may come around. Of course, considering that her transfer was triggered by poor interpersonal skills, you probably shouldn’t expect miracles.

Do you feel betrayed by a co-worker?  Perhaps these suggestions will help: Trust and Betrayal at Work.

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