Oh, so it’s the old ‘my co-worker provoked me’ excuse

Q: “My boss recently moved my desk so that I would be farther away from my co-worker, ‘Tamara.’ Tamara’s annoying behavior causes me to react, and our conflicts have been getting progressively worse. I’ve tried ignoring her and killing her with kindness, but nothing seems to help.

“I’m worried about my upcoming performance review, because I know I have not handled this situation well. However, I can’t find a way to stop Tamara’s unprofessional behavior. Our boss recently said ‘this problem will be eliminated within the next month,’ so now I’m afraid that one of us may be terminated. What should I do?”

A: Since your own conduct hardly sounds professional, your complaints about Tamara seem rather ironic. The fundamental error in your thinking is that her aggravating habits “cause you to react,” which makes you sound like a puppet with no control over your actions. In fact, Tamara can only push your buttons if you allow her to do so.

Although you can’t change Tamara’s personality, you can certainly change the way you respond to her. Instead of snubbing her or faking friendship, you should simply behave like a pleasant and helpful colleague. Try to remember that your actions do not have to reflect your feelings.

To avert career disaster, you also need to have an apologetic chat with your boss as quickly as possible. If you can convince him that you intend to end this disruptive conflict, you may simultaneously save your job and impress him with your maturity.

Tough Talks D

If your job may be in danger, you need to shape up quickly. Here are a few things to consider: How to Avoid Losing Your Job.

© Marie G. McIntyre, All rights reserved.