Public Forums | General | Toxic Co-worker Killing My Dream Job

6

Disillusioned

Amy Peine
Rice, MN, US

Just about a year ago I was hired to be a direct services provider at our local sexual assault center. I LOVE my job, all things considered. It's incredibly intense, and draining, and filled with vicarious trauma. But I love knowing I'm helping people through some of the worst things they've ever gone through. 

However, I have a co-worker who is slowly but surely driving me out of my dream job. She has our executive director wrapped around her finger, so I feel like I have no recourse. But this woman is a classic abuser type. She tries to redefine reality or how things play out just to escalate the person she's gaslighting so that she can then go to our director saying things like, "look how emotional she is, she's unstable, we can work with someone like that etc"  Things that have gotten people fired in the past are totally brushed under the rug when she does it. I quite literally hate her. She's totally ill-equipped to do the job she's supposed to do. She maintains incredible victim-blaming positions, doesn't have any firm grasp on how to counsel anyone, and presents bad information when doing community presentations. 

I'm at a loss, short of looking for a new job... 

7

kellylizbeth

Kelly Davis
Astoria, New York, US

Ugh, sorry you're dealing with that, it sounds really frustrating/discouraging.

Are you familiar with "Ask a Manager"? http://www.askamanager.org/ 

It's an advice blog/resource (I think the author also contributes to other publications) where people write in about their work problems to an HR consultant/expert named Alison Green, who knows her stuff and gives what I would call straightforward, practical advice. You could write in, or even just browse the archives to see how she's counseled readers experiencing similar situations in case there's something useful or encouraging there.

I hope things get better for you soon!

6

Disillusioned

Amy Peine
Rice, MN, US

Thanks Kelly! I'll check out the archives for sure and if I don't find anything that fits with my current situation I'll write in. :)  

2

inaki

Quite interesting to read this considering that I am a new member and just came out of a situation like yours. I had a very similar experience and I have to tell you, it sure is frustrating. You can't and you should not throw your dream job away because of a person like that. I was this close to doing the same, giving up. But then I realized that no one has such power over me. 

Try not to engage in conversations. Simply ignore everything this woman says or does. Every time you try to defend yourself she will most likely make it seem like you're nothing but a crybaby. It's ok to have emotions, it is perfectly normal. Just make it a point that she is not aware of that because, like you said, she is using it and will be using it against you.

If you ever need to talk, I'm here. Been there, done that. Don't give up on your dream.

xo xo

6

Disillusioned

Amy Peine
Rice, MN, US

Thank you Inaki for your input! I'm sorry you've experienced a similar situation. 

I do try to ignore her for the most part, but she's truly a master manipulator. It also doesn't help that our director is very much so a "we're a team and should love and value each other" type. Ugh. I love and value co-workers that are knowledgeable, competent, ethical, and non-abusive...which clearly this co-worker is not any of those things. 

At the end of the day though I think most of my disgust and anger boils down to the fact that she's representing our center in the poorest of ways, and providing "services" that I'm ashamed of. (I actually took a crisis call from someone she met with a couple times... the client was so irate with how she was handled by said co-worker that she vented for almost an hour then requested to do a formal complaint with the director.... but I know that even that won't get our director to see the toxicity this co-worker brings in)  At the end of the day our jobs are about the victims/survivors. And her habits and lack of skills are damaging our reputation. 

2

inaki

No need to thank me, if I can help you with something I'd be more than happy to.

If you read back I said "ignore what she says or does". The reason I said that and didn't make it more general is because these people don't like to be ignored one bit, it infuriates them. What they say or do though you can ignore because they won't notice. I'm sure you understand the difference. Her goal is to destroy your soul. Once she does that she will get rid of you by manipulating everyone around you into believing you are the problem, not her. When they can't control you, they try to control everyone's perception of you so, don't give her that power. 

It is absolutely sad and terrifying, at the same time, that people like that usually run businesses or have some sort of power anyway and they use that to their advantage. What's even more sad is that their "victims" (allow me the word) are too afraid to speak up. In my case, my boss was out of luck. I did speak up and I did tell them that their behavior is unacceptable. Quit and got a new job which they tried to make me quit, too, by defaming my new boss' character. They are just broken people, don't even try to understand why they do that, it is the only thing they know to do. They are insecure and to be honest, she's probably jealous of you in a way. If people like you but not her then that bugs her. If people prefer to work with you and not her, that bugs her.

Let me guess....she's always right (in her own understanding), always complains, it is always someone else's fault, she never admits to things, never takes responsibility, never acknowledges someone's hard work, she twists everything around and never makes sense, she thinks people are lucky to be in her presence and so on.... If yes, then run and run fast. Very toxic environment for you to be in, she can and she will drive you crazy. 

PM me if you want some help handling it but, really, just don't let her get under your skin. :)

8

robinbond

It's strange that behaviour like that which disrupts co-workers would go undetected by senior management or at least a human resources department.

3

Bghnelson

Rebecca Nelson
Houston, Texas, US

@Robyn, people like that tend to be very charismatic and engaging when they want to be which allows them to woo upper management. All the "people that matter" believe them to be angels that can do no wrong, and when/if they ever start to catch on said person will magically find a new dream job where they can start fooling people all over again.  Unfortunately, they're usually manipulative enough to not be found out until they have become senior management, and then you're sol.

2

inaki

I just wanted to throw this out there...it doesn't necessarily mean that these people are bad people. They do mean things but they're not always mean. I personally love my ex boss, I know he's a great guy and has a good heart but is so confused he can't see straight. Removing myself from the situation helped me move on and just avoid the drama and frustration he was causing me. I have made him aware that I am still here for him whenever he needs me but also explained I do not wish to be his punching bag every time he feels like I should. I, more or less, tried to help him see what he does to himself. Because at the end of the day his actions only affect him, not me, not anyone else. He knows I care about him so maybe that's the one part that's different from Amy's situation. There is good in everyone guys. Some just need to dig deep to find it and let it surface so the people around them can see it too.

20

Beaner6988

I feel  your pain. I had a toxic co-worker as well. It sucks when your the good person doing the right things and get caught up in their hateful manipulation. What mine did, the snake, was sneak in my office after hours, acting all caring and asked me what was wrong... she was digging for information and i fell for it, since I was already crying. She then went to our new gullible supervisor telling her I was badmouthing the VicePresident instead of working. Who do you think got the short end of that stick??? And what really sucks is I advocated hard for her to even get her job at our building after being layed off in another building, even buying her groceries. She ended up going after the immediate supervisor too stabbing her in the back too. It must have been fun for her, shes a sick in the head person. 

I hope you dont let this toxic person run you out of something you love. You hang in there, and dont be around her any more than necessary, she will probably run herself out first. Most importantly realize that was doesnt come out in the dark, always comes out in the light. :P I sooo wish i was there to see it :o) 

ps. Your Toxic Coworker is incompetant. LOL If we can all see it, its just a matte of time. Im here if you ever need to vent. Glad the customer did a formal complaint. Seriously hope more do lol 

6

Disillusioned

Amy Peine
Rice, MN, US

Thanks y'all! 

And Rebecca you're absolutely right. This co-worker has our director absolutely snowed! They're like, totally, BFFs (eye roll)  I hope she does find her own way out of this center because she's truly impacting our services in a negative way. :/ 

Ugh, Beaner I'm sorry you had a similar experience! Some people are so selfish and twisted; taking advantage of your generosity like that. 

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