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difficult co-worker and bad evaluation

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  • #381851
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Good morning, all-

    I was wondering if I could hear your thoughts on something. I’ve been obsessing about it for a couple of weeks now.

    I am on a few committees at work and have sometimes felt that I am being left out of the planning, etc. I attempted to discuss it with the chairperson. I was calm and really wanted to know if there was something I was doing that was preventing me from being able to participate more. I calmly called her and brought up my concern. The conversation lent itself to me mentioning that the feeling I have of me being left out has happened before, and I mentioned the circumstances. She immediately became defensive. “Oh, you wanna go there?” I was surprised but said “Ok, what’s going on?”  She mentioned that I didn’t follow through on things and mentioned a recent event in which I was a part. She accused me of not doing what I was supposed to do. I asked her a couple of questions- “Did you even look for what I was supposed to do?” She said she didn’t but knew that I didn’t do my part.  We ended the conversation calmly, but I have had this unsettling feeling… how is she ok with accusing me of lying? If this were the first time I had approached her calmly and received this reaction, I don’t think it would hurt as badly. This wasn’t the first. There have been previous times when I approached her and heard “Don’t take that tone with me!” I now feel like I can’t count on her to own up to mistakes she has made, nor will she ever apologize. She has done other things that are inconsiderate and sometimes considered rude to other people that work there. They have accepted that she is like this. Later that day, she brought in her co-worker that she works with on all the committees, who sat there telling me how to do things, staring straight ahead without even looking at me. She speaks at people, not with or to.  She spoke at me for several minutes. I really don’t know how to handle either one of them because they run many of the committees that I am interested in.

    I was called in to my boss’ office the next day for my yearly evaluation. I was unsettled with the outcome of this also.  Let me backtrack… 2 years ago my boss took the above coworkers to a different building to see how they monitor the same project I do.  I was very frustrated because I felt like they wanted what the other building has, but how could I make it happen if I never saw their way of doing things? I received a mediocre evaluation, the first one I have ever received.  The reason was because I wasn’t offering enough activities, etc. I shared all of my ideas with my boss, and he seemed pleased. These are ideas that I have had for the past couple of years, but have been always afraid to try (in case I fail.)  What scared me most is that I had no idea that my evaluation would look like this. My boss and  I are cordial with each other; he even asks me about things that are going on with the project off and on.  My biggest fear is that I will proceed next year and find out I was way off in what he wants from me.  I have always thought I was doing an ok job with the project. I knew it needed improvement, and I was happy to improve and learn whatever I needed to know.

    I have felt so hurt and blindsided by all of this. I just don’t know what to do with that sad, heavy feeling inside. My relationship with my co-workers have been damaged in a way that I don’t think it will ever recover, even after I get past this.  They have now become some of those people that I talk to only if I have to.

    Any words of wisdom to help me get past this? I feel like I am always on the verge of tears.

    #381861
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Theresa,

    if I am understanding it well, there are several problems that you’re facing at the moment, all related to each other:

    1) you are left out of some projects and activities led by the committees you’re on,

    2) the committee’s chairperson claims that you didn’t do your job properly on a previous project, even though she didn’t even know what your tasks were on that project,

    3) the chairperson has a habit of treating you poorly, accusing you unjustly, talking at you without listening to you, and never apologizing,

    4) you got a bad yearly evaluation, and it was because you didn’t know what would be asked from you. You felt you were at a disadvantage because your co-workers (including the one who treats you poorly) were shown how a project should be monitored, and you weren’t, and this lead to you performing worse at the evaluation.

    5) In the past couple of years, you were afraid to share your ideas, because you were afraid that they weren’t good enough and that you would fail. Now, after receiving bad evaluation, you shared those ideas with your boss, and he was quite pleased. He shows interest in your work and is cordial with you.

    Your biggest fear is that next year you’ll be off the mark again because you won’t know what exactly is wanted from you:

    My biggest fear is that I will proceed next year and find out I was way off in what he wants from me. I have always thought I was doing an ok job with the project. I knew it needed improvement, and I was happy to improve and learn whatever I needed to know.

    As I see it, the common denominator in these problems is that you often don’t know what is expected from you (but you’re afraid to ask?), and the result is that you don’t perform according to expectations. Or you’re afraid to share your ideas, and then your supervisors believe you aren’t pro-active enough.

    It seems like a fear of expressing yourself, and fear of asking for clarification (lack of assertiveness), which then results in misunderstandings and you under-performing. Would that describe what’s going on?

     

    #381886
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Theresa:

    You felt left out at work, so you calmly brought your concern to the chairperson. She reacted angrily, accusing you of not doing the work you were supposed to do, that you didn’t do your part, and that you lied (“She accused me of not doing what I was supposed to do… that I didn’t do my part.. accusing me of lying”).

    Two years ago, your boss gave you a me a mediocre evaluation for the first time. Recently, he/ she called you to his office for your yearly evaluation.

    My comments: (1) “I was calm..  I calmly called her and brought up my concern… She immediately became defensive. ‘Oh, you wanna go there?’ I was surprised but said “Ok, what’s going on?’… We ended the conversation calmly… If this were the first time I had approached her calmly and received this reaction… There have been previous times when I approached her and heard “Don’t take that tone with me!”-

    – You repeated  “calm” and “calmly” in the quote above 4 times, which leads me to think that maybe you tried to calm yourself before you approached the chairperson, and you tried to come across as calm when talking to her- but you didn’t come across as calm. After all,  why would she say “Don’t take that tone with me!” if your tone was calm (?)

    (2) “My biggest fear… I have felt so hurt and blindsided..  sad, heavy feeling inside. My relationship with my co-workers have been damaged… Any words of wisdom to help me get past this? I feel like I am always on the verge of tears”-

    – The title of your thread is “difficult co-worker and bad evaluation”- it is possible that the chairperson and the other co-worker are difficult to work with, but it is also possible that you are difficult to work with. I don’t know. What is clear is that at the workplace, you are anxious, hurt, sad and “always on the verge of tears”.

    Here is what I suggest: talk to your boss and see if he/ she thinks that it’s a good idea for a meeting to take place between the boss, the chairperson, the other co-worker and you, to discuss the professional relationship between all of you, bring up perceived problems, express the feelings associated with those problems, and how to make the work place feel better for all of you.

    The professional term employee relations refers to an organization’s efforts to create and maintain  positive, constructive professional relationships between employees and between employees and management. It reads like that’s what is needed in your workplace, and I hope it happens for you and that as a result, you will feel much better.

    anita

     

     

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