The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Posted by Seeking Solace |

Today, one of my academic colleagues at work tore my head off for no good reason. I merely asked a question and was told where to go.


I get that all of us a feeling a little stressed with the beginning of the semester. but the way this person spoke to me was in a whole new realm of unprofessional.

I asked another colleague if something was going on with this person. That colleague told me there was not. Seems this person acts this way whenever she is stressed. I should just not take it personally and let it go.

Yeah, well I don't forget things so easily.

I have always been a very guarded person with people the people at work. I don't allow myself to have to many personal relationships with people at work. There are a few rare exceptions, but for the most part, I am a gaurded as to whom I let into my inner circle. I've had some bad experiences with people who have burned me in the past. I don't like being this way, but I just don't feel I can trust people.

This was a colleague whom I felt was someone I could be friends with. I thought we had a lot in common and we often chatted about stuff not related to work. I would have not expected something like this to come from this person. I felt I could let my guard down just a little.

Not anymore.

I know some of you are probably saying "Just give that person the benefit for the doubt." or "Wait and see if the person apologizes."

Can't do that.

Normally, I would give this person a pass and chalk it up to stress. But, you had to be there to witness how things went. There is nothing that this person can say or do to change how I feel. Honestly, I doubt she will even apologize because when I responded to her verbal tirade explaining that what I was referring to was benign in nature, she refused to listen. If she does apologize, I will accept, but I will put her on notice that what she said was out of line and unprofessional. I will also tell her that if she speaks to me in that tone again, there will be consequences. Our interactions will be strictly professional from now on.


The Grand Inquisitor said...

so much for being the bigger person

Heidi said...

Dang! Wonder where all that crap came from? Sorry it landed on you.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...


You did get some valuable information today -- that's how s/he responds to stress -- by spreading it around like manure. That doesn't mean you have to put yourself in the way of the manure spreader!! You also know it isn't you -- but, that doesn't matter, she aimed at you -- so it impacted you.

Frankly, I wouldn't expect an apology, and if one is offered, I'd accept it with minimal thanks /recognition. I would probably tell her that you didn't think the exchange was productive -- but, not much more.

If I were in that situation, my goal from now on would be to minimize interaction -- and getting into the specifics with her doesn't help. Details can lead to one of two bad places -- either she has another "reason" to spew, or she thinks she can explain her way out of it. Neither is helpful and neither actually changes things.

Seeking Solace said...

Grand Inquisitor: Oh, and like that happens in law.

Seeking Solace said...

ITPF: That's exactly how I feel. You can read my mind. Thanks, my friend.

Heidi: Thanks :)

comebacknikki said...

I agree with ITHPF -- I would just minimize my interactions with her and move along. You always have to watch out for people who act like that!

Rebecca said...

I seriously doubt you'll get a sincere apology. Obviously, this person feels it's perfectly acceptable to speak that way to others.

Still, should you get even the most offhand reference to it, you could suggest she practice more restraint in what is supposed to be a professional environment, because you have no intention of taking that sort of treatment from anyone - particularly when you have done nothing to deserve it.

She'll probably be shocked that you didn't just wave it off saying that's okay, don't worry about it. It's probably what everyone else does. It might even make her angry all over again, at which point you could say out loud what no one probably has. That the whole office is fed up with that behavior. But it will also make her think twice about pulling that shit on you again. And others may all her out on it when she does it to them, once they know that you've done it.

I've become a big fan, lately, of getting it all out in the open. You don't even need to raise your voice, just say the words that make your point. There's no reason you should have to expend the energy it takes to factor her into whatever you need or want to do, even to the point of giving her a wide berth. If you take so much as a second to avoid her, you are giving her too much power.

Remain civil, but speak your mind honestly. It fosters a great feeling of freedom.

Brigindo said...

I have no problem having intellectual arguments and debates with colleagues, even if they get heated, as long as they are professional and conducted as what they intellectual discussion. I also don't have a problem with people telling me I am wrong or misguided or ill-informed, as long as they are professional and appropriate (and right). I have a big problem with people I work with acting inappropriately in any context. I don't really find stress to be much of an excuse. I feel like the office needs to be a place where people can respect other and be respected. It doesn't sound like this is possible with this colleague of yours. Sorry you had to be on the receiving end but I guess its better to find out sooner rather than later.

RageyOne said...

that's awful. do what you have to do. keep it professional and keep it moving! her loss.

rented life said...

You might get a sincere apology--if she steps back and realizes what she's done. I've snapped at people once or twice at work (I'm usually the quieter one at work, there's too much to do) and the next day I apologized that I was out of line and not handling things well. Then again, if this is the person's normal behavior? She might not even be aware of how unproductive she's being because she's so absorbed in whatever is freaking her out. Has anyone pointed this out to her during a calm moment? People are shockingly unaware of themselves.

I don't like to make friends at work. We'll chat, small talk, but that tends to be it. I've worked too many places where the walls have ears.

Psych Post Doc said...

What a shame that it seems like everyone else just accepts that as her normal response to stress.

Inappropriate behavior should never be tolerated in the workplace. We just had a situation where we had to call out our supervisor on some seriously inappropriate behavior during a group meeting. It was not fun, but needed to be done.