Need some insight
Need some advice t on a colleague (D.O.B 31 Jan 1985 I think).
She seems bubbly and bright, but is deeply negative. Very much in "why me" mode. Which I find odd because she's getting married very soon and getting a house, and has lots to look forward to. Instead, she laments daily about not feeling well (yet she doesn't take the day off), and complains about having to do extra work, how the work is stressful and how everyone around her is out to get her. She says ok a lot when you ask her to do things, but doesn't seem to understand what is required and often makes mistakes as a result. Wants to be told step by step what to do, instead of analyzing the requirements and asking questions for clarification. She'll ask the same questions repeatedly within the same conversation or chat, or sometimes from week to week, like she doesn't remember what was said, and it never happened.
It seems like some sort of mental disorder, which affects memory and in which she seems to need constant reassurance. I also don't find her trustworthy - like she's trying to get me to speak ill of others by asking what i think of them - hoping that I'm commiserate her feelings. Then when I take a neutral stance, she changes her position ultra quick. I wouldn't be surprised if she's talking behind my back to others too. It's making me very uncomfortable as we work for the same supervisor.
I feel this woman is quite progressive in her thinking with a lot of creativity, vision, and originality. But she can lose interest quite quickly in a subject, person or activity if she doesn't feel she has everyone's heartfelt support or attention. She has an overwhelming need to be noticed, heard and taken seriously. Although she may appear absent-minded and chaotic at times, this is only because her thoughts are always on fast-forward, her mind being filled with original and ingenious ideas and concepts. She has a tendency to be occasionally oversensitive, reading hidden (but wrong) meanings into the actions and words of others. When she feels upstaged, put upon or let down, she may overreact and either withdraw completely and become depressed, or startle others with her sharp tongue. She needs to learn to be a little less intense in her relationships and to accept that sometimes other people may want to share the limelight too. People may find it hard to get a word in with her, and it is important that she calms down and listens from time to time. Occasionally, she may feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations of her in order to be liked - she actually needs to learn to value herself more and not always depend on other people for love and approval. Difficulties with her emotional life, in particular with her friends and loved ones, can affect her health negatively and manifest in depression, low self-esteem or insecurity. So, while getting married and getting a house may seem to you like the ideal path to happiness, this woman can suffer if she feels unpopular or ignored. Her emotions are tied up with how she perceives other people feel toward her, imagined or not.
trust your gut on this and do not be seduced by her. I had a job position for a few years where I was responsible for dealing with this kind of problem in the workplace and how to diffuse it. She has a victim mentality and is insecure. Because she does not trust others like her or that she is safe she feels the need to rally others into a caretaker position just in case. Victims need lots of reassurance. I think you are wondering if she has an attention deficit disorder. I can see why....it does make it hard to focus and organize thoughts.. Victims are also so deep in constant worry ...their wheels spinning that they just are not present enough in the moment to be paying attention. So far you are doing the right thing. Do not engage in any gossip. It will back fire and in the end your boss will lose respect for you. When she whines...do offer up the bright side or completely change the subject...make it about you if you have too. Do not let here lead. You can set a limit as too how much venting she's allowed and then say you are sorry she feels bad. Then move on. Also, if she starts affecting your happy place you must have a talk with your supervisor. Don't go in with complaining but ask your supervisor for advice on how you can still keep your peace and help her as well. People like her can be very toxic to the workplace and it may start out small but they often create little conflicts and they get something out of surrounding themselves with drama.....they will play one side against the other and enjoy being in control and getting so much attention. And yes....she will gossip about you in a heart beat. She is testing the waters with you to see if you will participate in her game of survival. It may not make sense to others but for victims they are always feeling insecure and need a edge. They often wait until they irritate another employee to the point of goading a lash back or gathering dirt on others then taking it too the supervisor so they can play victim and also get supervisor brownie points. Most mature people never see it coming! BLESSINGS
Yes I feel her energy is kinda all over the shop at times. She is resistant to learning new tasks - even things which are within her capability. Wants things to be spelt out to a T, instead of figuring out the steps, and doesn't seem to like taking ownership of things. In that sense, she doesn't strike me as being creative or visionary. It could be that it's a wrong job fit for her too. Because I feel she's capable and she does try. But she gets super panicky when called out on mistakes. I mean, there are usually solutions, and there's no need to spin her wheels like that. The negativity feels very misplaced. Feeling that everyone is targeting her...just doesn't help solve anything. I don't view her upcoming marriage/new home as an ideal lifestyle necessarily. Just that they stand out to me as major blessings in her life. Even when I steer conversation to good stuff, somehow she pushes it back to the negative.
I've actually tried most of the things you mentioned. We use chat at work. So I listen when I can, and try to validate her experience, while trying not to pinpoint anyone. But there have been times when I foolishly let myself be goaded into sharing more than I meant to. I'd hoped that it would pacify her, let her know "we're all in this together", so she can learn to push it into the background. That didn't work...lol. I also try 'radio silence' sometimes or one word answers - deters her slightly. It's not ADHD - i think it's something else. But yes definitely, her wheels are spinning and she goes into panic mode very easily; her sense of self worth seems fragile too.
What bugs me is when she tries to fish for information or tries to be sneaky about getting my opinion on others, by disguising her questions as casual comments. Eg. I do sense jealousy from her over my telecommuting arrangement. I get remarks like: "is it really possible to monitor you", "how come you're online so early" (even when I'm on time - as if to say, who would know anyway since I'm not at the office). I ignore such remarks mostly. It is very backward thinking, considering many of us have jobs that centre around laptops and applications. And it's almost like she's on the pulse for any juicy bit of news or gossip, or anything that can make her feel like her lot in life is worse. She has even asked how much I earn more than once in the same chat. Had to shut her down. She said she was just curious and joking, but I really don't think so.
Unfortunately she also doesn't seem to want to take responsibility for mis-steps. I mean we all make mistakes, so it's easier to just own up and focus on service recovery. I know my boss can be hyper critical of mistakes, and I have done damage control a few times, when my colleague has made mistakes. I try to steer my boss towards solutions to prevent her from the blame game. I like solutions. Because that's more my style. And perhaps I'm a sap...don't see any sense in people getting hurt when solutions can be found easily. But I'm starting to think it's not my place to shield my colleague like that... I do see how she may look on me as a caretaker, at least in terms of someone who will validate her feelings. But I don't want to be enabling the situation, esp in terms of disrupting the natural order. It's a learning experience for me too.
Asking someones pay is a big no no and it can get you fired if you share that. She is seducing you. Her advantage is her mystery. Mature team players do not get her. People like her are the ones I expose. Unfortunately the upper management is very busy and loses touch with whats going on underneath them.....they do not see the trouble coming until it lands in their lap. That's why I had a position that was meant to be the eyes and ears for the happiness of the employees. I t was my job to keep everyone happy and make sure there were no problems stewing. The best employees will keep it to themselves that's why they are good troopers. Bad employees often will cause a good employee to leave and the poor management had no idea they were unhappy. I can not tell you how many times my boss exclaimed "why didn't they come to me earlier?" This employee is a spider weaving a web. The boss has to know about this now to advert a fallout later. At some point that spider is going to go to the boss crying and is going to throw everyone she can under the buss. By caretaker...it's not real.....it's more of a fake thing to pull you into her web.....she does not want to be exposed as being a danger to you....she's seducing that part of you that as you said prefers helping someone than pointing out their flaws. My advice is to watch your back and have that talk...the honest truth with your boss. She needs to know. BLESSINGS!
Ah the fake caretaker! I think so. I felt the dissonance, but I couldn't articulate it. Perhaps it's conditioned behavior, and not intentional, but still.. I've always thought she was capable and she has fire - and it was throwing me off that she was projecting needy vibes. It didn't make sense.
I will keep your advice in mind. Hope it doesn't come to that. Though it could very well be that her performance will be her undoing. She is capable, but the company (and my boss's) expectations are high, if unrealistic. My boss is already not very happy, based on her own observations and their interactions. And this colleague has also expressed unhappiness about staying here. No one's job is certain here, and her contract is up for renewal too. So we'll see how it goes and I'll be more careful from now on.
She was very silent today.
And then she asked me if I had told our boss anything about her.
I said no. It's true - I have not been asked point blank before.
If she ever comes up in our conversations, it's only in relation to tasks and updates. There's where I got to know my boss has reservations about her. Even then, I try keep my stance neutral, and solution-based.
When I probed, my colleague said our boss had asked her whether she gets along with me.
So naturally she immediately came to the conclusion that i must have spoken ill of her first.
What the... It actually sounds like my boss is appraising me, not her. Which is what i quipped. Seemed to pacify her.
I didn't even bother to ask what she had said to the boss. Because it doesn't matter even if she has disparaged me. But I have to believe that regardless of my faults or mistakes, my performance, work ethic and interactions with others will speak louder.
She's fishing. Your boss would have asked you first. What the.....? indeed!
There's quite a few incidents of 'what the', that create drama, tension or confusion. Like she said her chat program wasn't working, and asked how to contact IT. But she has all the numbers for local tech support and she just called them last week. And they were doing to come in anyway that afternoon, so she could have waited. I said try the online Helpdesk team first or uninstall/reinstall. She said nevermind, she'll just wait for a response from the Helpdesk. Meaning she had already requested for assistance and was waiting on a reply - but asked me as if she didn't know what to do and hadn't taken action. And the whole time, she was using the chat program - which 'wasn't working' to communicate with me.
I don't want to be mad at her, because it really could be that she has a a real disorder that needs treatment. But it creeps me out. Worse, there is now a trust issue. I think it really makes sense why you're advocating I speak to the boss. I mean I will be honest if I'm asked, but I find it difficult to initiate things. It feels like I would be throwing her under the bus.
It's called protecting yourself! INTENTION is everything.