That should probs just be “co-worker”. There’s just one. But isn’t there always that one.
The worst part about my co-worker is that at the office, we’re actually friends. Out of everyone there she’s my work friend. She’s the one I run to the post office and pharmacy with. She’s the one I gossip with. She’s the one I grab when I’m stressed and need to walk around the block. She comes into my office and tells me what’s going on in her personal life. We get lunch together and run errands with each other.
But as co-workers, actually working together… I can’t stand her. She’s awful. And it’s terrible. And she makes me want to leave my job and run away.
The problem is, I don’t even know what the problem is. The problem is her. And I’m not quite sure why.
She gets along with no one. Many people in the office barely tolerate her. She’s loud and brash, she’s often negative and overly harsh, she’s always stressed out. But she’s genuine and honest and smart and she always strives to do her best. And there’s something appealing to me about someone who is so brutally honest to your face that it makes you kind of hate them.
There’s nothing I hate more than fake people. I have no doubt that whatever she says about me to other people can’t be any worse than the things she might feel compelled to say to my face.
To me, there’s a comfort in being around someone who is brutally and shockingly honest all the time. I find it reassuring, I can know it’s real. I can trust that.
But to work on a project with, she’s difficult. She’s a somewhat poor communicator and she freaks out over little tiny things and she tries to control things that aren’t her business and she lashes out when things aren’t going the way she expected or she is disappointed.
And she’s negative. She is soul sucking in her negativity. All the positive emotion and energy is completely zapped from the room when she is in it. She carries with her tension so thick you nearly smother in it.
I don’t like psycho-analyzing people and suggesting diagnosis for their behavior because I think it’s not fair. But I don’t know how to describe her behavior as anything other than possibly bi-polar. It is draining and exhausting. One conversation she is kind and thoughtful and then a few hours later she is argumentative and angry and harsh.
Things were so terrible with her this week that every day I worked with her I came home and cried. I reached out to an executive at another office to chat with him about possible employment. Then on Thursday she came into my office with a birthday gift for me. She spent hours making me a bracelet and bookmark. And they are incredible and beautiful. After I thanked her she tried to boss me around and argue over our work project.
Someone asked me when she is real. Is she real when she’s angry and bitter or is she real when she’s kind and thoughtful. And I had to answer that I have no idea. There is equal strength in the emotions she exhibits on both sides. I can’t detect a more genuine tone to either one.
From conversations with her I am nearly positive that she doesn’t mean to be so negative or mean. But she also is completely unaware and incapable of hearing how she speaks to other people. It’s truly sad. Sometimes when she is arguing with people in the office I hear her and I can tell by her tone and what she is saying that she is striving with every fiber to be polite and professional. But her voice comes out condescending and mocking. She sounds fake. She sounds like she’s speaking down to them, when really she is trying to stay calm even when she’s upset. And sometimes she comes to my office and asks how it went. I’m honest with her. It went terribly. But she doesn’t hear it in her own voice. I don’t know how to explain it or show her if even when I explain or imitate her voice in the conversation she can’t hear that somehow her emotions come through and speak louder than her words.
I’m on a team with her because no one else will work with her. And even I had to tell my boss on Tuesday that I am happy to work on this project with her, but I can’t be the only one. I need to be on another team after this project is over. My boss expressed to me that he is concerned that either I or our other team member will leave because of her. I didn’t know how to answer because I’d already contacted an executive and our other team member had admitted to me that on Tuesday she went home and cried and considered just quitting.
I have another three weeks until she goes on vacation and I find myself counting down and trying not to take her comments so heart. But it is emotionally draining.