My coworker is toxic and I can't do this anymore

Postby winzer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:16 am

So I'm at the point where Im considering having a serious discussion with my coworker. He frequently talks down to me.

When I submit my work for review, I get comments back like "What the hell is this?", "This sucks", "Who in their right mind would do this?", etc. He'll also say things like this to my face To me it's very unprofessional and degrading. I understand I need to make changes in my work to improve it. I also understand that this person has 15 more years of experience than I do and I'm just learning. I don't question his expertise, but does that give him the right to be a complete jerk? What makes it difficult is that he is a Senior in his position, and my boss leans towards him. There are only three people in the office, including me. I absolutely love my job, it's the most rewarding thing I've done to date, but this person has a really toxic personality that I can't put up with any longer.

Some steps I am considering. In order of which they fail (if 1 doesn't work, then 2, so on...)

1) Have a conversation with him. What's the best way to have a conversation with a person like this? He really has little regard for other people's opinions.

2) Ask my boss if I can work remotely.

3) Look for a new job.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:18 am

Here is a 4th option, learn, grow, and thrive.

I understand option 4 is not for everyone. There is a reason only a handful of professionals make it to elite levels. The best of the best, the professionals with the greatest talent and highest value often have to deal with "toxic" people.

A great example is a professional athlete. They get drafted to play for a top team. Will they turn down the opportunity because the coach is "toxic" or a senior player key to the team is "toxic"? No, they take the opportunity because by that level they have already been yelled at, called stupid, and dealt with "toxic" individuals as they progressed from he junior leagues to university and then up to the top teams in the sport.

It doesn't just apply to some professions, it applies to all professions. Every profession has "toxic" individuals in the upper ranks of an organization.

Here is what will happen with the other options:

-1- If you have A conversation, he will probably no longer or will lessen comments around you. But, you won't have his respect and you will find yourself relegated to the bench, while the best and toughest projects are handed to others or outsourced. It won't be intentional, but rather pragmatic. Something like, "Should we give this opportunity to winzer?" "Nah, winzer cant handle such a big job, too much pressure." Right or wrong that will be the outcome.

-2- You avoid "toxic" people and never learn to deal with them.

-3- You are happy for a few months, until you encounter your next "toxic" coworker. Time to look for yet another job where you will repeat the cycle.

Plenty of people do pick options 1-3. That's okay, as long as you understand and can accept the outcomes. Working remote is awesome if you never want to learn to deal with toxic people. Option 1 is awesome if you are okay just steadily working and drawing a paycheck without care of promotion or being assigned to tougher projects. You should always be looking at getting a new job with better opportunities, but never choose it as an option to get away from a person you can't get along with.

Option 4 is not easy and like I said not for everyone. Option 4 means not having "A" conversation, but multiple conversations, engaging and learning how to disarm and work with toxic people.
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#2

Postby winzer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:53 am

I wouldn't have a problem with #4 if there were more people so I have limited interactions. But I have to interact with him ALL the time. Even through chat it's extremely unpleasant and sometimes I want to cry. I am perfectly fine with not moving up at all. The compensation is good enough and I'm happy with my responsibilities already.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:06 am

Great. Then I would recommend option #1.
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#4

Postby Candid » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:42 am

Winzer, I would try the broken-record response to every put-down: I love my job and I'm happy I can learn from you.

The way to avoid getting emotional is to understand this is his personality and he can't help it. You're not there to be liked and cosseted, but to do the job you enjoy and keep learning.
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