Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:11 pm
|An Extremely Difficult Colleague
I'm looking for some advice on how to deal with a rather vulgar colleague of mine. I have a lot of problems with the guy, so here goes.
I had heard stories about this guy circulating the company, usually during exchanges of hushed gossip and rolled eyes. I had my first meeting with him a few a couple of weeks ago, and he is nothing short of intollerable. I'm actually at a loss for where to begin.
He spent most of his time talking indirectly about how brilliant he is, how fantastic he is at training up new recruits, how he had came up from nothing and gave us (the two of us who share a job) an hour long heart to heart about his philosophy on life. He never says any of these things directly; just implies them with a kind of smug grandiosity. Most of the time he does ALL the talking, it's nearly impossible to get a word in edgeways. He talks over you when and then builds up to shouting over you. His body language is imposing, his hand gestures are jerky and hostile, his tone is pure hostility veiled by quiet arrogance. He's constantly seeking your approval, and where it isn't offered, he imposes it. But at the same time he's extremely anxious and awkward.
When he's on your side he's inflated, imposing and volatile. When he's not; he's aggressive, hostile and downright nasty. A toxic character that polutes and poisons an otherwise laid back and friendly work environment. You feel like you're walking on eggshells around the guy because he's so volatile.
It's probably worth highlighting some of the behaviours that make me say these things. He's rash; usually makes alot of noise as he moves around, lots of slamming doors and stamping. You can usually hear him long before you see him. He's unbelievably aggressive: He's made two of my female colleagues cry and has had grievances made against him over the way he treats people.
It's like he's the dramatist and you're his audiance. You're simply there to see his show. And you'd better applaude. He creates chaos and drama around him, usually out of the routine tasks he's responsable for. Whether it's by completely over-reacting to the most minor of setbacks or instigating a fight with someone around him; he creates a drama and a scene. So that you'll be impressed by the way he handled that crisis that was thrown on him just there and then he'll get the admiration he was after.
I should also mention that, professionally, the man is a liability. Last year, he made an incredibly stupid, basic, novice level mistake. Something so instinctive that our 18 year old interns know not to do it. A mistake showing such a lack of basic competence that people gasp when they hear about it. I can't go into the details of exactly what happened; the man defied basic safety rules, acted rashly under the artificial stress he had synthesised around him and made a mistake that cost us ALOT of money, put us weeks behind schedule and came within milimeters of ending his life. The thing that really annoys me about this is, despite what everyone knows, the man paints a picture claiming that the event was everyone else's fault and that he did exceptionally well as a professional to get through it. It's unbelievable.
So a few words to summarise this idiot: Rash, smug, hysterical, volatile, aggressive, nasty, frightened, anxious and needy.
So what's wrong with this guy? How can I protect myself from the stress that he brings with him? Is there anything that our laid-back, friendly, productive workplace can do to mitigate him?