logo image

Pet Peeve #14: Workplace Drama

Earlier this week, I faced a potentially awkward situation with a co-worker over something pretty minor, and while I wanted to prove why my side was the correct one, I decided to hold my tongue and wait to fight this battle another day. This confrontation has been eating at me for the last few days, because it felt like an attack on me, and rather than say anything or start a fight with a co-worker that could make working conditions strained, I’ve tried to let it go.

The subject we were discussing was my desire to organize and rearrange the workspace, because the current setup just seems like someone threw a bunch of things in a drawer, added a label saying “Miscellaneous,” and called it a day (it might not be quite that bad, but I’m really not a fan of the way things are now).

Since transferring to this location, I’ve made my opinion known to most of my peers, as well as members of management. I understand that most people don’t like change, especially when it comes from a newcomer it might feel like an attack on the way they have always done things, but when I see an opportunity to make something better or more efficient, it just seems silly not to look for a solution.

From conversations I’ve had with some of my managers, they would love to see things changed and make the space more efficient, but no one ever seems to have time to work on it.

One of the goals I’ve set for myself was to work on some small changes, and get the project started without being too disruptive, or making too many changes all at once. Before I could even throw away one thing or change the location of anything, I was confronted by a peer, who informed me everyone else had “taken and vote,” and they liked how things were, so I would just be wasting my time trying to clean and organize.

At this point, it seems like it would be too late to speak my mind, so I’ve been playing the “ignore that person unless it’s work related” game, which almost feels like it has made the situation worse.

I’m not sure how to really make the situation better, outside of scheduling a peer mediation or a one-one-one discussion, because whenever this person says anything to me, it feels like I’m being insulted or judged and is making me very uncomfortable to work in such close proximity to someone who acts this way. If I had actually done something to deserve this treatment, I wouldn’t be upset, and would gladly take the blame or do whatever is needed to make things right, but that isn’t the case with this situation.

While I’ve since stopped trying to make the changes I want (effectively walking away from this battle), it makes me wonder if there is something I did to warrant such animosity that I am unaware of, or if by nature this person just always needs to be a bully to someone.

I don’t go to work with the intention of actively seeking new friends, but I expect a level of common courtesy to be present from my co-workers, and try to be nice to everyone in return. In the past I encountered a similar situation, and it made me dread going to work everyday (even after we decided to call a truce) until the other person finally quit.

Have you ever encountered this type of workplace drama? How did you decide to handle the situation– a meeting to resolve the issue, or just let it drop (and go home to dwell on it over a bowl of ice cream and a glass of wine) and move on?

Responses (4)

  1. Josh says:

    It sounds like you need a team of people who get along and only ever made fun of your stories and being an old lady. 😉

  2. I’ve never had a situation like that, but it seems like what might be best is having a one-on-one with them. Maybe they don’t know how you feel? Maybe you can get things on the table and try to make it right?

    • Katy says:

      We did end up having an informal sit down, and got over our differences. I learned that part of the attitude issue was due to personal things happening for them outside of work, and once I showed empathy for that situation things have improved.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: