Not Getting Far with Me

Last week, I agreed to temporarily take over a reasonably significant chunk of my challenging co-worker’s work (regularly about an hour a day, sometimes more). To help out. Temporarily. My boss acknowledges that it’s not the best or highest use of my time, and that I’m being asked to do a bunch of new things, and I’m doing a good job with them, and that this is a distraction from them.

Yesterday, my colleagues were informed of that plan. I subsequently took multiple phone calls where callers claimed they were the second time they’d called about it. They were calls that should have gone to the challenging coworker that the customers told me had not been dealt with. In one case, it was an email that went to her that she didn’t deal with (which I know, because I was copied on it.)

I sent these requests to my colleague, marked high priority, and asked that she copy me when she resolved them, because I promised the customers that they wouldn’t have to call about it a third time.

In both cases, I got lip off her. “They didn’t call me— if they called me, I’d have helped them, that’s how you know they didn’t call me.” In another case, she copied me on her boss’s response to her, apparently to correct what I said. Her boss and I are at the same level, and effectively said the same thing— quoted the same policy, but her boss actually did my colleague’s part of it (looking up an actual expiration date) where I said “I’ve told the customer the policy but you need to process the extension and give her the new expiration date.” Last night, I thought “I bet she sent me that email with her tongue out, but never actually followed up with the customer.” So I reached out this morning and said “fine, but you told the customer, right?” She emailed the customer and followed up with me with a “what a coincidence— we were thinking of this at the same time” email (with more than a little snark) to me, but both were time-stamped 40 minutes after I sent my email.

Listen, I’m totally down with “You do your job, I’ll do mine.” I don’t enjoy being micro-managed and I’m not a micromanager by nature (I’m not specifically managing anyone here, but people who’ve worked for me can vouch for this.) But let’s be real— in doing the chunk of her job that I’ve agreed to add to my workload, in following up with customers who are not getting helped in timely fashion, to say nothing of the work I was supposed to be able to offload to her and have not been able to… my enthusiasm for her snark, to the extent that I had any, is dwindling pretty rapidly.

I had a strong feeling yesterday that I needed to pray for her. I’m pretty sure that was a good impulse and one I need to obey. Though I don’t know this for sure, my personal and unofficial intuition is that these kinds of indicators (your coworkers being officially asked to pick up your slack and customers calling with complaints about turn-around times) are not long-term positive for her, and as challenging as I find the dynamic, I honestly don’t have anything against her that’s not related to the snark and the parts of her job I officially and unofficially have to pick up. I don’t appreciate the ways that she likes to rub my nose in things she thinks I’ve done wrong. But it is harder to want to pray for someone while they’re snarking at you. Maybe that’s when you both need it most.

Also, yesterday, her boss dumped a bunch of work on me — an unpleasant conversation, some overdue reports— with an hour’s notice. All of which I turned around without complaint and in less than an hour. I had to drop other things I was working on to do it, but I got it done.  I’m routinely interrupted in the middle of tasks by them, though if I have a question for them, I have to take a number. I’m finding it difficult to stay nice about these dynamics.

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