Author Topic: Co-worker Redoing My Work  (Read 3908 times)

Broadway2019

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Co-worker Redoing My Work
« on: February 07, 2018, 07:52:10 PM »
This is not a financial post, I am looking for advice in a work situation.

Background: I started a new job in mid-January at the same company. It's a brand new team and I have a co-worker who started in November so we are both new to the team, not the company. We are both managers.

Situation: Since I started I felt like she treats me as if I report to her on some level. She has very strong opinions on how PowerPoint slides are put together and is constantly trying to give me advice as well as redoing my slides. My slides are no where near that bad (I work at a top firm) and I have never had anyone redo them that was a coworker. Sometimes my boss or others above will have suggestions. She changes the colors or does some other non-trivial thing even though my slides look fine. I realize it is a personal preference and I am sure she is doing it out of her own OCD.

Of Friday, she kept asking if I could send her my slides so she could rework them. I politely declined multiple times and I would take another look at them over the weekend - this was just to stop her from asking. Mind you this was like 10 emails back and forth.

Anyways it really bothers me and I am not sure what to do? I don't want to come off as complaining to my Director so rather handle it myself. But other then trying to politely say I will work on it, what am I to do?

Righty

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 09:09:36 PM »
I work in strategy consulting, and the "product" we ultimately deliver is a PP deck. To say I spend 10 hours a day obsessing over minute details (what I believe you call trivial in your post) is not that far out of bounds.

Would be interesting to get some color on why she even needs your slides to begin with? Are her slides and your slides combined into a single document? A few things jump out at me:

My slides are no where near that bad

This suggests quite a lack of confidence in your work product. Are they spectacular, just good enough, or just plain bad?

She changes the colors or does some other non-trivial thing even though my slides look fine

Again, perhaps they are fine, but not that great. Colors, shapes, fonts, alignment, and other "trivial" things make a huge difference on how a PP slide is viewed. It could be that your work is sloppy (e.g "no where near that bad"). It could be that she has OCD. Whatever the reason, she feels you work is not up-to-snuff. Are the edits she makes things that you disagree with? Or, are they generally additive?

Of Friday, she kept asking if I could send her my slides so she could rework them

The final takeaway is that she feels your work is casting a shadow over work product (in the eyes of that same director, who I assume is the "boss"). The compiled document needs to have a consistent look and feel, and if some of it isn't great, the whole document is less impressive.

From an outsiders perspective, given what you've said about this situation, I'd offer a facepunch of sorts. I don't think your PP slides are probably all that great, and her re-work is a triage effort to get them in-line.

My suggestion - stop putting her off, because in doing so, the perception on her end is that you're half-assing it and/or don't care. I would reach out to set up time to go through her edits together. Don't do it once, do it many times. Have her explain why she is making the edits, and what value-add or aesthetic improvements she is able to create by doing so. Over time, perhaps this becomes less of an issue, and you guys can be on one big, happy team together.

Broadway2019

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 10:04:50 PM »
I donít mean that adding colors, alignment, etc. is trivial. What I meant is what she is adding is trivial as I see no value to changing it. I spend a good portion of my role doing decks and so literally piece together infographics most of my day to tell a story. We also have have set templates for color. A lot of her changes are personal preference. There is more then one way to build a slide.

Also if thereís a problem with my work, my director should say something, not her. In fact, the director has said nothing but positive things.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 11:14:04 PM »
Is it possible that she's reading this situation as her being helpful and collaborative? Perhaps you could find another way for her to feel helpful without encroaching on your 'space'.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 12:23:14 AM »
Although you don't want to involve your Director, perhaps that would be the most useful thing you could do in order to establish whether your slides are perfectly acceptable as they are or whether your co-worker is recognised as a whiz with slide design and has been asked to check and correct the work of people on the same level as herself. If the former, you're in a stronger position to say, "No, my slides are just as I want them to be, don't you have work of your own to do instead of tinkering with my work?"

Undermining and micro-managing colleagues is tremendously bad office behaviour and is often an indication of lack of confidence in the perpetrator's ability to handle the fundamental aspects of their own role. Take measures to make sure you don't get ground down by it.

mxt0133

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 12:33:07 AM »
I highly recommend you read "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson and "Non Violent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg.

It will give you the techniques and skills to tell her exactly what you are telling us on how she is making you feel.  Have you even tried to tell her that her suggestions are making you feel like she is encroaching on your responsibilities?  Or asked her why she feels that she needs to review or make changes to the work you have already done?

Those two simple questions without judgment should get you to the root of the issue.

Broadway2019

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 06:37:01 AM »
Is it possible that she's reading this situation as her being helpful and collaborative? Perhaps you could find another way for her to feel helpful without encroaching on your 'space'.

I do think she thinks she is being helpful. Late last night, we were both online and talking. She insisted on showing me tips and tricks in PowerPoint so I set up a 30 minute block on my calendar. However, she then sent me my slides redone and in the email it says 'hope this is helpful'.

I will just bring up how I feel when we meet today.

slb59

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 09:10:11 AM »
Hope your talk with her goes well! This would also drive me absolutely bonkers and is totally unprofessional.

I agree that this needs to be addressed head-on and soon. If she insists on keeping it up and seems to want to just be "helpful", I think you could either request she track changes (hard in PPT though) and reject any changes you don't like or that are purely personal preference, and/or make this a you both review each other's work not just a she's reviewing yours.

But really, there is no reason you have to keep her changes if they are not helpful.

Righty

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 09:20:18 AM »
There is more then one way to build a slide.

True, but one way can certainly be better

Maenad

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 09:49:45 AM »
Check out "Ask a Manager" too, she's addressed this type of issue numerous times. Apparently it's more common than I realized!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 10:39:06 AM »
I look forward to what you said to her today and what she said.

I was going to suggest that you sit down with her and see what she could teach you but she pulled the rug out before you could 'train' with her. Maybe if your slides and hers go into one report, you could come to a mutual agreement on style. It would make the PP presentation flow better if the two styles were merged. However, she needs to back off and respect boundaries.

I also think she really likes doing that type of work and maybe she has a special flair for it. However, if you are equals and work on the same team some kind of agreement needs to be put in place. This is how little paper cuts turn into festering wounds.

Jouer

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2018, 11:49:24 AM »
Do your slides and hers get combined into one document? Who owns the document? If she owns the document, it doesn't matter that you are both at the same level in the org. If she wants slides a certain way, then she can and should update yours to fit the document.

If she doesn't own the document then I side with you having a discussion with her.

BlueHouse

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 01:18:41 PM »
Sorry to say this, but I suspect the OP doesn't have quite the attention to detail that he professes to have.  There were a few typos even in the posts here, which, when claiming that your work product is up to snuff, should be near perfect.

I have a co-worker that does this too.  He actually is sort of above me in that he is a govt employee and I am a contractor.  I decided a few years ago to let his style rule on our joint slides, and it's surprising how I've come to accept it.  I used to be a control freak.  He's a bigger control freak than I am, and once I let him win, I'm happy to hand it off to him and say "make it look pretty".  If it's really inconsequential, then why won't you let it go?  You get someone else to do the trivial parts of your work for you so you can concentrate on the substance. 



Broadway2019

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2018, 04:23:25 PM »
Update: I did speak to her yesterday and she apologized immediately for redoing the slides. Also, she seemed to really just trying to be helpful so I let her show me some tips and tricks in PPT. This made her feel valuable and good, and we left on a good note.

I didn't really see a point in dwelling on the subject with her since she already apologized. However, if it happens again, I will speak up.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2018, 04:58:49 PM »
Glad to hear this 'MAY' be cleared up. She could slide backwards but maybe not. Stay strong!

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2018, 05:51:20 PM »
Although you don't want to involve your Director, perhaps that would be the most useful thing you could do in order to establish whether your slides are perfectly acceptable as they are or whether your co-worker is recognised as a whiz with slide design and has been asked to check and correct the work of people on the same level as herself. If the former, you're in a stronger position to say, "No, my slides are just as I want them to be, don't you have work of your own to do instead of tinkering with my work?"

Undermining and micro-managing colleagues is tremendously bad office behaviour and is often an indication of lack of confidence in the perpetrator's ability to handle the fundamental aspects of their own role. Take measures to make sure you don't get ground down by it.

I know you've had the conversation, but don't think it's going to stop. I'd chat with your director. Not about your coworker, but about the work product of your own slides. if your director loves your work & thinks your slides are great, he/she will say so. If they do not, they will also indicate that. If your slides need work, you can then best determine how to proceed, but getting help from a willing coworker may not be a terrible idea. If your work product is great, you can have a nice but firm conversation with your coworker. "Oh, thanks for the offer, but BossLady loves the slides, so no need for you to spend your time on this. I know you have a lot of work to do on Project X."

Have senior level job, and do not build great slides. Welcome input from others, but in our world, they would typically just make comments (not direct edits) & would never edit slides unless directly asked for help.

Broadway2019

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2018, 08:07:12 PM »

I know you've had the conversation, but don't think it's going to stop. I'd chat with your director. Not about your coworker, but about the work product of your own slides. if your director loves your work & thinks your slides are great, he/she will say so. If they do not, they will also indicate that.

I have talked to my director and she recognizes it as a problem. My director has never said anything negative about my work. She and I spoke, and she actually had some concerns as well. This co-worker seems to try to undermine my director as well. All in all, my director is supportive but I asked her not to say anything as I wanted to have the conversation first to try and resolve it.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2018, 03:59:35 AM »
I worked with this guy pretty closely at my last job. He would set the program up and I would do testing. This went on with different set ups and tests for over two years. Well this stuff wound down and he went onto other project work and our boss decided he wanted me to do some technical report writing. I had previous written some reports but these were huge monstrosities that were like the history of the world. They were the history of the project from A-Z. The reports were many pieces of one puzzle. Anyway, my boss groomed me in this new art (for me) and I became pretty good at it. I had been writing reports for over a year and my guy friend decided one day that I should get back to what I had originally been doing. Running tests and things of that sort. I tried to explain that this is what OUR boss wanted me to do. He is the one that makes the decisions. He said he would talk to our boss! OMG, I was furious! First of all, this is MY job and how dare he speak for me when I was perfectly happy and loved what I was doing. I really let him have it. A day or so later he started up again! I was still stewing from our first conversation to begin with. I could just imagine my boss listening to him and then think I was complaining about what I was doing, when I really loved what I was doing. How dare this jerk screw up my job! Our conversation did not end well and our friendship turned to crap. He would never see my point of view and I wouldn't see his. We barely spoke after that till the day I got laid off. We were the best of friends for several years till he went nuts deciding what other things I should be doing. I did NOT report to him, he was NOT my boss! He also had a way of belittling you. If you made some minor error, he would hype it up into a big joke so everyone in the room would hear it to make himself look smart. I found out later on that he was in other people's business at work and he was pretty despised. There are a lot of odd ball personalities we all have to deal with at work. It sure is not easy.

Broadway2019

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2018, 09:34:14 AM »
I worked with this guy pretty closely at my last job. He would set the program up and I would do testing. This went on with different set ups and tests for over two years. Well this stuff wound down and he went onto other project work and our boss decided he wanted me to do some technical report writing. I had previous written some reports but these were huge monstrosities that were like the history of the world. They were the history of the project from A-Z. The reports were many pieces of one puzzle. Anyway, my boss groomed me in this new art (for me) and I became pretty good at it. I had been writing reports for over a year and my guy friend decided one day that I should get back to what I had originally been doing. Running tests and things of that sort. I tried to explain that this is what OUR boss wanted me to do. He is the one that makes the decisions. He said he would talk to our boss! OMG, I was furious! First of all, this is MY job and how dare he speak for me when I was perfectly happy and loved what I was doing. I really let him have it. A day or so later he started up again! I was still stewing from our first conversation to begin with. I could just imagine my boss listening to him and then think I was complaining about what I was doing, when I really loved what I was doing. How dare this jerk screw up my job! Our conversation did not end well and our friendship turned to crap. He would never see my point of view and I wouldn't see his. We barely spoke after that till the day I got laid off. We were the best of friends for several years till he went nuts deciding what other things I should be doing. I did NOT report to him, he was NOT my boss! He also had a way of belittling you. If you made some minor error, he would hype it up into a big joke so everyone in the room would hear it to make himself look smart. I found out later on that he was in other people's business at work and he was pretty despised. There are a lot of odd ball personalities we all have to deal with at work. It sure is not easy.

Your situation sounds awful and I really hope mine doesn't turn into that! On a call this week I was giving a presentation to my boss's boss. At the end, in front of everyone, she decided to say something about the powerpoint colors not really flowing - I used two colors within our brand template. First of all, it had nothing to do with the actual data I was presenting. Also, this was a draft so I could get feedback from my boss's boss. After we settle on what we want to show, I explained it would go to branding to make sure the exact format, colors, etc. matched our company's brand.

I feel like she added it in there just to take another jab at my work. It was unnecessary.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2018, 10:58:35 AM »


Your situation sounds awful and I really hope mine doesn't turn into that! On a call this week I was giving a presentation to my boss's boss. At the end, in front of everyone, she decided to say something about the powerpoint colors not really flowing - I used two colors within our brand template. First of all, it had nothing to do with the actual data I was presenting. Also, this was a draft so I could get feedback from my boss's boss. After we settle on what we want to show, I explained it would go to branding to make sure the exact format, colors, etc. matched our company's brand.

I feel like she added it in there just to take another jab at my work. It was unnecessary.

My situation was a long while back but I have never forgotten it. That is how bad and intolerable it became. The worst part was, that occasionally I did revert back to doing some testing and I had to work with him. He only did what he had to do and hardly talked to me. I didn't want our friendship to deteriorate but it did. He was acting like I was an Intern and needed to speak up for me to the boss! I was a grown woman who had been around the block a time or two. This woman you are dealing with is dangerous. She is looking for a promotion or she is looking to make you look bad so she can shine. Is there any opening for a management position above you that she is gearing up for? My other question is how does she have so much time on her hands that she has time to do other people's work? Is there any crap work you can give her to keep her busy? She needs a project plopped in her lap with some serious timelines that she alone is responsible for. Since she is doing this stuff to you, maybe you will observe her doing this to others. Maybe you will find out she did this very thing to coworkers in her previous job. My advice is to keep your eyes wide open and when you have to be together for a mutual presentation, in the presence of others, be prepared for her stupid comments. Say something like: This seems to be a topic that concerns you since you mention it every time we prepare PP Presentations.

There is another woman I worked with and she was a biach from hell. She was nasty to everyone and I swear she was a reincarnated snake. She had a couple sugar daddies at work and was as nice as pie to them. For everyone else, she treated them like trash she had to 'deal' with. My boss was a brilliant guy who graduated from MIT. He was kind and never flaunted his education. One day we were all in the same room and he was asking her about some part of the project she was working on and she had a puss on her like a rabid coyote and hissed some crap at him. They both were engineers but he was higher up the chain than her. I couldn't believe I witnessed it. He took it in stride but I know he was beyond annoyed. Another time I needed to do a test on a piece of equipment that she basically claimed her territory. I had some minor run ins with her and I always walked away with my head exploding! She couldn't have a normal conversation to talk about scheduling time. She would take it like a personal attack on her property. One day my boss asked me to do more testing on HER machine. I told him flat out that he needed to talk to her about it because she was a maniac...I didn't say maniac to him! I overheard him on the phone talking to her and she was being a biach as usual and he had to try to charm the snake. So she said I could use it right away. I got down there a few minutes later and she stepped into the room and interrogated me on HOW LONG I was going to be using the machine and COME to her and tell her when I was done. I have never been treated so disrespectful in a professional environment in my life. So the plot thickens...the owner of the company told her to write a report on something. She got on her high horse and went to this other woman in a different department and TOLD her to write it and that is wasn't her job. This woman had a few run ins with this woman and said she would write the report. Hahaha, She wrote the report and brought it to the owner and gave it personally to him. He said, what is this? She told him the biach told HER to write it! The next thing you know the snake headed woman was escorted out the door and FIRED! The funny thing was the woman who wrote the report knew the boss well and knew if he gave someone an assignment he expected that person to follow thru. I heard the owner questioned her on the report and she put her nasty pants on with him and told him it wasn't her job. Hahaha, guess it was! I hope you never run into this woman. In all the years I worked, I never met anyone like her.


markbike528CBX

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Re: Co-worker Redoing My Work
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2018, 12:12:53 PM »
I work in strategy consulting, and the "product" we ultimately deliver is a PP deck. To say I spend 10 hours a day obsessing over minute details (what I believe you call trivial in your post) is not that far out of bounds.

I realize this is a job, but To lighten the mood, I  thought I'd add the opinion of Edward Tufte.

https://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint

https://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001yB&topic_id=1

TL;DR,  he points to the use of, endemic flaws in, PowerPoint as a root cause of both Space Shuttle disasters, and other mistakes.