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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 07:38:49 AM

Title: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 07:38:49 AM
I've got a rather annoying know-it-all coworker that is really getting under my skin.  At first she seems very knowledgeable and has an answer for absolutely everything, but if you talk to her in any level of detail, or about any subject you actually know about, it becomes obvious she is an idiot and doesn't know hardly anything at all.  She is super confident though, and that I think she has everyone fooled simply because her confidence level is through the roof.  She's also very personable and seems to be buddy-buddy with a lot of people, cracking jokes with them and bonding all the time. 

I've had a number of run ins with her, which is how I came to the realization she doesn't know anything.  She talks a good game, until she started talking about things I know a great deal about, like air emissions calculations which I've done for literally my entire career, and it became obvious she doesn't know what she was talking about.  She didn't even understand the concept that a pollutant will have a different concentration dispersed into a larger volume vs a smaller volume and repeatedly claimed you just "use a constant" for the volume.  Interactions like these just leave me shaking my head, and also have me simply trying to exit the conversation.  There is no "winning" with her, so I just try to avoid her or end the conversation as quickly as possible while completely disregarding anything she says. 


She's also very dismissive of any expectations I have.  For example our company has essentially no safety policies or training. They did address some things like putting in some eyewash stations (though they are still inadequate and weren't being inspected as often as required, etc). Lots not non-english speaking employees, and they've pretty much just been flying by the seat of their pants and disregarding a variety of safety laws.  I stated that we were likely not going to be in full compliance this year.  We need to develop a hazcom policy, print out the sds of the hundreds of chemicals we use and make an sds book, develop a respirator policy, revamp the fire extinguisher program, revamp the eyewash stations, implement some basic safety policies, etc.   Lots  of stuff that we need to do get fully in compliance.  When I stated this she basically rolled her eyes and was dismissive and claimed it's "no problem" to just implement all this stuff and won't take nearly as long as I think.  Fast forward 2 months later and we've made a lot of progress, but are nowhere near being in complete compliance, exactly as I predicted because it's a significant amount of work. 

She's taken it upon herself to be the safety cheerleader now, and is starting to conduct safety training because she claims she is "osha certified".  I informed her osha doesn't actually certify anyone, so exactly what safety certification does she have, and can she produce it?  She claims she can't because it was internal training at her previous company, and as everyone knows they don't allow you to take certification with you when you quit because they paid for it.  Nevermind that this doesn't make any sense because you almost always receive a personal certificate for training, and absolutely can take it with you because I've done just that - I mean why wouldn't you be able to bring non-expired training certificates with you?  Anyway, she conducted some initial training and was just flat out wrong on a number of items.  The first item was that she has MSDS listed as "MDSS, Material Data Safety Sheets".  I didn't even point out the error, but she kept using MSDS instead of SDS, so I jumped in to give some clarification so the employees weren't confused, and I didn't even think this could possibly be a point of contention.  The convo when something like this:

me:  Just some background and clarification on the MSDS vs SDS acronyms being thrown around.  MSDS and SDS are essentially the same thing, but MSDS is an outdated term that is not actually used anymore. MSDS were not in a standardized format.  The UN developed the globally harmonized system (GHS) which standardized a bunch of things internationally.  OSHA has adopted this standard format so it is officially law as of several years ago and all hazardous chemicals must have an SDS and use the standardized 16 section format.
her: actually a lot of chemicals are still considered "materials" and still require an MSDS.
me: No that's true, they all use SDS.
her: well no actually a lot of them still use MSDS

And everyone is just nodding along agreeing with her.  I don't really know how else to argue my point other than laying out the facts.  But when she "refutes" these facts with her own brand of bullshit, and people just buy into it and nod along, I don't really know how to respond.  It catches me off guard every time too, because I never anticipate that I'm going to receive pushback in this manner and I just don't know how to respond. This happened a few times during her presentation, and every time people just nod along and agree with her because she is just so confident. She's so damn confident she actually makes me question myself.  Maybe I don't know as much I think and she actually has some insight I am missing?  But no, she's a fucking a idiot, but it still trips me up every time.

She is woefully unqualified to be teaching safety, but already has everyone convinced she is a safety expert.  I feel that I need to intervene, but I don't see any good outcomes.  I don't feel comfortable allowing this to go on.  90% of the information she gives is factually correct, but it's sprinkled with misunderstandings and errors.  If I step in an shut it down by stating exactly how I feel it's going to turn a lot of employees against me and ultimately will be counter productive.  However if I allow this to continue she will be propagating her misunderstandings to everyone. If I try to jump in and correct errors I get pushback from her insisting she's right, and as far as I can tell all the employees side with her.

How do I deal with a person like this?
How do I shut this safety thing down without seeming like an asshole to all the employees? 


Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: ncornilsen on September 23, 2019, 08:00:55 AM
Well, for starters, there are such things as certs and degrees offered by various 3rd parties on OSHA legislation. https://www.osha.gov/otiec/degreeprograms/bylocation

But I cannot imagine her employer prevented her from taking the cert with her. She probably did not get one.

Does your manager know she's  full of shit? Can you create a boundary around your responsibilities and just not let her interfere with them?

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 08:18:04 AM
Well, for starters, there are such things as certs and degrees offered by various 3rd parties on OSHA legislation. https://www.osha.gov/otiec/degreeprograms/bylocation

But I cannot imagine her employer prevented her from taking the cert with her. She probably did not get one.

Does your manager know she's  full of shit? Can you create a boundary around your responsibilities and just not let her interfere with them?

Those are certifications by OSHA authorized training centers, not certification by OSHA.  My understanding is that OSHA itself doesn't certify, so if anyone uses the terminology "OSHA certified" they are likely referring to some type of certification in safety training, probably done by an authorized training center.  But you can also get certificates from non authorized training centers.  Hell I can conduct relevant OSHA training and present my employees with a certificate, but that doesn't make them "OSHA certified". Which is exactly why I pressed for details because I was not satisfied by her simply stating she is "OSHA certified" and "GHS certified" without providing any type of documentation to exactly what that means.

And no I don't think anyone knows she's full of shit.  That's kind of the problem, she's so confident and talks such a good game that no one realizes she's full of shit.  I've realized it because I deal with her, but I don't know who else has come to that realization.  Clearly none of the regular employees that are nodding along with her agree with that assessment. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on September 23, 2019, 08:24:45 AM
There probably are people nodding along who agree with you. You can't argue with people like her, though. You just have to sit back and let her hang herself. Keep out of it and let it happen.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2019, 08:35:04 AM
Circle of influence my friend.

Is it your job to manage her? Is it your job to take responsibility for the things that she is affecting?

If she reports to you, you need to learn to manage her appropriately.
If she is a peer and her behaviour significantly affects the outcomes of your work, then you need to diplomatically raise your concerns to your superiors so that they can manage her appropriately.
If you are over reaching in your job and she's getting in your way, but at the end of the day, projects like this safety thing really aren't in your job title, then you need to let it go or again diplomatically raise your concerns with your superiors.

She sounds like an idiot, which is a much bigger problem for her than it is for you.
The only problem you have is that a lot of confident idiots are going to irritate you in life and you are going to have to either learn to work alongside them, or engineer your life and career so that you don't have to (work solo or from home, become the boss, whatever)

I guarantee you though, she won't be the last confident idiot you will come across, so you will need a strategy to avoid them getting to you so much.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: caracarn on September 23, 2019, 08:48:50 AM
First, I am really sorry you have to deal with this.  I know how frustrating it can be.

As far as dealing with it, you have already identified this is a slippery slope.  At this, like it or not, she appears to have built credibility around the organization.  I'm not sure if there is any real option other than Anna pointed out; you wait for her to be found out.  This can be very lengthy however, and also might never happen, depending on how good she is at the snow job.  It sounds like she is quite adept at this.  I do agree with you, though, that if a lot of people are already acting like she is the expert, there is really only downside for you in being the one to try to expose this when no one else seems to want or care that that happens.  I which case you may have a few hard choices to make.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 09:01:17 AM
Circle of influence my friend.

Is it your job to manage her? Is it your job to take responsibility for the things that she is affecting?

If she reports to you, you need to learn to manage her appropriately.
If she is a peer and her behaviour significantly affects the outcomes of your work, then you need to diplomatically raise your concerns to your superiors so that they can manage her appropriately.
If you are over reaching in your job and she's getting in your way, but at the end of the day, projects like this safety thing really aren't in your job title, then you need to let it go or again diplomatically raise your concerns with your superiors.

She sounds like an idiot, which is a much bigger problem for her than it is for you.
The only problem you have is that a lot of confident idiots are going to irritate you in life and you are going to have to either learn to work alongside them, or engineer your life and career so that you don't have to (work solo or from home, become the boss, whatever)

I guarantee you though, she won't be the last confident idiot you will come across, so you will need a strategy to avoid them getting to you so much.

No I am not her manager, but the environmental, health, and safety of the facility are all my responsibility.

Yes I believe I have the authority to step in and shut her down.

I don't have time to deal with all of the environmental, health, and safety issues at this company right now.  I simply don't have enough time to get everything done immediately, so I'm prioritizing and dealing with what I can when I can in the order I deem most important.  I believe this is probably going to take the better part of a year before everything is sorted out and running smoothly - this place was kind of a mess when I joined them 3 months ago.

I was very receptive to people volunteering to be part of a safety team and to help implement and enforce some safety procedures.  This is going to be a team effort, I am not going to be able to do this without the support of other people in the company. 

My usual tactic to deal with idiots like her are to simply ignore and avoid them and let them do their thing, although she is now directly impacting things that fall under my responsibility.

My concern is that if I shut this down and tell everyone she doesn't know what the fuck she is talking about I am going to create enemies - her, but also other coworkers that are sided with her.  She won't be able to save face in that situation, and really I don't see any good outcomes.  Sure the BS safety training will be shut down, but I believe it's going to damage my rapport with everyone involved and be detrimental to our working situation and our goal of actually being safe.  And basically I will need to take over this training, which I am more qualified than her, but I am also hesitant because I'm not nearly as confident as her.  I know there is shit I don't know and I'm unwilling to bullshit my way through making everyone think I have all the answers.  I don't know the answers, and I'm trying to find them all, but it takes time.  That makes me look unprepared and uneducated vs her knowing absolutely everything.

However if I just let her hang herself...well I don't know.  Is it better to allow her to just blast head strong, and go behind and fix anything she's wrong about?  Is it better to let her take on some of the things I don't have time with? I mean, is it better than nothing?  She did go through and prepare the SDS books that we are required to have.  We deal with hundreds of chemicals.  I haven't had the required 2-3 weeks to sit down and sort through all of that and create a good SDS book(s), but she did it over the course of the last 2 months and we are definitely better off having those books (even if there are some inaccuracies and omissions) vs my plan of inaction.  I would have preferred to do it myself, but I just didn't have the time to get to it yet, so it's better than not doing it, and it will be significantly easier for me to correct what she has done than create it all from scratch. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 09:08:13 AM
First, I am really sorry you have to deal with this.  I know how frustrating it can be.

As far as dealing with it, you have already identified this is a slippery slope.  At this, like it or not, she appears to have built credibility around the organization.  I'm not sure if there is any real option other than Anna pointed out; you wait for her to be found out.  This can be very lengthy however, and also might never happen, depending on how good she is at the snow job.  It sounds like she is quite adept at this.  I do agree with you, though, that if a lot of people are already acting like she is the expert, there is really only downside for you in being the one to try to expose this when no one else seems to want or care that that happens.  I which case you may have a few hard choices to make.

Yes.

I am somewhat tempted to remove myself from the situation entirely and let her take over safety altogether.  I mean this company has survived for 40+ years without much safety training.  There is no one above me and her that knows any of the safety regulations, that is why the safety program is in the state that it's in.  There is no one to tell her she's wrong because no one knows any better. So if she blasts forward and does a safety program and teaches 90% of the correct information, and sprinkles in some misinformation, there is a good chance she will never be found out.  In fact I think it's likely it could grow and everyone here will think they have a good safety program, and they would be 90% right.

That definitely seems like an easier option than shutting this down, I just don't know if that's the right one.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2019, 09:45:08 AM
I don't ever recommend burning someone unless you want the after effect of making enemies.

Look at the big picture and figure out which outcomes are most important to you.
Is your primary priority actually improving the safety of your workplace?
Is it impressing your superiors?
Is it generating a pleasant work environment?

If safety is the main concern, is her bullshit truly endangering people? Enough to a point that you should address it with management?
If not, if it's just bluster, is it something that can be resolved over time as people get to know you and trust you?

Are they trusting her because she's confident, or are they just not trusting you because you're new and no one knows if you're the one who's full of shit? If you can earn people's respect over time, can you not resolve the 10%? Workplace safety is an ongoing thing, it's not like you set a policy and then never examine it again.

In the end, you are there, you know what you are doing, and eventually the safety stuff will be worked out. It's taken me 3 years at my current workplace to hammer out the disastrous systems that needed fixing, and I've met plenty of challenges and resistance along the way. These are normal challenges of having any degree of operational responsibility within an organization.

Personally, I would take this as an opportunity to learn how best to manage difficult people, as that's a skill that can get you really far professionally. DH is a wizard at this and has been given countless opportunities because he's often the only person who can get difficult people to perform without having to bother upper management about it. Not only that, but his army of misfits are ferociously loyal to him.

You will always have difficult people and difficult personalities to handle if you are in charge of anything or anyone.
From upper management's perspective, a difficult personality manifests itself as far more of a pain in the ass due to others complaining about that person, rather than that person's actual behaviour, especially if they're half decent at their job.

This woman obviously has a very fragile ego and is probably rather threatened by you. There's real opportunity there to harness that insecure energy and turn her into a powerful ally. That's what great managers do. She's not your enemy, nor is she the enemy of the work. She's a lot of energy, and a lot of motivation that has been misdirected so far.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on September 23, 2019, 09:57:00 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Lulee on September 23, 2019, 09:57:59 AM
Can you mitigate her impact by getting buy-in from your boss & others high level managers that all training materials be signed off by you BEFORE distribution?  You give the reason that as OSHA regulations change over time (there, you saved her face without alienating any employees who have bought into her shtick since it implies her shortcomings in this area are due to changes from the time she was trained and "certified") and as it is YOUR responsibility to ensure the company is compliant, this will best protect the company from regulatory fallout.  This allows you to just flag things like using SDS instead of MSDS as currently usage/regulation.  This defangs her ability to fight you as much while it keeps everyone who might buy into her BS on your side.

Meanwhile, hopefully you can identify others to get them to join the safety team who WILL respect you as you continue to resolve the mess the company is in.  The more time you're there building bridges with your fellow managers and employees, the more weight your word will have with them in the years to come.

If you can win over her boss (maybe they like her being all up in your business because it keeps her out of theirs so they can get stuff done?), they might drag her focus back to her own responsibilities.   But it's doubtful she'll go quietly if she thinks she can have a lot of attention and even commendation by "helping" out so much.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: mm1970 on September 23, 2019, 10:11:23 AM
Circle of influence my friend.

Is it your job to manage her? Is it your job to take responsibility for the things that she is affecting?

If she reports to you, you need to learn to manage her appropriately.
If she is a peer and her behaviour significantly affects the outcomes of your work, then you need to diplomatically raise your concerns to your superiors so that they can manage her appropriately.
If you are over reaching in your job and she's getting in your way, but at the end of the day, projects like this safety thing really aren't in your job title, then you need to let it go or again diplomatically raise your concerns with your superiors.

She sounds like an idiot, which is a much bigger problem for her than it is for you.
The only problem you have is that a lot of confident idiots are going to irritate you in life and you are going to have to either learn to work alongside them, or engineer your life and career so that you don't have to (work solo or from home, become the boss, whatever)

I guarantee you though, she won't be the last confident idiot you will come across, so you will need a strategy to avoid them getting to you so much.
At my company, we just promoted that guy, problem solved!

Not kidding.  When he first started, he used his ... loudness, aggressiveness, etc. to throw people under the bus.  Did it a lot.  Tried it on  me once, only once, before someone...maybe me?  Maybe someone else?  Pointed out that I'd worked for the company founders for over a decade and that shit don't fly.

Because he was an ass-kisser and so "social" when our boss (who saw through his bullshit) tried to lay him off, the big bosses saved and promoted him.  THat super pissed everyone off.  BUT, as others have said, not my circus, not my monkeys AND he's actually quite good at his new job managing work that other people do.  Because he no longer does much tech work and he's a complete PITA who gets things done because mostly the rest of us want him to STFU.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Here4theGB on September 23, 2019, 10:13:09 AM
No offense, but arguing about the difference between a MSDS and SDS seems extremely petty TO. SAY. THE. LEAST.  In my industry, I hear MSDS over SDS by about 10 to 1.  Trying to be "right" and prove her "wrong" seems like a monumental waste of time.

PS.  I work with nothing BUT now-it-all's and phonies.  I just tune it all out.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 10:22:29 AM
No offense, but arguing about the difference between a MSDS and SDS seems extremely petty TO. SAY. THE. LEAST.  In my industry, I hear MSCS over SDS by about 10 to 1.  Trying to be "right" and prove her "wrong" seems like a monumental waste of time.

PS.  I work with nothing BUT now-it-all's and phonies.  I just tune it all out.

Yes I realize it's a trivial matter, and it was never my intent to be petty or try to prove her wrong.  There seemed to be some confusion with the employees by using the terminology interchangeably and I simply wanted to clarify.  Just a quick 10 second tidbit of information to unconfuse the participants. I really didn't anticipate any pushback from her, because 1. it's so trivial and doesn't matter, 2. it's easily verifiable with 30 seconds on google.  It's also literally the first item usually covered with the training because if you are completely ignorant and get blasted with different acronyms for the same thing your first thought is, "wait, what is the difference between MSDS and SDS? Why are they being used interchangeably?" - to which 10 seconds of background information completely clears up.

There are dozens of other examples, I just thought this one was super clear cut to demonstrate the type of personality I'm dealing with.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: socaso on September 23, 2019, 10:26:07 AM
It sounds like she has the potential to make things easier on you with all her energy and enthusiasm. Here's what I would do: first, tell her you really appreciate all the work she has done with safety training and the SDS books. Tell her it was long overdue. Point out that the company is basically starting from zero when it comes to safety training and all her efforts are a huge step forward. Then tell her there are a couple of things in the material she has prepared that don't line up with your understanding of how certain regulations work (or whatever it is). Ask her to do a some research into these things to ensure the material is correct. If she starts to tell you she's just sure it's right because of her past experience calmly reiterate that it doesn't line up with what you know and if the two of you have a different understanding of these things then it bears looking into more to make sure everything is correct. Tell her to send you her findings that support her opinion. Then end the conversation by saying since this is the first time the company has tackled safety training there is bound to be a little back and forth to get things perfect but you think the bulk of her work is great and let's just iron out these few details.

If you think 90% of what she is doing is right then she deserves credit for that so give it to her. Then make her work to get the other 10% right.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on September 23, 2019, 10:28:38 AM
I don't have time to deal with all of the environmental, health, and safety issues at this company right now.  I simply don't have enough time to get everything done immediately, so I'm prioritizing and dealing with what I can when I can in the order I deem most important.  I believe this is probably going to take the better part of a year

Setting this annoying co-worker to the side for the minute, this is your biggest vulnerability at work right now.  You can't (and shouldn't) do more than is reasonably practical, and prioritising is the right way to go, as you have already put in place.  But until everything is fixed there is still a vulnerability for you and the company.  You can't prevent that, but you can prevent being blamed for it by making sure your manager has an easy to understand document setting out the problems, setting out what has already been done and why it was prioritised, setting out what needs to be done and the timetable for doing it.  Once a document like that is in your manager's hands, and updated reasonably regularly, both you and the company will be as close to OK over the next year as is possible.

Now, on to the annoying co-worker.  Do not make an enemy of this person.  Do not let anyone else in the organisation see that you are anything but on good terms with her- if you do either of these things you can only be the loser.  No, it's not right that it should work this way when you are both better at the job and the person who is supposed to be in charge, but the class nerd/swot (sorry) challenging the most popular girl in school in a popularity contest never has a good outcome - ask me how I know.

So the thing to do with this co-worker is work out what she is doing wrong that matters and what doesn't.  For instance, when she says to you that implementing systems is quick and easy or that she is OSHA certified, you know she's wrong but where's the harm?  Roll your eyeballs around in your head next time you go to the toilet, vent after work to your SO, and otherwise ignore.  If she is using MSDS rather than SDS in training, are people going to be unable to find/use/fill out the sheets?  If so, a fix is needed, if not let it go.  Don't challenge her on this in front of other people, again you will lose.  In your example, I might have spoken up but might have said something like "just to clarify, the company has introduced standardised sheets using the acronym SDS rather than MSDS but it's the same thing that X has just explained to you" - so no implication from what you have said that X is at fault but you get the necessary information across.

Yes, this is irritating, and takes up your valuable time and energy better spent elsewhere.  But unless and until this person falls down splat from her own mistakes it's the only way to go.  And in the meantime do everything you can to keep your own manager on your side.

Edit Weird - first paragraph should end "You can't prevent that, but you can prevent being blamed for it by making sure your manager has an easy to understand document setting out the problems, setting out what has already been done and why it was prioritised, setting out what needs to be done and the timetable for doing it.  Once a document like that is in your manager's hands, and updated reasonably regularly, both you and the company will be as close to OK over the next year as is possible" and it's showing up in preview but not in the post.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: minimustache1985 on September 23, 2019, 10:41:01 AM

So the thing to do with this co-worker is work out what she is doing wrong that matters and what doesn't.  For instance, when she says to you that implementing systems is quick and easy or that she is OSHA certified, you know she's wrong but where's the harm?  Roll your eyeballs around in your head next time you go to the toilet, vent after work to your SO, and otherwise ignore.  If she is using MSDS rather than SDS in training, are people going to be unable to find/use/fill out the sheets?  If so, a fix is needed, if not let it go.  Don't challenge her on this in front of other people, again you will lose.  In your example, I might have spoken up but might have said something like "just to clarify, the company has introduced standardised sheets using the acronym SDS rather than MSDS but it's the same thing that X has just explained to you" - so no implication from what you have said that X is at fault but you get the necessary information across.


This.  Also consider the impact of the error, within that 10% of incorrect bullshit.  The real purpose of a safety program is to keep employees from getting hurt (or worse).  Is anyone going to get hurt because they think a SDS is called a MSDS?  Not unless it makes it impossible for them to find the SDS.  Now if the inspection or maintenance on safety systems (eyewash stations, fire extinguishers etc) is too far apart and someone could use an expired extinguisher or get rust in their eyes trying to flush them after a spill, then focus on correcting that.  As has been pointed out by others, do so diplomatically, getting 90% right and taking some of the burden off you is a work relationship worth nurturing not imploding despite the fact that it sounds like the 10% is SUPER obnoxious.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 10:41:18 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

Well she doesn't "literally know nothing", but she does lack a substantial amount of knowledge and common sense. 

There have been a lot of interactions.  One that she was quite persistent about was that we needed safety showers in the facility, but instead of mapping out the facility and deciding where we actually required them she wanted to get a portable shower and move it around.  Her logic was this: When someone gets a corrosive chemical on them requiring a shower, instead of heading directly to a stationary shower we simply have trained "team safety leads" who will run and get the portable shower and bring it to the person in need.  I tried explaining multiple times that the requirement is to get to a shower immediately, which means within 10 seconds, and adding in the relay of telling a coworker, who tells a team safety lead, who goes to get the shower and transport it back doesn't even make sense.  There are far too many steps involved in an emergency that requires a <10 second response.  Logistically it just doesn't work or make any sense.  Furthermore the requirement for a safety shower is 20 gallons/minute for 15 minutes, which 300 gallons of water which is 2,500 pounds.  It's not even physically possible to do.  I explained this all to her, but she was still insistent that it needed to be done.  I guess I understand if someone had this half baked idea while not understanding what the requirements actually are, but I had to explain it 3 or 4 times and eventually put it into an email and cc the plant manager before she dropped it.  She knows nothing about the regulation, despite knowing the actual regulation.  She has no concept of how much water it would require, despite being spelled out explicitly.  She has no concept of how much that water would weigh, even after multiple explanations of how much that much water would weigh.  And she has no concept that that multiple step process could not be conducted within the required time frame (assuming it was even physically possible which it's not).  How else would you describe that person other than being an idiot that knows nothing?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on September 23, 2019, 10:49:58 AM
I think you are giving her too much space in your head. Let it go. If 90% factual, then she is not an idiot and doesn’t require you to be obsessing over her mistakes and certainly not worth your time or anyone else’s to get into petty arguments about MSDS vs SDS.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 10:51:34 AM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on September 23, 2019, 10:56:59 AM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.
Does she watch Fox News?  I remember someone quoting a poll that found people watching Fox News know less news than people not watching the news at all.

[MOD NOTE: This seems needlessly volatile]
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: jeromedawg on September 23, 2019, 11:01:38 AM
Dealt with someone like this but the big difference is that he was (and probably still is) disliked by 99% of the rest of my team, which helped him get the boot. Still, I had to talk to my manager and peers about this before anything happened. The challenge you have is that this girl is "likable"... that is, until people start *realizing* that she doesn't know what she's talking about. We have a girl like this on our team currently - "likable" and talks like she's technical but offshores most of the work to others around her. At some point, the walls will cave in and the people she gets to do her work for her will slowly stop committing to that BS, because they know it's not their responsibility.

I think the big thing is if, like mentioned before, your manager realizes what's happening here. If not, it needs to be brought to light. But a lot of it is framing - obviously you don't go to her manager or yours (or if it's the same manager) and put her down directly. Instead, you express your "concerns" about some of the things done that are clearly wrong directly to the manager(s). Are you and her under the same manager? Or different management? At this rate, you may need to escalate it that path and let it get resolved "above your pay scale" - especially if it involves something significant. Like if she's doing crap that's hindering you in a major way to get stuff done *correctly* that's something your manager should be addressing. If it's one or two minor things that are just "annoying" I'm not sure how much you can do. But if it's *enough* minor things to the point where they start adding up and bogging things down at a larger scale, then you need to involve your manager.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on September 23, 2019, 11:04:28 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

Well she doesn't "literally know nothing", but she does lack a substantial amount of knowledge and common sense. 

There have been a lot of interactions.  One that she was quite persistent about was that we needed safety showers in the facility, but instead of mapping out the facility and deciding where we actually required them she wanted to get a portable shower and move it around.  Her logic was this: When someone gets a corrosive chemical on them requiring a shower, instead of heading directly to a stationary shower we simply have trained "team safety leads" who will run and get the portable shower and bring it to the person in need.  I tried explaining multiple times that the requirement is to get to a shower immediately, which means within 10 seconds, and adding in the relay of telling a coworker, who tells a team safety lead, who goes to get the shower and transport it back doesn't even make sense.  There are far too many steps involved in an emergency that requires a <10 second response.  Logistically it just doesn't work or make any sense.  Furthermore the requirement for a safety shower is 20 gallons/minute for 15 minutes, which 300 gallons of water which is 2,500 pounds.  It's not even physically possible to do.  I explained this all to her, but she was still insistent that it needed to be done.  I guess I understand if someone had this half baked idea while not understanding what the requirements actually are, but I had to explain it 3 or 4 times and eventually put it into an email and cc the plant manager before she dropped it.  She knows nothing about the regulation, despite knowing the actual regulation.  She has no concept of how much water it would require, despite being spelled out explicitly.  She has no concept of how much that water would weigh, even after multiple explanations of how much that much water would weigh.  And she has no concept that that multiple step process could not be conducted within the required time frame (assuming it was even physically possible which it's not).  How else would you describe that person other than being an idiot that knows nothing?

My point is that if you're only interacting with her when you try to correct something, and you do it with a condescending tone, of course she's going to keep being stubborn and fighting you. (You might say you're not being condescending at work, but based on your posts here, I bet it comes through.) Being diplomatic will get you further than insults will. Have you acknowledged, to her, that she is helping you out and does know some stuff? You said yourself that she's right on 90% of safety issues, even though she's essentially a volunteer, not hired as a safety expert. If you have authority to correct the last 10%, then what is the big problem? Honestly, if I was your manager, and you came to me calling someone an idiot who knows no nothing because she used MSDS instead of SDS, then also said she's been helping you get materials done that just need a final edit, I'd be annoyed with you, not her.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 11:13:17 AM
I think you are giving her too much space in your head. Let it go. If 90% factual, then she is not an idiot and doesn’t require you to be obsessing over her mistakes and certainly not worth your time or anyone else’s to get into petty arguments about MSDS vs SDS.

I think you all are focussing too much on the MSDS vs SDS.  It was simply a short interaction that was never intended to be confrontational but perfectly demonstrates what I am dealing with.  For the record I don't give a fuck if they are called MSDS, or if our books have MSDS (or in this case MDSS) printed on them as long as the contents are correct, and I don't intend to revisit that conversation with her.  I do anticipate that I will have other interactions with her that will be similar, and they may not be so trivial and inconsequential.  I have very little experience dealing with that type of response, because I generally just don't deal with that type of person.  However I am stuck dealing with her, so how do I handle it when a similar situation happens?

In the same training session she also said:

She is familiar with "OSHA, NIOSHA, and EEE PUH".  Yes she calls the EPA "eee puh".  Yes she is confused about NIOSH and thinks it is NIOSHA.  No she didn't mention MIOSHA (Michigan OSHA). I don't believe she is conflating MIOSHA with NIOSH because she is citing the NIOSH PEL limits, I just think she doesn't know about MIOSHA and doesn't have a full understanding of NIOSH.

Are all of these inconsequential? Probably, but it gives me pause about her being in charge of anything.

She also made claims about PEL for various chemicals, and when asked by an employee if that exposure limit was applicable even with PPE like a respirator told him that yes it was.  That's wrong and that's not how any of this works.  The use of PPE is required specifically because you would otherwise be above the PEL, and the PPE protects you from that exposure.  It seems that she doesn't understand this concept, which is crazy because I don't understand how there is any other way to understand it.   
 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 11:26:16 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

Well she doesn't "literally know nothing", but she does lack a substantial amount of knowledge and common sense. 

There have been a lot of interactions.  One that she was quite persistent about was that we needed safety showers in the facility, but instead of mapping out the facility and deciding where we actually required them she wanted to get a portable shower and move it around.  Her logic was this: When someone gets a corrosive chemical on them requiring a shower, instead of heading directly to a stationary shower we simply have trained "team safety leads" who will run and get the portable shower and bring it to the person in need.  I tried explaining multiple times that the requirement is to get to a shower immediately, which means within 10 seconds, and adding in the relay of telling a coworker, who tells a team safety lead, who goes to get the shower and transport it back doesn't even make sense.  There are far too many steps involved in an emergency that requires a <10 second response.  Logistically it just doesn't work or make any sense.  Furthermore the requirement for a safety shower is 20 gallons/minute for 15 minutes, which 300 gallons of water which is 2,500 pounds.  It's not even physically possible to do.  I explained this all to her, but she was still insistent that it needed to be done.  I guess I understand if someone had this half baked idea while not understanding what the requirements actually are, but I had to explain it 3 or 4 times and eventually put it into an email and cc the plant manager before she dropped it.  She knows nothing about the regulation, despite knowing the actual regulation.  She has no concept of how much water it would require, despite being spelled out explicitly.  She has no concept of how much that water would weigh, even after multiple explanations of how much that much water would weigh.  And she has no concept that that multiple step process could not be conducted within the required time frame (assuming it was even physically possible which it's not).  How else would you describe that person other than being an idiot that knows nothing?

My point is that if you're only interacting with her when you try to correct something, and you do it with a condescending tone, of course she's going to keep being stubborn and fighting you. (You might say you're not being condescending at work, but based on your posts here, I bet it comes through.) Being diplomatic will get you further than insults will. Have you acknowledged, to her, that she is helping you out and does know some stuff? You said yourself that she's right on 90% of safety issues, even though she's essentially a volunteer, not hired as a safety expert. If you have authority to correct the last 10%, then what is the big problem? Honestly, if I was your manager, and you came to me calling someone an idiot who knows no nothing because she used MSDS instead of SDS, then also said she's been helping you get materials done that just need a final edit, I'd be annoyed with you, not her.

How do you explain the portable shower scenario to someone for the 4th time without being condescending? I mean I tried to, but even after explicitly spelling it out and citing the regulations and showing the math of why it's unfeasible, and she is still insistant, how do you not be condescending?  I didn't call her an idiot, but I'm sure my tone and body language definitely implied I that's what I thought.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2019, 11:27:02 AM
I think you are giving her too much space in your head. Let it go. If 90% factual, then she is not an idiot and doesn’t require you to be obsessing over her mistakes and certainly not worth your time or anyone else’s to get into petty arguments about MSDS vs SDS.

I think you all are focussing too much on the MSDS vs SDS.  It was simply a short interaction that was never intended to be confrontational but perfectly demonstrates what I am dealing with.  For the record I don't give a fuck if they are called MSDS, or if our books have MSDS (or in this case MDSS) printed on them as long as the contents are correct, and I don't intend to revisit that conversation with her.  I do anticipate that I will have other interactions with her that will be similar, and they may not be so trivial and inconsequential.  I have very little experience dealing with that type of response, because I generally just don't deal with that type of person.  However I am stuck dealing with her, so how do I handle it when a similar situation happens?

In the same training session she also said:

She is familiar with "OSHA, NIOSHA, and EEE PUH".  Yes she calls the EPA "eee puh".  Yes she is confused about NIOSH and thinks it is NIOSHA.  No she didn't mention MIOSHA (Michigan OSHA). I don't believe she is conflating MIOSHA with NIOSH because she is citing the NIOSH PEL limits, I just think she doesn't know about MIOSHA and doesn't have a full understanding of NIOSH.

Are all of these inconsequential? Probably, but it gives me pause about her being in charge of anything.

She also made claims about PEL for various chemicals, and when asked by an employee if that exposure limit was applicable even with PPE like a respirator told him that yes it was.  That's wrong and that's not how any of this works.  The use of PPE is required specifically because you would otherwise be above the PEL, and the PPE protects you from that exposure.  It seems that she doesn't understand this concept, which is crazy because I don't understand how there is any other way to understand it.   
 

You have said that she's 90% correct, so if that's true, then any examples you give sound petty.

Either she's 90% correct and you're making a big deal of the 10% or she isn't actually 90% correct and her errors are a significant problem. Personally, as someone who just did this whole safety thing, she sounds to me a lot more than 10% wrong, but I don't actually know because I'm not dealing with her.

Just know, it's your own words that are making people respond the way that they are in this thread. And just FYI, the way you are correcting people's interpretations here is making you sound condescending.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on September 23, 2019, 11:42:06 AM
How do you explain the portable shower scenario to someone for the 4th time without being condescending? I mean I tried to, but even after explicitly spelling it out and citing the regulations and showing the math of why it's unfeasible, and she is still insistant, how do you not be condescending?  I didn't call her an idiot, but I'm sure my tone and body language definitely implied I that's what I thought.

I would stop trying to convince her in person. I'm assuming neither of you are ultimately responsible for the final decision, or you would just make the decision and be done with it. So is it the plant manager making that decision on safety showers? If so, stop arguing with this coworker and simply present your case to the plant manager. Or whoever is the decision-maker on the next issue that comes up. Concurrently, start thanking her for her contributions and knowledge when they're helpful. You need to have some positive interactions with her if you want to salvage your working relationship and have influence over her errors. Nobody is right 100% of the time. Care when it matters, stop fighting when it doesn't. If the errors become too frequent, then escalate to someone with authority.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 11:51:19 AM
I think you are giving her too much space in your head. Let it go. If 90% factual, then she is not an idiot and doesn’t require you to be obsessing over her mistakes and certainly not worth your time or anyone else’s to get into petty arguments about MSDS vs SDS.

I think you all are focussing too much on the MSDS vs SDS.  It was simply a short interaction that was never intended to be confrontational but perfectly demonstrates what I am dealing with.  For the record I don't give a fuck if they are called MSDS, or if our books have MSDS (or in this case MDSS) printed on them as long as the contents are correct, and I don't intend to revisit that conversation with her.  I do anticipate that I will have other interactions with her that will be similar, and they may not be so trivial and inconsequential.  I have very little experience dealing with that type of response, because I generally just don't deal with that type of person.  However I am stuck dealing with her, so how do I handle it when a similar situation happens?

In the same training session she also said:

She is familiar with "OSHA, NIOSHA, and EEE PUH".  Yes she calls the EPA "eee puh".  Yes she is confused about NIOSH and thinks it is NIOSHA.  No she didn't mention MIOSHA (Michigan OSHA). I don't believe she is conflating MIOSHA with NIOSH because she is citing the NIOSH PEL limits, I just think she doesn't know about MIOSHA and doesn't have a full understanding of NIOSH.

Are all of these inconsequential? Probably, but it gives me pause about her being in charge of anything.

She also made claims about PEL for various chemicals, and when asked by an employee if that exposure limit was applicable even with PPE like a respirator told him that yes it was.  That's wrong and that's not how any of this works.  The use of PPE is required specifically because you would otherwise be above the PEL, and the PPE protects you from that exposure.  It seems that she doesn't understand this concept, which is crazy because I don't understand how there is any other way to understand it.   
 

You have said that she's 90% correct, so if that's true, then any examples you give sound petty.

Either she's 90% correct and you're making a big deal of the 10% or she isn't actually 90% correct and her errors are a significant problem. Personally, as someone who just did this whole safety thing, she sounds to me a lot more than 10% wrong, but I don't actually know because I'm not dealing with her.

Just know, it's your own words that are making people respond the way that they are in this thread. And just FYI, the way you are correcting people's interpretations here is making you sound condescending.

Some of the 10% is trivial (MSDS/SDS), some of it is not trivial and shows a misunderstanding of some fundamental concepts (safety shower, PEL and PPE).  It may not be a 90/10 split, I don't know exactly.  She may be more than 10% wrong.  I don't know how you'd classify it all.  For example with the safety shower.  She knows the regulation, she knows we need them, and has a plan to implement it.  But it's completely unfeasible.  Does she get some credit for knowing the regulation and where it's applicable?  Is she 50% in that instance?  Or 0% because it's completely unfeasible? Or maybe even less than 0% because not only would it be completely ineffective but it would take up a significant amount of company resources? 

I don't mean to be condescending in this thread.  I've received feedback in real life and on the internet that I can be condescending and unempathetic, even though it's not my intention.  Apparently I'm just an asshole.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 23, 2019, 11:54:44 AM
I'm also not trying to skip over some of the other posts that I haven't replied to, I just don't have time to respond to all of them right now.  I appreciate all the feedback and responses though.  It's already been helpful and therapeutic.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2019, 11:55:15 AM
Some of the 10% is trivial (MSDS/SDS), some of it is not trivial and shows a misunderstanding of some fundamental concepts (safety shower, PEL and PPE).  It may not be a 90/10 split, I don't know exactly.  She may be more than 10% wrong.  I don't know how you'd classify it all.  For example with the safety shower.  She knows the regulation, she knows we need them, and has a plan to implement it.  But it's completely unfeasible.  Does she get some credit for knowing the regulation and where it's applicable?  Is she 50% in that instance?  Or 0% because it's completely unfeasible? Or maybe even less than 0% because not only would it be completely ineffective but it would take up a significant amount of company resources? 

I don't mean to be condescending in this thread.  I've received feedback in real life and on the internet that I can be condescending and unempathetic, even though it's not my intention.  Apparently I'm just an asshole.

You don't seem like an asshole, but you do seem like someone who really needs to work on their people skills if you want to be successful working with people. If you figure this out, you will also figure out how to handle idiots in the future. A big part of handling idiots is not making them feel like idiots.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BECABECA on September 23, 2019, 12:16:35 PM
Disclaimer: I’m also someone who isn’t good at handling idiots. So my workaround for a situation like this would be to let her do the things that stroke her ego and don’t really matter, like the trainings (nobody really remembers the details from those anyway, just the big picture and to refer to documents). Let her think she produced the documents but go back over them and correct them where there wrong (and I wouldn’t point it out to her). And then you handle the things that really matter, like actually having showers and eye wash stations that meet regulations, are in the proper locations, and actually work.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: pk_aeryn on September 23, 2019, 03:51:45 PM
Quote
No I am not her manager, but the environmental, health, and safety of the facility are all my responsibility.

Does this mean you have the ultimate decision over the showers?  If so, don’t consult her about it. Just implement what the correct thing is.  If she complains about your decision to the higher ups and they side with her, your actual problem here is not with her, but your upper management and the lack of ultimate authority they are giving you for such important work.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on September 23, 2019, 06:05:51 PM
Hahhahhaa, the emergency shower thing is actually funny. How about next time she suggests something like that you tell her the regulations and ask for a working prototype and drill. That would be hilariously funny, watching people trying to run 300 plus gallons of water to a patient.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on September 23, 2019, 07:00:13 PM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.

Assuming you live in the US, i bet there are a LOT of people, even well-educated ones that haven’t heard of Chernobyl. I have learned to accept not everyone is interested in anything outside the US.
MSDS example aside, if she is 90% of the time right, why are you so obsessed? Are you right 100% of the time? I think your energy is better spent elsewhere. Why continue to argue with her over things and annoy yourself (and possibly others)? If you feel the urge to correct her on something, offer your side ONCE in a non-condescending way (unlike this thread) and stop creating pretty arguments for your own peace of mind.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Weisass on September 24, 2019, 05:16:17 AM
The challenge you have is that this girl is "likable"... that is, until people start *realizing* that she doesn't know what she's talking about. We have a girl like this on our team currently - "likable" and talks like she's technical but offshores most of the work to others around her.


Umm. She’s not a teenager. She’s a woman. I wouldn’t call a guy I disliked at work a boy. Let’s accord the same respect to female coworkers, please?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Zamboni on September 24, 2019, 06:19:00 AM
Lol, you soooo have my sympathy!

There are two main barriers here:
1) you are the new guy.
2) you are detail oriented and she obviously has her strength in other areas. ;-)

MDSS is hilarious . . . printed on the notebooks? Reminds me of when we had a lab safety manager who made a bunch of labels that said "Harzardous waste" and took it upon herself to run around sticking them on all the waste containers in every area, including the little jar in my hood, which already said hazardous waste on it and she pasted her label over it, which kind of pissed me off. Then we got cited during an inspection (literally) for having the word spelled wrong. Good times!

For your own sanity, you need to try to be lighthearted about the little things and ONLY focus on the major things. The safety shower thing is major . . . but everything else you've cited so far is minor (assuming she doesn't do any concentration calculations, because that "independent of volume" idea obviously will cause some problems if that is ever part of her job.)

Honestly I think you need to do everything in your own mental power to try to get to like this lady as much as you can. She is a fixture there and you are not. You need her on your side. You need to find a way for her to not grate your nerves for your own sanity. Everyone there needs her to be willing to listen to you when it matters. So, learn to take her in stride. Compliment her as much as you can whenever she works really hard or does something right. Tell her you really admire her work ethic (or whatever you can think of to admire . . . come up with a list of 3 sincere things.) She's probably really insecure and complimenting her a lot will get her to agree with you more often. Work on your diplomacy. You don't have to agree with her on everything, but save the actual voicing of disagreement for the really, really big deal stuff. Oh, and don't forget to SMILE! I'm a disillusioned elitist and that works for me, but the new guy has to SMILE!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 24, 2019, 07:18:34 AM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.

Assuming you live in the US, i bet there are a LOT of people, even well-educated ones that haven’t heard of Chernobyl. I have learned to accept not everyone is interested in anything outside the US.
MSDS example aside, if she is 90% of the time right, why are you so obsessed? Are you right 100% of the time? I think your energy is better spent elsewhere. Why continue to argue with her over things and annoy yourself (and possibly others)? If you feel the urge to correct her on something, offer your side ONCE in a non-condescending way (unlike this thread) and stop creating pretty arguments for your own peace of mind.

I thought maybe I was in a bubble and just assuming everyone knew about chernobyl because I did, so I asked around after that incident and couldn't find a single adult that didn't know.   Almost everyone I asked in turn asked me why I had asked them, so I explained the story and multiple people were incredulous that she didn't know about chernobyl.
 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 24, 2019, 07:46:26 AM
Lol, you soooo have my sympathy!

There are two main barriers here:
1) you are the new guy.
2) you are detail oriented and she obviously has her strength in other areas. ;-)

MDSS is hilarious . . . printed on the notebooks? Reminds me of when we had a lab safety manager who made a bunch of labels that said "Harzardous waste" and took it upon herself to run around sticking them on all the waste containers in every area, including the little jar in my hood, which already said hazardous waste on it and she pasted her label over it, which kind of pissed me off. Then we got cited during an inspection (literally) for having the word spelled wrong. Good times!

For your own sanity, you need to try to be lighthearted about the little things and ONLY focus on the major things. The safety shower thing is major . . . but everything else you've cited so far is minor (assuming she doesn't do any concentration calculations, because that "independent of volume" idea obviously will cause some problems if that is ever part of her job.)

Honestly I think you need to do everything in your own mental power to try to get to like this lady as much as you can. She is a fixture there and you are not. You need her on your side. You need to find a way for her to not grate your nerves for your own sanity. Everyone there needs her to be willing to listen to you when it matters. So, learn to take her in stride. Compliment her as much as you can whenever she works really hard or does something right. Tell her you really admire her work ethic (or whatever you can think of to admire . . . come up with a list of 3 sincere things.) She's probably really insecure and complimenting her a lot will get her to agree with you more often. Work on your diplomacy. You don't have to agree with her on everything, but save the actual voicing of disagreement for the really, really big deal stuff. Oh, and don't forget to SMILE! I'm a disillusioned elitist and that works for me, but the new guy has to SMILE!

She's only been here a week longer than me.  It was confusing my first week, because she was walking around like she owned the place and knew everything.  I just assumed she was a seasoned veteran of this place by her confidence and the way she projected herself.  She was so confident that I tried talking to her about a few things, namely our sewer discharge permits, and despite her rambling on and on about how much she's worked with that agency and is familiar with the permits (in general, not our facilities specific permits) she doesn't have a clue about the environmental side. 

That's funny about misspelling hazardous, and I have a similar story with her.  As my predecessor left and I took over we needed to update the emergency posters around the plant and replace his name and contact information with mine.  Simple enough task.  I said we needed 7 copies of the poster for me to post around the plant.   She took it upon herself to update it, and also make some "improvements".  She made the changes, printed out all 7 copies (each copy is 3 pages) and laminated them all, without having anyone review it or getting any input from anyone.  She had 10 spelling mistakes on the poster.  Personnel, procedures, first, accidental, litter, bruising, hazard, yellow, appropriate, hazardous <- the 10 words she misspelled.  I took a picture of it because it was so comical.  When I told her I found some spelling mistakes she insisted I was wrong and the poster was right, so I just showed her the poster with post it notes pointing to all the misspelled words along with their correct spelling.  She just kind of shrugged it off and said spell check must not have been enabled.  I did this privately so no one else in the company knew so as not to embarrass her.

She also updated the poster to include a few steps in case of fire.  Step one was to run and notify a safety team leader.  Step 2 was to go and find some caution tape and cordon off the area around the fire.  Step 3 was to attempt to extinguish the fire.  I tried to calmly explain how insane it is to run to another building to notify a "safety team leader", and find caution tape and cordon off the area all while a fire is raging, and extinguishing the fire (if possible) is absolutely step 1.  After the fire is safely extinguished and is no longer an emergency you can do the other steps, and if you can't extinguish the fire then evacuation and emergency notification is the first step.  She gave me pushback on that, but I had to put my foot down and insist if she's going to include steps to combat a fire that extinguishing the fire absolutely has to be priority number 1.  Can you imagine seeing a small fire break out and you decide to run to another building to notify a team lead, then go off on a hunt for caution tape which is not kept readily available, all before even attempting to use a fire extinguisher?  My mind was being boggled. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Kris on September 24, 2019, 07:55:36 AM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.

Assuming you live in the US, i bet there are a LOT of people, even well-educated ones that haven’t heard of Chernobyl. I have learned to accept not everyone is interested in anything outside the US.
MSDS example aside, if she is 90% of the time right, why are you so obsessed? Are you right 100% of the time? I think your energy is better spent elsewhere. Why continue to argue with her over things and annoy yourself (and possibly others)? If you feel the urge to correct her on something, offer your side ONCE in a non-condescending way (unlike this thread) and stop creating pretty arguments for your own peace of mind.

I thought maybe I was in a bubble and just assuming everyone knew about chernobyl because I did, so I asked around after that incident and couldn't find a single adult that didn't know.   Almost everyone I asked in turn asked me why I had asked them, so I explained the story and multiple people were incredulous that she didn't know about chernobyl.

I hope you didn’t do that at work...
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 24, 2019, 07:58:02 AM
Quote
No I am not her manager, but the environmental, health, and safety of the facility are all my responsibility.

Does this mean you have the ultimate decision over the showers?  If so, don’t consult her about it. Just implement what the correct thing is.  If she complains about your decision to the higher ups and they side with her, your actual problem here is not with her, but your upper management and the lack of ultimate authority they are giving you for such important work.

Kind of?  I don't actually have the authority to purchase large items.  If I deem we need safety showers installed I would have to present it to the plant manager who would either make the purchase or authorize me to make the purchase, but I don't believe I could just do it without his approval.   I do have approval for smaller stuff, but it's never really been discussed in detail where the cut off is.  But installation of plumbed safety showers would be thousands of dollars and some major maintenance projects, so that would for sure be decided by my manager. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 24, 2019, 07:58:51 AM
Another interaction I had which still gives me lots of laughs and is not directly related to work, but had me shaking my head nonetheless:

(Just bullshitting and making small talk while we are both in the same lab)

me:  I started watching Chernobyl this weekend.  It's really good.
her: What's that?
me: It's an HBO documentary/miniseries about Chernobyl.  It's about 6 hours long and I'm about halfway through.
her: Oh.  What's it about?
me: Uh...Chernobyl.
her: Oh what's that?
me: Uh...It was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that had a major disaster.
her: Oh wow that sounds bad.  I've never heard of it.
me: You've never heard of Chernobyl?  It was one of the worst disasters.  Ever.
her: No.


Like I said, not related to work in anyway, but who the fuck has never heard of the chernobyl disaster? I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.

Assuming you live in the US, i bet there are a LOT of people, even well-educated ones that haven’t heard of Chernobyl. I have learned to accept not everyone is interested in anything outside the US.
MSDS example aside, if she is 90% of the time right, why are you so obsessed? Are you right 100% of the time? I think your energy is better spent elsewhere. Why continue to argue with her over things and annoy yourself (and possibly others)? If you feel the urge to correct her on something, offer your side ONCE in a non-condescending way (unlike this thread) and stop creating pretty arguments for your own peace of mind.

I thought maybe I was in a bubble and just assuming everyone knew about chernobyl because I did, so I asked around after that incident and couldn't find a single adult that didn't know.   Almost everyone I asked in turn asked me why I had asked them, so I explained the story and multiple people were incredulous that she didn't know about chernobyl.

I hope you didn’t do that at work...

No I didn't, just family and friends.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: RWD on September 24, 2019, 08:44:14 AM
I don't expect random people to know all the details about it, but I've never met someone that hasn't even heard of Chernobyl.

Assuming you live in the US, i bet there are a LOT of people, even well-educated ones that haven’t heard of Chernobyl. I have learned to accept not everyone is interested in anything outside the US.

I thought maybe I was in a bubble and just assuming everyone knew about chernobyl because I did, so I asked around after that incident and couldn't find a single adult that didn't know.   Almost everyone I asked in turn asked me why I had asked them, so I explained the story and multiple people were incredulous that she didn't know about chernobyl.

For your average person being unaware of Chernobyl is already pretty nuts, it's one of the worst man-made disasters of all time. Someone presuming to be an authority on safety having never heard of it is absolutely absurd.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on September 24, 2019, 08:48:35 AM
When she is wrong without consequences, let it go.
When she affects your responsibilities first explain your opinion. If she insists you simply let her know you will validate the decision with whoever makes the decision. And you do it, in written.
That is it.
I need to emphasize, IN WRITTEN.
one more case, if she is impacting safety/compliance outside your responsibilities you again bring up your concerns with her, once, next step written communication.
The written communication is about your concerns for the safety/compliance of the business, not about your concerns about her being wrong.

Edit: after several problems, talk with your manager to let him know what is happening and tell him you will send him an e-mail with all problems. Then send the e-mail.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on September 24, 2019, 08:56:26 AM
When she is wrong without consequences, let it go.
When she affects your responsibilities first explain your opinion. If she insists you simply let her know you will validate the decision with whoever makes the decision. And you do it, in written.
That is it.
I need to emphasize, IN WRITTEN.
one more case, if she is impacting safety/compliance outside your responsibilities you again bring up your concerns with her, once, next step written communication.
The written communication is about your concerns for the safety/compliance of the business, not about your concerns about her being wrong.

Edit: after several problems, talk with your manager to let him know what is happening and tell him you will send him an e-mail with all problems. Then send the e-mail.
I agree.  You are allowing this woman to take up far too much of your headspace.  Feel free to vent here if you need to, but otherwise confine what you do in relation to her to what is consequential to your role in the organisation, making sure that you are not crossing her unnecessarily or in front of others unnecessarily, and documenting anything which might be a future issue.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: big_owl on September 24, 2019, 10:33:07 AM
I wish I was right 90% of the time at work.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Prairie Stash on September 24, 2019, 03:41:57 PM
Let her do her thing. Last Friday I went for beer with a colleague and had him bad mouth my "expert" colleague, it was a hilarious 10 minutes while I kept silent and enjoyed it. People notice, they just usually keep quiet so as to appear like nice people. Generally, inept people get well known but it takes time. You aren't the smartest guy in the room (no offence, just roll with it), other people will notice as well. I use to get mad for the same reason, until I heard others complain and realized it wasn't just me noticing.

Particularly a poster, I guarantee people will mock it and make jokes behind your back. After a few years, the operators at plants know who is full of shit and who to trust.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Zamboni on September 24, 2019, 05:41:57 PM
Ah, well, if she hasn't been there much longer than you have, I am more confident that everyone else will figure out her level of incompetence. Especially after your poster story.

So just out play, out wit, out last.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: FamilyGuy on September 24, 2019, 06:25:32 PM
Sometimes you have to just watch it look a bad scene in a movie until it directly impacts your work. It is better to talk your boss in your 1:1 about things you don't agree with her with reasons and ask direction. It is basically throwing the ball at your manager. You said your concerns and if anything goes bad your manager is well aware.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Freedom2016 on September 24, 2019, 07:15:43 PM
I think you are giving her too much space in your head. Let it go. If 90% factual, then she is not an idiot and doesn’t require you to be obsessing over her mistakes and certainly not worth your time or anyone else’s to get into petty arguments about MSDS vs SDS.

I think you all are focussing too much on the MSDS vs SDS.  It was simply a short interaction that was never intended to be confrontational but perfectly demonstrates what I am dealing with.  For the record I don't give a fuck if they are called MSDS, or if our books have MSDS (or in this case MDSS) printed on them as long as the contents are correct, and I don't intend to revisit that conversation with her.  I do anticipate that I will have other interactions with her that will be similar, and they may not be so trivial and inconsequential.  I have very little experience dealing with that type of response, because I generally just don't deal with that type of person.  However I am stuck dealing with her, so how do I handle it when a similar situation happens?

In the same training session she also said:

She is familiar with "OSHA, NIOSHA, and EEE PUH".  Yes she calls the EPA "eee puh".  Yes she is confused about NIOSH and thinks it is NIOSHA.  No she didn't mention MIOSHA (Michigan OSHA). I don't believe she is conflating MIOSHA with NIOSH because she is citing the NIOSH PEL limits, I just think she doesn't know about MIOSHA and doesn't have a full understanding of NIOSH.

Are all of these inconsequential? Probably, but it gives me pause about her being in charge of anything.

She also made claims about PEL for various chemicals, and when asked by an employee if that exposure limit was applicable even with PPE like a respirator told him that yes it was.  That's wrong and that's not how any of this works.  The use of PPE is required specifically because you would otherwise be above the PEL, and the PPE protects you from that exposure.  It seems that she doesn't understand this concept, which is crazy because I don't understand how there is any other way to understand it.   
 

You have said that she's 90% correct, so if that's true, then any examples you give sound petty.

Either she's 90% correct and you're making a big deal of the 10% or she isn't actually 90% correct and her errors are a significant problem. Personally, as someone who just did this whole safety thing, she sounds to me a lot more than 10% wrong, but I don't actually know because I'm not dealing with her.

Just know, it's your own words that are making people respond the way that they are in this thread. And just FYI, the way you are correcting people's interpretations here is making you sound condescending.

Some of the 10% is trivial (MSDS/SDS), some of it is not trivial and shows a misunderstanding of some fundamental concepts (safety shower, PEL and PPE).  It may not be a 90/10 split, I don't know exactly.  She may be more than 10% wrong.  I don't know how you'd classify it all.  For example with the safety shower.  She knows the regulation, she knows we need them, and has a plan to implement it.  But it's completely unfeasible.  Does she get some credit for knowing the regulation and where it's applicable?  Is she 50% in that instance?  Or 0% because it's completely unfeasible? Or maybe even less than 0% because not only would it be completely ineffective but it would take up a significant amount of company resources? 

I don't mean to be condescending in this thread.  I've received feedback in real life and on the internet that I can be condescending and unempathetic, even though it's not my intention.  Apparently I'm just an asshole.

You might really benefit from reading the book Thanks for the Feedback. Touches on lots of themes that are coming through in your thread. Its predecessor book, Difficult Conversations, is also a solid read and you might get some useful ideas for how to handle these interactions.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: use2betrix on September 24, 2019, 07:53:46 PM
I think you are really grasping at straws with the whole OSHA 30 thing..

I have an OSHA 30 certification, meaning I completed a compliant OSHA 30 qualified training course. My wife has taken an OSHA 10 course. The woman that did the training class for my wife’s OSHA 10 course was certified to teach the course.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 25, 2019, 08:24:58 AM
I think you are really grasping at straws with the whole OSHA 30 thing..

I have an OSHA 30 certification, meaning I completed a compliant OSHA 30 qualified training course. My wife has taken an OSHA 10 course. The woman that did the training class for my wife’s OSHA 10 course was certified to teach the course.

Yes, probably just semantics which is why I asked for the documentation.  I assume both you and your wife could provide documentation of your training if asked to provide proof, and wouldn't simply hand wave it away saying your employer doesn't allow you to take it with you.  10 and 30 hour outreach training programs always come with a card to document your training (I have one).  Literally all I have in regards to her previous training are her vague statements about being OSHA certified.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on September 25, 2019, 09:46:57 AM
So where having qualifications matters for legal reasons you treat her as unqualified until it is proved otherwise, and in the meantime you move on to something that matters.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on September 25, 2019, 09:48:02 AM
Regarding training.
What happens if she trains people then something bad happens and the investigation shows she was not certified to perform the training?

Edit: the previous post says it all.
If it is a legal requirement to have your people trained by someone qualified for the training it is your responsibility to raise the issue of her qualification with your manager. In written.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MyAlterEgoIsTaller on September 25, 2019, 01:49:19 PM
If it is a legal requirement to have your people trained by someone qualified for the training it is your responsibility to raise the issue of her qualification with your manager. In written.

Maybe.  It's not clear if the OP has the responsibility to verify this sort of thing, or whether he's just taken it upon himself to be the credential police.  I was on the other side of something like this recently where a self-appointed-inspector coworker demanded to see copies of degrees, licenses, and certifications that I and a few other coworkers list on our resumes, because "you can't be too careful" and "trust but verify".  For the record: my resume is 100% accurate. But this person is in a roughly equal position to me in tenure and role, with no apparent need for this information (and my degrees are framed, wrapped in tape and bubbles, in a box somwhere in my parents' attic... maybe...) so I responded that I assumed HR had verified things to their satisfaction when I was hired, and that she could feel free to check states' licensing databases and call universities. Granted there are no centralized verification sources for some credentials - but unless there's a law, or company policy, or policy of the entity issuing the credential that says the certificate must be displayed or produced for anyone upon request, I don't feel any obligation to fetch documentation for demanding coworkers. Eventually other coworkers complained to HR and our whole department got a memo documenting that she has no authority related to personnel records. The OP should confirm whether he's really the one who needs to be verifying this.  If he pushes it, and it turns out she really did get an OSHA card that her former employer held onto, or that this current employer verified it when she was hired, or that she just happens to remember where she filed it, then he might be the one who gets the reputation for being a troublesome know-it-all.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 25, 2019, 02:30:53 PM
If it is a legal requirement to have your people trained by someone qualified for the training it is your responsibility to raise the issue of her qualification with your manager. In written.

Maybe.  It's not clear if the OP has the responsibility to verify this sort of thing, or whether he's just taken it upon himself to be the credential police.  I was on the other side of something like this recently where a self-appointed-inspector coworker demanded to see copies of degrees, licenses, and certifications that I and a few other coworkers list on our resumes, because "you can't be too careful" and "trust but verify".  For the record: my resume is 100% accurate. But this person is in a roughly equal position to me in tenure and role, with no apparent need for this information (and my degrees are framed, wrapped in tape and bubbles, in a box somwhere in my parents' attic... maybe...) so I responded that I assumed HR had verified things to their satisfaction when I was hired, and that she could feel free to check states' licensing databases and call universities. Granted there are no centralized verification sources for some credentials - but unless there's a law, or company policy, or policy of the entity issuing the credential that says the certificate must be displayed or produced for anyone upon request, I don't feel any obligation to fetch documentation for demanding coworkers. Eventually other coworkers complained to HR and our whole department got a memo documenting that she has no authority related to personnel records. The OP should confirm whether he's really the one who needs to be verifying this.  If he pushes it, and it turns out she really did get an OSHA card that her former employer held onto, or that this current employer verified it when she was hired, or that she just happens to remember where she filed it, then he might be the one who gets the reputation for being a troublesome know-it-all.

I don't think it's a legal requirement for someone to have training by certified and qualified individuals (there are some specific things like RCRA training which is, but I'm talking about more general OSHA training which we don't have a requirement for), so as far as I know there is no requirement for me to actually document her "OSHA certification".  I am the EHS manager though, so all of safety falls under my responsibility.  Not specifically my responsibility to verify people's outside credentials (other than those legally required like the aforementioned RCRA training), but I feel it's part of my due diligence if some is actively trying to implement safety procedures that I inquire about their qualifications.  I know I said I asked her for documentation, but it wasn't so much a demand for documentation as just an inquiry as to exactly _what_ her qualifications were.  I mean what is it actually that makes you "OSHA certified"? Is it a 10 or 30 hour outreach program? CHMM? Hazwoper? Specifically what type of training did you actually receive?   I never really got an answer other than it was conducted at her former employer, and she wasn't able to bring any of the certs with her.  It was followed by an explanation that that is how it works everywhere, no employer allows you to take any type of certification with you when you leave, which directly contradicts all of my experience. 






Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on September 25, 2019, 02:47:25 PM
If it is a legal requirement to have your people trained by someone qualified for the training it is your responsibility to raise the issue of her qualification with your manager. In written.

Maybe.  It's not clear if the OP has the responsibility to verify this sort of thing, or whether he's just taken it upon himself to be the credential police.  I was on the other side of something like this recently where a self-appointed-inspector coworker demanded to see copies of degrees, licenses, and certifications that I and a few other coworkers list on our resumes, because "you can't be too careful" and "trust but verify".  For the record: my resume is 100% accurate. But this person is in a roughly equal position to me in tenure and role, with no apparent need for this information (and my degrees are framed, wrapped in tape and bubbles, in a box somwhere in my parents' attic... maybe...) so I responded that I assumed HR had verified things to their satisfaction when I was hired, and that she could feel free to check states' licensing databases and call universities. Granted there are no centralized verification sources for some credentials - but unless there's a law, or company policy, or policy of the entity issuing the credential that says the certificate must be displayed or produced for anyone upon request, I don't feel any obligation to fetch documentation for demanding coworkers. Eventually other coworkers complained to HR and our whole department got a memo documenting that she has no authority related to personnel records. The OP should confirm whether he's really the one who needs to be verifying this.  If he pushes it, and it turns out she really did get an OSHA card that her former employer held onto, or that this current employer verified it when she was hired, or that she just happens to remember where she filed it, then he might be the one who gets the reputation for being a troublesome know-it-all.

I did not say he should demand the certification, I said to raise the issue with his manager.
Abd also, if the requirements are that the training has to be performed by someone qualified to do it.
Also, even if the OP is not responsible to verify this, if it affects the safety of the workers and he knows it he needs to raise the issue with his manager.

Now, after seeing that the OP is responsible for the safety of the facility I am sure he does not want to be in the position where any training can lead to accidents.
The OP will be responsible for any training which taught people wrong things.
So in this role I would say the OP is totally in his right to demand to see the certificates. He could still choose to first raise the issue with his manager, in written.

In writing :-).
I think I  wanted to say in written form :-).
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: gooki on September 26, 2019, 04:10:50 AM
in writing.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on September 26, 2019, 08:44:33 AM
in writing.

Modified, thank you :-).
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Padonak on September 26, 2019, 09:02:03 AM
Don't let her take credit for your work. Treat her like mushrooms. Feed her shit and keep her in the dark.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on September 30, 2019, 12:51:26 PM
Just some updates to the saga.

She started a weekly "safety newsletter".  One of the first pieces of information was about "safety data sheet (formerly known as material safety data sheet)".  Maybe she google what I said and is revising herself, or maybe she just copied and pasted safety tidbits from various sources and didn't notice the information contradicted what she said in her training. 

She noticed some dust near a furnace and put in a ticket to upper management for dangerous soot contamination.  Freaked out when she went around the lab and found "soot" on all the table and counter surfaces.  I said that maintenance has been notified to clean the ducts of the furnace and it will get resolved.  She reiterated to me just how deadly and dangerous it is and recommended I wear a respirator in my office.  She then went and got some chlorox wipes to demonstrate my office has soot contamination.  I told her it's dust.  I've been in this office over 3 months and haven't dusted, so it's not surprising to find dust on my desk and everything in my office.  It's just god damn dust.  It's September, the furnace hasn't even been run since before either of us started working at this facility.

One of our portable eyewash stations got activated.  Judging by the amount of water missing from the container, and the amount of water on the ground, I would estimate it was run for 5, maybe 10 seconds at the most.  I asked people in the department and no one knows who activated it.  The station is still at the 100% fill line.  She claimed it was probably run for much longer, and water on the floor was just from when the drain hose was disconnected and once it was hooked up it was recycling the water back into the eyewash.  I had to explain how a portable gravity-fed eye washing station works, and explain that it's not "sucking up and recycling" the water in the waste bin below - all the water that is used either goes into the waste bin, or in this case the drain hose was knocked off so it just spilled onto the floor.  She argued with me on that point and said you probably just can't tell and the water is "stuck" in the clear moveable portion with the level indicator.  So I had to explain how water self levels as well.  I tried not to be condescending, but who the fuck doesn't understand intuitively how water and gravity work?! The unit is still 100% full, and no employee is injured, or at least no employee is reporting an injury and no one else saw anything.  She claims we still need a record that the eyewash was activated.  I'm not aware of any regulation requiring me to keep a record of when eye wash stations get activated unless it coincides with an actual incident, which doesn't apply to this situation.

Doing my weekly inspections I noticed there is a whole pile of "biohazard" bags in the garbage.  I didn't open them, but they appear to have open empty paint cans, rags, and other general non-biohazard and non-hazardous waste from our paint department.  I have no doubt this was her doing, and no doubt they are being misused, and are going to create a problem at the next garbage pick up when the garbage contractor tells us he can't collect a whole dumpster of biohazard waste. 

I don't need any advice, I'm just venting because she is frustrating me.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: herbgeek on October 01, 2019, 01:08:01 PM
There's at least one know it all in this story.  There may be two.  ;)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on October 01, 2019, 01:35:46 PM
I think your attitude is actually making both your jobs harder. You seem to me to have placed yourself in competition with her to some extent. I have no doubt that she's annoying, but it's not really your business or your concern. You're both new hires, so if I were you I would concentrate on your own areas, and LET IT GO. I strongly suspect that she's winning at the impressing others game, simply by not getting wound up about you. Maybe you need to think hard about that.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 01, 2019, 02:04:29 PM
I don’t know if she is a know-it-all but you certainly are one. You sound so obsessed with what she is doing all the time. Are you bothered that she takes the initiative or that she is well liked? Instead of always looking for her mistakes why don’t you take some initiative yourself? You seem to be always one step behind her.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on October 01, 2019, 02:14:24 PM
I don't get why you care so much. I mean, I get why she could be frustrating, but it's not harming anyone if she writes a pointless incident report. If the soot is dust, presumably nothing will be done, and that's for upper management to realize, maybe after consulting you? Although you could've certainly told her to back off from cleaning your office. Kind of funny if that was a burn on your lack of dusting. :P

If the garbage contractor has an issue, it'll get dealt with by somebody else. Unless you are the person in charge of garbage disposal?

You're even annoyed that she got something right in the newsletter! Must be exhausting.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 01, 2019, 06:29:09 PM
Maybe I haven't been clear but all this stuff falls under my responsibility so she is bringing problems to my door step that is why I care.  I don't have time to be dealing with non issues like an eyewash station that is full and perfectly functional all because she doesn't even understand how the eyewash station works.  Or dealing with a dusty furnace. 

If they find things marked as hazardous waste or biological waste that the disposal company won't take they are going to come to me and say "frugalnacho, why is there bio waste bags in our garbage?", Which is a completely unnecessary headache for me because we don't even generate bio waste.  If a regulator from the state of Michigan comes in and notices the same thing they are going to come to me for an explanation.  If there are emergency posters with inaccurate information they are going to come to me.  If there is any type of environmental or safety issue they are going to come to me. 

She's not writing an incident report, she's insisting I write one, and she's insisting I write one because she erroneously believes it's required.  She can go write all the incident reports she likes,. IDGAF what she does except when she's creating more work for me.  And of course frustrating me.  Even when it's not creating too much work for me her personality is just insufferable.   

Just today one of the emergency contacts changed their cell phone so we need to redo the emergency posters and I got an earful about how she's not doing it because she doesn't have time and it's simply too expensive.  10 God damn pieces of paper to be printed is too expensive! What the fuck are you even talking about?! This is the same person that printed and laminated 7 copies of the 3 page poster with 10 spelling errors and dangerous firefighting instructions without having anyone proof read or look over the poster, and suddenly redoing 10 single pages for a legitimate reason like an incorrect phone number and it's too expensive for the company.  I didn't even say she had to do it, I just said it needed to be done. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 01, 2019, 06:31:54 PM
I'm not annoyed she got something right in the newsletter.  I just thought it was amusing that she made the original comments, then followed up with that.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 01, 2019, 06:37:05 PM
I don’t know if she is a know-it-all but you certainly are one. You sound so obsessed with what she is doing all the time. Are you bothered that she takes the initiative or that she is well liked? Instead of always looking for her mistakes why don’t you take some initiative yourself? You seem to be always one step behind her.

Because it all directly involves me.  I'm not looking for mistakes, she's shoving them down my throat.  I think it's great that she takes initiative and is motivated, I just wish she was more competent and didn't constantly overstep her bounds. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on October 01, 2019, 06:59:22 PM
Ah, ok. I was overly dismissive of its impact on you.  What is the current process for getting biohazard bags? Were they supplied by the company?

For the report, what would happen if you said you would write a report if she showed you the regulation and then ended the conversation? She is a volunteer and you have final say right?

I I know you said you weren't looking for advice but it sounds like firm boundaries and job duties are needed to prevent further aggravation. Or at least minimize it.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: herbgeek on October 02, 2019, 04:35:20 AM
Quote
Even when it's not creating too much work for me her personality is just insufferable.   

Hmmm, you also say she is widely liked, and by implication you are not.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 02, 2019, 05:12:41 AM
First of all, if this work falls under your responsibility, why is this woman stepping into your job function? Is it possible that she has been given this responsibility as well and no one told you? You should speak with your supervisor and find out what is her role in all of this. Has anyone appointed her responsibility in this area? If not, then your supervisor should step in and tell her she is overstepping boundaries and not spending time on her own work.

If you want to unload this part of your job, you could suggest that since Miss Know It All seems SO interested in this area, you would gladly appreciate if she took over this responsibility 100% so you could focus more on your real area of expertise.  Praise her to your supervisor and tell him/her that it is fantastic that she is gung ho wanting to make the company safe and she is so familiar with the rules.

I worked with a guy who was a project manager who I believe was a cop wanna be in real life but due to a disability could not go into that field. The company had to comply with the State to put into effect safety things at our company. We had some chemicals and we had a water treatment plant and other things that required certain rules and record keeping. We had the eye wash stations and the shower heads in the ceiling in case someone's clothes caught on fire. This guy was supposed to spend maybe 10% of his time on safety stuff but he made it a full time job. He barely did what he was originally hired for. He loved being a safety cop in our building. He was doing this job single-handedly and no one really knew what he was doing all day long. Maybe this is what Miss Know It All is trying to do. Get a job where she can do her own thing, be the expert, and no one knows what she is doing. She would have free reign on what she does every day. 

Let her take over that part and free yourself!

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 02, 2019, 07:01:07 AM
OK, so I want to start by saying that I feel your pain, and that I work in the same area and so get that errors matter.  Even errors of the overprotective kind -- you don't want reports saying action is necessary when it's not, because that creates the impression that you should have done something and were negligent by not doing so.*

But the reality is that you have this coworker, until management figures out she's a doofus, and you need to figure out how to be the good guy here, or else it's just going to be a he-said, she-said, which is when the person who is liked more is kept and the one who is liked less is let go. 

So I'm going to be pretty direct here:  you are a big part of the problem.  You clearly know this stuff better than she does -- I have zero doubt that you're better at your job than she is and the company really needs you.  But the way you engage with her is counterproductive, off-putting, and -- as you've seen -- undercutting your own reputation.  So the first thing is to please understand that your job isn't to be the person with the right answers -- it's to be effective in developing and implementing an EHS program.  And that means figuring out how to change your communication style to bring out her strengths, not force her to double-down and defend her mistakes.  You need to realize that any situation that ends in an "I'm right and you're wrong" is a failure -- your failure, even if you're substantively right.

No manager ever gets people who are 100% right all the time.  If she was as good at the job as you are, she'd have gotten your job instead of hers.  So don't jump on her for being wrong -- figure out how to work with her strengths and help her learn the rest.

I'm going to digress into a little story here, because I think it is instructive.  There is a particular male-female communication pattern that I have seen, particularly with detail-oriented men, and it is very destructive.  I have a guy who works for me who was negotiating a big settlement.  He was making a lot of progress on the issues -- and he still almost got us fired (as in, I had to fly across the country at the drop of a hat to both insert myself into the negotiations and salvage the client).  Why?  Because our client was female.  And she would express her concerns, and he would understand that there was no way we'd get what she wanted, and so he'd basically tell her she was wrong, blow off her points, and move on to the next bit.  He was so focused on the details of the settlement language that he was unable to step back and see the big picture:  that there was a business reason why she proposed what she did, and maybe there was another way to get there even if her proposed language was a nonstarter (that's what I figured out on my visit).  But what was driving her nuts was the impression he left that he thought she was stupid, and even moreso that he was not hearing her -- that she was talking to a brick wall. 

And I had the exact same experience with him:  I called him up to talk to him about the case and to tell him the client was upset, and I'd say the client wasn't happy, and he'd say well of course they were happy, look at the progress we'd made.  I had literally just gotten off the phone with the client who said she was about to get other counsel, and he's insisting that I am wrong about what my client just directly told me.  I had to basically yell at him and quote what the client had just said to get him to understand that there was an issue.  At that point, I would have fired him if I could have, I was so frustrated!  Even though he was actually doing a good job on the substance.

How does that relate to you?  Because you can be right and still be wrong.  When you jump in to correct every little error, you are asserting your dominance/power, and it is belittling to the person you are talking to.  That is true whether it is male or female, but women get this a lot, and so generally every woman who has a backbone is going to bristle and double down in response.  This is counterproductive, even when you are 100% right on the substance.

What you need to do is come up with a generic response that makes her feel heard, that validates her concerns, and that then redirects her in the appropriate direction.  In other words, look for something that she's doing right, build on that, and then set it up so she figures out the right answer -- in private, on her own, so it can then be her idea.  So for ex, how's this for the shower issue:

Her:  We should do a temporary shower.

You:  [think:  boy that's stupid, we need permanent ones - but recognize attempt to be helpful, even if it's misguided.  Then say]:  You know, that might be a really good temporary solution.  I think the regulations require permanent showers so someone can get there within a few seconds, but that is probably going to take time and money to get installed.  So while we're looking into that, can you see what our options might be for a temporary shower?

Her:  No, a temporary one is all we need, we should just do that and save all the money.

You:  [think:  grrrrrrrrrr.  Say:]  Hmm, that's not my impression -- I thought I remembered that the regulations require something you can get to within a few seconds, and I don't think setting up a temporary shower will meet those requirements.  But can you look into that?  I'd sure like to save the money if OSHA will be happy with it.

[repeat "can you confirm that?" and "again, I'd love to if we can do it, so can you confirm that for me?" or "look, Management is going to make me demonstrate that this will bring us into compliance, so can you pull together the documentation to get that through?" as many times as necessary]

Note that you are validating her attempts to be helpful and her creative thinking, and then redirecting her to do the work to justify it.  The only extra "cost" to you is biting your tongue and stamping down your frustration.  You don't need to lecture her about how a pump works, or the laws of physics, or anything else, because boy is that condescending.  All you need to do is show some sort of interest in her attempts to be helpful, note that you have a question about whether that's feasible, and then put the burden on her to investigate and figure out if it will work.

And when you do need to correct her, there are ways to do it without saying "you're wrong."  Like the MSDS/MDSS/SDS bit -- it's reasonable to want employees not to be confused, but you can accomplish that goal by saying "you might also hear them referred to as 'SDS,' because OSHA keeps changing the terminology."  Telling them that the "real" term is "SDS" and that "MSDS" is wrong and outdated is unnecessary to avoid confusion, isn't it?  The only reason to add that in is to emphasize that you are right and she is wrong.  And that publicly undermines her and makes you look petty to everyone in the room, because it tells everyone that you need to be right above all else, even if it means throwing your coworkers under the bus.

I think the other part you're missing is the triage bit.  If you guys have such a crappy program, you've got a ton of work to do to get into compliance.  So don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  So what if you let her move forward with a temporary shower -- isn't that better than no shower at all?  If you get an OSHA inspection, would you rather say "well, we've been investigating and designing permanent showers and that'll be another year before we get them installed," or would you rather say "well, we figured out it will take a full year to get permanent showers designed and installed, so we've put that contract out, but in the interim we've brought in a temporary shower to provide what protection we can"?

In short, she is clearly trying -- she's busy, she's interested in the area, she is trying to help you out, and she is trying to build a name and reputation in the company.  Same as you are.  If you find ways to encourage her efforts -- even when she's wrong in some way -- you can turn her into an ally and serve as a really valuable mentor.  Yes, it takes a little more care in your conversations, a little more effort on your part.  But how much time are you wasting now explaining the laws of physics and being frustrated and angry with her?  She is what she is, she knows what she knows.  So rather than wish she was someone else, figure out how to make the best of what she has to offer, and give her the opportunity to flesh out her own knowledge. 

Final anecdote:  when I was a baby lawyer, I did an assignment for the guy who hired me -- one of the two smartest people I've ever met in my life, a guy who has been doing this stuff since I was in elementary school, a guy who knew more in his little finger than I'd ever hope to know, etc.  I gave him an answer, he passed it along to the client.  The next day, I discovered I was wrong -- no question, 100% wrong, I had missed an exception to the exception.  I told him.  We called the client together, and he told the client that he had gotten it wrong, that he had missed the exception, and then explained how we'd fix the problem.  I was flabbergasted -- I totally deserved to be hung out to dry with the client, but not only did he avoid blaming me, he threw himself under the bus. 

I have now worked for him for over 20 years, and I don't even return headhunters' calls.  Because he was loyal to me -- he understood that I had made an honest mistake, he did not expect me to know everything, and he gave me a chance to fix it while still protecting my reputation and client relationships.  And there's no way in hell I'd give that up for any amount of money.  That one action bought years of loyalty and dedication.  He gave me a chance to be imperfect and didn't hold it against me, because he recognized the other good qualities I brought to the job.  OTOH, the job I had where my boss micromanaged me, second-guessed everything I said, and treated me like I was incompetent?  I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.

So:  which guy do you want to be?

*I actually worked on a criminal case where a very well-intentioned employee wrote a bunch of letters saying that the company needed to do X, and was the government's star witness at trial.  And the company was convicted -- even though when EPA developed the rule, they expressly said you do NOT need to do X.  The employee didn't know any better, no one took the time to explain anything to her, and she was extremely persuasive on the stand.  And that's all it took.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Kl285528 on October 02, 2019, 07:26:04 AM
I feel your pain, frugalnacho. Thought of this thread when I ran across this t-shirt....

https://6dollarshirts.com/no-youre-right-lets-do-it-the-dumbest-way-possible-because-its-easier-for-you

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MyAlterEgoIsTaller on October 02, 2019, 08:15:54 AM
Frugalnacho are you sure you don't have some observant, amused coworker who's messing with you?  Because if I worked there and I'd noticed these two newbies aggressively trying to out-safety each other, I'd probably be tripping the eyewash station and conspicuously mis-bagging paint cans, just to stir up new episodes starring the two of you.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 02, 2019, 08:16:20 AM
Laura 33, you are amazing! What a great piece you wrote!

However, one thing. What if OP tries all you have suggested and this woman is still not willing to be a team player. I worked on teams for many years and we usually had very dedicated members that were willing to go the extra mile to help one another. But there were times when we had rogue members looking to shine above the rest of us and threw us under the bus. Most times those people fail and get recognized by upper management for what they are or are not and are eventually fired. They are a thorn until that eventually happens. As they say, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 02, 2019, 08:48:59 AM
Laura 33, you are amazing! What a great piece you wrote!

However, one thing. What if OP tries all you have suggested and this woman is still not willing to be a team player. I worked on teams for many years and we usually had very dedicated members that were willing to go the extra mile to help one another. But there were times when we had rogue members looking to shine above the rest of us and threw us under the bus. Most times those people fail and get recognized by upper management for what they are or are not and are eventually fired. They are a thorn until that eventually happens. As they say, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

Oh, ITA -- there are assholes everywhere, and sometimes a situation is not recoverable.  But I find it more productive to start by assuming good intent and trainability first, and to focus initially on trying to improve the situation/performance. 

And then if/when that fails, document document document.  ;-)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 02, 2019, 09:26:21 AM
Laura 33, you are very wise and I agree with everything you have said.

Especially when the train is ready to go off the rails...document, document, document!

Original poster should consider what you wrote.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 02, 2019, 09:59:07 AM
As I already said, you don't argue more than once.
And you don't argue, you are doing your job and you are concerned about the right things being done.
After presenting your opinions you document them.
By the way, until now you should have had a conversation with your manager about this situation. How did it.go?
If you did not have it make sure you do. Based on facts do umented with your manager over time.
You can't go in and say: for the last 3 months this was happening. Your manager needs to know after the second/third problem.
Edit: I see several things she is doing are affecting your responsibilities and some seem dangerous (wrong firefighting instructions). If that is correct you are open for really big trouble if anything wrong happens.
So, how did the e-mail exchange with your manager go?
If no action, how did your e-mail exchange with your manager's manager go?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 07, 2019, 07:35:02 AM
OK, so I want to start by saying that I feel your pain, and that I work in the same area and so get that errors matter.  Even errors of the overprotective kind -- you don't want reports saying action is necessary when it's not, because that creates the impression that you should have done something and were negligent by not doing so.*

But the reality is that you have this coworker, until management figures out she's a doofus, and you need to figure out how to be the good guy here, or else it's just going to be a he-said, she-said, which is when the person who is liked more is kept and the one who is liked less is let go. 

So I'm going to be pretty direct here:  you are a big part of the problem.  You clearly know this stuff better than she does -- I have zero doubt that you're better at your job than she is and the company really needs you.  But the way you engage with her is counterproductive, off-putting, and -- as you've seen -- undercutting your own reputation.  So the first thing is to please understand that your job isn't to be the person with the right answers -- it's to be effective in developing and implementing an EHS program.  And that means figuring out how to change your communication style to bring out her strengths, not force her to double-down and defend her mistakes.  You need to realize that any situation that ends in an "I'm right and you're wrong" is a failure -- your failure, even if you're substantively right.

No manager ever gets people who are 100% right all the time.  If she was as good at the job as you are, she'd have gotten your job instead of hers.  So don't jump on her for being wrong -- figure out how to work with her strengths and help her learn the rest.

I'm going to digress into a little story here, because I think it is instructive.  There is a particular male-female communication pattern that I have seen, particularly with detail-oriented men, and it is very destructive.  I have a guy who works for me who was negotiating a big settlement.  He was making a lot of progress on the issues -- and he still almost got us fired (as in, I had to fly across the country at the drop of a hat to both insert myself into the negotiations and salvage the client).  Why?  Because our client was female.  And she would express her concerns, and he would understand that there was no way we'd get what she wanted, and so he'd basically tell her she was wrong, blow off her points, and move on to the next bit.  He was so focused on the details of the settlement language that he was unable to step back and see the big picture:  that there was a business reason why she proposed what she did, and maybe there was another way to get there even if her proposed language was a nonstarter (that's what I figured out on my visit).  But what was driving her nuts was the impression he left that he thought she was stupid, and even moreso that he was not hearing her -- that she was talking to a brick wall. 

And I had the exact same experience with him:  I called him up to talk to him about the case and to tell him the client was upset, and I'd say the client wasn't happy, and he'd say well of course they were happy, look at the progress we'd made.  I had literally just gotten off the phone with the client who said she was about to get other counsel, and he's insisting that I am wrong about what my client just directly told me.  I had to basically yell at him and quote what the client had just said to get him to understand that there was an issue.  At that point, I would have fired him if I could have, I was so frustrated!  Even though he was actually doing a good job on the substance.

How does that relate to you?  Because you can be right and still be wrong.  When you jump in to correct every little error, you are asserting your dominance/power, and it is belittling to the person you are talking to.  That is true whether it is male or female, but women get this a lot, and so generally every woman who has a backbone is going to bristle and double down in response.  This is counterproductive, even when you are 100% right on the substance.

What you need to do is come up with a generic response that makes her feel heard, that validates her concerns, and that then redirects her in the appropriate direction.  In other words, look for something that she's doing right, build on that, and then set it up so she figures out the right answer -- in private, on her own, so it can then be her idea.  So for ex, how's this for the shower issue:

Her:  We should do a temporary shower.

You:  [think:  boy that's stupid, we need permanent ones - but recognize attempt to be helpful, even if it's misguided.  Then say]:  You know, that might be a really good temporary solution.  I think the regulations require permanent showers so someone can get there within a few seconds, but that is probably going to take time and money to get installed.  So while we're looking into that, can you see what our options might be for a temporary shower?

Her:  No, a temporary one is all we need, we should just do that and save all the money.

You:  [think:  grrrrrrrrrr.  Say:]  Hmm, that's not my impression -- I thought I remembered that the regulations require something you can get to within a few seconds, and I don't think setting up a temporary shower will meet those requirements.  But can you look into that?  I'd sure like to save the money if OSHA will be happy with it.

[repeat "can you confirm that?" and "again, I'd love to if we can do it, so can you confirm that for me?" or "look, Management is going to make me demonstrate that this will bring us into compliance, so can you pull together the documentation to get that through?" as many times as necessary]

Note that you are validating her attempts to be helpful and her creative thinking, and then redirecting her to do the work to justify it.  The only extra "cost" to you is biting your tongue and stamping down your frustration.  You don't need to lecture her about how a pump works, or the laws of physics, or anything else, because boy is that condescending.  All you need to do is show some sort of interest in her attempts to be helpful, note that you have a question about whether that's feasible, and then put the burden on her to investigate and figure out if it will work.

And when you do need to correct her, there are ways to do it without saying "you're wrong."  Like the MSDS/MDSS/SDS bit -- it's reasonable to want employees not to be confused, but you can accomplish that goal by saying "you might also hear them referred to as 'SDS,' because OSHA keeps changing the terminology."  Telling them that the "real" term is "SDS" and that "MSDS" is wrong and outdated is unnecessary to avoid confusion, isn't it?  The only reason to add that in is to emphasize that you are right and she is wrong.  And that publicly undermines her and makes you look petty to everyone in the room, because it tells everyone that you need to be right above all else, even if it means throwing your coworkers under the bus.

I think the other part you're missing is the triage bit.  If you guys have such a crappy program, you've got a ton of work to do to get into compliance.  So don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  So what if you let her move forward with a temporary shower -- isn't that better than no shower at all?  If you get an OSHA inspection, would you rather say "well, we've been investigating and designing permanent showers and that'll be another year before we get them installed," or would you rather say "well, we figured out it will take a full year to get permanent showers designed and installed, so we've put that contract out, but in the interim we've brought in a temporary shower to provide what protection we can"?

In short, she is clearly trying -- she's busy, she's interested in the area, she is trying to help you out, and she is trying to build a name and reputation in the company.  Same as you are.  If you find ways to encourage her efforts -- even when she's wrong in some way -- you can turn her into an ally and serve as a really valuable mentor.  Yes, it takes a little more care in your conversations, a little more effort on your part.  But how much time are you wasting now explaining the laws of physics and being frustrated and angry with her?  She is what she is, she knows what she knows.  So rather than wish she was someone else, figure out how to make the best of what she has to offer, and give her the opportunity to flesh out her own knowledge. 

Final anecdote:  when I was a baby lawyer, I did an assignment for the guy who hired me -- one of the two smartest people I've ever met in my life, a guy who has been doing this stuff since I was in elementary school, a guy who knew more in his little finger than I'd ever hope to know, etc.  I gave him an answer, he passed it along to the client.  The next day, I discovered I was wrong -- no question, 100% wrong, I had missed an exception to the exception.  I told him.  We called the client together, and he told the client that he had gotten it wrong, that he had missed the exception, and then explained how we'd fix the problem.  I was flabbergasted -- I totally deserved to be hung out to dry with the client, but not only did he avoid blaming me, he threw himself under the bus. 

I have now worked for him for over 20 years, and I don't even return headhunters' calls.  Because he was loyal to me -- he understood that I had made an honest mistake, he did not expect me to know everything, and he gave me a chance to fix it while still protecting my reputation and client relationships.  And there's no way in hell I'd give that up for any amount of money.  That one action bought years of loyalty and dedication.  He gave me a chance to be imperfect and didn't hold it against me, because he recognized the other good qualities I brought to the job.  OTOH, the job I had where my boss micromanaged me, second-guessed everything I said, and treated me like I was incompetent?  I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.

So:  which guy do you want to be?

*I actually worked on a criminal case where a very well-intentioned employee wrote a bunch of letters saying that the company needed to do X, and was the government's star witness at trial.  And the company was convicted -- even though when EPA developed the rule, they expressly said you do NOT need to do X.  The employee didn't know any better, no one took the time to explain anything to her, and she was extremely persuasive on the stand.  And that's all it took.

This is good advice.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 07, 2019, 07:57:35 AM
Quote
Even when it's not creating too much work for me her personality is just insufferable.   

Hmmm, you also say she is widely liked, and by implication you are not.

I wouldn't say I am not liked.  I am much more reserved and quiet, where as she is more boisterous and friendly.

Frugalnacho are you sure you don't have some observant, amused coworker who's messing with you?  Because if I worked there and I'd noticed these two newbies aggressively trying to out-safety each other, I'd probably be tripping the eyewash station and conspicuously mis-bagging paint cans, just to stir up new episodes starring the two of you.

Yes pretty sure.  Our conflicts are not really public.  There have been a few disagreements over some things, but not nearly as bad as the thread implies.  This thread is a lot of venting and ranting from me.  No one even knows about the biohazard bags.  I saw it, and I vented in this thread.  I'm just going to leave it and deal with other stuff until it becomes a problem.  I have a sneaking suspicion it's not going to be nearly as easy as saying "we don't produce any biohazardous waste, therefore we shouldn't be using biohazard bags".  Absolute best case scenario I can envision is I will get some pushback "well, actually we do generate biowaste, and we need to use these bags for some bullshit reason, blah blah" and I get frustrated with her, and then she will check into it on her own and phase them out when she realizes I am right and we shouldn't be using biohazard waste bags for that stuff. 

I'd rather just sit back and let it unfold naturally.  Either no one says anything and our non-biohazard waste will go to the landfill in biohazard bags and no one will care and I can focus on the rest of my job. Or they will notice and ask me and I'll just say I don't know anything about it and that we should ask around to employees to get to the bottom of it.  As of now I actually don't know anything other than I saw a bunch of bags and they appear to just have normal trash.  I don't know who is actually responsible.  I have my suspicions, and if I was a betting man I would put money on her, but I don't actually know for sure.

Ah, ok. I was overly dismissive of its impact on you.  What is the current process for getting biohazard bags? Were they supplied by the company?

For the report, what would happen if you said you would write a report if she showed you the regulation and then ended the conversation? She is a volunteer and you have final say right?

I I know you said you weren't looking for advice but it sounds like firm boundaries and job duties are needed to prevent further aggravation. Or at least minimize it.

No process for biobags, i'm not even sure where they came from.  It sounds so simple to just say "show me the regulation" and end it, but she has a way of twisting things and steering the conversation in unexpected ways that always catch me off guard.  She's pretty adept at bullshitting.

First of all, if this work falls under your responsibility, why is this woman stepping into your job function? Is it possible that she has been given this responsibility as well and no one told you? You should speak with your supervisor and find out what is her role in all of this. Has anyone appointed her responsibility in this area? If not, then your supervisor should step in and tell her she is overstepping boundaries and not spending time on her own work.

If you want to unload this part of your job, you could suggest that since Miss Know It All seems SO interested in this area, you would gladly appreciate if she took over this responsibility 100% so you could focus more on your real area of expertise.  Praise her to your supervisor and tell him/her that it is fantastic that she is gung ho wanting to make the company safe and she is so familiar with the rules.

I worked with a guy who was a project manager who I believe was a cop wanna be in real life but due to a disability could not go into that field. The company had to comply with the State to put into effect safety things at our company. We had some chemicals and we had a water treatment plant and other things that required certain rules and record keeping. We had the eye wash stations and the shower heads in the ceiling in case someone's clothes caught on fire. This guy was supposed to spend maybe 10% of his time on safety stuff but he made it a full time job. He barely did what he was originally hired for. He loved being a safety cop in our building. He was doing this job single-handedly and no one really knew what he was doing all day long. Maybe this is what Miss Know It All is trying to do. Get a job where she can do her own thing, be the expert, and no one knows what she is doing. She would have free reign on what she does every day. 

Let her take over that part and free yourself!

There are no written job responsibilities for anyone.  No one has come to me and said specifically what my responsibilities are either.  I know a good portion of what my responsibilities are just from my job title, and the fact that no one else has that responsibility.  Like fire extinguishers.  No one had a handle on the fire extinguishers, despite this place having a building burn down last year.  So I took it upon myself to map out the facility, find and identify all the fire extinguishers, make sure we had enough in the correct locations, develop and SOP to perform the monthly internal inspections.  At this point all the extinguishers are tagged and in working order, and I have a list of all 52 of them and a map as well.  It's about a 1.5-2 hour job to walk the entire plant and check/initial all the extinguishers.  Now that I've done all the leg work, keeping up with the monthly inspections is super easy.  You just gotta walk around the facility and perform this short SOP on all 52 extinguishers.  I've tried to pass this task off to her, but she didn't seem interested in taking it, and I don't know that I have the authority to delegate it to her.  Identifying and mapping all extinguishers? Too complicated for her, and not a fun task, so she didn't have time.  Now that it's a simple, but necessary, task to complete, I feel like she feels it's below her.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MonkeyJenga on October 07, 2019, 08:39:17 PM
Ah, ok. I was overly dismissive of its impact on you.  What is the current process for getting biohazard bags? Were they supplied by the company?

For the report, what would happen if you said you would write a report if she showed you the regulation and then ended the conversation? She is a volunteer and you have final say right?

I I know you said you weren't looking for advice but it sounds like firm boundaries and job duties are needed to prevent further aggravation. Or at least minimize it.

No process for biobags, i'm not even sure where they came from.  It sounds so simple to just say "show me the regulation" and end it, but she has a way of twisting things and steering the conversation in unexpected ways that always catch me off guard.  She's pretty adept at bullshitting.

Being able to diplomatically end unwanted conversations is a useful skill to develop. It seems that she is triggering your need to be right, and for the other person to understand why you're right. You are contributing to the conversation as much as she is.

Quote
There are no written job responsibilities for anyone.  No one has come to me and said specifically what my responsibilities are either.

Oh good lord, this company needs to get its ish together. This is a problem that requires a conversation with management. What are your responsibilities, and what are her duties in regards to your domain? I.e, what can you assign to her, as opposed to ask of her?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 08, 2019, 01:55:55 AM

Quote
There are no written job responsibilities for anyone.  No one has come to me and said specifically what my responsibilities are either.

Oh good lord, this company needs to get its ish together. This is a problem that requires a conversation with management. What are your responsibilities, and what are her duties in regards to your domain? I.e, what can you assign to her, as opposed to ask of her?
Dear dog.

You definitely need to talk to management.  I'd set up a meeting with your boss (it can be only 10 minutes) along the following lines -

1.  I've been here [a month] now, this is a great place to work.
2.  There's a lot of good things happening here and some others that need work [this is you telling the boss he's got a lot right but also needs you]
3.  Here's a short list of my main achievements so far [this is you bigging up your reputation and consolidating your worth to the company]
4.  Here are the priorities I'm proposing to work on in the next [six months] [this is you creating your own job description/written responsibilities]
4.  As I start putting in place various inspection routines I think it would contribute to the company's safety resilience to involve other members of staff in some aspects of this work.  For instance, I've created an inspection routine for the factory's fire extinguishers, and having a wider pool of employees knowing where they are and how to check them contributes to our resilience in ensuring that company fire safety is kept current.  Do I have authority for instance to ask [irritating colleague] to take a role in carrying out these checks? [this is you sneaking in an express power to give orders to irritating colleague]
5.  Thank your for your time, it's been helpful.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 08, 2019, 04:09:13 AM
LIKE what former player has said! Good way to establish rolls and assign tasks without being pushy.

I would have all this written down in a work journal that you bring to the meeting to insure you don't miss any points. If the boss is responsive (or not), you could send boss an inter office memo on the talking points, things that were agreed upon and next steps.

In the next steps it might be prudent if boss agrees you can assign work to irritating colleague, that all three of you meet so boss breaks the news to her then hands over the reins to you so you can instruct irritating colleague in her new duties. This way she will understand that it is coming from THE BOSS and you are not trying to overstep authority. If you approach her and start assigning duties, she can reject them because you are both equals and from her point of view, she doesn't have to answer to you. But if boss is involved, she has been formally informed this is part of her job duties.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: norajean on October 08, 2019, 05:12:31 AM
I suspect she either wants (maybe applied for) your job or for some reason wants you out.  I would watch your back and play nicely with her if you really want to keep the job.  She knows how to push all your buttons and has lots of internal support.  If you don't quickly adapt your skills to deal with her without freaking out, it may not end happily.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 08, 2019, 05:21:56 AM
If she is not after your job, or if you could use more people with knowledge in your field without being threatened yourself, would it be an idea to let her get the proper training and certification?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugaldrummer on October 08, 2019, 06:22:25 AM
Wow - listening to people on this thread defending this incompetent and clearly pathological woman is eye opening.

Now - on the one hand, really smart people like yourself can be a little "Aspie" and sometimes a little too blunt in pursuit of the facts. You do want to try avoiding embarrassing her in public.

On the other hand - there's something wrong with her. Like conned her way into a job she's unqualified for wrong. Like Peter Principle advanced beyond her level of incompetence wrong. Or maybe even malignant narcissist POTUS wrong.

Whatever it is, she's dangerous. Not because she makes mistakes but because she can't admit them and isn't willing to learn.

What is the job she was hired to do? If it's unrelated to plant safety and that is your main job description, then leave her out of it and find somebody else who's trainable to help you. If you think she's a danger in her primary role, talk to your superiors. In fact, talk to your superiors anyway - they deserve to know they hired a bullshit artist. (If a degree is required for her job, you might also check to see if she lied about that on her resume).
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: merula on October 08, 2019, 08:59:55 AM
First off, I want to commend your commitment to safety. I work in insurance. I can tell you from first-hand experience, there are not nearly enough people who are truly safety-conscious. This is critical, life-or-death stuff and I really don't understand the messages of "it's not a big deal, let it go". MSDS/SDS: this can make a difference if your SDS book is labelled SDS but someone is like "this is a material, so I need the MSDS, can't find it, oh well".

What Laura33 said is true, but I think the gendered aspect might be a bit of a red herring. What you've described fits into some standard tropes, but I've been in your position, as a woman who has a tendency to underestimate the impact of feelings. Most people are more swayed by how you make them feel than what the facts are.

Here are some phrases I've used to smooth over tough conversations and minimize defensiveness:
"Can you help me understand [thing you are wrong about]?"
"Oh, interesting! I like [the one thing you got right]. What's your plan for addressing [thing you obviously didn't even consider]?"
"Can I ask a really stupid question? [Question that gets to the heart of whatever they're missing]."

The key to all of these is humility. You are expressly acknowledging that you might be wrong, which helps people not become defensive as much as insisting you're right does. It doesn't matter if you know you are right or not, that can come later. You're saying that you're willing to hear their side.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: APowers on October 10, 2019, 10:55:19 AM
OK, so I want to start by saying that I feel your pain, and that I work in the same area and so get that errors matter.  Even errors of the overprotective kind -- you don't want reports saying action is necessary when it's not, because that creates the impression that you should have done something and were negligent by not doing so.*

But the reality is that you have this coworker, until management figures out she's a doofus, and you need to figure out how to be the good guy here, or else it's just going to be a he-said, she-said, which is when the person who is liked more is kept and the one who is liked less is let go. 

So I'm going to be pretty direct here:  you are a big part of the problem.  You clearly know this stuff better than she does -- I have zero doubt that you're better at your job than she is and the company really needs you.  But the way you engage with her is counterproductive, off-putting, and -- as you've seen -- undercutting your own reputation.  So the first thing is to please understand that your job isn't to be the person with the right answers -- it's to be effective in developing and implementing an EHS program.  And that means figuring out how to change your communication style to bring out her strengths, not force her to double-down and defend her mistakes.  You need to realize that any situation that ends in an "I'm right and you're wrong" is a failure -- your failure, even if you're substantively right.

No manager ever gets people who are 100% right all the time.  If she was as good at the job as you are, she'd have gotten your job instead of hers.  So don't jump on her for being wrong -- figure out how to work with her strengths and help her learn the rest.

I'm going to digress into a little story here, because I think it is instructive.  There is a particular male-female communication pattern that I have seen, particularly with detail-oriented men, and it is very destructive.  I have a guy who works for me who was negotiating a big settlement.  He was making a lot of progress on the issues -- and he still almost got us fired (as in, I had to fly across the country at the drop of a hat to both insert myself into the negotiations and salvage the client).  Why?  Because our client was female.  And she would express her concerns, and he would understand that there was no way we'd get what she wanted, and so he'd basically tell her she was wrong, blow off her points, and move on to the next bit.  He was so focused on the details of the settlement language that he was unable to step back and see the big picture:  that there was a business reason why she proposed what she did, and maybe there was another way to get there even if her proposed language was a nonstarter (that's what I figured out on my visit).  But what was driving her nuts was the impression he left that he thought she was stupid, and even more so that he was not hearing her -- that she was talking to a brick wall. 

And I had the exact same experience with him:  I called him up to talk to him about the case and to tell him the client was upset, and I'd say the client wasn't happy, and he'd say well of course they were happy, look at the progress we'd made.  I had literally just gotten off the phone with the client who said she was about to get other counsel, and he's insisting that I am wrong about what my client just directly told me.  I had to basically yell at him and quote what the client had just said to get him to understand that there was an issue.  At that point, I would have fired him if I could have, I was so frustrated!  Even though he was actually doing a good job on the substance.

How does that relate to you?  Because you can be right and still be wrong.  When you jump in to correct every little error, you are asserting your dominance/power, and it is belittling to the person you are talking to.  That is true whether it is male or female, but women get this a lot, and so generally every woman who has a backbone is going to bristle and double down in response.  This is counterproductive, even when you are 100% right on the substance.

What you need to do is come up with a generic response that makes her feel heard, that validates her concerns, and that then redirects her in the appropriate direction.  In other words, look for something that she's doing right, build on that, and then set it up so she figures out the right answer -- in private, on her own, so it can then be her idea.  So for ex, how's this for the shower issue:

Her:  We should do a temporary shower.

You:  [think:  boy that's stupid, we need permanent ones - but recognize attempt to be helpful, even if it's misguided.  Then say]:  You know, that might be a really good temporary solution.  I think the regulations require permanent showers so someone can get there within a few seconds, but that is probably going to take time and money to get installed.  So while we're looking into that, can you see what our options might be for a temporary shower?

Her:  No, a temporary one is all we need, we should just do that and save all the money.

You:  [think:  grrrrrrrrrr.  Say:]  Hmm, that's not my impression -- I thought I remembered that the regulations require something you can get to within a few seconds, and I don't think setting up a temporary shower will meet those requirements.  But can you look into that?  I'd sure like to save the money if OSHA will be happy with it.

[repeat "can you confirm that?" and "again, I'd love to if we can do it, so can you confirm that for me?" or "look, Management is going to make me demonstrate that this will bring us into compliance, so can you pull together the documentation to get that through?" as many times as necessary]

Note that you are validating her attempts to be helpful and her creative thinking, and then redirecting her to do the work to justify it.  The only extra "cost" to you is biting your tongue and stamping down your frustration.  You don't need to lecture her about how a pump works, or the laws of physics, or anything else, because boy is that condescending.  All you need to do is show some sort of interest in her attempts to be helpful, note that you have a question about whether that's feasible, and then put the burden on her to investigate and figure out if it will work.

And when you do need to correct her, there are ways to do it without saying "you're wrong."  Like the MSDS/MDSS/SDS bit -- it's reasonable to want employees not to be confused, but you can accomplish that goal by saying "you might also hear them referred to as 'SDS,' because OSHA keeps changing the terminology."  Telling them that the "real" term is "SDS" and that "MSDS" is wrong and outdated is unnecessary to avoid confusion, isn't it?  The only reason to add that in is to emphasize that you are right and she is wrong.  And that publicly undermines her and makes you look petty to everyone in the room, because it tells everyone that you need to be right above all else, even if it means throwing your coworkers under the bus.

I think the other part you're missing is the triage bit.  If you guys have such a crappy program, you've got a ton of work to do to get into compliance.  So don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  So what if you let her move forward with a temporary shower -- isn't that better than no shower at all?  If you get an OSHA inspection, would you rather say "well, we've been investigating and designing permanent showers and that'll be another year before we get them installed," or would you rather say "well, we figured out it will take a full year to get permanent showers designed and installed, so we've put that contract out, but in the interim we've brought in a temporary shower to provide what protection we can"?

In short, she is clearly trying -- she's busy, she's interested in the area, she is trying to help you out, and she is trying to build a name and reputation in the company.  Same as you are.  If you find ways to encourage her efforts -- even when she's wrong in some way -- you can turn her into an ally and serve as a really valuable mentor.  Yes, it takes a little more care in your conversations, a little more effort on your part.  But how much time are you wasting now explaining the laws of physics and being frustrated and angry with her?  She is what she is, she knows what she knows.  So rather than wish she was someone else, figure out how to make the best of what she has to offer, and give her the opportunity to flesh out her own knowledge. 

Final anecdote:  when I was a baby lawyer, I did an assignment for the guy who hired me -- one of the two smartest people I've ever met in my life, a guy who has been doing this stuff since I was in elementary school, a guy who knew more in his little finger than I'd ever hope to know, etc.  I gave him an answer, he passed it along to the client.  The next day, I discovered I was wrong -- no question, 100% wrong, I had missed an exception to the exception.  I told him.  We called the client together, and he told the client that he had gotten it wrong, that he had missed the exception, and then explained how we'd fix the problem.  I was flabbergasted -- I totally deserved to be hung out to dry with the client, but not only did he avoid blaming me, he threw himself under the bus. 

I have now worked for him for over 20 years, and I don't even return headhunters' calls.  Because he was loyal to me -- he understood that I had made an honest mistake, he did not expect me to know everything, and he gave me a chance to fix it while still protecting my reputation and client relationships.  And there's no way in hell I'd give that up for any amount of money.  That one action bought years of loyalty and dedication.  He gave me a chance to be imperfect and didn't hold it against me, because he recognized the other good qualities I brought to the job.  OTOH, the job I had where my boss micromanaged me, second-guessed everything I said, and treated me like I was incompetent?  I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.

So:  which guy do you want to be?

*I actually worked on a criminal case where a very well-intentioned employee wrote a bunch of letters saying that the company needed to do X, and was the government's star witness at trial.  And the company was convicted -- even though when EPA developed the rule, they expressly said you do NOT need to do X.  The employee didn't know any better, no one took the time to explain anything to her, and she was extremely persuasive on the stand.  And that's all it took.

I'm feeling personally attacked rn, lol!.

I relate a lot to FrugalNacho here. Your advice is great, but requires a good bit of soft skills to execute in any effective manner (skills that I find myself lacking, and am unsure how to gain/improve). Additionally, another barrier I find is a difference in perspective; I don't know if I can really explain this, but let me try:

Quote
When you jump in to correct every little error, you are asserting your dominance/power, and it is belittling to the person you are talking to.

Perspective 1: Most important is the facts. I'm happy to let someone else do all the talking and get the credit, so long as they're being factually correct. It doesn't diminish me as a person when I learn something new, so for me to jump in with a factual correction doesn't diminish anyone else-- now everyone is better off, more accurate in their understanding of the matter at hand.

Perspective 2: More important is the social hierarchy. You're only allowed to teach me something in an "official" or in public if you socially outrank me; or, conversely, if you correct me in public, the importance of that is not the correction, but the fact that it makes you look "above" me. Every interaction is more important with regard to how it places me socially than the informational content of the words spoken.

Quote
You don't need to lecture her about how a pump works, or the laws of physics, or anything else, because boy is that condescending.

Perspective 1: Understanding physics make me much better at my job. If she doesn't understand physics, then by improving her understanding of hydrodynamics/gravity/leverage/etc. here, it will directly improve her job performance everywhere, which is good for everyone. No-one loses here.

Perspective 2: Who does he think he is, my 4th grade science teacher? Not his place to try and school me, I'm not an idiot! What a condescending jerk! -- Again, it's a perspective which regards social authority as the most important takeaway from an interaction.

-----------------------

When #1 interacts with #2, there's a huge opportunity for miscommunication, because the priorities are so different. Obviously, it's more of a spectrum and less of a sharp dichotomy, but the priorities in communication are so different at the two ends.

A bit like "ask culture" vs. "guess culture".
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 10, 2019, 11:35:41 AM
I'm feeling personally attacked rn, lol!.

LOL.  :-)

So here's the thing:  I am somewhat socially clueless.  I am very direct, and I often didn't realize when my attitude was triggering a negative reaction -- or I could tell there was a problem, but not why.  Honestly, I had a bit of Sheldon in me -- where all that matters is what's right, and that if I say what's true/right/accurate, it will be self-evidently right, and so people will see the wisdom and do what I want, and what's the problem? 

Except that, funny, that didn't really work for me in the real world!  So I had to approach interpersonal relationships and social cues in a way that made sense for how my mind works -- in other words, like a logic puzzle:  I had to assume people are reacting in a way that seems logical to them, and then try to reverse-engineer the concerns and world-view that might lead to the response I was getting.  I was also lucky to find a job where people felt free to say, dude, you realize that your impatience is making everyone around you feel stupid?  Because you are acting like what you say is so obvious that any idiot would know it already?  [Well, umm, yeah -- isn't it?]  It took a lot of effort and trial and error to get to where I am now -- which still has a long way to go, btw.

I actually empathize with frugalnacho here, because I was almost always the smartest person in the room.  I know that sounds conceited and egotistical, but it's just the straight-up truth.  But the problem is that your IQ and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks, you know?  People didn't hire me to parade around with my awesome SAT scores; they hired me to get the stupid job done.  Which means working with other people, persuading them to do what they need to, communicating in a way that makes them want to do the right thing, and all that mushy stuff.  And when you're smarter than everyone, you can't expect everyone around you to communicate on your level; I mean, really, if you think about it, the further out you are on the skinny end of the bell curve, the more you are surrounded by people who are not as smart as you.  And so to do your job effectively, you have to figure out a way to reach people where they are, without making them feel stupid in the process.  [I learned this, btw, when I went to work for one of two people I've met who was clearly smarter than me -- yet he was also the best mentor at the entire company and had infinite patience, even though literally everyone was stupider than him]  But you also have to come to understand [and actually believe] that a person's value to the job is not measured solely by innate smarts or specialized knowledge; that there are many different roles to fill that call for many different skill sets, and that even those people who annoy the crap out of you often have something valuable to offer, and it's your job to bring that out of them.  Basically, you need a little less hubris, a willingness to concede that you're not always right, an openness to evaluating your own contribution to the problems, and the flexibility to try something different.

So that's why I answered: to try to pass along some of the lessons that I learned the hard way.  It really is about seeing your "job" as not limited to "implement X," but also including "plays well with others," and devoting as much effort to the latter as the former. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 10, 2019, 12:23:13 PM
@frugalnacho , get yourself some more FU money.  I work with some know-it-alls too and it's amazing how much less I care about it after looking at my FU balance. 

I do think your venting is warranted and I know you're really frustrated.  Now ask yourself this:  Do you feel as if you're being a little bit gaslighted?  Do you want someone else to recognize this and commiserate?  Because I found myself getting most upset about that stuff and I just wanted someone else to acknowledge that no, I wasn't crazy, and yes, I did provide the correct answer [to whatever]   But like I said above, once I had more FU money, I realized that I just wanted someone else to say "yes, I know that was your idea", and then it was no longer important to me. 

Keep in mind that while she's doing this to you now, she'll eventually do it to others and then those people will come forward to you and say they saw some if it when it was aimed at you, but now that it's aimed at them, they'll want to vent to you.  So if you can survive the first few months, you'll win the war of likeability later.   

Also, bonus points if you can find another issue for her to share her expertise on and if you can foist her onto someone else. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Zamboni on October 10, 2019, 03:42:21 PM
I love this board. That is all.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: APowers on October 10, 2019, 08:15:28 PM
I'm feeling personally attacked rn, lol!.

LOL.  :-)

So here's the thing:  I am somewhat socially clueless.  I am very direct, and I often didn't realize when my attitude was triggering a negative reaction -- or I could tell there was a problem, but not why.  Honestly, I had a bit of Sheldon in me -- where all that matters is what's right, and that if I say what's true/right/accurate, it will be self-evidently right, and so people will see the wisdom and do what I want, and what's the problem? 

Except that, funny, that didn't really work for me in the real world!  So I had to approach interpersonal relationships and social cues in a way that made sense for how my mind works -- in other words, like a logic puzzle:  I had to assume people are reacting in a way that seems logical to them, and then try to reverse-engineer the concerns and world-view that might lead to the response I was getting.  I was also lucky to find a job where people felt free to say, dude, you realize that your impatience is making everyone around you feel stupid?  Because you are acting like what you say is so obvious that any idiot would know it already?  [Well, umm, yeah -- isn't it?]  It took a lot of effort and trial and error to get to where I am now -- which still has a long way to go, btw.

I actually empathize with frugalnacho here, because I was almost always the smartest person in the room.  I know that sounds conceited and egotistical, but it's just the straight-up truth.  But the problem is that your IQ and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks, you know?  People didn't hire me to parade around with my awesome SAT scores; they hired me to get the stupid job done.  Which means working with other people, persuading them to do what they need to, communicating in a way that makes them want to do the right thing, and all that mushy stuff.  And when you're smarter than everyone, you can't expect everyone around you to communicate on your level; I mean, really, if you think about it, the further out you are on the skinny end of the bell curve, the more you are surrounded by people who are not as smart as you.  And so to do your job effectively, you have to figure out a way to reach people where they are, without making them feel stupid in the process.  [I learned this, btw, when I went to work for one of two people I've met who was clearly smarter than me -- yet he was also the best mentor at the entire company and had infinite patience, even though literally everyone was stupider than him]  But you also have to come to understand [and actually believe] that a person's value to the job is not measured solely by innate smarts or specialized knowledge; that there are many different roles to fill that call for many different skill sets, and that even those people who annoy the crap out of you often have something valuable to offer, and it's your job to bring that out of them.  Basically, you need a little less hubris, a willingness to concede that you're not always right, an openness to evaluating your own contribution to the problems, and the flexibility to try something different.

So that's why I answered: to try to pass along some of the lessons that I learned the hard way.  It really is about seeing your "job" as not limited to "implement X," but also including "plays well with others," and devoting as much effort to the latter as the former.

And I really appreciate your answers! I really do, and I am reading and re-reading to extract as much action-potential as possible. Please don't interpret my response as though I disagree with you!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: LaineyAZ on October 10, 2019, 08:46:19 PM
Despite the many valid comments on communication styles, improving management skills, etc. I am siding with OP's frustration on this. 

I'm now retired from MegaCorp but my 20+ year career involved working directly within the legal and risk management departments.  Company safety may be no big deal, right up until it is.  If a serious accident happens then OP and Inept Co-worker have to answer to internal risk management.  If the inevitable lawsuit is then filed against the company, they'll also then be deposed by a plaintiff's counsel during which every action - or inaction - of theirs will be scrutinized, including and starting with their educational backgrounds.  I could definitely see a skilled plaintiff's attorney grilling OP why he did not report Inept Co-worker's apparent lack of necessary knowledge and skills.

So, do all of her work issues impact him directly?  IMO, the answer is Hell yes.  How delicate he has to be to get her to be a team player is, to me, the least of his problems.  As the point person in the company for safety it will be his butt on the hot seat.  Senior management needs to get her in line fast, or show her the door.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 10, 2019, 10:04:24 PM
There is no need for skill in the attorney, it is just common sense.
I already said, OP has to communicate with his manager about the issues.
The communication should be about his concern fir the safety of the company and his responsibility, not about the personality of the coworker.
The facts are about how the actions of the coworker put the company at risk and about the actions OP took to prevent that.
OP is looking for advice/support from his manager to be allowed to do the job.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 11, 2019, 04:27:29 AM
OP should be concerned with the responsibilities his safety program and how he will be implicated if there is an accident. If someone should get hurt, you know the investigators are going to look for cause. If one little itty bitty thing is out of date or out of order the finger will be pointed at OP as the person in charge of that job. The company will not want to assume responsibility and will throw OP under the bus. Lawsuits are ugly and OP could be the sacrificial lamb and let go due to his digressions and to save face for the company.

OP needs to have something in writing in regard to these job duties and who will work along with him and their duties documented. Most companies have a safety team and each individual assumes a task to be responsible for. We used to have clipboards and things had to be checked and then signed off on the clipboard by the person who did the safety check, the time and the date.

It's all fun and games till someone gets hurt.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 14, 2019, 11:32:41 AM
She called a safety meeting with me and our manager on Friday to discuss some of the safety concerns and also had a big sign she wanted to install that would require the use of extensive PPE in areas it's really not required.  The sign would make it mandatory to have goggles, respirators, aprons, gloves, and sleeves to work in the area.  Our boss was basically like "wtf? We can't do this.  We can't afford to make everyone wear all this PPE all shift, it will put us out of business.  Plus we already have engineering controls in this room.  We have a fume suppressant in the tanks, and also a scrubber system.  I don't think all this PPE is necessary".

I knew where she was going with this meeting so I had the old personal exposure monitoring data that was done years ago ready and printed out.  I gave a short spiel about the regulations being updated in 2006, which is when the monitoring for this pollutant was measured and was found to be under the action level (half the limit) so we know the engineering solutions are working effectively and workers are not being exposed to this pollutant and all that PPE is unnecessary.  She got flustered and moved on to more topics.

After the meeting I stayed and spoke with my boss.  He agrees she's off the rails and no one knows how to rein her in.  He sounded like he wanted to fire her, but was afraid it's going to be perceived as firing her for being outspoken about safety, and not about being an unqualified lunatic, and also that she may file reports to OSHA if she got fired.  So I think other people are starting to realize just how much of an idiot she is.  He also asked me wtf "Eeee puh" was because she kept saying it and he didn't know what it was.  So I explained that meant the EPA and she calls in eee puh for some reason.  Then he said "oh, I never heard anyone call it that" to which I replied "Yeah me either until her".  We both had a good laugh.

After I got back to my office she wanted to talk about exposure monitoring that was done because she thinks I was confused about the limit and had it incorrect.  I assured her that no I don't have it incorrect, and it's also specifically listed in the report, along with a written explanation comparing the test result against the limit.  Then she started rattling off several different limits and I had to explain the difference between OSHA (legally enforceable) and NIOSH (recommended but not legally enforceable until OSHA adopts it) exposure limits.  I tried not to be condescending, but it was definitely a needed explanation, as there is one enforceable limit for this.  This back and forth continued for a few minutes until I realized she doesn't understand the difference between milligrams and micrograms and that was causing some confusion.  Who doesn't know what the fuck a microgram is? I didn't call too much attention to it and humiliate her, I just kind of walked away and started ignoring her instead.  I was convinced before, but now I'm quite certain she doesn't have any type of science background (despite claims that she's worked as a microbiologist and a "marine chemist" [I know marine chemist is a real thing, but no fucking way she is or was ever a legit marine chemist]).  I also have no doubt she is going to list all sorts of technical things from this job on her resume (oh yea I worked with wet chemistry, we did titrations, we had an AA unit, etc) even though she doesn't understand anything and doesn't directly do any of those jobs.  It will probably sound impressive on a resume though, as long as the person interviewing you doesn't know a ton about those things and doesn't field test your knowledge. 

Fuck, seriously, who doesn't know the difference between milligrams and micrograms?! This is blowing my mind. I get that some people with non technical backgrounds may not know, especially in the USA where metric isn't used much for everyday life, but how are you going to be claiming to be an expert in this stuff and trying to unilaterally make new company policies when you don't understand it?  This wasn't a simple "oops I misread or misremembered the units" kind of thing, she was genuinely confused and didn't seem to know the difference, or even know what a microgram was. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 14, 2019, 12:41:50 PM
Right.  Time to start documenting all her layers of ignorance.  eg -

"[date] X proposed imposing PPE to recommended not enforceable limits at meeting with manager: became clear in meeting between us afterwards that X did not understand the difference between enforceable action limits (as per 2006 regs) and recommended exposure limits"

This means also calling her out on these issues at the time so that she can't deny that it happened.

If you can gather enough of this, you can give it to your manager for him to use to fire her.  Also, I would start to wonder at this point how accurate was her CV to get the job in the first place, and were the claims in it ever fully checked?  If she lied on her CV that's an easy dismissal case.  Is that something your manager can get HR to do?  It means following up in detail on any claimed qualifications and references.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: markbike528CBX on October 14, 2019, 01:25:11 PM
Those of us who do know it all are aggravated by those who (obviously do not).  :-)

I was once (1 time) told that I was " the smartest person in the room" to which I replied "If I'm the smartest person in the room, we are all in a world of hurt". We still won the contract.

That being said, I just had a conversation with a former coworker who stated that I was visibly impatient when we were out in the field. I was the subject matter expert (by definition), the only one on shift, also responsible for overseeing lab analysis and calculating/distilling results, and for weighing, dispensing chemicals. Each of the workstation for these functions was separated by several hundred feet, and often several floors, often with non-functioning elevators, sometimes in different plant zones.  Yep, I got impatient sometimes, sorry.

It sounds like the OP (frugalnacho, for those like me who forgets during multipage threads) has developed some rapport on this issue with the immediate boss. 
Micrograms/meter cubed (µg/m3) versus milligrams/meter cubed (mg/m3 ) IS a big difference, sometimes between a minor issue or Immediately Dangerous to Life and Heath(IDLH) and should be thoroughly understood by those who make rules and put up signs. 
That being said, for non-safety, non-engineering personnel, it is not that critical.

On a slightly different topic, does anyone know how to insert the HTML code into the reply box so things like &#181; don't show up instead of the desired micro or greek mu?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Gronnie on October 14, 2019, 02:09:10 PM
Time to start sending summary emails to her of any conversations you have (as well as possibly keeping your own, maybe less flattering notes) so that you have a good paper trail of all your conversations that she can't deny.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 14, 2019, 02:12:05 PM
JFC, Frugalnacho, that is ridiculous.  An impressive amount of doubling down when demonstrated to be wrong.  Glad your immediate boss has your back.  Unfortunately, he is probably right that she will run to file complaints if she is fired (or threaten to do so to avoid being fired).  And given what you've said about the issues you stepped into, it also sounds like the company can't afford to have that happen.

Best thing you can do for you and the company now is to document, document, document.  Maybe start a journal that covers the work you are doing every day and lists the basis for it?  That way, if/when you have the next issue with her, you can write down that she asked for X, you determined that was not necessary because ABC, she objected because of DEF, you informed her that that was incorrect because GHI, etc. etc.  Doesn't have to be the full blow-by-blow, but if this does come to litigation involving the company and/or you, having contemporaneous documentation of what the issue actually was and why the decision was made* can be the difference between winning and going to jail.

*In this case, you didn't do it because it was not required, because she misunderstood the required exposure levels and didn't know about the past work that had been done to document exposures -- NOT because your manager thought it would cost too much (which I guarantee is how she will portray it in any complaint).
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: RetiredAt63 on October 14, 2019, 02:18:10 PM
I'm also feeling sorry for Frugal Nacho here.  At least FN's boss understands the science and the regulations.  I was always fussing at our building admin to be sure our HVAC and fume hoods were working correctly, because xylene and formaldehyde are not good for you.  It took a few years before we got good compliance.  The time the waste alcohol bottle (histology lab) exploded because the AC wasn't working properly may have helped.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 14, 2019, 03:33:49 PM
After this last incident, i am feeling your pain. I agree with the others, document everything.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: LaineyAZ on October 14, 2019, 04:28:53 PM
Agree with former player that it's time for HR to audit her resume.  My bet is they'll find exaggerations and/or outright lies on there.  Misrepresentations are cause for immediate dismissals.  Problem solved.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 16, 2019, 09:38:44 AM
She's driving me bonkers.

Just walked in my office and said I need to write up another incident report because an employee got potassium hydroxide on him.  So I'm like

me: wtf? what happened? 
her: I don't know, you'll have to interview him.  He said he has IBS and his stomach is upset now, which is one of the symptoms of potassium hydroxide.
me: what? That's not from potassium hydroxide, unless he was eating it.  That doesn't make sense.
her: yea it is, I'll print you the SDS.

So right now I see the fucking employee out there working in the lab and he looks fine.  If this was such a big deal why did he not even bother to tell the safety manager and just go right back to work?  Instead he tells her, then immediately goes back to work? I'm skeptical of the severity of the issue when he just goes right back to work.

She walked back into my office and handed me a printed SDS and a printed article about potassium hydroxide poisoning from mount sinai.  Then she pointed to the bullet point that says "abdominal pain".  It's the first bullet point listed under symptoms from swallowing potassium hydroxide.

I'm frustrated because she is clearly an idiot.  His stomach cramps are obviously unrelated to getting a small amount of KOH on his skin.  I'm also frustrated because somehow she is deemed to either be more of an expert, or people are just more comfortable with her so they go to her to talk instead of me.  I'm also frustrated because this is likely not a reportable incident and doesn't really require an incident report, but now I am spending time and energy dealing with it.

I'm going to go interview the employee to get the bottom of what actually happened.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 16, 2019, 10:48:38 AM
@frugalnacho , in my line of work, safety, QA, and my role are all meant to report up to the top of the chain of command specifically to ensure independence and so that there's no programmatic pressure to change results or alter reports or lessen the importance of any specific finding.  I wonder if your position should be reporting to someone at a higher level or outside the current chain and if you can use that as a way to separate yourself from her and also re-establish the correct reporting chain?  I would stress the importance of independence and autonomy and not wanting any undue influence from anyone else on the program.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 16, 2019, 11:18:09 AM
I report to the plant manager which is the highest position I could report to. 

I spoke with the employee and it was no big deal.  He just wanted to bring to our attention a potential hazard.  Before disposing of empty KOH bags, there is a fine powder left in the bag, and when pushing it down a small puff was released into the air.  He had all the proper PPE on and was not injured, just wanted to raise awareness so someone else doesn't get injured and get a face full of powdered KOH.  His account of the incident was far different than what she relayed to me.

We've spoken before about OSHA reportable incidents and what qualifies and what doesn't.  This doesn't, but I think she may be thinking we should be doing incident reports for near miss type situations unrelated to reports required by OSHA, although the way she presented it to me sounded like she thought it was a required reportable incident.  I can't tell with her.  She sounds so confident and serious when she speaks, you'd swear she knows exactly what she's talking about, and it makes me wonder "wait, do I need to do an incident report?".  Then I remember all the interactions I've had with her where she displayed a staggering amount of ignorance and I wonder how she even functions.

I also wonder if she has any self awareness.  Does she go home at night and understand how stupid she is? Or is she completely oblivious and lamenting about the stupid manager she has to deal with?  Did she go home and research what a microgram is?  Or did she just totally blow that off and still doesn't understand mg and µg are different? 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 16, 2019, 11:29:34 AM
I feel like I am getting far more frustrated and worked up about her than I should be.  I try to simply ignore her, but I feel obligated to at least check into everything she brings to my attention.  I'd hate for her to have a legitimate issue that I just blow off without at least checking into it, but I feel like it's a time suck as well.  I'm spending several hours each week dealing with non issues. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 16, 2019, 11:38:24 AM
What are co-worker's job title and functions and how do they relate to your job title and functions?  Do you both report to the same manager?  The things you are saying about her at the moment seem to have her pinging around the factory like a squash ball with no functional supervision and getting in your way without you having power over her, which can't be right.

Any progress on getting HR to check her CV?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 16, 2019, 01:21:46 PM
Job titles and responsibilities are poorly defined.  I believe her official job title would be "data entry clerk", but I don't know exactly what her listed job responsibilities are, if she even has any.  I asked for a list of job responsibilities for myself so I know what I'm supposed to be doing, and they don't have one for me, so I'm trying to identify everything I feel should fall under EHS Manager's duties and just do that. This place is culturally like a small mom and pop shop with many people that have a very wide (too wide) range of job responsibilities, and has quickly expanded to be a medium sized company (90ish employees) but with that small shop mentality/culture.  My predecessor was the lab manager (he oversaw chemical inventory, ordering, the chemistry on individual tanks (100+), and making additions to those tanks.  He was also a salesman and provided quotes to customers. He also did everything environmental, health, and safety related.  It was far too much for one person to do, and I see a lot of areas that were obviously lacking.  Not because he wasn't qualified, but because how could you possibly do that much work with one person?  Too many hats, and too much work for a single person.  Maybe when it was a much smaller operation 15 years ago he could handle it, but now they are far too large to have a single person do all that.  Probably had something to do with him abruptly stress quitting retiring 5 months ago.

As far as I know she has absolutely no safety responsibilities as part of her job.  She is supposed to do data entry and order chemicals as directed by the defacto lab manager (who is really a tech with 15 years experience, and has no interest in officially becoming the lab manager).  She is ping ponging around the plant and finding various issues (and lots of non-issues), and as far as I can tell she has just taken it upon herself to do this.  She believes she has more safety training and experience than anyone else, and feels everything around here is inadequate and so is just taking the initiative to get things done, but she has no actual authority to do anything.  She has lots of coworkers convinced she is smart and qualified though, so official job responsibilities or not many co workers view her as somewhat of an authority on safety at this point. 

Management seems to give very little direct supervision to the lab.  In my position I get it, that's why you hired someone with an education and experience, because he doesn't want to have to babysit me and tell me everything I need to be doing.   He doesn't want to deal with the environmental agencies, or safety training, etc, he wants another manager that can work independently and just do the job so he doesn't have to worry about it.  But she probably needs to be getting more supervision.

No I haven't gone to HR about checking into her resume.  HR consists of a single person, who also does payroll and other administrative office stuff.  Seems like we should have more than a single person that does HR as an afterthought, but that's a separate issue.  I have a copy of her resume so I've read it over. She may have lied, but most of the fluff listed is unverifiable.  It's not specific accomplishments, just a list of possible job responsibilities and buzz words.  Most of her jobs look like they lasted 3-6 months, with several gaps in employment between them.  You would think those would be red flags to management, but maybe she had good answers.  Maybe they didn't think the bar needed to be too high for a data entry clerk, or maybe they have such a hard time getting employees willing to work here that they take what they can get.  I've spoken to my manager about her though, and expressed my thoughts, not quite as colorfully as in this thread, but he understands and sees the same issues with her.  I don't want to go to HR about getting her terminated, that seems like a declaration of war and would probably reflect poorly on me if the skuttlebutt was that frugalnacho is crying to HR trying to get someone fired.  I would rather raise the issue to my manager and let him make the decision to check into it.  I haven't been able to meet with him since it was suggested last week though.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 16, 2019, 01:37:44 PM
Right.  So, safety in the plant is about people being where they should be and not where they shouldn't be, right?  So you can issue a safety notice for people whose job description does not require them to be present on the shop floor (such as data entry clerks), to stay off the shop floor except for any specific purposes mentioned in their job description?

The other way to deal with her is to make sure she has so much data entry work to do that she doesn't have time to go smarming around the plant.  How much additional data entry work can she be given?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 16, 2019, 02:35:39 PM
You SPOKE with your manager...
It is the last time I reply: you write to your manager.

I will just read from now on, I hope I won't read about you being sued because of her actions and because you did not write to your manager.

Other than that it seems it is becoming a really big pain to deal with this and it is wasting your time, I feel your pain.

I have to clean up after several interns and contractors and I am getting tired of doing it.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on October 16, 2019, 02:49:44 PM
Well this sounds like a totally dysfunctional place to work.  No one has job descriptions, reporting lines seem unclear, and supervision sound pretty lax.  And a DATA ENTRY CLERK is getting away with these antics?  Yikes.  If I were you, I think I would be looking for another job.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 16, 2019, 06:50:28 PM
It is very possible that at a place like that someone assigned her those duties. Also, safety should be everyone’s responsibility. I think she has you so frustrated that it is possible you may overlook an actual safety concern one of these days by having enough and ignoring her. You either need to let it go (which is almost impossible once someone gets under your skin) or look for new employment. I am sure being so worked up and frustrated everyday makes your job miserable.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: GreenToTheCore on October 16, 2019, 07:08:17 PM
Dude, get out of my head. I can relate exactly to your reactions and thought processes. It is so incredibly frustrating when simple things (introductory physics anyone?) become some grand debate. I feel you.


From some prior experience, I agree with others:
- You have a great advantage that your manager is on your side. Document this shit with quick emails to him - "Hey ___, I appreciate your support with Dingleberry. Since it's in the company's best interest for someone other than myself to be aware of what's going on, here's another instance that occurred today:  time/date, description, business impact (actual or potential)." 
(or something like that, there are much better writers on this forum that could help you craft a clear, suscinct, useful email. Let us know if this would be helpful and I'm sure folks would be glad to write up some examples.)

- Document this for yourself. Start a spreadsheet just for you so you can look back and confirm that you weren't crazy. As time goes on it's easier to convince yourself that it wasn't that bad. For me it's helped to be confident in future situations to be able to look back and confirm "No, I can trust my instincts. It was that bad."

- Build up positive interactions with as many other coworkers as possible.

- Build your DGAF muscle (for the things unrelated to immediate safety).

- Start looking for another job just in case this lasts beyond your sanity's limit.


I also wonder if she has any self awareness.  Does she go home at night and understand how stupid she is? Or is she completely oblivious and lamenting about the stupid manager she has to deal with?  Did she go home and research what a microgram is?  Or did she just totally blow that off and still doesn't understand mg and µg are different?
I think about this stuff all the time. If only I could get into their heads or sign them up for a psychological study... it would be fascinating.



Keep the stories coming!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 17, 2019, 12:18:00 AM
As a data clerk, she is probably not very intelligent. And I guess data entry is boring as a job. So she might just be looking for something more interesting to do. And safely sounds a lot more interesting. Unfortunately she is not equipped with any knowledge or education about the subject. She might also be building her resume, being able to add safety work to it.

+1 for documenting issues to your manager and mentioning the danger that safety could be at risk with here involved, doing things wrong.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 17, 2019, 10:41:24 AM
I spoke with my manager because I wanted to gauge where he was and how he felt about her before I started documenting every little thing via email/writing and requesting that HR scrutinize her resume looking for reasons we can fire her.  I mean if he was totally on board with her and had the wool pulled over his eyes then I can't imagine my documentation emails would come across very well, even if I was correct.  I would look like a crybaby tattletail with every minor detail I brought to his attention, even though IMO all those details add up to a dangerously ignorant employee, and even the instances that aren't actually dangerous are still wasting the company's resources.

So last week I was busy finding the documentation of the initial testing we did regarding chrome, and didn't pay particularly close attention to the sign she wanted to put up.  She emailed a copy of the sign to me and the plant manager when she set up the safety meeting.  She had copies printed off and laminated and ready to post, she thought she was just getting permission from the plant manager during this meeting.   You all know how the meeting went, and that I discovered afterwards that she didn't know what a microgram was.

I've gone back to look a the sign she emailed, and it's riddled with errors.  I don't want to post the actual sign, and I feel like I'm already divulging way too much information, even though it's nothing specific about my company.

The first thing is that she listed PPE as personal protection equipment instead of personal protective equipment.  I mean it's a very minor quibble, everyone surely gets the gist of it and understands, but why not just use the correct terminology if you're going to bother printing and laminating a sign? 

Misspellings:
Mandatory as "Manadatory"
Required as "Requred"
Personal as "Peronal"
Hydrofluricid (wtf is that? I know she meant hydrofluoric acid, but what she typed isn’t a thing)

Inaccuracies:
                Lists Chromium (IV) which would be chromium 4 which isn't common and we don't use, she’s thinking of Chromium (VI) which has a valence state of 6 and we do use. [Chrome (VI) is the bad guy] 
                “OSHA Limits Exposure is 8 hrs w/ PPE” – No it’s not, besides being a grammatical nightmare it’s just wrong.  The personal exposure limit is for when you DON’T have PPE.  The PPE, you know, protects you.  Also she didn’t list what the number values of any of those exposure limits are.  I overheard her tell this exact same thing to another coworker (and I think I've mentioned it previously in this thread) during her initial safety training so this is not an oversight, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how/why PPE works and is required.
Hydrofluricid (I know I already listed it under misspellings, but it deserves a shout out here as well)
Lists Bronze under "exposures" (but doesn't list a numerical value)
                Why would there be bronze in the chrome room?
                There no exposure limit for bronze.  Bronze is made of copper and tin, and there would be an exposure limit for copper.  Again not an issue because there is no copper or bronze in the chrome room!


I don't understand why she wouldn't have someone proofread a sign she is planning to put up.  Or at least re read it yourself.  We've already been down this road when she laminated multiple copies of the emergency poster that had 10 misspellings and a dangerous order of steps for fire fighting.  And she emailed this directly to the plant manager to request a meetings.  So he has a copy in his email and I could easily bring all these points to his attention. 


As for looking for another job...I just started this job in June after being laid off.  I had 12 years of environmental consulting experience, and got headhunted into a newer position as an environmental specialist about a year ago.   Basically did the environmental for the whole plant, and we had a separate full time safety specialist.  After that plant got shut down and I got laid off I found this job at a smaller plant in a different field, and got the environmental, health, and safety manager position.  I still have a lot to learn, so I am using this place to gain as much experience as I can.  Even if it's stressful I would like to work here and get that experience so I can move into a similar role and actually have some experience.  The company is a bit of a mess, but I am being paid decently, and I am gaining a lot of experience that I didn't get in my first 13 years of employment.  I am going to stick it out and improve the company as much as I can, hopefully making it a safer and more environmentally friendly plant in the process.  If it works long term and I can retire from here in 5 years then that's great.  If it doesn't work long term, I'd still like to gain as much experience as I can in the meantime so I can be more effective in my next role, which I imagine will be something similar to this one.  So as stressful as I appear in this thread, I am going to hold off on looking for another job for a bit longer.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Lulee on October 17, 2019, 11:33:24 AM
On the upside, given her history, you only have to make it a short ways into to the new year before she gets herself canned/walks away.  Imagine how badly she must be doing her OWN job of data entry where accuracy is PARAMOUNT if she's doing that badly in all the idiotic things she's doing trying to help with health and safety!

I'd document everything to CYA and then follow your boss's lead as to how to handle her.  He may decide that she's already on her way out and that if you two can contain her misguided enthusiasm for a short while, she'll be out of your hair without any effort or possibly blow back on you two.  He might even have a trick or two up his sleeve on how to accomplish this.  May I suggest putting her in charge of all upcoming holiday related parties/decorations/what-have-you's and spin it up to a major effort like making sure it's done in such a way that no one can find offense (try doing THAT in today's sociopolitical environment).

Meanwhile, beyond containment until her eventual departure, he can guide you best with all his years at the company on how to codify in the processes ways to get people on-board with safety while not allowing any unhelpful "helpers" derail the efforts or worse, get the company into a position of increased liability.  He's the expert out of the two of you in how to get things done within the company.

He likely needs your input to see where "help" like hers is increasing the company's exposure to governmental attention & fines as opposed to her just seeming stupid and annoying.  It's easy to dismiss her so-called work as idiotic but harmless if all you see is typos.  Her mistakes on measurements and the Chrome (IV) versus Chrome (VI) seems to my uneducated ears like her incompetence is dragging the company out into dangerous waters.  The more you focus on the risks, the more he's likely to back you up and he'll have ammunition if he feels the need to get her shoved out the door sooner.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 17, 2019, 11:48:47 AM
So, your complaint is not that she is a bad speller.  Your complaint is "unprofessional standards in published material, with errors leading to an appearance of carelessness on safety matters and potentially creating confusion by mislabeling of safety-critical substances"

Whe is in charge of her data entry work?  Can you make common cause with whoever is supervising her on that side of things?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 17, 2019, 04:06:07 PM
Ok, I said I won't reply but here I am.
"O MA GA" WTF is that poster.
WTF... I would just call the meeting, prepare the plant manager for what will be a bloodbath and enforcing strict "don't ever touch a keyboard" rules for her.
As a data entry clerk that should do it.
If that does not work, second rule would be "get correct facts based on the law and the regulations" coupled with "do that for your field of responsibility" and "don't expose the company to lawsuits/fines".

I don't know if I would be able to care about what my manager wants, I would send one e-mail pointing out the porblems ( in this case she gave you the ammunition, you are not  a cryaby, you just do your job by pointing out all the problems in that poster). If he decides to ignore it it is his decision.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: GreenToTheCore on October 17, 2019, 05:18:12 PM


I spoke with my manager because I wanted to gauge where he was and how he felt about her before I started documenting every little thing via email/writing and requesting that HR scrutinize her resume looking for reasons we can fire her.  I mean if he was totally on board with her and had the wool pulled over his eyes then I can't imagine my documentation emails would come across very well, even if I was correct.  I would look like a crybaby tattletail with every minor detail I brought to his attention, even though IMO all those details add up to a dangerously ignorant employee, and even the instances that aren't actually dangerous are still wasting the company's resources.
Ah, gotchya. I was thinking the manager was more on board and was of a similar mindset that she's off her rocker.


So last week I was busy finding the documentation of the initial testing we did regarding chrome, and didn't pay particularly close attention to the sign she wanted to put up.  She emailed a copy of the sign to me and the plant manager when she set up the safety meeting.  She had copies printed off and laminated and ready to post, she thought she was just getting permission from the plant manager during this meeting.   You all know how the meeting went, and that I discovered afterwards that she didn't know what a microgram was.

I've gone back to look a the sign she emailed, and it's riddled with errors.  I don't want to post the actual sign, and I feel like I'm already divulging way too much information, even though it's nothing specific about my company.

The first thing is that she listed PPE as personal protection equipment instead of personal protective equipment.  I mean it's a very minor quibble, everyone surely gets the gist of it and understands, but why not just use the correct terminology if you're going to bother printing and laminating a sign? 

Misspellings:
Mandatory as "Manadatory"
Required as "Requred"
Personal as "Peronal"
Hydrofluricid (wtf is that? I know she meant hydrofluoric acid, but what she typed isn’t a thing)

Inaccuracies:
                Lists Chromium (IV) which would be chromium 4 which isn't common and we don't use, she’s thinking of Chromium (VI) which has a valence state of 6 and we do use. [Chrome (VI) is the bad guy] 
                “OSHA Limits Exposure is 8 hrs w/ PPE” – No it’s not, besides being a grammatical nightmare it’s just wrong.  The personal exposure limit is for when you DON’T have PPE.  The PPE, you know, protects you.  Also she didn’t list what the number values of any of those exposure limits are.  I overheard her tell this exact same thing to another coworker (and I think I've mentioned it previously in this thread) during her initial safety training so this is not an oversight, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how/why PPE works and is required.
Hydrofluricid (I know I already listed it under misspellings, but it deserves a shout out here as well)
Lists Bronze under "exposures" (but doesn't list a numerical value)
                Why would there be bronze in the chrome room?
                There no exposure limit for bronze.  Bronze is made of copper and tin, and there would be an exposure limit for copper.  Again not an issue because there is no copper or bronze in the chrome room!


I don't understand why she wouldn't have someone proofread a sign she is planning to put up.  Or at least re read it yourself.  We've already been down this road when she laminated multiple copies of the emergency poster that had 10 misspellings and a dangerous order of steps for fire fighting.  And she emailed this directly to the plant manager to request a meetings.  So he has a copy in his email and I could easily bring all these points to his attention. 
I know I said keep the stories coming, but da-amn. This is some unbelievable stuff.

As for looking for another job...I just started this job in June after being laid off.  I had 12 years of environmental consulting experience, and got headhunted into a newer position as an environmental specialist about a year ago.   Basically did the environmental for the whole plant, and we had a separate full time safety specialist.  After that plant got shut down and I got laid off I found this job at a smaller plant in a different field, and got the environmental, health, and safety manager position.  I still have a lot to learn, so I am using this place to gain as much experience as I can.  Even if it's stressful I would like to work here and get that experience so I can move into a similar role and actually have some experience.  The company is a bit of a mess, but I am being paid decently, and I am gaining a lot of experience that I didn't get in my first 13 years of employment.  I am going to stick it out and improve the company as much as I can, hopefully making it a safer and more environmentally friendly plant in the process.  If it works long term and I can retire from here in 5 years then that's great.  If it doesn't work long term, I'd still like to gain as much experience as I can in the meantime so I can be more effective in my next role, which I imagine will be something similar to this one.  So as stressful as I appear in this thread, I am going to hold off on looking for another job for a bit longer.
Nice, glad to hear that this is just a venting space and you're not nearing your bursting point.
Sounds like you have a good plan on what you want out of the experience.


I'll just be sitting here with my bowl of popcorn, waiting to hear how the manager is going to handle this poster shenanigans. Thanks again for providing us with mid-week entertainment.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 18, 2019, 07:21:34 AM
On the upside, given her history, you only have to make it a short ways into to the new year before she gets herself canned/walks away.  Imagine how badly she must be doing her OWN job of data entry where accuracy is PARAMOUNT if she's doing that badly in all the idiotic things she's doing trying to help with health and safety!

This is a great point and I've been thinking about this a lot.  If she is making this many mistakes and errors with attempting to make company policies and posting permanent signs, how well can she be doing at her actual job?  Is her attention to detail of the same quality in that area?  Does she have any oversight, and is anyone checking up on her?  I know I certainly don't, and I don't know if anyone else is. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 18, 2019, 07:31:13 AM
On the upside, given her history, you only have to make it a short ways into to the new year before she gets herself canned/walks away.  Imagine how badly she must be doing her OWN job of data entry where accuracy is PARAMOUNT if she's doing that badly in all the idiotic things she's doing trying to help with health and safety!

This is a great point and I've been thinking about this a lot.  If she is making this many mistakes and errors with attempting to make company policies and posting permanent signs, how well can she be doing at her actual job?  Is her attention to detail of the same quality in that area?  Does she have any oversight, and is anyone checking up on her?  I know I certainly don't, and I don't know if anyone else is.
Perhaps you can encourage her that with her great people skills she is wasted in a factory and ought to be in PR and event hospitality work.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 18, 2019, 09:09:54 AM
She took it upon herself to conduct another safety meeting.   She is insisting that the potassium hydroxide is a reportable incident and we are going to be fined by OSHA if we don't write an incident report.  I simply replied that I don't think that's true, and I'd like to see the specific language that requires it.   

I am drafting up an email to my boss right now about her to see what we can do about getting her out of here.  I'm at like a 1,3,5,7,9 with her because I can't even. 

EDIT: Also to be clear I don't attend her safety meetings, she is conducting it in the lab outside my office. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 18, 2019, 09:43:04 AM
Quote
I've gone back to look a the sign she emailed, and it's riddled with errors.  I don't want to post the actual sign, and I feel like I'm already divulging way too much information, even though it's nothing specific about my company.

The first thing is that she listed PPE as personal protection equipment instead of personal protective equipment.  I mean it's a very minor quibble, everyone surely gets the gist of it and understands, but why not just use the correct terminology if you're going to bother printing and laminating a sign? 

Misspellings:
Mandatory as "Manadatory"
Required as "Requred"
Personal as "Peronal"
Hydrofluricid (wtf is that? I know she meant hydrofluoric acid, but what she typed isn’t a thing)

Inaccuracies:
                Lists Chromium (IV) which would be chromium 4 which isn't common and we don't use, she’s thinking of Chromium (VI) which has a valence state of 6 and we do use. [Chrome (VI) is the bad guy] 
                “OSHA Limits Exposure is 8 hrs w/ PPE” – No it’s not, besides being a grammatical nightmare it’s just wrong.  The personal exposure limit is for when you DON’T have PPE.  The PPE, you know, protects you.  Also she didn’t list what the number values of any of those exposure limits are.  I overheard her tell this exact same thing to another coworker (and I think I've mentioned it previously in this thread) during her initial safety training so this is not an oversight, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how/why PPE works and is required.
Hydrofluricid (I know I already listed it under misspellings, but it deserves a shout out here as well)
Lists Bronze under "exposures" (but doesn't list a numerical value)
                Why would there be bronze in the chrome room?
                There no exposure limit for bronze.  Bronze is made of copper and tin, and there would be an exposure limit for copper.  Again not an issue because there is no copper or bronze in the chrome room!


I would print out the sign, then take a big red sharpie to it, circling every typo, and marking a big red X across the incorrect information.    Then I would put it on her desk with a note that says:  "Please correct typos and incorrect information, then resubmit".

If this happened more than once, I would do the same, but this time electronically and "reply all" to include whoever she included. 

I know this might be considered passive-aggressive, but this kind of thing does have its benefits.  You may even want to act as if you're taking her under your wing by saying "Thanks, I can see you're interested in a career in safety.  If you're serious about learning, please correct typos, correct all inaccuracies, then resubmit" 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on October 18, 2019, 09:50:22 AM
Quote
I've gone back to look a the sign she emailed, and it's riddled with errors.  I don't want to post the actual sign, and I feel like I'm already divulging way too much information, even though it's nothing specific about my company.

The first thing is that she listed PPE as personal protection equipment instead of personal protective equipment.  I mean it's a very minor quibble, everyone surely gets the gist of it and understands, but why not just use the correct terminology if you're going to bother printing and laminating a sign? 

Misspellings:
Mandatory as "Manadatory"
Required as "Requred"
Personal as "Peronal"
Hydrofluricid (wtf is that? I know she meant hydrofluoric acid, but what she typed isn’t a thing)

Inaccuracies:
                Lists Chromium (IV) which would be chromium 4 which isn't common and we don't use, she’s thinking of Chromium (VI) which has a valence state of 6 and we do use. [Chrome (VI) is the bad guy] 
                “OSHA Limits Exposure is 8 hrs w/ PPE” – No it’s not, besides being a grammatical nightmare it’s just wrong.  The personal exposure limit is for when you DON’T have PPE.  The PPE, you know, protects you.  Also she didn’t list what the number values of any of those exposure limits are.  I overheard her tell this exact same thing to another coworker (and I think I've mentioned it previously in this thread) during her initial safety training so this is not an oversight, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how/why PPE works and is required.
Hydrofluricid (I know I already listed it under misspellings, but it deserves a shout out here as well)
Lists Bronze under "exposures" (but doesn't list a numerical value)
                Why would there be bronze in the chrome room?
                There no exposure limit for bronze.  Bronze is made of copper and tin, and there would be an exposure limit for copper.  Again not an issue because there is no copper or bronze in the chrome room!


I would print out the sign, then take a big red sharpie to it, circling every typo, and marking a big red X across the incorrect information.    Then I would put it on her desk with a note that says:  "Please correct typos and incorrect information, then resubmit".

If this happened more than once, I would do the same, but this time electronically and "reply all" to include whoever she included. 

I know this might be considered passive-aggressive, but this kind of thing does have its benefits.  You may even want to act as if you're taking her under your wing by saying "Thanks, I can see you're interested in a career in safety.  If you're serious about learning, please correct typos, correct all inaccuracies, then resubmit"
That puts OP in the position of volunteering to train a data entry clerk that she doesn't get on with to do her own job.  It would be a hard "no" for me.

I don't understand why a data entry clerk should be allowed to call safety meetings?  OP: have you told her not to do this?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 18, 2019, 10:19:17 AM

That puts OP in the position of volunteering to train a data entry clerk that she doesn't get on with to do her own job.  It would be a hard "no" for me.

FrugalNacho would not have to train her, he could simply say "okay, if you're serious about it, why don't you go request training.  Run it through me so I know it's legit, and I'll back you up with HR/Management"   Sometimes the very best workers are created from the most annoying.  If she wants to become specialized at something, this would be a door to get her foot in.   

I once worked with someone with similar annoying traits.  Let's just say I still refer to her as "Becky Buttinsky"  Anyway, she made my life unpleasant at work, so I secretly shared her name/contact info/resume (I don't recall if I actually had her resume or not) to the recruiter who had just landed me the job.  We had similar skills, so any job possibilities he had lined up for me were useful for her.  She actually got a job that I didn't get.  It worked out for both of us. 

Years later, I did have access to the resume of the most useless person I've ever worked with.  After struggling for months to keep a team motivated while they were all angry at useless man (he was their "boss"), I finally sent his resume to recruiter who came seeking me.  It was a better fit for him geographically, and on paper he looked good.  Problem solved! 

My point is, sometimes the best way to block these people isn't with a wall.  It's to let them pass through and to help them on their way somewhere else.



Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 18, 2019, 11:15:36 AM

That puts OP in the position of volunteering to train a data entry clerk that she doesn't get on with to do her own job.  It would be a hard "no" for me.

FrugalNacho would not have to train her, he could simply say "okay, if you're serious about it, why don't you go request training.  Run it through me so I know it's legit, and I'll back you up with HR/Management"   Sometimes the very best workers are created from the most annoying.  If she wants to become specialized at something, this would be a door to get her foot in.   

I once worked with someone with similar annoying traits.  Let's just say I still refer to her as "Becky Buttinsky"  Anyway, she made my life unpleasant at work, so I secretly shared her name/contact info/resume (I don't recall if I actually had her resume or not) to the recruiter who had just landed me the job.  We had similar skills, so any job possibilities he had lined up for me were useful for her.  She actually got a job that I didn't get.  It worked out for both of us. 

Years later, I did have access to the resume of the most useless person I've ever worked with.  After struggling for months to keep a team motivated while they were all angry at useless man (he was their "boss"), I finally sent his resume to recruiter who came seeking me.  It was a better fit for him geographically, and on paper he looked good.  Problem solved! 

My point is, sometimes the best way to block these people isn't with a wall.  It's to let them pass through and to help them on their way somewhere else.

The problem isn't (just) lack of training, the problem is that she's a fucking idiot.  She's incompetent and I wouldn't feel comfortable with her being in charge of anything, including data entry.  At first I wanted to avoid the nuclear route and try to work through things amicably, keep her employed but hopefully out of my hair.  But this is a business, not a charity to give a mentally ill woman a platform.  I think it's in the best interest of the company, and everyone at the company, to fire her.  She is wasting my time, our coworkers time, her own time, and company resources.  And she is creating hysteria and getting employees riled up over non-issues.  There are plenty of issues to get riled up about at this plant, but she's not even smart enough to be able to differentiate between legitimate issues vs non-issues, let alone prioritize the legitimate issues.  I would love to set her free and have her move on to something better, but I don't want it to be at this company.  If the call was mine I would fire her today.

And why is a data entry clerk calling safety meetings?  Because nobody is stopping her.  I'm not her boss, even though I would be the safety manager, and I haven't been given the authority to boss her around.  Initially I didn't want to discourage anyone that wants to voluntarily do safety related tasks.  Obviously I don't want total noobs to have any authority to actually do anything, but I would love for them all to take safety seriously and be active participants and give feedback.  You want to get a safety committee together to review and critique our safety policies? That's great, but I had no idea just how off the rails she was going to be. 

So now I'm back to where I was when I started this thread.  My concern is me stepping in and saying "You are an idiot and are woefully unqualified and I'm shutting you and your safety bullshit down and I don't want you to have anything to do with safety moving forward" is going to have some serious repercussions.  It's going to make her my nemesis for the remainder of our employment.  It's going to drive a wedge between me and the other employees because she seems to be well liked, and most of the other employees believe her bullshit even when she's dead wrong - I just don't think I'm going to be viewed favorably in that situation regardless of how correct I am.  It's also going to discourage other employees from wanting to take an active role with safety.  Even if the decree comes down from above me it's going to create problems. Not saying anything seems like an even worse alternative though, and the situation has gotten worse since I started this thread.  My manager is aware of the issue though, and I've just sent him a long email documenting a lot of what I've discussed in this thread.  Hopefully he can manage the situation.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 18, 2019, 02:42:38 PM
That was pretty quick.  After I shot off that long email to my boss I had a conference call with him and the corporate lawyer.  He thanked me for my detailed email, and said he knew she was becoming a problem but hadn't realized just how big of one she is becoming. He hadn't reviewed her proposed poster in as much detail as I did and was shocked at everything I pointed out.  It sounds like they want to bring some safety consultants in to get things fully on track, and quell some of the fears she is bringing up.  She won't listen to me or my boss (or reason), but maybe she'll listen to an expert.  It also sounds like my boss, HR, the lawyer, and her are going to have a meeting next week to shut her down and put her back in her place.  I'm not sure if I am going to be part of that meeting.  Also not sure if she is being fired or just getting a stern talking to. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on October 18, 2019, 03:00:43 PM
I was just about to comment when your last post appeared.  If things still aren’t settled next week then I would get her boss(is he also yours?) to specify exactly what roles each of you will play regarding her duties.  You both have to be on the same page about who does what because it seems that her boss provides an administrative function while you provide an expertise-based function.  I used to have both an admin supervisor and a clinical supervisor and the duties of each were clear as they related to me and to each other, so we all knew where we stood and there was no confusion about reporting lines.  I knew who to go to for a particular issue.  It made everyone’s job a lot easier.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 18, 2019, 05:04:08 PM
That was pretty quick.  After I shot off that long email to my boss I had a conference call with him and the corporate lawyer.  He thanked me for my detailed email, and said he knew she was becoming a problem but hadn't realized just how big of one she is becoming. He hadn't reviewed her proposed poster in as much detail as I did and was shocked at everything I pointed out.  It sounds like they want to bring some safety consultants in to get things fully on track, and quell some of the fears she is bringing up.  She won't listen to me or my boss (or reason), but maybe she'll listen to an expert.  It also sounds like my boss, HR, the lawyer, and her are going to have a meeting next week to shut her down and put her back in her place.  I'm not sure if I am going to be part of that meeting.  Also not sure if she is being fired or just getting a stern talking to.

If they are bringing an expert to calm her down and take care of her worries then she is not getting fired. I don’t know what kind of a workplace this is but if they have a corporate lawyer it doesn’t sound like a mom and pop shop so i doubt they can or would be willing to fire without several steps first. Also, if you are the safety manager why are they bringing someone else from outside and why weren’t you in the know until your email? Maybe she is not just a data entry clerk if they are going through allthis trouble to calm her down.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 18, 2019, 06:34:12 PM
Yes it's the same boss. Her job has nothing to do with safety and he doesn't know why she's interjected herself.  She's gone rogue. I agree we need some clearly defined job duties.  At this point the problem is larger than just not having clearly defined job responsibilities though, as she has several people freaked out about unsafe conditions due to her fear mongering.  Everything's an "exposure" no matter if it doesn't make sense, or if we have data to the contrary showing it's not actually a hazard.  The problem is that she is louder and more confident so me standing there with lab reports showing ambient air chrome levels are below the exposure limit, and showing we have maintenance records for the scrubber and differential pressure readings demonstrating the control equipment is in working order...well most of these people don't understand that stuff, but they understand that safety Sandy said they need respirators in this area for that specific reason.  It takes a lot longer to gather all of the evidence and the exact regulatory language to refute her than it does for her to make her claims. 

I think they want to bring an expert in to calm the other employees down.  That way it will come from an expert that these are not actually issues. And the things that are issues (there are plenty) can also be addressed. 

Every company in this industry has a lawyer.  Most of them use the same few lawyers that specialize in this industry.  It's a mom and pop in the sense that a single dude owns and has owned it for decades now.  Maybe not a traditional mom and pop with only 2-3 employees, but it seems like the attitude was pretty lax.  My boss was only brought in to run the entire plant about 3 years ago. Company was only like 30 employees a few years ago, so it's undergone rapid growth in the last few years.  They haven't been keeping up with all the EHS stuff during that rapid growth and a lot of stuff being implemented is reactionary.   Like letting hazardous waste pile up until they got big enough to he on the radar and a regulator shows up and is basically like "wtf, you guys need to comply with xyz", so they figure out how to comply with xyz and move on. 

I wasn't in the know because I don't think this plan was hatched until I sent that email today.  The contacting of the consultant didn't happen until during our conference call this afternoon.

We'll see how eager they are to hire a consultant once we get the quote.  It's going to be expensive.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 18, 2019, 09:54:28 PM
I think your e-mail finally did it and they can't ignore it.
If she sues they can say they had to act and it was not their decision.
I also think the external person is brought in to remove even more of possible reasons for suing "the independent expert said she is wrong".
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugaldrummer on October 19, 2019, 12:17:45 PM
I would speak to your boss about your suspicions about her resume being fabricated. If they can prove that she egregiously lied about her qualifications for the job it should be easy to fire her without any risk of it looking like retaliation. Meanwhile document ALL of her lapses in knowledge.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 21, 2019, 09:07:12 AM
It sounds like my boss spoke with her.  I wasn't there, but I know what we spoke about on Friday.  She is outside my office disbanding the safety training right now and I'm overhearing the discussion.  She said they are calling in an outside consulting firm to conduct the training. It sounds like a total shit show.   Everyone out there is pissed and thinks the company isn't taking safety seriously, even though the best thing that could be doing is currently being done.  Tensions sound high, and morale sounds low, and I'm getting awkward glances from the employees.  I'm sure they all think I am partially/fully to blame.  Nobody seemed to have a problem eating donuts and bagels, and having 10 employees bullshit around for 2 hours on the clock with literally no useful information being conveyed, but they are all pissed that an outside firm is coming in and using up what could potentially be their "bonus money".  They also didn't seem to have a problem her ordering an excess of unnecessary safety equipment, or have any problems with all the shit she wanted to order but was above her monetary limit to order without prior approval (she has approval to make purchases because she is supposed to order chemicals), but a safety consultant is taking away their bonuses.   The company didn't do bonuses last year because of a large fire that destroyed a building, and we are still in the rebuild phase and they aren't doing bonuses this year either (my boss was upfront about this in my interview).  Seems like a myopic view to have when they seem genuinely concerned about safety, but I guess they all felt she was doing an adequate job, which blows my mind because she's so mind bogglingly incompetent. 

She took it upon herself to start ordering bagels and donuts for safety team meetings as well.  I guess my boss approved the initial ordering of food for the first meeting she requested to have thinking it was a one time deal, but he never approved subsequent orders but she decided to order them anyway.  The order of bagels and donuts she ordered on friday the company is refusing to reimburse her for. 

I did speak to my boss about checking into her resume to see if she lied, but she doesn't make any safety related claims on the resume, which makes sense because her roll has nothing to do with safety.  She was hired for data entry and to order chemicals as instructed, and somehow she just morphed into this safety position without being asked.  I said it would still be worth a check to see if she lied, but it sounds like they don't want to fire her.  It sounds like they may be afraid of retaliation if they fire her, even for cause.  It will be little consolation to the company that she was fired for cause if she decides to file reports and put the company under investigation with OSHA.  Even if nothing is egregiously wrong, no one wants to have inspectors up in their business. 

So problem partially solved, and now onto a whole set of new problems with employee trust and morale. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 21, 2019, 09:52:36 AM
Everyone out there is pissed and thinks the company isn't taking safety seriously, even though the best thing that could be doing is currently being done.  Tensions sound high, and morale sounds low, and I'm getting awkward glances from the employees.  I'm sure they all think I am partially/fully to blame.  Nobody seemed to have a problem eating donuts and bagels, and having 10 employees bullshit around for 2 hours on the clock with literally no useful information being conveyed, but they are all pissed that an outside firm is coming in and using up what could potentially be their "bonus money".  They also didn't seem to have a problem her ordering an excess of unnecessary safety equipment, or have any problems with all the shit she wanted to order but was above her monetary limit to order without prior approval (she has approval to make purchases because she is supposed to order chemicals), but a safety consultant is taking away their bonuses.

Well, of course the employees don't have a problem with her ordering the safety equipment, because from their perspective, that is to protect them.  "I want to keep you safe" is a far more compelling sell than "you don't need additional equipment because your exposures are low enough and the company would rather use the money for something else [which will not be your bonuses, btw]."

This goes back to communicating effectively:  you need to be able to see things from others' point of view.  You are clearly right about what the law requires, but these folks don't have your education and experience -- and they're also the ones working with stuff they know is dangerous every day.  She has been effective with them because she knows what they are afraid of and has positioned herself as their protector; when you say it's not necessary, they think, "sure, easy for you to say, it's not your ass on the line."  So if you want to do your job effectively, you need to figure out how to address their fears, even -- especially -- when they are unfounded, and paint the bigger picture for them. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 21, 2019, 10:33:42 AM
The outside consulting company will be the best thing. They see what the issues are or are not. They write up a summary of what needs to be done or if all is in compliance with the law. Once this report is given, I think it would be prudent to meet with your boss and put a plan in place. Decide who the players are in safety management and assign duties. Someone needs to oversee the paperwork to make sure everything is documented. The employees should be invited to a meeting to discuss findings, next steps and confirm that the safety precautions are being followed appropriately according to the consulting company OR if improvements need to be made, tell them what needs changing.

By hiring the consulting company it removes you from being the bad guy. Sets up a program to follow that isn't your doing or Miss Know it all's.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 21, 2019, 11:02:14 AM
Everyone out there is pissed and thinks the company isn't taking safety seriously, even though the best thing that could be doing is currently being done.  Tensions sound high, and morale sounds low, and I'm getting awkward glances from the employees.  I'm sure they all think I am partially/fully to blame.  Nobody seemed to have a problem eating donuts and bagels, and having 10 employees bullshit around for 2 hours on the clock with literally no useful information being conveyed, but they are all pissed that an outside firm is coming in and using up what could potentially be their "bonus money".  They also didn't seem to have a problem her ordering an excess of unnecessary safety equipment, or have any problems with all the shit she wanted to order but was above her monetary limit to order without prior approval (she has approval to make purchases because she is supposed to order chemicals), but a safety consultant is taking away their bonuses.

Well, of course the employees don't have a problem with her ordering the safety equipment, because from their perspective, that is to protect them.  "I want to keep you safe" is a far more compelling sell than "you don't need additional equipment because your exposures are low enough and the company would rather use the money for something else [which will not be your bonuses, btw]."

This goes back to communicating effectively:  you need to be able to see things from others' point of view.  You are clearly right about what the law requires, but these folks don't have your education and experience -- and they're also the ones working with stuff they know is dangerous every day.  She has been effective with them because she knows what they are afraid of and has positioned herself as their protector; when you say it's not necessary, they think, "sure, easy for you to say, it's not your ass on the line."  So if you want to do your job effectively, you need to figure out how to address their fears, even -- especially -- when they are unfounded, and paint the bigger picture for them.

Yea I get that, but they are scoffing at hiring a safety consultant.  I would think if that was their real concern they would be delighted that the company is bringing in professionals to evaluate all of their concerns.  It's not like they all get giant profit sharing bonuses anyway, my understanding is that the hourly employees only get a couple hundred bucks (which they aren't getting this year anyway!).

I don't know how logical any of them are anyway.  You're concerned about "vapors", but I just saw several employees walk through a cloud of smoke as you smoked a cigarette 2 feet outside of the entrance.  Also we have a god damn ventilation system for your paint booth, and you don't run it because you don't like the noise of the fan.  It's hard to take your concerns seriously when I see you doing that shit. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 21, 2019, 11:16:12 AM
Also we are getting clearly defined job duties.  Mine will be a bit ambiguous to start as they don't know exactly what my job duties are.  Like I said, they had one dude here forever that was handling all that stuff, and now that he's gone, and no one knows exactly what he did with all the environmental, health, and safety stuff.  So it's going to be some general guidelines for duties.  I guess if they knew exactly everything that falls under EHS and how to do it, they wouldn't need me. As it stands I think I have a better idea of what my job duties are than anyone else at the plant. It also sounds like once things settle and we get a consultant in and get a more well defined safety program that safety Sandy is going to report directly to me.  Why is she going to report to me? Unclear.  I think my boss maybe doesn't want to deal with her?  And we are both in the lab.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: iris lily on October 21, 2019, 11:29:38 AM
I dont mean to sound smartass because this comment is sincere:

You are, in addition to making other errors in human communication, failing to understand the importance of free donuts and bagels at a work training.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on October 21, 2019, 11:51:54 AM
Everyone out there is pissed and thinks the company isn't taking safety seriously, even though the best thing that could be doing is currently being done.  Tensions sound high, and morale sounds low, and I'm getting awkward glances from the employees.  I'm sure they all think I am partially/fully to blame.  Nobody seemed to have a problem eating donuts and bagels, and having 10 employees bullshit around for 2 hours on the clock with literally no useful information being conveyed, but they are all pissed that an outside firm is coming in and using up what could potentially be their "bonus money".  They also didn't seem to have a problem her ordering an excess of unnecessary safety equipment, or have any problems with all the shit she wanted to order but was above her monetary limit to order without prior approval (she has approval to make purchases because she is supposed to order chemicals), but a safety consultant is taking away their bonuses.

Well, of course the employees don't have a problem with her ordering the safety equipment, because from their perspective, that is to protect them.  "I want to keep you safe" is a far more compelling sell than "you don't need additional equipment because your exposures are low enough and the company would rather use the money for something else [which will not be your bonuses, btw]."

This goes back to communicating effectively:  you need to be able to see things from others' point of view.  You are clearly right about what the law requires, but these folks don't have your education and experience -- and they're also the ones working with stuff they know is dangerous every day.  She has been effective with them because she knows what they are afraid of and has positioned herself as their protector; when you say it's not necessary, they think, "sure, easy for you to say, it's not your ass on the line."  So if you want to do your job effectively, you need to figure out how to address their fears, even -- especially -- when they are unfounded, and paint the bigger picture for them.

Yea I get that, but they are scoffing at hiring a safety consultant.  I would think if that was their real concern they would be delighted that the company is bringing in professionals to evaluate all of their concerns.  It's not like they all get giant profit sharing bonuses anyway, my understanding is that the hourly employees only get a couple hundred bucks (which they aren't getting this year anyway!).

I don't know how logical any of them are anyway.  You're concerned about "vapors", but I just saw several employees walk through a cloud of smoke as you smoked a cigarette 2 feet outside of the entrance.  Also we have a god damn ventilation system for your paint booth, and you don't run it because you don't like the noise of the fan.  It's hard to take your concerns seriously when I see you doing that shit.

Yep.  People are illogical.  And some people just like to complain, period.  Not much you can do about that.

I do agree that the 3rd-party independent consultant is far and away the best option for a number of reasons.  But I also agree with @iris lily.  ;-)  You have the work expertise cold, so please spend a little time (as you have it) working on the people-management side of things.

(BTW, have I mentioned that I had this exact conversation with my DH 20+ years ago when he moved into his first management role?  He is an engineer, and he just could not fathom why everyone didn't automatically do things his way, because it was obviously the most efficient.  He truly didn't understand that not everyone has "efficiency" as a number one life goal, ya know?  He still scores "0" on the empathy scale, but he has learned to fake it well. because he has learned that sometimes, the most efficient way to get the job done is to spend time on inefficient things like talking to people and learning what drives them).
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on October 21, 2019, 12:34:15 PM
Laura33 is right.

The best managers can see what makes each employee a success and what they thrive at doing. If this woman is a data entry person, why not give her the job of data entry of the safety records. For some reason she seems to want to get involved but maybe someone needs to push her in the right direction where she will be useful and not get in the way. If her defined duties are data entry, and that is it, then everyone knows her role in safety. If she steps out of bounds, then she needs to be reprimanded.

Yes, donuts and coffee make people happy.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 21, 2019, 01:17:17 PM
Any outside consultant is ALWAYS going to be seen as evil no matter what the goal is. She knows this and using it to her full advantage to side with them. Of course you look like the villain because you have already positioned yourself as against safety Sandy and caused an outside consultant to come in. It is not just about bonuses. Even if bonuses werent a thing at all, they still wouldn’t like an outside consultant, nobody likes being told what they are doing wrong but by a complete stranger is even worse.
Maybe they are all idiots and you are the only smart one but that is not enough to do your job/any job successfully or even to keep a job. You really need to get some people skills asap.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: pk_aeryn on October 24, 2019, 07:00:02 PM
I’m going to disagree that bringing in a consultant is a good move. If your job is Safety Manager, and they bring in an outside person to explain things to Sandy, that’s stripping you of all authority.  They need to tell Sandy, “He is the safety manager, this is his job, you need to believe him.”

Seriously if they don’t do that, AND all the other employees don’t trust you over her? Just start looking for a new job. This management is toxic and doing you no favors!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: FIREedUpCS on October 24, 2019, 10:05:28 PM
Your company seems dysfunctional. No org chart or responsibilities?

You let your time and energy get stolen by an entry-level employee, in a different line of work, who is stupid. Why?

If I were you, I would leave or at least CYA because she will go after you if she thinks you are behind her discipline. Given her pattern of lying, she could easily fabricate something about you.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on October 25, 2019, 02:07:39 AM
I think that after the consultant has been there, you should get authority over all safety things. Only management should be above you. But no employees should organize safety meetings without discussing with you and with out you present. Also, you should have authority to approve all safety signs. I think it is totally weird that a data entry person is allowed to do this kind of work on her own. But she probably blufs her way into it. But you with the proper knowledge should be in charge of such things. Make a plan for the organizational change and suggest it to your boss.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 25, 2019, 08:46:30 AM
Yes the company does seem dysfunctional.  They are in a period of rapid growth, and also a period of rapid change in personnel.  There is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of procedures that need to be established.  We are attempting to right the ship. 

I was hired because of my environmental experience, and also because you want an educated, intelligent person that is capable of critical thinking.  I was not hired because of my safety expertise - I am not a safety expert.  I am able to read the general regulations and comprehend them though.  I have been using past safety audits as guidance as to what needs to be done, but I will probably require the help of a consultant at some point anyway because I lack the expertise.

I am definitely CMA.  I honestly don't expect her to be employed here much longer.  She seems to be butting heads with multiple people.  I am getting the impression that the plant manager dislikes her, HR dislikes her, and the head of finance dislikes her.  I am going to do everything I can to interject my opinion that she is incompetent and dangerous for the company, but she is already doing a pretty decent job of getting that point across on her own.



So how about more fun stories?

Yesterday she filled out an incident report for an employee that didn't injure himself.  He tweaked his groin lifting something, and didn't need medical attention, but wanted to notify us in case it develops at a later date.  That's fine, and it's a good idea to document it in case it does develop, so knock yourself out and fill out an incident report if you like.   When I looked at the report, large portions of it were left over from the previous incident report she filled out.  So I was like "uh...I don't think this information is correct, his name is at the top but the 2nd page is all about a different employee".  She seemed incredulous (again) that she could have made a mistake, so I asked her to open it up and look at it to make sure I'm not going crazy, and sure enough if was filled out with the wrong information.  She acted flustered and blamed it on an earache which she claimed is from the soot from furnace.  After she updated it I sent it off to my boss to inform him that someone was injured (kind of) and safety sandy filled out an incident report, and I specified that I did not review it (I only looked at it to pull the employees name and just happened to notice that it was filled out with incorrect information, I did not spend any time actually reviewing it).

Today my boss responded and was basically like "wtf? this isn't filled out properly. see the highlighted sections", and there were about 10 incomplete sections highlighted.  I just responded that that sounds about right for safety sandy, and that I also noticed the phone number and fax number for our company are incorrect.  This isn't any type of official documentation, it's just for internal purposes, and it was created by safety sandy because she is incident report happy.  I could have spent the time to review it, but I figured it would be better to have another terrible document to put in the file as justification for firing her.  Also I don't have time to babysit her and review everything she does.

Anyway, yesterday immediately after she claimed to have an earache from the soot she went on and on about incident reports.  How we need to write up incident reports for that time someone got chromic acid on their skin.  I said hexavalent chrome is pretty bad to breath in, but it's far less serious to get on your skin.  It's not good, and I wouldn't make a habit of getting it on your skin, but a single incident that was immediately washed off likely poses no risk and he is fine.  She responded and "schooled" me on all the dangers, and if you read the SDS it tells you how dangerous it is and it's a carcinogen and you WILL get cancer, and that it can be "ingested" through the skin and eyes and get in your bloodstream.  It's like she's just intelligent enough to read the SDS and know it's bad, and that it's a carcinogen, and to take a safety class that explains the various routes of contamination, but not quite smart enough to understand the real risk, or how carcinogens work, or non conflate ingested with absorbed.  So close, and yet so far.  I didn't bother engaging her any further on this, just let her ramble on.  I wonder if she thinks a single cigarette WILL give you cancer?

She then moved on to schooling me about the dangers of hydrofluoric acid.  I assumed this was going to be about the corrosive nature of it being an acid, but she threw a total curveball and started talking about how the fluoride can get into your teeth and bones.  We have a new hire, who according to her used to work with hydrofluoric acid.  He was recently diagnosed with carpal tunnel and arthritis, even though no one else in his family has arthritis.  She did some research and is confident he was misdiagnosed with arthritis by the doctor, and that he actually has "skeletosis" from the fluoride from working with hydrofluoric acid, and he needs to go back to the dr and get diagnosed correctly.

On the one hand I am so sick of her and her nonsense, but on the other hand how am I not gonna sit there and listen to those stories? Every conversation with her is surreal. Can you even imagine the audacity and arrogance that someone must have to completely dismiss a medical doctors diagnosis and rediagnose someone that you know nothing about with a non-existent disease based on your internet research?


For as much frustration as she has caused me at least I am getting plenty of good laughs out of it.  My wife has now started a running joke in our house where everything is an EXPOSURE.  Wore your shoes in the house? That's an EXPOSURE! Our child sneezed on you? That's an EXPOSURE, you need to go to the clinic! Is that dust on the TV? That's a soot EXPOSURE! The more absurd the example the funnier the joke is to us.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 25, 2019, 09:16:09 AM
And she just followed up with me again today inquiring about the duct cleaning in the furnace.  She said she has 2 ear infections, but the one facing the heating vent is worse.  She said she has a doctor's note. She also claimed that she cleaned up a lot of soot from around the lab indicating it's still blowing soot all over. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 25, 2019, 10:04:04 AM
If you have an outside consultant come in, you MUST be the one working with that consultant, hiring, paying the bill, determining the content of the speech, etc.  Please make sure your boss understands that in order for you not to be undermined, an outside expert must appear to be reporting to you and explaining things FOR YOU, not coming in to explain things TO YOU and others. 

Just the way the consultant works and refers to you will make a huge difference. 

"Frugal Nacho asked me to come in to explain to you the importance of not overburdening the safety system with false reports" and "As FrugalNacho has explained..."
vs.
The company wants you all to know what is a real safety concern vs. what isn't...(because apparently FrugalNacho doesn't know everything)

Also, isn't it a liability to the company when a report is filed that has nothing to do with the company?  Wouldn't that make you liable for the employee's future groin issues?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 25, 2019, 11:19:45 AM
I work for a large corporate company (30k employees). Previous employer was a 100k employee company. We are/were ALL required to fill out at least 2 incident reports a year as a commitment to safety (architecture/engineering consulting companies) at both companies. Anyone has the authority and responsibility to stop work for anything unsafe (mainly applies to construction sites). Near misses are also reported. So while she may be overdoing this, i wouldn’t see it as she has no right to do that based on my experience. She just needs training. She is trying to do a good thing but because she is clueless, she is overdoing it. If the company really doesn’t want her to do this, they need to make it clear to her. It shouldn’t be up to you (you are not her manager) to argue with her about everything. She is pushing back because it is very likely that she thinks you are overstepping (as not her manager). This really needs to be cleared up by higher ups. Otherwise it will just be a battle for both of you every day.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: FIREedUpCS on October 25, 2019, 11:41:53 AM
SKL-HOU, she has an unrelated position and hasn't held any recent job for more than 6 months. She is way over her skis.

OP, sounds like you are committed to this company in the medium-term. I wouldn't assume she is getting fired though based on what you are explaining about your company and management. Be careful, she could end up being your manager! (semi-kdding...)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: big_owl on October 25, 2019, 12:33:37 PM
I work for a large corporate company (30k employees). Previous employer was a 100k employee company. We are/were ALL required to fill out at least 2 incident reports a year as a commitment to safety (architecture/engineering consulting companies) at both companies. Anyone has the authority and responsibility to stop work for anything unsafe (mainly applies to construction sites). Near misses are also reported. So while she may be overdoing this, i wouldn’t see it as she has no right to do that based on my experience. She just needs training. She is trying to do a good thing but because she is clueless, she is overdoing it. If the company really doesn’t want her to do this, they need to make it clear to her. It shouldn’t be up to you (you are not her manager) to argue with her about everything. She is pushing back because it is very likely that she thinks you are overstepping (as not her manager). This really needs to be cleared up by higher ups. Otherwise it will just be a battle for both of you every day.

I was thinking somewhere on the internet there's a random forum with a thread on it OP'd by some lady who has a male co-worker who is "obsessed with everything I do and follows me around and nitpick and tries to hold me back at every turn...clearly he's jealous of my rapid rise in the company".  Not saying that's what actually is happening, just thinking it would be funny to read the other side's perspective of the situation.  Wonder what she'd do if she found out she had three pages devoted to her daily antics?



Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 25, 2019, 12:55:45 PM
If you have an outside consultant come in, you MUST be the one working with that consultant, hiring, paying the bill, determining the content of the speech, etc.  Please make sure your boss understands that in order for you not to be undermined, an outside expert must appear to be reporting to you and explaining things FOR YOU, not coming in to explain things TO YOU and others. 

Just the way the consultant works and refers to you will make a huge difference. 

"Frugal Nacho asked me to come in to explain to you the importance of not overburdening the safety system with false reports" and "As FrugalNacho has explained..."
vs.
The company wants you all to know what is a real safety concern vs. what isn't...(because apparently FrugalNacho doesn't know everything)

Also, isn't it a liability to the company when a report is filed that has nothing to do with the company?  Wouldn't that make you liable for the employee's future groin issues?


Oh for sure the consultant will be working with me and not her.  I am cutting her out as much as possible.  In fact I'm officially of the opinion that she is dangerous and incompetent and should be fired.

Also not sure what you mean by filing a report that has nothing to do with the company.  He was on the clock at work lifting a part to work on it when he pulled his groin. So yes the company may be liable, but it would appear legitimately.  My bigger concern is that he thought it was no big deal, but several days later it developed into a big deal and tries to get the company to cover it at that point, and the company is like "what? why didn't you report an injury when it happened?" which is a scenario I've seen play out multiple times before.  He did the right thing by notifying me, and the company did the right thing by making a record of it.  I'd prefer he came directly to me or his supervisor instead of safety Sandy though. 

I am not opposed to having a system in place where people can report minor non-injuries, near misses, or safety concerns.  In fact I think it would be a good thing.  I am opposed to having safety sandy create the form or have much of a hand in it at all.  I told her to go ahead and write up an incident report since she was insistent, but that was mostly to get her out of my hair and not me officially condoning her to be running the incident reporting of our safety program.  She's really, really incompetent.  I don't want to take on the whole burden myself, but having her involved will do more harm than good.  I am also opposed to her fear mongering and telling the employees that these incidents are OSHA reportable/recordable (they are not) and that the company is going to be fined if/when OSHA finds out (not true).  I also think it's a bit of a burden at the moment seeing as how we are still lacking official safety policies.  Like what good is an incident report about someone not following an official safety policy, when we don't even have an official safety policy in place for that particular area? I guess it could bring attention to that fact, but this isn't a case where we aren't aware of the deficiency, we know it's there and we are actively trying to correct it already. And for things like the 8 ounces of water next to the eyewash station that no one is claiming responsibility for...what is even the point of creating an incident report for that? What possible corrective action could we institute for such a trivial non-issue? 

At this point I'm not really seeking advice on how to deal with her.  I realize I am more towards the introverted/engineer end of the spectrum and I'm not great at dealing with people, but she is a whole different type of beast.  I'm not sure that me reading some books on how to manage and deal with people, or learning new techniques to deal with people is going to help.  I mean did you read the part of the story where she dismissed a medical doctor's diagnosis of arthritis and diagnosed the guy with skeletosis?  How the fuck do you deal with someone that's not only that stupid, but that arrogant and brazen? 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on October 25, 2019, 01:01:22 PM

At this point I'm not really seeking advice on how to deal with her.  I realize I am more towards the introverted/engineer end of the spectrum and I'm not great at dealing with people, but she is a whole different type of beast.  I'm not sure that me reading some books on how to manage and deal with people, or learning new techniques to deal with people is going to help.  I mean did you read the part of the story where she dismissed a medical doctor's diagnosis of arthritis and diagnosed the guy with skeletosis?  How the fuck do you deal with someone that's not only that stupid, but that arrogant and brazen?

Yeah, honestly, I wouldn't even bother addressing that part of her crazy.  Because others will notice it soon enough if not already.  I think you just have to make it through the early days without getting people to dig their heels in to support safety Sandy. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 25, 2019, 01:14:14 PM
I work for a large corporate company (30k employees). Previous employer was a 100k employee company. We are/were ALL required to fill out at least 2 incident reports a year as a commitment to safety (architecture/engineering consulting companies) at both companies. Anyone has the authority and responsibility to stop work for anything unsafe (mainly applies to construction sites). Near misses are also reported. So while she may be overdoing this, i wouldn’t see it as she has no right to do that based on my experience. She just needs training. She is trying to do a good thing but because she is clueless, she is overdoing it. If the company really doesn’t want her to do this, they need to make it clear to her. It shouldn’t be up to you (you are not her manager) to argue with her about everything. She is pushing back because it is very likely that she thinks you are overstepping (as not her manager). This really needs to be cleared up by higher ups. Otherwise it will just be a battle for both of you every day.

I was thinking somewhere on the internet there's a random forum with a thread on it OP'd by some lady who has a male co-worker who is "obsessed with everything I do and follows me around and nitpick and tries to hold me back at every turn...clearly he's jealous of my rapid rise in the company".  Not saying that's what actually is happening, just thinking it would be funny to read the other side's perspective of the situation.  Wonder what she'd do if she found out she had three pages devoted to her daily antics?

Ha, I think about this too.  I bet she bitches about me outside of work.  I do think it's a bit of a different situation other than simply a "he said, she said" type of deal.  At least I'm beginning to get outside confirmation from other people that she's an idiot. Her stupidity is giving me skeletosis.

I wonder if skeletosis is related to boneitis?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3uk5bJcyM8
Or maybe he has a case of "bonus eruptus"?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqbQzmHOLP8


Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on October 25, 2019, 05:03:22 PM
SKL-HOU, she has an unrelated position and hasn't held any recent job for more than 6 months. She is way over her skis.

OP, sounds like you are committed to this company in the medium-term. I wouldn't assume she is getting fired though based on what you are explaining about your company and management. Be careful, she could end up being your manager! (semi-kdding...)

Yes she has an unrelated position but what I was saying was so do i and majority of the people in the 2 companies i mentioned but we were ALL responsible for safety. Safety is a culture, it is the responsibility of everyone.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: big_owl on October 25, 2019, 05:36:44 PM
SKL-HOU, she has an unrelated position and hasn't held any recent job for more than 6 months. She is way over her skis.

OP, sounds like you are committed to this company in the medium-term. I wouldn't assume she is getting fired though based on what you are explaining about your company and management. Be careful, she could end up being your manager! (semi-kdding...)

Yes she has an unrelated position but what I was saying was so do i and majority of the people in the 2 companies i mentioned but we were ALL responsible for safety. Safety is a culture, it is the responsibility of everyone.

Yeah I'm in oil and gas as well and it's the same way. Safety is #1 by a country mile and we're all expected to do safety observations and make safety contributions on a continual basis.  Doesn't matter whether your a maintenance tech, engineer, or a janitor.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on October 25, 2019, 06:26:37 PM
SKL-HOU, she has an unrelated position and hasn't held any recent job for more than 6 months. She is way over her skis.

OP, sounds like you are committed to this company in the medium-term. I wouldn't assume she is getting fired though based on what you are explaining about your company and management. Be careful, she could end up being your manager! (semi-kdding...)

Yes she has an unrelated position but what I was saying was so do i and majority of the people in the 2 companies i mentioned but we were ALL responsible for safety. Safety is a culture, it is the responsibility of everyone.

Yeah I'm in oil and gas as well and it's the same way. Safety is #1 by a country mile and we're all expected to do safety observations and make safety contributions on a continual basis.  Doesn't matter whether your a maintenance tech, engineer, or a janitor.

I totally agree. But if what OP is saying is true this is not about being aware, it is about being completely nuts.
OP, I would think about this as an opportunity to write a comic series about safety sandy.
It might be even used as an educational material like those about harasment education which you get in some companies.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 26, 2019, 03:24:13 PM
Yea I want everyone to participate and take safety seriously, but she's certifiably crazy.  And beyond being crazy she's really, really stupid, but doesn't have any awareness of how stupid she is.  She's a great example of the dunning Kruger effect.

I believe I've figured out what "skeletosis" is supposed to be. Based on what she described I'm fairly confident that she read about skeletal fluorosis and just mashed the words up into skeletosis. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeletal_fluorosis

It's laughable to me to think you just go online and do some research into a subject, and suddenly know enough to diagnose someone with a disease, especially when you can't even properly remember the name of the disease.

It's also super scary to me to have someone like that on our staff. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on October 26, 2019, 09:56:11 PM
Well, hells bells...I thought everyone knew that PV=nRT, and I haven't dealt with pollutants or the like since early college.

Best of luck to you there...oy. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Lulee on October 28, 2019, 02:47:33 PM
I'm so glad that others like the plant & finance managers as well as HR are finding that long term EXPOSURE to her stupidity is causing them a nasty case of frustration.  I expect they're starting to push her on her way to her next fascinating job annoying a new set of co-workers.  Although it seems like she's working up to a Workers Comp claim about ear aches from soot so that may drag things out a bit (with the minor advantage that she'll be out of the office for a bit).

Glad to hear you are documenting everything.  Don't want this to be anything but a short term annoyance in your life.  Thankfully, it could draw you & your boss, the plant manager, closer as you work to protect the company from Le Idiot.

It's unethical but wouldn't it be nice if some co-workers overheard, completely without your foreknowledge or enjoyment, you & your boss talking about Safety Sandy's actions requiring the hiring of the consultant?  Once that tidbit got around the building, it'd undercut any standing she has with the work force as they realize SHE'S the reason the dreaded and expensive consultant is coming to town.  Just a pleasant daydream but it does so warm the heart to think of. :)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on October 30, 2019, 11:30:57 AM
I got confirmation that she is the one that ordered the biohazard bags and is instructing the paint booth to use them for anything that she deems hazardous.  I'm pretty sure all the stuff she is having them put into the bio bags is not even hazardous waste and can just go with the regular trash, so she's double wrong.

She is also now instructing the lab that they need to be using "hazardous waste bags" (she means the biohazard bags) for a number of things.  There is now a biohazard trash bag set up in the lab.

I feel like these are battles I don't want to even fight.  If I attempt to correct this I am going to get a ton of back sass from her, and from all the minions she is instructing.  It's just going to be a headache for me. We should be having a consultant come in some time in the next week or so I think, so it will probably be easier for me to just focus on my other job duties and let this issue get sorted out once the consultant is here.  My boss is aware of the biohazard bags in the paint booth and his response was basically the same as mine: "wtf is she talking about? none of that stuff is a biohazard."  I don't think he wants the headache of correcting her either.

I think once the consultant comes in and sets the record straight on a number of items I am going to make a formal request to my manager that safety sandy be barred from ANYTHING environmental, health, or safety related.  I would like her to have exactly zero authority or discretion on anything.  If someone asks her opinion on hazardous waste, or PPE, or anything related I would like her to refer them to me, or face disciplinary measures if she dispenses advice or attempts to take care of the situation on her own, no matter how well intentioned she is or if she even happens to be correct in that instance.  Basically formally define her job duties, but specifically state that she is not to have a hand in safety or environmental at all because she has been so wrong about so many things and it's becoming quite the issue.  I think that sounds reasonable to me.  Ideally I would prefer she is fired. 

It sounds like they are having inventory issues with her too, but I have no idea exactly what the issue is, or if it's her fault or what.  More of that will be coming to light over the next week or so as they check into it and complete an inventory.  I'm unsure if this was a result of me talking to my boss several times and pointing out her lack of attention to detail, and basic wrongness in so many areas, or if they found a problem with the inventory independent of that.  I did mention to him that literally everything I've reviewed from her has been abysmal, and if I were him I would have someone check into whatever it is that she is doing on a daily basis because she is so incompetent.  Sure enough a couple of days later and there is some kind of inventory issue and everyone involved has to stay late on Thursday to figure it out (thankfully this one is not my problem!).  I'm secretly hoping that she has fucked up something major enough to get her fired.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on October 30, 2019, 03:56:58 PM
I got confirmation that she is the one that ordered the biohazard bags and is instructing the paint booth to use them for anything that she deems hazardous.  I'm pretty sure all the stuff she is having them put into the bio bags is not even hazardous waste and can just go with the regular trash, so she's double wrong.

She is also now instructing the lab that they need to be using "hazardous waste bags" (she means the biohazard bags) for a number of things.  There is now a biohazard trash bag set up in the lab.

I feel like these are battles I don't want to even fight.  If I attempt to correct this I am going to get a ton of back sass from her, and from all the minions she is instructing.  It's just going to be a headache for me. We should be having a consultant come in some time in the next week or so I think, so it will probably be easier for me to just focus on my other job duties and let this issue get sorted out once the consultant is here.  My boss is aware of the biohazard bags in the paint booth and his response was basically the same as mine: "wtf is she talking about? none of that stuff is a biohazard."  I don't think he wants the headache of correcting her either.

I think once the consultant comes in and sets the record straight on a number of items I am going to make a formal request to my manager that safety sandy be barred from ANYTHING environmental, health, or safety related.  I would like her to have exactly zero authority or discretion on anything.  If someone asks her opinion on hazardous waste, or PPE, or anything related I would like her to refer them to me, or face disciplinary measures if she dispenses advice or attempts to take care of the situation on her own, no matter how well intentioned she is or if she even happens to be correct in that instance.  Basically formally define her job duties, but specifically state that she is not to have a hand in safety or environmental at all because she has been so wrong about so many things and it's becoming quite the issue.  I think that sounds reasonable to me.  Ideally I would prefer she is fired. 

It sounds like they are having inventory issues with her too, but I have no idea exactly what the issue is, or if it's her fault or what.  More of that will be coming to light over the next week or so as they check into it and complete an inventory.  I'm unsure if this was a result of me talking to my boss several times and pointing out her lack of attention to detail, and basic wrongness in so many areas, or if they found a problem with the inventory independent of that.  I did mention to him that literally everything I've reviewed from her has been abysmal, and if I were him I would have someone check into whatever it is that she is doing on a daily basis because she is so incompetent.  Sure enough a couple of days later and there is some kind of inventory issue and everyone involved has to stay late on Thursday to figure it out (thankfully this one is not my problem!).  I'm secretly hoping that she has fucked up something major enough to get her fired.

She sounds like she absolutely needs to be ring-fenced, and quickly.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 13, 2019, 01:11:19 PM
She has largely been out of my hair the past couple of weeks.  She's been occupied by some other things unrelated to my department, so I haven't had much contact with her outside of just saying good morning and what not, which has been nice.  She does seem to be inserting herself into some other areas though, which I am finding humorous.  There was a quality issue with one of the parts, so she has been inserting herself into it to try and figure it out.  Between the platers, painters, and quality department involved on this part they have collectively well over 100 years of experience, and she has literally none.  She's never worked as a plater, a painter, or as a quality control inspector for anything, let alone on aerospace parts, and also has absolutely no background in the chemistry (and it shows) yet she is inserting herself to figure out the problem.  Not my problem, but it's hilarious to me when I see her spinning her wheels knowing she is woefully unqualified to be doing so.  At least I can just have a good laugh, and move on with my own business.  I'm tempted to step in and warn others, but I'd rather just sit back and give her some proverbial rope. 

Another thing I find hilarious: We hired a new lab tech and she has been reading over the methods and going back and forth with him, I'm not exactly sure about what because I'm reluctant to get involved with anything she's doing, but she keeps referring to an ASTM method as "Amsterdam".  I don't think she knows what ASTM is and is just referring to it as amsterdam. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 13, 2019, 01:16:40 PM
She has largely been out of my hair the past couple of weeks.  She's been occupied by some other things unrelated to my department, so I haven't had much contact with her outside of just saying good morning and what not, which has been nice.  She does seem to be inserting herself into some other areas though, which I am finding humorous.  There was a quality issue with one of the parts, so she has been inserting herself into it to try and figure it out.  Between the platers, painters, and quality department involved on this part they have collectively well over 100 years of experience, and she has literally none.  She's never worked as a plater, a painter, or as a quality control inspector for anything, let alone on aerospace parts, and also has absolutely no background in the chemistry (and it shows) yet she is inserting herself to figure out the problem.  Not my problem, but it's hilarious to me when I see her spinning her wheels knowing she is woefully unqualified to be doing so.  At least I can just have a good laugh, and move on with my own business.  I'm tempted to step in and warn others, but I'd rather just sit back and give her some proverbial rope. 

Another thing I find hilarious: We hired a new lab tech and she has been reading over the methods and going back and forth with him, I'm not exactly sure about what because I'm reluctant to get involved with anything she's doing, but she keeps referring to an ASTM method as "Amsterdam".  I don't think she knows what ASTM is and is just referring to it as amsterdam.

It sounds like in no time, many more people in your company will be fed up with her. Grab the pop corn and keep enjoying yourself. At least she is not involved in your business anymore for the time being.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Laura33 on November 13, 2019, 01:28:43 PM
I don't think she knows what ASTM is and is just referring to it as amsterdam.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Maybe that's where Eeee-puh is headquartered?  ;-)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 13, 2019, 01:56:57 PM
Yea that's what I was thinking. :)

After she left I spoke to the lab manager about whatever methods she was talking about because I feel very uncomfortable about her having access to change any methods.  Turns out the issue was that the SOP said that the last step after the titration the indicator would turn green, when it in fact turns blue, so she was allowed to update our SOP to correct the color, but nothing else.  I still don't understand why the new lab tech would report this to her instead of the lab manager, or literally anyone else.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on November 13, 2019, 09:28:49 PM
I don't think she knows what ASTM is and is just referring to it as amsterdam.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Maybe that's where Eeee-puh is headquartered?  ;-)

Thanks for the belly laugh!!!!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Daisyedwards800 on November 14, 2019, 06:51:43 PM
Why is she even being asked her opinion ?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 14, 2019, 09:40:46 PM
Why is she even being asked her opinion ?

I think it's the way she carries herself.  She has absolute confidence and an answer for everything.  She struts around like she knows everything and presents herself as being very knowledgeable about a wide range of topics (everything). She sounds so confident that you assume she is competent and knows what she is talking about.  My first impression of her was exactly that. My first week on the job I assumed she had years of experience at the company, even though she had just started 1 week prior to me.  It's only after you start interacting with her that you start to realize it's all a facade and she's actually an idiot. Some of the dumber employees haven't gotten to that realization yet, probably because they are dumb.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Cpa Cat on November 15, 2019, 10:01:29 AM
Let me start by saying that I feel like I would hate your coworker.

But you're not going to change her fundamental personality, so you just have to decide how you'll respond.

If she is 90 percent correct in her presentations and the 10 percent that she's incorrect about involves using the wrong terms or acronyms, then who cares? Stop correcting her. It's rude to correct someone during an oral presentation and no one is going to spray acid into their eyes just because someone used the wrong acronym.

In fact, why don't you recommend sending her for additional safety training to brush up on her skills? Some of her information is dated and these safety presentations seem like something that plays to her strength. So empower her to do them properly - not by interrupting her or embarrassing her, but by improving her skills.

The other stuff is "pick your battles" stuff. Again, using the wrong term to describe a bag (but a term that still gets the meaning across), and recommending too much stuff gets put into the bag (rather than too little - which would be dangerous) is not a problem. Additional training in this area will likely eliminate these types of issues. But the training can't come from you - send her to a training that gets her a fancy certificate. Make sure she renews her training regularly.

You're focusing on her weakness: She has a super annoying personality trait - she does not have mastery over a subject area but is able to project credibility. This particularly annoys you because you have mastery over the subject area, but not the same confidence to project credibility.

If you focus on her strengths: She is confident and appears credible, which makes her a great trainer and presenter. Empower her with mastery over the subject area, and she could fit this safety role very well.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 15, 2019, 11:19:02 AM
Let me start by saying that I feel like I would hate your coworker.

But you're not going to change her fundamental personality, so you just have to decide how you'll respond.

If she is 90 percent correct in her presentations and the 10 percent that she's incorrect about involves using the wrong terms or acronyms, then who cares? Stop correcting her. It's rude to correct someone during an oral presentation and no one is going to spray acid into their eyes just because someone used the wrong acronym.

In fact, why don't you recommend sending her for additional safety training to brush up on her skills? Some of her information is dated and these safety presentations seem like something that plays to her strength. So empower her to do them properly - not by interrupting her or embarrassing her, but by improving her skills.

The other stuff is "pick your battles" stuff. Again, using the wrong term to describe a bag (but a term that still gets the meaning across), and recommending too much stuff gets put into the bag (rather than too little - which would be dangerous) is not a problem. Additional training in this area will likely eliminate these types of issues. But the training can't come from you - send her to a training that gets her a fancy certificate. Make sure she renews her training regularly.

You're focusing on her weakness: She has a super annoying personality trait - she does not have mastery over a subject area but is able to project credibility. This particularly annoys you because you have mastery over the subject area, but not the same confidence to project credibility.

If you focus on her strengths: She is confident and appears credible, which makes her a great trainer and presenter. Empower her with mastery over the subject area, and she could fit this safety role very well.

I've reassessed and I think she is less than 90% correct.  It doesn't matter because her safety training has been shut down. I don't want to send her for additional training because I don't want her involved in anything I do, and I think it would be dangerous to have her in charge of anything safety related.  Sure some of may be harmless, until it's not.  I also don't think additional training will help because she is just an idiot.  Even with subjects that she does have the proper training in she is conflating different ideas and systems, is unable to perform necessary calculations,  and can't even understand the underlying principles (such as not understanding how our engineering controls are working effectively). 

Using the wrong term on a bag is a big deal.  It's not a matter of employees getting the gist of it, it's a matter of federal regulations.  Things are supposed to be labeled and disposed of properly.  We've already been dinged by the state authorities with regards to numerous hazardous waste violations (before I started), and they will be coming back at some point to check on us. I don't know that her using bio waste bags will get us fined, but it's certainly going to make the regulator think we don't know what we are doing and invite more scrutiny.  It may also cause a problem with our garbage disposal services, which is an easily avoidable headache by just not allowing her to have a hand in anything.

I lack her level of confidence because I by no means have complete mastery over all subjects.  I have a wide range of job responsibilities, and some of them I have a lot of experience/confidence with, and others I have very little experience with.    I have some experience with safety, but not enough that I would say I am qualified to be the sole safety person of a plant, especially this one since they don't have much of a program in place.  I would say I still need the help of a safety consultant and industrial hygienist to get everything fully on track, and then I can probably handle it from there.  I would consider myself light years ahead of safety sandy though.

We are still in the process of constructing another area of the plant.  The topic of installing safety showers and eyewashes came up.  She was talking to another employee yesterday, but I overheard her conversation.  She was telling the employee that if we install a plumbed eyewash station that we are going to need to get a DI water unit to supply it with because you can't use city water in your eyes because it reacts with the chemicals.  It's fucking potable water from the same source that my house water comes from.  I bathe in it, and I drink it every day.  It's just potable water! For some chemistry applications you use DI water instead of tap water because you don't want some minor impurities affecting the chemistry, but we aren't talking about plating bath chemistry or atomic absorption spectrometry, we are talking about rinsing a chemical out of your eye.  Does she seriously think all plumbed showers and eyewashes are hooked up to DI units and not just regular tap water?

I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but she said the exact same thing about a minor spill we had a few months back.  She went ape shit and was absolutely adamant that only DI water be used to clean the spill up (we used hose water anyway) because you have no idea what the reaction will be if you use regular tap water.  I think maybe she read on an SDS or in one of the methods or something that you should use DI water (for technical reasons) and has just drawn the broad conclusion that the chemical is incompatible or reactive with tap water, then from there just made the assumption that all chemicals are incompatible with tap water.  That's my best guess at least
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: mm1970 on November 15, 2019, 02:08:22 PM
Why is she even being asked her opinion ?

I think it's the way she carries herself.  She has absolute confidence and an answer for everything.  She struts around like she knows everything and presents herself as being very knowledgeable about a wide range of topics (everything). She sounds so confident that you assume she is competent and knows what she is talking about.  My first impression of her was exactly that. My first week on the job I assumed she had years of experience at the company, even though she had just started 1 week prior to me.  It's only after you start interacting with her that you start to realize it's all a facade and she's actually an idiot. Some of the dumber employees haven't gotten to that realization yet, probably because they are dumb.
Gosh, I have a similar coworker.  Not completely stupid, but lazy and walks and talks with utter confidence.  Because of that, was saved by the bosses 2x when supervisor put him on the layoff list.

Eventually he got promoted OUT of the job where he could do real damage.  Now everyone talks about how great he is, how he's found his niche in project management (yeah, everyone else is thrilled that he was rewarded for sucking!)  Basically, he's loud and pushy and annoying, and he's successful because everyone else will do ANYTHING to shut him up and get him to go away.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on November 15, 2019, 05:39:36 PM
Some people are so sure they know everything, they have no capacity to learn that they don't.  Some are actually very insecure and go to extremes to hide it.  Sometimes, they DO need to be called out in a very direct. non-emotional way and confronted with their nonsense.  The fact that this woman gets flustered when challenged tells me that she knows she's BSing.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Aegishjalmur on November 15, 2019, 06:07:23 PM
I referred to co-workers like this as 'know nothing know it all's'. We had one that was guaranteed to make every meeting half an hour longer as he would argue over minor issues and what if scenarios.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on November 16, 2019, 12:30:34 AM
I referred to co-workers like this as 'know nothing know it all's'. We had one that was guaranteed to make every meeting half an hour longer as he would argue over minor issues and what if scenarios.

I still have such a coworker currently. One and a half month to go until I don't need to work with that guy any more...
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Catbert on November 16, 2019, 10:05:44 AM
For the benefit of others be sure to weave into conversation any time her name is mentioned, "sally-the-data-entry-clerk".  Say it as if the phrase were one word.  That might help others who think of her as a "safety expert" or "xxx expert" to know who they are dealing with.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: caracarn on November 19, 2019, 06:23:28 AM
@frugalnacho this sounds totally awful.  I've worked in enough plants and have enough safety knowledge to understand what you as saying and the level of ineptness is staggering.  In your shoes I would be more concerned that you seem to be the only one who can see it for what it is, which seems to point to the staggering level of lack of safety knowledge in your general workforce.  It just seems a bit like desperation for someone to take control of this and since she has stepped up, they grasped on like a drowning man to a twig.  The twig is too small to save you from drowning, but when you do not know any better it looks like a catamaran taking you to a Tahiti.  This seems to be a bit like what you were facing.  It is good they finally removed her but my guess is she will find a new niche to be an expert in that may also have similar results because the root cause of the problem does not seem to be Safety Sandy, but perhaps organizational incompetence.  Hope I am misreading.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 20, 2019, 07:32:05 AM
I just overheard her talking with a lab tech.  I have no idea of the context as I couldn't hear what the lab tech was saying, I just heard her talking about using deionized water and using alkaline water.   She said she mixes them to get the benefits of each.  I have no idea what they were discussing, but I am very curious what application you would use deionized water and mix it with ionized water, and how the addition of ionized alkaline water wouldn't negate the entire purpose of using DI in the first place.  I dare not ask for fear of being "schooled" in some weird alchemy, but now I'm genuinely curious wtf she was talking about.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: merula on November 20, 2019, 08:24:14 AM
Your story reminded me of a recent story where Gwenyth Paltrow is in some promotional deal with an alkaline water company. Which, don't even get me started, BUT the ABSOLUTE BEST PART was....

She recommends drinking said alkaline water with a spritz of lemon juice.

And that's why we need better science funding in schools, people.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Case on November 20, 2019, 05:19:50 PM
I just overheard her talking with a lab tech.  I have no idea of the context as I couldn't hear what the lab tech was saying, I just heard her talking about using deionized water and using alkaline water.   She said she mixes them to get the benefits of each.  I have no idea what they were discussing, but I am very curious what application you would use deionized water and mix it with ionized water, and how the addition of ionized alkaline water wouldn't negate the entire purpose of using DI in the first place.  I dare not ask for fear of being "schooled" in some weird alchemy, but now I'm genuinely curious wtf she was talking about.

She needs electrolytes, it’s what she craves.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 21, 2019, 08:57:02 AM
We have a chemical supplier in and they are meeting with safety sandy because she purchases the chemicals, they are about 20 feet from my desk.  For some odd reason they are just chit chatting and asking her about her previous experience and where she came from.  I guess just trying to build rapport and a personal relationship, because they want to supply us chemicals.  I am staying out of it, but it's blowing my fucking mind. 

She claims she worked in a medical office.  The doctors would write up the diagnostics, and bring them to her to analyze.  She would go through and verify the doctors diagnostics and recommend treatments. I'm looking at her fucking resume right now and she was a data analyst at that facility, for a little over a year.  It goes without saying she was not reading charts and recommending treatments to the medical doctor.  How absurd.

She made claims about the HPV vaccine not being that effective, and they would have to evaluate it on a case by case basis because of all the side effects.  She also hasn't had a flu shot since 2009 because she doesn't trust them.  They contain mercury. They also cause autism you know.  My eyes just about rolled out of my head.

She got the flu vaccine back in 2009 because she was apparently working in a lab that performed quality testing on the vaccine, and she knew the nanobots they used were good.  Nanobots? Yep, that's apparently how the vaccine targets the bacteria and viruses.  So much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin.  Her resume does list her as working in a lab in 2009, but it doesn't list the actual company she worked at it only lists a temporary staffing agency.

I need to get this down in writing immediately, because in just a few minutes I'm going to look back and think I imagined that entire surreal experience because it's too off the wall fucking insane to possibly be real. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: DadJokes on November 21, 2019, 09:41:55 AM
Yeah, we've had nanobots making sure vaccines get to the right part of the body since the creation of the smallpox vaccine in 1796. Didn't you know that?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 21, 2019, 09:50:56 AM
Well I do now.  How am I supposed to realistically focus on work after hearing all that horse shit? I can't.  No way I can just ignore all of that and refocus on some other work.  I feel like my brain is in shock after that.  Maybe it's all the mercury and nanobots I've been having injected into me?

What a wild fucking ride.  I'm glad you all got to come along with me over the past several weeks and experience this in real time. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: wbranch on November 21, 2019, 10:01:39 AM
I saw this thread when it started and was thinking, yeah I guess this lady sounds a little annoying. But the more updates/details are something else. Hopefully she doesn't last much longer.


Also the corporate safety talk reminded me of the F500 construction company I worked at. In our division corporate office we would have weekly safety meetings for the local executives, HR, accounting/finance and sales people. Topics were based on the weekly topic on operational side of things and then whoever was presenting (rotated around the office) had to tie it into our office job setting. We were supposed to make observations continually and there was some sort of goal for "near miss" tracking in our office. One such instance was the AP manager catching the division president walking up/down the stairs while on his cell phone. She chewed him out about how dangerous it was and he signed off on the near miss paperwork.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on November 21, 2019, 01:04:21 PM
She made recommendations to medical doctors about what treatment to use on a patient???? HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 21, 2019, 06:09:38 PM
She made recommendations to medical doctors about what treatment to use on a patient???? HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

I've rung up a GP and told him off after I spent an afternoon cleaning up vomit from an opiate sensitive patient who had been prescribed tramadol.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 21, 2019, 06:18:56 PM
We have a chemical supplier in and they are meeting with safety sandy because she purchases the chemicals, they are about 20 feet from my desk.  For some odd reason they are just chit chatting and asking her about her previous experience and where she came from.  I guess just trying to build rapport and a personal relationship, because they want to supply us chemicals.  I am staying out of it, but it's blowing my fucking mind. 

She claims she worked in a medical office.  The doctors would write up the diagnostics, and bring them to her to analyze.  She would go through and verify the doctors diagnostics and recommend treatments. I'm looking at her fucking resume right now and she was a data analyst at that facility, for a little over a year.  It goes without saying she was not reading charts and recommending treatments to the medical doctor.  How absurd.

She made claims about the HPV vaccine not being that effective, and they would have to evaluate it on a case by case basis because of all the side effects.  She also hasn't had a flu shot since 2009 because she doesn't trust them.  They contain mercury. They also cause autism you know.  My eyes just about rolled out of my head.

She got the flu vaccine back in 2009 because she was apparently working in a lab that performed quality testing on the vaccine, and she knew the nanobots they used were good.  Nanobots? Yep, that's apparently how the vaccine targets the bacteria and viruses.  So much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin.  Her resume does list her as working in a lab in 2009, but it doesn't list the actual company she worked at it only lists a temporary staffing agency.

I need to get this down in writing immediately, because in just a few minutes I'm going to look back and think I imagined that entire surreal experience because it's too off the wall fucking insane to possibly be real.

Oh sweet jesus, she really said nanobots???

Actually, I used to work as a data analyst at a med facility. I managed a cancer database. I reviewed test results based on the doctor's written diagnostic parameters and ordered tests/appts based on that. I was reading charts and medical test results, and I guess I was recommending treatments. I wouldn't phrase is that way, but in effect that was what I was doing. The tests and appts I ordered went straight to the patient, but were also reported to the specialist nurse for review. The point was to have a system that kept stable patients in the regular review loop, without costing a huge amount of money and without taking up specialist time without cause. Perhaps your nutcase did something similar? Although, having said that, you'd think if she had worked in a similar role she would have learned to be very, very careful about what you say to people re health and medical advice when you're NOT qualified.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 21, 2019, 06:42:48 PM
We have a chemical supplier in and they are meeting with safety sandy because she purchases the chemicals, they are about 20 feet from my desk.  For some odd reason they are just chit chatting and asking her about her previous experience and where she came from.  I guess just trying to build rapport and a personal relationship, because they want to supply us chemicals.  I am staying out of it, but it's blowing my fucking mind. 

She claims she worked in a medical office.  The doctors would write up the diagnostics, and bring them to her to analyze.  She would go through and verify the doctors diagnostics and recommend treatments. I'm looking at her fucking resume right now and she was a data analyst at that facility, for a little over a year.  It goes without saying she was not reading charts and recommending treatments to the medical doctor.  How absurd.

She made claims about the HPV vaccine not being that effective, and they would have to evaluate it on a case by case basis because of all the side effects.  She also hasn't had a flu shot since 2009 because she doesn't trust them.  They contain mercury. They also cause autism you know.  My eyes just about rolled out of my head.

She got the flu vaccine back in 2009 because she was apparently working in a lab that performed quality testing on the vaccine, and she knew the nanobots they used were good.  Nanobots? Yep, that's apparently how the vaccine targets the bacteria and viruses.  So much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin.  Her resume does list her as working in a lab in 2009, but it doesn't list the actual company she worked at it only lists a temporary staffing agency.

I need to get this down in writing immediately, because in just a few minutes I'm going to look back and think I imagined that entire surreal experience because it's too off the wall fucking insane to possibly be real.

Oh sweet jesus, she really said nanobots???

Actually, I used to work as a data analyst at a med facility. I managed a cancer database. I reviewed test results based on the doctor's written diagnostic parameters and ordered tests/appts based on that. I was reading charts and medical test results, and I guess I was recommending treatments. I wouldn't phrase is that way, but in effect that was what I was doing. The tests and appts I ordered went straight to the patient, but were also reported to the specialist nurse for review. The point was to have a system that kept stable patients in the regular review loop, without costing a huge amount of money and without taking up specialist time without cause. Perhaps your nutcase did something similar? Although, having said that, you'd think if she had worked in a similar role she would have learned to be very, very careful about what you say to people re health and medical advice when you're NOT qualified.

Yes she actually said nanobots, and when she got a perplexed look from the vendor she explained that's how the vaccine gets to the bacteria an viruses.   

Maybe she did something like your job, I don't know.  I'm inclined to take what you say at face value because I have no reason to doubt you.  But I have 100 documented reasons not to trust what she says.   The thought of her having authority to treat patients in any way is frightening.  She thinks vaccines cause autism! Fucking nanobots!

I feel like nanobots is getting into some very fringe conspiracy theories.  I know some anti-vaxxers in real life and they never mention anything about any nanobots. Even they would think she is crazy.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 21, 2019, 06:52:04 PM
As I go back and re-read some of my posts, they sound literally unbelievable.  I experienced these all first hand, and even I am thinking to myself, "really? She said that? Skeletosis? Nanobots?".  I was completely lucid and documenting it in real time.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 21, 2019, 10:59:11 PM
We have a chemical supplier in and they are meeting with safety sandy because she purchases the chemicals, they are about 20 feet from my desk.  For some odd reason they are just chit chatting and asking her about her previous experience and where she came from.  I guess just trying to build rapport and a personal relationship, because they want to supply us chemicals.  I am staying out of it, but it's blowing my fucking mind. 

She claims she worked in a medical office.  The doctors would write up the diagnostics, and bring them to her to analyze.  She would go through and verify the doctors diagnostics and recommend treatments. I'm looking at her fucking resume right now and she was a data analyst at that facility, for a little over a year.  It goes without saying she was not reading charts and recommending treatments to the medical doctor.  How absurd.

She made claims about the HPV vaccine not being that effective, and they would have to evaluate it on a case by case basis because of all the side effects.  She also hasn't had a flu shot since 2009 because she doesn't trust them.  They contain mercury. They also cause autism you know.  My eyes just about rolled out of my head.

She got the flu vaccine back in 2009 because she was apparently working in a lab that performed quality testing on the vaccine, and she knew the nanobots they used were good.  Nanobots? Yep, that's apparently how the vaccine targets the bacteria and viruses.  So much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin.  Her resume does list her as working in a lab in 2009, but it doesn't list the actual company she worked at it only lists a temporary staffing agency.

I need to get this down in writing immediately, because in just a few minutes I'm going to look back and think I imagined that entire surreal experience because it's too off the wall fucking insane to possibly be real.

Oh sweet jesus, she really said nanobots???

Actually, I used to work as a data analyst at a med facility. I managed a cancer database. I reviewed test results based on the doctor's written diagnostic parameters and ordered tests/appts based on that. I was reading charts and medical test results, and I guess I was recommending treatments. I wouldn't phrase is that way, but in effect that was what I was doing. The tests and appts I ordered went straight to the patient, but were also reported to the specialist nurse for review. The point was to have a system that kept stable patients in the regular review loop, without costing a huge amount of money and without taking up specialist time without cause. Perhaps your nutcase did something similar? Although, having said that, you'd think if she had worked in a similar role she would have learned to be very, very careful about what you say to people re health and medical advice when you're NOT qualified.

Yes she actually said nanobots, and when she got a perplexed look from the vendor she explained that's how the vaccine gets to the bacteria an viruses.   

Maybe she did something like your job, I don't know.  I'm inclined to take what you say at face value because I have no reason to doubt you.  But I have 100 documented reasons not to trust what she says.   The thought of her having authority to treat patients in any way is frightening.  She thinks vaccines cause autism! Fucking nanobots!

I feel like nanobots is getting into some very fringe conspiracy theories.  I know some anti-vaxxers in real life and they never mention anything about any nanobots. Even they would think she is crazy.

I've worked in medical administration and medical software for decades. I make no claims to be a medical professional, but I'm pretty well informed. ALL of the people in my kind of position, sort of peripheral to medicine but dealing with patients directly, are extremely careful and very quick to ask if we're not certain of something. I mean EVERY PERSON, bar none. A huge part of the role is being extremely precise with information. The medical folk around me and the patients trust me to be absolutely certain in everything I say and do, and to find out from an appropriate authority if I'm not certain. My work is entirely based on interpreting written instructions from specialist surgeons. Any deviation from those instructions puts everyone at risk - me, the patients and the medical staff. I can't imagine that woman working with you would ever be hired in my role. I know I would flat out refuse to work with someone like her!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 22, 2019, 07:54:46 AM
I've worked in medical administration and medical software for decades. I make no claims to be a medical professional, but I'm pretty well informed. ALL of the people in my kind of position, sort of peripheral to medicine but dealing with patients directly, are extremely careful and very quick to ask if we're not certain of something. I mean EVERY PERSON, bar none. A huge part of the role is being extremely precise with information. The medical folk around me and the patients trust me to be absolutely certain in everything I say and do, and to find out from an appropriate authority if I'm not certain. My work is entirely based on interpreting written instructions from specialist surgeons. Any deviation from those instructions puts everyone at risk - me, the patients and the medical staff. I can't imagine that woman working with you would ever be hired in my role. I know I would flat out refuse to work with someone like her!

Perhaps that's why she works here now instead of that office.  She claims she didn't like it and to have left voluntarily, but I doubt someone that was grossly incompetent would admit that's the reason for leaving their last job though.  I doubt someone as grossly incompetent as her is even aware of her own incompetence.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 22, 2019, 08:41:15 AM
I've worked in medical administration and medical software for decades. I make no claims to be a medical professional, but I'm pretty well informed. ALL of the people in my kind of position, sort of peripheral to medicine but dealing with patients directly, are extremely careful and very quick to ask if we're not certain of something. I mean EVERY PERSON, bar none. A huge part of the role is being extremely precise with information. The medical folk around me and the patients trust me to be absolutely certain in everything I say and do, and to find out from an appropriate authority if I'm not certain. My work is entirely based on interpreting written instructions from specialist surgeons. Any deviation from those instructions puts everyone at risk - me, the patients and the medical staff. I can't imagine that woman working with you would ever be hired in my role. I know I would flat out refuse to work with someone like her!

Perhaps that's why she works here now instead of that office.  She claims she didn't like it and to have left voluntarily, but I doubt someone that was grossly incompetent would admit that's the reason for leaving their last job though.  I doubt someone as grossly incompetent as her is even aware of her own incompetence.

Skeletosis was funny. The nanobots are a whole 'nother level. You're way nicer than I am. I'd be pulling her into corners and giving her vials of nanobot laden water while whispering about big brother and looking guilty as fuck.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on November 25, 2019, 10:23:11 AM
We have a chemical supplier in and they are meeting with safety sandy because she purchases the chemicals, they are about 20 feet from my desk.  For some odd reason they are just chit chatting and asking her about her previous experience and where she came from.  I guess just trying to build rapport and a personal relationship, because they want to supply us chemicals.  I am staying out of it, but it's blowing my fucking mind. 

She claims she worked in a medical office.  The doctors would write up the diagnostics, and bring them to her to analyze.  She would go through and verify the doctors diagnostics and recommend treatments. I'm looking at her fucking resume right now and she was a data analyst at that facility, for a little over a year.  It goes without saying she was not reading charts and recommending treatments to the medical doctor.  How absurd.

She made claims about the HPV vaccine not being that effective, and they would have to evaluate it on a case by case basis because of all the side effects.  She also hasn't had a flu shot since 2009 because she doesn't trust them.  They contain mercury. They also cause autism you know.  My eyes just about rolled out of my head.

She got the flu vaccine back in 2009 because she was apparently working in a lab that performed quality testing on the vaccine, and she knew the nanobots they used were good.  Nanobots? Yep, that's apparently how the vaccine targets the bacteria and viruses.  So much wrong with those statements I don't even know where to begin.  Her resume does list her as working in a lab in 2009, but it doesn't list the actual company she worked at it only lists a temporary staffing agency.

I need to get this down in writing immediately, because in just a few minutes I'm going to look back and think I imagined that entire surreal experience because it's too off the wall fucking insane to possibly be real.

Oh sweet jesus, she really said nanobots???

Actually, I used to work as a data analyst at a med facility. I managed a cancer database. I reviewed test results based on the doctor's written diagnostic parameters and ordered tests/appts based on that. I was reading charts and medical test results, and I guess I was recommending treatments. I wouldn't phrase is that way, but in effect that was what I was doing. The tests and appts I ordered went straight to the patient, but were also reported to the specialist nurse for review. The point was to have a system that kept stable patients in the regular review loop, without costing a huge amount of money and without taking up specialist time without cause. Perhaps your nutcase did something similar? Although, having said that, you'd think if she had worked in a similar role she would have learned to be very, very careful about what you say to people re health and medical advice when you're NOT qualified.

I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 25, 2019, 04:27:24 PM
I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"

The thing is that people are being bamboozled by her.  People legitimately introduce her as a "safety guru", and they seem to believe all the shit she spouts.  Her credibility is through the roof with some of these people. It's insane.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone episode. Some people are starting to realize she's an idiot, but it seems like even more believe she is the second coming of Christ or something.  I have a feeling snide comments will backfire on me and have the exact opposite effect. Especially with people that already buy into her bullshit.  I mean someone that's already convinced they should be taking medical advice from her is not going to be disuaded by sarcastic comments from me.

Im feeling tempted to contact the vendors that were in last week just to ask them if I heard what I think heard.  Did someone slip me a hallucinagen? Was I having a stroke? Or did I actually hear her claim vaccines cause autism and contain nanobots?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on November 25, 2019, 05:31:12 PM
I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"

The thing is that people are being bamboozled by her.  People legitimately introduce her as a "safety guru", and they seem to believe all the shit she spouts.  Her credibility is through the roof with some of these people. It's insane.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone episode. Some people are starting to realize she's an idiot, but it seems like even more believe she is the second coming of Christ or something.  I have a feeling snide comments will backfire on me and have the exact opposite effect. Especially with people that already buy into her bullshit.  I mean someone that's already convinced they should be taking medical advice from her is not going to be disuaded by sarcastic comments from me.

Im feeling tempted to contact the vendors that were in last week just to ask them if I heard what I think heard.  Did someone slip me a hallucinagen? Was I having a stroke? Or did I actually hear her claim vaccines cause autism and contain nanobots?

You work with some pretty dim bulbs by the sound of it. Just stick to yourself. Let people believe what they want. I think you're right and any effort on your part to enlighten them will backfire.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on November 26, 2019, 06:59:08 AM
I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"

The thing is that people are being bamboozled by her.  People legitimately introduce her as a "safety guru", and they seem to believe all the shit she spouts.  Her credibility is through the roof with some of these people. It's insane.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone episode. Some people are starting to realize she's an idiot, but it seems like even more believe she is the second coming of Christ or something.  I have a feeling snide comments will backfire on me and have the exact opposite effect. Especially with people that already buy into her bullshit.  I mean someone that's already convinced they should be taking medical advice from her is not going to be disuaded by sarcastic comments from me.

Im feeling tempted to contact the vendors that were in last week just to ask them if I heard what I think heard.  Did someone slip me a hallucinagen? Was I having a stroke? Or did I actually hear her claim vaccines cause autism and contain nanobots?

You work with some pretty dim bulbs by the sound of it. Just stick to yourself. Let people believe what they want. I think you're right and any effort on your part to enlighten them will backfire.
I would still do it, and that's probably why I work alone.  I agree.  If you care about your career, then snide comments NEVER help.  On this, I am an expert that cannot do the smart thing.  :( 

FN, I think you're doing the right thing...just wait it out.  From the sound of things, her sway over others doesn't last long and she'll be on her way to the next new thing within a year or two.  I just hope you can hang in there that long.  And I guess also make sure she doesn't kill anyone in the meantime. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 26, 2019, 07:10:28 AM
I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"

The thing is that people are being bamboozled by her.  People legitimately introduce her as a "safety guru", and they seem to believe all the shit she spouts.  Her credibility is through the roof with some of these people. It's insane.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone episode. Some people are starting to realize she's an idiot, but it seems like even more believe she is the second coming of Christ or something.  I have a feeling snide comments will backfire on me and have the exact opposite effect. Especially with people that already buy into her bullshit.  I mean someone that's already convinced they should be taking medical advice from her is not going to be disuaded by sarcastic comments from me.

Im feeling tempted to contact the vendors that were in last week just to ask them if I heard what I think heard.  Did someone slip me a hallucinagen? Was I having a stroke? Or did I actually hear her claim vaccines cause autism and contain nanobots?

You work with some pretty dim bulbs by the sound of it. Just stick to yourself. Let people believe what they want. I think you're right and any effort on your part to enlighten them will backfire.

Yes I do.  We need some engineers and chemists, but we also have people that empty garbage and clean the toilets, and everything in between.  Some of it is skilled worked, but not that skilled, you could train a pretty stupid person to follow the steps and understand it.   That's where a lot of these workers are, they know and understand their little niche within the industry, but they don't really understand the underlying chemistry and physics because I don't think they understand anything about chemistry or physics, but they know how to to apply paint because they've been doing it for 10 years.  But then you ask them technical questions about the chemistry of the paint, and what hazardous material is in it, and you get a blank stare.  Until safety sandy comes along to explain it all to them.   
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on November 26, 2019, 07:21:58 AM
I think I would have to start telling other people about her qualifications.  In fact, the next time she says something like "Gesundheit", you should add "Safety Sandy knows what she's talking about.  She used to advise doctors how best to treat their patients."  When someone does a double take, just say, "Well, that's what SHE told ME"

The thing is that people are being bamboozled by her.  People legitimately introduce her as a "safety guru", and they seem to believe all the shit she spouts.  Her credibility is through the roof with some of these people. It's insane.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone episode. Some people are starting to realize she's an idiot, but it seems like even more believe she is the second coming of Christ or something.  I have a feeling snide comments will backfire on me and have the exact opposite effect. Especially with people that already buy into her bullshit.  I mean someone that's already convinced they should be taking medical advice from her is not going to be disuaded by sarcastic comments from me.

Im feeling tempted to contact the vendors that were in last week just to ask them if I heard what I think heard.  Did someone slip me a hallucinagen? Was I having a stroke? Or did I actually hear her claim vaccines cause autism and contain nanobots?

You work with some pretty dim bulbs by the sound of it. Just stick to yourself. Let people believe what they want. I think you're right and any effort on your part to enlighten them will backfire.
I would still do it, and that's probably why I work alone.  I agree.  If you care about your career, then snide comments NEVER help.  On this, I am an expert that cannot do the smart thing.  :( 

FN, I think you're doing the right thing...just wait it out.  From the sound of things, her sway over others doesn't last long and she'll be on her way to the next new thing within a year or two.  I just hope you can hang in there that long.  And I guess also make sure she doesn't kill anyone in the meantime.

I'm hoping she keeps pissing management off.  They already seem like they don't like her and don't want to make her a permanent employee, but they aren't taking the next step to actually fire her.  I get that firing someone is an unpleasant experience, and it's a hassle because now you have to find another candidate, and finding good candidates is difficult (especially for this company apparently), and there may also be a gap in the work stuff she actually does (data entry) until a replacement is found. ...but, I feel like the longer you allow this to go on the worse it's going to be, which is what I told my manager.  I said she is grossly incompetent and in my opinion a liability to the company and should be fired, and the longer you keep her on board the more it weakens your case for firing her.  Fire someone within the first month? No one is going to question it, she just didn't work out.  Fire someone after a year? Well...why did you wait a year if you knew she was incompetent? And beyond that? You probably need to document why you fired her.  It's coming up on 6 months that she's been here.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on November 29, 2019, 04:46:39 PM
I hope she gets fired and the reason given by the owner or your plant manager is "Sandy was found to be making fundamental errors, which put their safety at risk."

Also, I am pretty sure most of the people in the paint department can understand or already know that bio hazard bags are for organic waste (virus and bacteria containing, other biological hazards), and that "chemical waste" bags are for paint and other contaminants that would not be properly contained by a typical garbage bag.   So,  you can likely switch up that department now, just give them the new (yellow, perhaps?) trash bags to use and take away the bio-hazard ones.

Just don't take away the bio hazard ones and not give them new special bags.

Make all that new PPE she bought available to everyone,but make sure everyone knows that it is optional, for their comfort, and needs to fit to work well.  Most people don't want to wear optional PPE.  Just don't take away anything from employees that she provided. 

AND buy them bagels and donuts for the meeting where you discuss it.  Lots of bagels and donuts.  Maybe a pizza lunch sometimes, too.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: MoneyQuirk on December 01, 2019, 11:11:17 PM
My opinion?

Stay out of it.

Work is a constant game of having political capital. That's built by providing valuable contributions and not needlessly undercutting people. Unless what she's doing is a danger to herself or others (or you are somehow otherwise obliged to intervene, e.g. being her direct supervisor), I would just focus on doing my job effectively.

I think you hit the nail on the head yourself when you said, "she's well-liked". It's very difficult (nearing impossible) to unseat well-liked people in any short time. Efforts by you to correct her will be taken as such.

I would instead boil it down to - do you care enough about the political game to build up your own capital?
If so, you can start doing what she's doing... correctly. Provide your own training that provides value.
If not, I wouldn't worry about it. Most people are a lot more perceptive than they put out there, and if you've noticed that she likes to talk a big game without following through, it's likely most other people are aware as well.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 02, 2019, 12:14:13 AM
Today I found a yellow leaf with an odd silver looking scarring over it. My first thought? NANOBOTS. Yep, I kept it as evidence of the invasion. I'm not even kidding - it's in a wee bell jar next to a bunch of other found stuff.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 02:51:02 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

TLDR, +1 to this.

Are you sure you're not annoyed because she is a confident female who is getting shit done?

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on December 02, 2019, 05:02:37 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

TLDR, +1 to this.

Are you sure you're not annoyed because she is a confident female who is getting shit done?
I'd usually be with you on asking that question, but in this case I think the problem is that Safety Sandy is getting shitty done.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: DadJokes on December 02, 2019, 06:05:47 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

TLDR, +1 to this.

Are you sure you're not annoyed because she is a confident female who is getting shit done?

I'm guessing you haven't read the rest of the thread. This person is batshit crazy, at least from the side of the story we've received.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 06:07:34 AM
The thing is, it appears that Frugal Nacho works in a very male-centered workplace, and having an assertive female co-worker might be part of the problem.  I understand that she lacks knowledge.  It seems, however, that he is concerned with acronyms, spelling, and garbage bags.  Rather than helping her learn, he wants her fired. 

I get that she is confident, but has she been mean or hostile? 

I think that sexism might be part of the puzzle.

Instead of collecting stories to share online, how is FN going to make his workplace work better?  Is the only option to get her fired?  If that happens, it's going to happen because of her, not him.  If she doesn't get fired, how can he make things work better, forge a decent relationship and survive?  He is new at this place too.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 02, 2019, 07:24:22 AM
90% right and saving you time in getting needed tasks done is quite different from "idiot who doesn't know anything." What have your interactions been like so far? Is it all instances where you try to correct her? If so, I would sit down with her and thank her for all her help, make it clear that you value the areas she has knowledge in, and find a way to beef up the 10% of inaccuracies. At the same time, work on projecting confidence and developing stronger relationships with your coworkers.

TLDR, +1 to this.

Are you sure you're not annoyed because she is a confident female who is getting shit done?

...did you read the thread? This has nothing to do with sexism. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 07:52:55 AM
I don't understand how a data entry worker is giving instructions to the lab. Is this not your role?  Where are you during these events?

Note that if you fail your OSHA or whatever, they are not going to hold a data entry worker responsible for the failure.

Yes, I read the thread.  I think it bothers you that people are listening to this woman instead of you.  Why aren't they listening to you?  What are you doing so that you are listened to?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 02, 2019, 08:40:12 AM
I don't understand how a data entry worker is giving instructions to the lab. Is this not your role?  Where are you during these events?

Note that if you fail your OSHA or whatever, they are not going to hold a data entry worker responsible for the failure.

Yes, I read the thread.  I think it bothers you that people are listening to this woman instead of you.  Why aren't they listening to you?  What are you doing so that you are listened to?

I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.  I can't and won't walk around looking over her shoulder micromanaging who she talks to.  I have my own job to do and I can't control her behavior.

Yes I realize that if we get an OSHA or environmental regulatory inspection it's going to fall on me.  That's why it's so god damn frustrating that people are listening to her at all. 

Yes it bothers me a great deal people are listening to her.  It's not her job or responsibility, but she's doing it anyway.  It's creating headaches and additional work for me.  She's drumming up fears based on her ignorance, and getting lots of people worried about things that are non-issues.  I am taking time away from addressing legitimate hazards to deal with something she thinks is a hazard but is not.  She doesn't get vaccines because she believes there are nanobots in the vaccines.  THAT's the kind of idiot I am dealing with. 

Why aren't they listening to me? I don't know, they are fucking stupid.  Why do people listen to Jenny McCarthy instead of their fucking doctor?  It's obvious vaccines don't cause autism, and it's obvious they work as intended and nearly everyone should be getting vaccines.  But still, people are listening to Jenny and repeating that vaccines cause autism (case in point my know-nothing know-it-all coworker). 

Do you have any actionable constructive advice on how to deal with that type of person? If presenting evidence and facts (my usual MO) worked then I wouldn't have created this thread. 

It's hard to articulate exactly what is so hard about dealing with her, but if you've ever dealt with an anti-vaxxer you probably already know.  You think you know how vaccines work, and have read the studies, and have read all the expert opinions.  Case closed, everyone should get vaccines, how could anyone possibly dispute that?  If anyone has a different opinion, then you think it would be so easy to refute them and make them look like an idiot.  Then you get into an argument with one, and they start whipping bullshit facts around, and you can't even keep up with the shit spouting from them and you get frazzled.  You end up looking like an idiot even though you are 100% right.  To all the reasonable people, they understood your points, but then again you never needed to convince them because they can see the situation for what it is.  To all the unreasonable people, it looks like the anti-vaxxer just won an argument against you.  The anti-vaxxer becomes emboldened, and the unreasonable people that aren't smart enough to know they should get vaccines in the first place become even more convinced that the anti-vaxxer is right.
 
I've gotten into numerous arguments with anti-vax people both online and in real life through the years.  Never have I won that argument.  Never have I convinced anyone to abandon their nonsense anti-vax beliefs.  It's a frustrating and pointless exercise in futility. The type of person that can be reasoned with using facts and scientific studies already holds a pro-vaccine position, so you are by definition entering into an unwinnable argument. 

To be clear we are not having anti-vax arguments at work, her mentioning she was anti-vax was done to a vendor and is more of a side note.   I had to mention it in the thread because of how much it blew my mind, and how well it fits with her personality.  I feel like all interactions I have with her are like I'm arguing in an anti-vax discussion.   

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: nburns on December 02, 2019, 09:48:50 AM
@frugalnacho I've come across so many people in my life like this coworker you speak of. Each time I am unfortunate enough to meet one of these people I go through in my head if it's really worth it for me to get involved and do something about it.  There seems to be an endless supply of dopes out there. I think in your case since you're this deep in already I would document all these workplace errors by this coworker to build up enough of a case to show management all of this person's wrong doings and the jeopardy they put other people's safety in. To be saying and doing the things this person is doing in the workplace is ridiculous and they should be reprimanded especially with a long list of issues during this short length of employment with the current company.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: debbie does duncan on December 02, 2019, 10:02:55 AM
There are 2 reasons people listen to her.
 One they are looking for entertainment  ( small talk) and  two they like having their own ideas confirmed.
Think of Fox news, no one watches it for news....it is entertainment and confirmation that they are right
 ( no matter how dumb they are) .
 Does she have so little work to do that she can schmooze so much?


Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Tester on December 02, 2019, 10:27:37 AM
The thing is, it appears that Frugal Nacho works in a very male-centered workplace, and having an assertive female co-worker might be part of the problem.  I understand that she lacks knowledge.  It seems, however, that he is concerned with acronyms, spelling, and garbage bags.  Rather than helping her learn, he wants her fired. 

I get that she is confident, but has she been mean or hostile? 

I think that sexism might be part of the puzzle.

Instead of collecting stories to share online, how is FN going to make his workplace work better?  Is the only option to get her fired?  If that happens, it's going to happen because of her, not him.  If she doesn't get fired, how can he make things work better, forge a decent relationship and survive?  He is new at this place too.

You know, the sexism statement on this is exactly that, sexism.
All o a sudden if you criticize a woman you are sexist.
You have to fold over to any stupid woman because if you don't you are sexist. It goes several other ways too.
God forbid you are a white male questioning a black person or even worse gay/lesbian.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on December 02, 2019, 10:30:24 AM
I have worked with know it all coworkers and every type of idiot known to man. One of the worst people I worked with was this terribly mean spirited person. She would look at you like she had laser beam eyes and could burn holes thru you. There were times I had to interact with her by using equipment she had to also use. Even if she wasn't using it she would make a big deal and question you with a hundred questions on why, how long, come to me when you are done and let me know you are finished. She was a bitch on wheels. I witnessed her tongue lash my boss who was probably quite a few notches above her. He was the nicest, smartest person. Kind, generous, brilliant and would never step on anyone's toes. In front of a crowded room she challenged him and was downright nasty to him. She had a few guy friends she would schmooze and for some reason they liked her. The rest of the people she encountered, she treated like slime on the bottom of her shoes. When she talked to you her face would screw up like a prune and she looked as if she would explode. Talk about an anger problem!

One day she pissed off the head guy of the company. He assigned her a duty and she decided it wasn't her job to do it. Someone else did it and informed the head guy. He was furious, questioned the person why they did it and called in the wicked witch and FIRED HER on the spot. OH, the glory of it all! That was one of the happiest work days of my life! It was similar to the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy accidently killed the wicked witch!

That is one beauty of being retired/fired. Not to have to deal with the dysfunctionals.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on December 02, 2019, 10:55:58 AM
People listen to people like her because she plays on their fears.  You can't fight emotions with logic, no matter how hard you try.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on December 02, 2019, 02:04:24 PM
I don't understand how a data entry worker is giving instructions to the lab. Is this not your role?  Where are you during these events?

Note that if you fail your OSHA or whatever, they are not going to hold a data entry worker responsible for the failure.

Yes, I read the thread.  I think it bothers you that people are listening to this woman instead of you.  Why aren't they listening to you?  What are you doing so that you are listened to?

I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.  I can't and won't walk around looking over her shoulder micromanaging who she talks to.  I have my own job to do and I can't control her behavior.

Yes I realize that if we get an OSHA or environmental regulatory inspection it's going to fall on me.  That's why it's so god damn frustrating that people are listening to her at all. 


You say you can’t/won’t walk around and micromanage her but the only reason is because she is well-liked and you are not. Otherwise you DO talk about her and even try to get her fired if/when anyone listens to you (your boss for example). If an inspection is going to fall on you, why aren’t you getting ahead of this and doing your job? If you were doing your job, she wouldn’t be attempting to do it for you because there wouldn’t be anything to do. You are so threatened by her that just having her butt out of these things aren’t enough, you actually want her fired. Again probably because she is confident and well-liked and you are neither of those things. She may make the stupidest comments but at the end of the day she is still several steps ahead of you. Either do your job BEFORE she gets to it or stop monitoring her every minute of the day. Pretty soon she will complain about you always “overhearing” (listening to) her conversations and trying to go behind her back instead of being a professional. How is it that you happen to overhear her so often?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 02, 2019, 02:38:25 PM
I don't understand how a data entry worker is giving instructions to the lab. Is this not your role?  Where are you during these events?

Note that if you fail your OSHA or whatever, they are not going to hold a data entry worker responsible for the failure.

Yes, I read the thread.  I think it bothers you that people are listening to this woman instead of you.  Why aren't they listening to you?  What are you doing so that you are listened to?

I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.  I can't and won't walk around looking over her shoulder micromanaging who she talks to.  I have my own job to do and I can't control her behavior.

Yes I realize that if we get an OSHA or environmental regulatory inspection it's going to fall on me.  That's why it's so god damn frustrating that people are listening to her at all. 


You say you can’t/won’t walk around and micromanage her but the only reason is because she is well-liked and you are not. Otherwise you DO talk about her and even try to get her fired if/when anyone listens to you (your boss for example). If an inspection is going to fall on you, why aren’t you getting ahead of this and doing your job? If you were doing your job, she wouldn’t be attempting to do it for you because there wouldn’t be anything to do. You are so threatened by her that just having her butt out of these things aren’t enough, you actually want her fired. Again probably because she is confident and well-liked and you are neither of those things. She may make the stupidest comments but at the end of the day she is still several steps ahead of you. Either do your job BEFORE she gets to it or stop monitoring her every minute of the day. Pretty soon she will complain about you always “overhearing” (listening to) her conversations and trying to go behind her back instead of being a professional. How is it that you happen to overhear her so often?

Are you mental too? Maybe a bad batch of nanobots in your last vaccine? I won't go around micromanaging her because THAT'S NOT MY FUCKING JOB, not because she is confident and well-liked.  She is not several steps of ahead of anyone, I'm amazed she is able to even tie her own shoes. Seriously, did you even read the thread? 

I want her fired because she is grossly incompetent and a pain in my ass. I "overhear" her conversations because we work in the same fucking lab; her desk is like 20 feet away from mine. The anti-vax and nanobots conversation happened directly in front of my door.  I couldn't have avoided it even if I wanted to.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on December 02, 2019, 03:07:36 PM
I don't understand how a data entry worker is giving instructions to the lab. Is this not your role?  Where are you during these events?

Note that if you fail your OSHA or whatever, they are not going to hold a data entry worker responsible for the failure.

Yes, I read the thread.  I think it bothers you that people are listening to this woman instead of you.  Why aren't they listening to you?  What are you doing so that you are listened to?

I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.  I can't and won't walk around looking over her shoulder micromanaging who she talks to.  I have my own job to do and I can't control her behavior.

Yes I realize that if we get an OSHA or environmental regulatory inspection it's going to fall on me.  That's why it's so god damn frustrating that people are listening to her at all. 


You say you can’t/won’t walk around and micromanage her but the only reason is because she is well-liked and you are not. Otherwise you DO talk about her and even try to get her fired if/when anyone listens to you (your boss for example). If an inspection is going to fall on you, why aren’t you getting ahead of this and doing your job? If you were doing your job, she wouldn’t be attempting to do it for you because there wouldn’t be anything to do. You are so threatened by her that just having her butt out of these things aren’t enough, you actually want her fired. Again probably because she is confident and well-liked and you are neither of those things. She may make the stupidest comments but at the end of the day she is still several steps ahead of you. Either do your job BEFORE she gets to it or stop monitoring her every minute of the day. Pretty soon she will complain about you always “overhearing” (listening to) her conversations and trying to go behind her back instead of being a professional. How is it that you happen to overhear her so often?

Are you mental too? Maybe a bad batch of nanobots in your last vaccine? I won't go around micromanaging her because THAT'S NOT MY FUCKING JOB, not because she is confident and well-liked.  She is not several steps of ahead of anyone, I'm amazed she is able to even tie her own shoes. Seriously, did you even read the thread? 

I want her fired because she is grossly incompetent and a pain in my ass. I "overhear" her conversations because we work in the same fucking lab; her desk is like 20 feet away from mine. The anti-vax and nanobots conversation happened directly in front of my door.  I couldn't have avoided it even if I wanted to.

Yes i read the whole thread and have been commenting. What i am saying is you say it is not your job to micromanage her but yet you keep attempting by going to your manager to get her fired. You don’t attempt to correct her incorrect information because you know nobody will listen to you because you are not confident or well-liked. It is already established that she is an idiot but she is a well-liked idiot and if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired. Nanobots and the other crap she talks about is not a reason to fire someone. Idiotic comments about vaccines are not reasons to fire. My point is she is TRYING to do something even if they are incorrect. All you are doing is bitch about her to strangers on the internet and your boss because noone else will listen. Majority of your complaints is about her being an idiot. She is several steps ahead, not because she accomplishes anything but because she attempts and has the confidence to do so. She finds the opening and she takes it because you are not taking the opening.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on December 02, 2019, 03:32:26 PM
if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired.

You must not have known many of the managers that I have.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on December 02, 2019, 03:39:04 PM
if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired.

You must not have known many of the managers that I have.

He already ran to his manager and complained and he agreed to his face but nothing including telling her not to do these things happened. So maybe in this company not knowing about major world events like chernobyl and being an antivaxxer and annoying frugalnacho are not fireable offenses.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 02, 2019, 04:28:08 PM
if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired.

You must not have known many of the managers that I have.

THIS. She's probably reached the stupid threshold required to be promoted, actually.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on December 02, 2019, 04:28:21 PM
if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired.

You must not have known many of the managers that I have.

He already ran to his manager and complained and he agreed to his face but nothing including telling her not to do these things happened. So maybe in this company not knowing about major world events like chernobyl and being an antivaxxer and annoying frugalnacho are not fireable offenses.
Or the manager just isn't up to the job of 1) ensuring that this newly employed data entry clerk does her job without getting in the way of other people doing their (safety critical) job, and 2) following whatever performance management and exit procedures the company may have.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 04:37:31 PM
I think it's safe to assume that the company wants the data entry clerk to do the data entry job well, and the safety / environmental engineer to do that job well too.  If the data entry clerk wants to go above and beyond, that can be viewed as being a "go-getter" -- why not let that person step up and try?

I don't think that the data entry clerk will be fired.

Now, what's next?

P.S. Do we think that antibodies and nanobots are mix-uppable?   If she doesn't have perfect language and perfect spelling, it might be "good enough" for the people at the workplace, except FrugalNacho.

P.P.S.  You say you have been there 3 months (update: looks like around 5 months now since the thread was started a while ago).  I don't think it's appropriate for someone who has been at a place 3 months to try to get other people fired.  You are still proving yourself!

Last note: If you try to show her up in front of other people (during a training), of course she's going to defend herself.  If you try to give her solid information in a kind and non-threatening way, maybe she'd listen to you.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: RWD on December 02, 2019, 04:48:21 PM
If the data entry clerk wants to go above and beyond, that can be viewed as being a "go-getter" -- why not let that person step up and try?
If the janitor wants to go above and beyond and try their hand at air traffic control why not let that person step up and try?

Personally I would want someone making decisions that affect safety to have some proper training first.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 04:49:22 PM
Dude, she's OSHA certified.  LOL.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Beach_Bound on December 02, 2019, 06:42:24 PM
Nacho was hired as the safety expert for the plant. He created a prioritized list of safety tasks to address. That list does not include editing poorly written safety posters or negotiating with trash collectors because regular trash was improperly put in biohazard bags. Safety Sandy isn't being a helpful go-getter; she's creating unnecessary work. She's actively detracting from plant safety by preventing the safety expert from working on higher priority issues.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 02, 2019, 07:07:48 PM
So I think Nacho needs advice on how to regain control of the situation.  This does not necessarily mean getting the other person fired.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: alienbogey on December 02, 2019, 11:12:11 PM

 Can you even imagine the audacity and arrogance that someone must have to completely dismiss a medical doctors diagnosis and rediagnose someone that you know nothing about with a non-existent disease based on your internet research?


I don't have to imagine it, my daughter in law lives it.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: herbgeek on December 03, 2019, 07:05:29 AM
Quote
I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.

Why aren't they listening to me? I don't know, they are fucking stupid. 

would be so easy to refute them and make them look like an idiot.

ou end up looking like an idiot even though you are 100% right.

Dirision just drips from all of your posts.  Of course, people don't listen to you.  You have made it obvious that everyone but you is stupid.  Safety Sandy actually talks TO people instead of AT them, and they respond to that.  Even though she is wrong.   People have to trust you before they will listen to you.   

You, on the other hand, think everyone is stupid, and you want to publicly correct folks.  And not just teach them something, you want to prove them /wrong/.   People don't want to be publicly humiliated. 

Safety Sandy is being paid as a data entry clerk, but is doing more work than that (even if not always 100% accurate).  The company is still getting value above what they are paying for.  As someone else already pointed out, if you had already done the things that need to be done, there would be nothing for her to do.  If you were smart, you'd have her do well defined, routine and clerical tasks, so that you could focus on higher level items that only you can do.   Which would leverage both of you better.  You can't complain about her help, while also complaining that you have more work than you can handle.  Her annoying you is not a fireable offense.

I say this, having been a manager for a good dozen years, and having had to manage staff like you.  Its possible to be 100% technically correct, and still ineffective in your job because you can't get along with other people, or find a way to work with them that benefits all.  Firing someone is never a first course of action.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on December 03, 2019, 07:32:36 AM
@frugalnacho, you've been on these boards for a long time and I hold a lot of respect for you and your opinions.  Anybody who has ever encountered someone like this knows what you're talking about.  You are not crazy. 

So let me tell you a little bit about me.  First, I'm pretty sure I have that "authority" thing that people respond to.  It's strange because I could tell people the sky is green and they will believe me.  This usually lasts about 2 years.  After that, I just try to be good at my job.  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I can tell you when it started:  at my 2nd job after college, I noticed that no one listened to me when I spoke and I was constantly being interrupted.  I went to the library and got a book and a workbook about "how to speak with authority" (I think it was specifically for women because i was in a male-dominated field) and practiced.  I also started noticing in company meetings that some people could slip in unnoticed and when other people walked in, the entire room stopped talking.  I wanted that to be me, so I started emulating some of the mannerisms. I changed my shoes to always have a hard sole so they "clicked" when I walked (always quickly).  I make sure my posture is good and I stand tall and take up more room than I need to.  When I walk into a meeting now, I push the door open hard and fast and I expect others to make way for me.  When someone offers a seat or to hold a door for me I take it without flinching (and I say thank you).  It's been decades, and I'm still described by others as "confident, authoritative, intelligent" and sometimes "intimidating".  I know this made a difference in how I'm perceived at work.  Maybe check Safety Sandy's posture and see if she comes across as more confident than you do? 

Second, my brother has this thing that makes everyone like him.  Not sure how to describe it, but I do not have it.  One of the things he does is that he never engages in an argument.  If someone else starts to argue or even just challenge him, he will mimic or mock them in some funny voice.  Or say something like "Oh, okay captain obvious"  It's not bullying because he's really just diffusing a tense situation, but trust me, it's infuriating to be on the receiving end of it.  When he does it to me, I feel like screaming "I'm not crazy!" like a crazy person would.  When I'm angry about something, he makes a joke out of it, which sends me deeper into a rant.  He always comes out smelling like roses.  Your description of safety sandy being so likable reminded me of this.   Maybe she's likable because she laughs more and you are coming off angry or sulking? 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 12:33:13 PM
Yes i read the whole thread and have been commenting. What i am saying is you say it is not your job to micromanage her but yet you keep attempting by going to your manager to get her fired. You don’t attempt to correct her incorrect information because you know nobody will listen to you because you are not confident or well-liked. It is already established that she is an idiot but she is a well-liked idiot and if she was causing as much harm as you claim, she would’ve been fired. Nanobots and the other crap she talks about is not a reason to fire someone. Idiotic comments about vaccines are not reasons to fire. My point is she is TRYING to do something even if they are incorrect. All you are doing is bitch about her to strangers on the internet and your boss because noone else will listen. Majority of your complaints is about her being an idiot. She is several steps ahead, not because she accomplishes anything but because she attempts and has the confidence to do so. She finds the opening and she takes it because you are not taking the opening.

What are you even talking about?  The meeting where I expressed my opinion that she should be fired was a follow up to a meeting she initiated.  She made and laminated a bunch of safety signs and emailed them directly to the plant manager with the intention of posting them.  We were both blindsided by this request, and afterwards when I had the time to actually look at the posters she made I realized it was riddled with spelling errors and inaccuracies and that is when I scheduled another meeting with my boss to let him know.  I am not going out of my way to get her fired, I merely expressed my opinion based on the numerous detrimental actions she's already taken. 

Merely trying to do something is not a sufficient reason to keep her employed.  She is overstepping boundaries and doing stuff she shouldn't be doing because she's not trained, not educated, and frankly too stupid to be taking on those responsibilities.  Rather than being praised for being proactive I think she should be punished for overstepping and wasting company resources.  What if I just started poking around in the financial software and making tweaks even though I'm not trained in the software and have no background in finance?  Should I be praised for taking some initiative? Or should I get a reality check and get put in my place?

I think you are misconstruing my confidence level too.  It's not that I lack confidence, it's that I lack confidence in areas I shouldn't be confident in.  I don't work in the paint booth, and I am unfamiliar with a lot of the chemicals they use.  When asked how to categorize and dispose of 30 different items...I don't know! I don't know that off the top of my head, I would have to check the hazardous waste regulations, check the chemical components, and make a determination of how to dispose of each item properly.  Then document that, and make it an official company policy for how we do it going forward, which apparently no one has ever done.  But WTF, how have you been disposing of everything for the last 20 years if you guys don't know?! In contrast safety sandy has the utmost confidence to start delegating that everything gets put into a bio waste bag, even though she's completely wrong!

I'm sure you all have known people like that.  Maybe from school, maybe from previous jobs, or maybe you are working with that person right now.  They read something and they are instantly a subject matter expert, and even though you are not a subject matter expert, you understood the material enough to know that that person is a complete idiot and didn't fully comprehend what they read, but they believe they fully comprehended it.  That's safety sandy.  Every. Single. Subject.  She's a fucking expert.  I actually am a subject matter expert on many of the things she is claiming to have expertise in, and most of the other areas I can tell she doesn't know what she's talking about and doesn't understand it nearly as well as she thinks she does.  The ability to evaluate how well you understand something is the same set of skills required to actually understand the material.  She is lacking in the ability to understand the material, and she can't even understand how much her understanding is lacking.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 12:43:09 PM
I think it's safe to assume that the company wants the data entry clerk to do the data entry job well, and the safety / environmental engineer to do that job well too.  If the data entry clerk wants to go above and beyond, that can be viewed as being a "go-getter" -- why not let that person step up and try?

I don't think that the data entry clerk will be fired.

Now, what's next?

P.S. Do we think that antibodies and nanobots are mix-uppable?   If she doesn't have perfect language and perfect spelling, it might be "good enough" for the people at the workplace, except FrugalNacho.

P.P.S.  You say you have been there 3 months (update: looks like around 5 months now since the thread was started a while ago).  I don't think it's appropriate for someone who has been at a place 3 months to try to get other people fired.  You are still proving yourself!

Last note: If you try to show her up in front of other people (during a training), of course she's going to defend herself.  If you try to give her solid information in a kind and non-threatening way, maybe she'd listen to you.

No I doubt she is mixing up antibodies and nanobots.  She clearly said nanobots, and the vendor looked perplexed and repeated back "nanobots?", to which she responded "yea, nanobots".  Also that's not "good enough" for anyone, that's straight up crazy territory, or at least terribly ignorant and confused about how they work.  This was literally the same conversation that she said she worked in a doctors office and read the doctors notes and recommended treatments for the patients.  I can't tell if you are trolling or what.

When did I try to show her up during training?  Some employees seemed confused about MSDS and SDS and I attempted to offer clarification.  Me noting that was because she was so defensive and argumentative, for IMO no reason since I wasn't challenging her or showing her up, just stating a fact in an attempt to alleviate confusion.  I think the real take away from that interaction is that 1. she's not fucking qualified to be conducting training of any kind, and 2. she immediately countered me with a made up fact that some materials are considered "materials" thus must legally have an MSDS and not an SDS.   
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: nburns on December 03, 2019, 12:50:32 PM
I wish there was a like button so I could like every dumb thing this woman has done since this thread began.  She needs to be sat down by management and figure out what the fuck she is actually doing at this plant other than fucking with @frugalnacho 's job. It has gotten past the point of understanding another person, this is a job and you are royally fucking it up. FN, I feel for you.  You are not crazy, this lady is bat shit from the sounds of it. The spelling errors and the MSDS vs SDS things I could maybe see, but the "skeletosis", soot from the furnace, and nanobots? holy shit this is gold, prime content here.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: PoutineLover on December 03, 2019, 12:57:56 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Re: Safety Sandy, it seems like you have a personality conflict with her, that is making every little mistake get blown out of proportion. Yes, she is doing stupid things, and I'm sure it is frustrating, but I think that if you are both new, you shouldn't be trying to get her fired, it reflects badly on you. If anything, she probably just isn't busy enough with her own actual tasks, and she needs to be told which things are not part of her job description. Your energy might be better spent on clearly defining your job and making sure that she doesn't have any part in it.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 01:03:06 PM
Quote
I don't understand it either.  People just listen to her.

Why aren't they listening to me? I don't know, they are fucking stupid. 

would be so easy to refute them and make them look like an idiot.

ou end up looking like an idiot even though you are 100% right.

Dirision just drips from all of your posts.  Of course, people don't listen to you.  You have made it obvious that everyone but you is stupid.  Safety Sandy actually talks TO people instead of AT them, and they respond to that.  Even though she is wrong.   People have to trust you before they will listen to you.   

You, on the other hand, think everyone is stupid, and you want to publicly correct folks.  And not just teach them something, you want to prove them /wrong/.   People don't want to be publicly humiliated. 

Safety Sandy is being paid as a data entry clerk, but is doing more work than that (even if not always 100% accurate).  The company is still getting value above what they are paying for.  As someone else already pointed out, if you had already done the things that need to be done, there would be nothing for her to do.  If you were smart, you'd have her do well defined, routine and clerical tasks, so that you could focus on higher level items that only you can do.   Which would leverage both of you better.  You can't complain about her help, while also complaining that you have more work than you can handle.  Her annoying you is not a fireable offense.

I say this, having been a manager for a good dozen years, and having had to manage staff like you.  Its possible to be 100% technically correct, and still ineffective in your job because you can't get along with other people, or find a way to work with them that benefits all.  Firing someone is never a first course of action.

What's with the comments about me publically correcting people and trying to prove them wrong?  Is this all stemming from the one incident about SDS/MSDS? I don't really count that as a public correction, as my intent was not to even correct her, just provide some clarification, but it totally backfired.  I didn't think anyone could/would dispute what I said.

Of course derision drips from my posts, she's objectively an idiot that is very worthy of derision.  Anyone that doesn't vaccinate and believes vaccines cause autism should be derided because they are dangerous idiots causing harm to society.  Fuck those fucking idiots.  Puta pendejos. Everytime I hear of some baby that was too young to get vaccinated dieing from the measles my blood boils and I want to stab an anti vaxxer in the neck. If anyone reading this thread is an anti-vaxxer they can go fuck themselves.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 01:08:36 PM
I wish there was a like button so I could like every dumb thing this woman has done since this thread began.  She needs to be sat down by management and figure out what the fuck she is actually doing at this plant other than fucking with @frugalnacho 's job. It has gotten past the point of understanding another person, this is a job and you are royally fucking it up. FN, I feel for you.  You are not crazy, this lady is bat shit from the sounds of it. The spelling errors and the MSDS vs SDS things I could maybe see, but the "skeletosis", soot from the furnace, and nanobots? holy shit this is gold, prime content here.

I don't remember if I followed up about the furnace and the soot.  I got maintenance to come in and look at the furnace.  First thing he did is look at it and say "this is the exhaust pipe.  It's not even connected to the air circulating duct".  Then he got a vacuum and cleaned up the dust around the furnace, never cleaned anything inside the furnace or adjusted anything.  Mysteriously the ear aches and "sickness" that was plaguing her vanished overnight. 

Somehow this crazy "soot" (aka dust) is still accumulating over everything in my office though.  It also appears to be accumulating in my house and my car, and literally every other place I go. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SKL-HOU on December 03, 2019, 01:23:56 PM
Again being an idiot or not vaccinating or annoying you is not a fireable offense. If you list everything that you mentioned in this thread, there is nothing that warrants firing someone. Unnecessary work sure, idiotic comments sure, but what has she done that actually requires her to be fired other than you wanting it. And just reading all your comments, the only reason i can see (as an outsider reading your side only) you wanting her fired is she is everything you are not (that includes being an idiot but also well-liked and confident). It must be exhausting to be you, always looking for faults. There is a reason she is well-liked and you are not (don’t mean they don’t like you, i mean you seem to be just tolerable at best).
I have definitely worked with people like her, i still do. But other than occasionally being annoyed, i would never try to get them fired for trying or annoying me. Employers like enthusiastic people (even if they are idiots), not know-it-alls who complain about coworkers to get them fired. You are NOT a team player.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 01:30:58 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Re: Safety Sandy, it seems like you have a personality conflict with her, that is making every little mistake get blown out of proportion. Yes, she is doing stupid things, and I'm sure it is frustrating, but I think that if you are both new, you shouldn't be trying to get her fired, it reflects badly on you. If anything, she probably just isn't busy enough with her own actual tasks, and she needs to be told which things are not part of her job description. Your energy might be better spent on clearly defining your job and making sure that she doesn't have any part in it.

Definitely a personality conflict.  Out of the 90 or so people at this facility there is exactly 1 person I dislike.

However, I'm not actively trying to get her fired.  I'm not setting her up for failure, and I'm not going around trying to report her other than for things directly related to my job that she is fucking up.  I don't see how I really have any other choice though, I can't sit back and allow someone else to completely fuck up areas that fall under my responsibility without saying something.  I'm not reporting to my manager her stance on vaccines and nanobots.  I did report about her diagnosing someone with "skeletosis" though.  As the health and safety manager, should I not be reporting that kind of stuff?

I also don't buy into this "oh just let everyone do anything they want, no one deserves to be fired" bullshit.  I'm not advocating to fire her simply because I dislike her.  I'm advocating to fire her because she is grossly incompetent, actively undermining management, and a huge liability to the company.  I think her intentions are good, but she's far too inept.  I believe it's in the best interest of the company to fire her. 


I'm also only reporting a small portion of my job responsibilities in this thread, and only things directly related to safety sandy.  It's a bit unfair to say she is making tons of progress and I'm not doing anything just because I'm not posting about the environmental reports that are getting done, and the waste treatment system improvements being installed, and the new permits being drafted, etc.  This thread is small insight into a narrow range of job responsibilities that are being interfered with by the self proclaimed safety guru, because that's the only portion directly applicable to this thread.  Thankfully most of that stuff is so far out of her scope she isn't even aware of it, although I'm sure she'd be offering her expert opinion on it if she could.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 03, 2019, 01:32:05 PM
The thing I don't understand -- how did this person get to lead a safety training without your permission or knowledge?  You said earlier that you appreciate people volunteering, do did you bless it? 

It sounds like things have settled down, so maybe you can just ignore and do your things.

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 01:44:49 PM
Again being an idiot or not vaccinating or annoying you is not a fireable offense. If you list everything that you mentioned in this thread, there is nothing that warrants firing someone. Unnecessary work sure, idiotic comments sure, but what has she done that actually requires her to be fired other than you wanting it. And just reading all your comments, the only reason i can see (as an outsider reading your side only) you wanting her fired is she is everything you are not (that includes being an idiot but also well-liked and confident). It must be exhausting to be you, always looking for faults. There is a reason she is well-liked and you are not (don’t mean they don’t like you, i mean you seem to be just tolerable at best).
I have definitely worked with people like her, i still do. But other than occasionally being annoyed, i would never try to get them fired for trying or annoying me. Employers like enthusiastic people (even if they are idiots), not know-it-alls who complain about coworkers to get them fired. You are NOT a team player.

Off the top of my head without rereading everything I've posted things that are fireable offenses:

1. not understanding the basic chemistry or physics of what you're dealing with.  Ignorance alone doesn't necessarily justify being fired, but coupled with instructing other people how to conduct their jobs based on your misunderstandings it can.
2. not understanding the mechanisms of how pollutants can get into the air and ultimately into the body, but insisting you do.
3. wasting company resources (employee time, materials)
4. conducting unauthorized training of employees.  This one is especially egregious since she was wrong on so many points.
5. evaluating employees with made up diseases (skeletosis)

There are probably several more I'm not thinking of at the moment, but any one of those could potentially be a fireable offense IMO, and in aggregate they definitely should be.  Everything else (nanobots, vaccines, chernobyl, etc) is just gravy that I'm posting for entertainment value. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 01:58:48 PM
The thing I don't understand -- how did this person get to lead a safety training without your permission or knowledge?  You said earlier that you appreciate people volunteering, do did you bless it? 

It sounds like things have settled down, so maybe you can just ignore and do your things.

She just did it.  I found out about it when she called a group of us in for safety training.  She didn't get approval or fill out any forms or anything, she just did it.  BAM, you're getting training.  Ultimately I went to my manager who shut it down.  But that's how it started. 

It has somewhat settled down, and she is getting into other people's hair at this point.  I am avoiding her as much as possible, which is hard because we work in the same lab.  I don't give her anything to do, I don't inquire about her job, and I don't volunteer anything related to my job. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 02:15:51 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379

Is that site even real? I read through that thread, and jumped up a level and looked at other threads.  I can't tell if it's full on crazy people or a parody of crazy people. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: nburns on December 03, 2019, 02:18:38 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379

Is that site even real? I read through that thread, and jumped up a level and looked at other threads.  I can't tell if it's full on crazy people or a parody of crazy people.


Same here, I just looked it over for a good 20 minuets and cannot tell if this is real or a troll website.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 03, 2019, 02:19:12 PM
It seems to me that the focus shouldn't be on fixing her or getting her fired.  The focus should be on clearly delineating, *for your coworkers* what authorities you have, vs what she has.  Your focus seems to be on her, because you feel she is usurping your authority.  The solution to that seems to be shoring up your authority or makinf sure everyone else knows who to listen to regarding things in your sphere of responsibility.

I'm not doubting she's crazy.  I'm not doubting she sucks, or that she's doing things she shouldn't.

But it seems like people are inclined to listen to her instead of you.  That's what you need to address.  That's should be your focus.  Why, particularly in areas where it seems like the proper chain of command is clear, are they listening to her instead?  That suggest that there is an authority or respect issue, or that for some reason you aren't liked or trusted.  I'd start by trying to build better relationships with key colleagues, and by seeing if there is some way to better codify (as in, actually get it written down and distributed, if at all possible), what areas you "won".  With that done, and without making it in any way about here, spread that info far and wide.  Frame it as a helpful document, because there has been some confusion in the past, about what falls under your purview, and the ask people, if they receive information or direction on those things from anyone else, to please run it by you first, to avoid confusion, doubled or conflicting efforts, or any other possible complications.  Then thank them for helping you ensure nothing gets missed.

Focusing on removing her is the wrong approach for several reasons.  This is showing you that *you* have a work issue.  That's not a criticism; it's just kind of a thing that happens.  Something needs to shift so that you are the guy they listen to.  If at my job a finance person told me about what I needed to do to get approval to extend the term on a grant, I wouldn't have listened.  But if it wasn't clear to me who did what, I might have inadvertently done so.  And if I knew that person and trusted them, and *I didn't know or trust the more relevant person*, I might either intentionally or unintentionally listed to advice from the wrong person.  Those are the things you can fix. Whether this person continues to be employed is mostly outside of your sphere of control, yet you are making it mostly the focus.  Fix your own authority and relationships, and then when she tries this stuff, she will be ignored and you will be notified. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 03, 2019, 02:46:42 PM
It seems to me that the focus shouldn't be on fixing her or getting her fired.  The focus should be on clearly delineating, *for your coworkers* what authorities you have, vs what she has.  Your focus seems to be on her, because you feel she is usurping your authority.  The solution to that seems to be shoring up your authority or makinf sure everyone else knows who to listen to regarding things in your sphere of responsibility.

I'm not doubting she's crazy.  I'm not doubting she sucks, or that she's doing things she shouldn't.

But it seems like people are inclined to listen to her instead of you.  That's what you need to address.  That's should be your focus.  Why, particularly in areas where it seems like the proper chain of command is clear, are they listening to her instead?  That suggest that there is an authority or respect issue, or that for some reason you aren't liked or trusted.  I'd start by trying to build better relationships with key colleagues, and by seeing if there is some way to better codify (as in, actually get it written down and distributed, if at all possible), what areas you "won".  With that done, and without making it in any way about here, spread that info far and wide.  Frame it as a helpful document, because there has been some confusion in the past, about what falls under your purview, and the ask people, if they receive information or direction on those things from anyone else, to please run it by you first, to avoid confusion, doubled or conflicting efforts, or any other possible complications.  Then thank them for helping you ensure nothing gets missed.

Focusing on removing her is the wrong approach for several reasons.  This is showing you that *you* have a work issue.  That's not a criticism; it's just kind of a thing that happens.  Something needs to shift so that you are the guy they listen to.  If at my job a finance person told me about what I needed to do to get approval to extend the term on a grant, I wouldn't have listened.  But if it wasn't clear to me who did what, I might have inadvertently done so.  And if I knew that person and trusted them, and *I didn't know or trust the more relevant person*, I might either intentionally or unintentionally listed to advice from the wrong person.  Those are the things you can fix. Whether this person continues to be employed is mostly outside of your sphere of control, yet you are making it mostly the focus.  Fix your own authority and relationships, and then when she tries this stuff, she will be ignored and you will be notified.

I'm not actively trying to get her fired.  My opinion is that she should be.  I don't have authority to fire her, and my boss already knows my opinion when I told him several weeks ago.  There has been no further discussion about it.  I will bring to his attention anything I believe she is doing wrong that is going to have an impact on my ability to do my job, or anything I think will affect business, but other than that it's not my problem.  I will continue to post hilarious things I overhear her say, but only for entertainment purposes.  My boss is not reading this thread (I sure hope not).

We already have an industrial hygienist and safety consultant coming in to review our programs and help get things established.  I'll be the one working with them and will be cutting her out as much as possible.  Hopefully we can correct anything she's done wrong, and I will have documentation in place to back me up.  This way it won't be me saying you guys shouldn't be using bio hazard bags for paint cans, it will be a subject matter expert saying "this is the correct way this needs to be done" and I can rely on that.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: norajean on December 03, 2019, 03:04:22 PM
You seem sort of passive-aggressive, posting all your gripes online instead of working directly with her and your team. What have you done directly to address the issues and what is your plan to resolve this?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Case on December 03, 2019, 03:18:27 PM
It seems to me that the focus shouldn't be on fixing her or getting her fired.  The focus should be on clearly delineating, *for your coworkers* what authorities you have, vs what she has.  Your focus seems to be on her, because you feel she is usurping your authority.  The solution to that seems to be shoring up your authority or makinf sure everyone else knows who to listen to regarding things in your sphere of responsibility.

I'm not doubting she's crazy.  I'm not doubting she sucks, or that she's doing things she shouldn't.

But it seems like people are inclined to listen to her instead of you.  That's what you need to address.  That's should be your focus.  Why, particularly in areas where it seems like the proper chain of command is clear, are they listening to her instead?  That suggest that there is an authority or respect issue, or that for some reason you aren't liked or trusted.  I'd start by trying to build better relationships with key colleagues, and by seeing if there is some way to better codify (as in, actually get it written down and distributed, if at all possible), what areas you "won".  With that done, and without making it in any way about here, spread that info far and wide.  Frame it as a helpful document, because there has been some confusion in the past, about what falls under your purview, and the ask people, if they receive information or direction on those things from anyone else, to please run it by you first, to avoid confusion, doubled or conflicting efforts, or any other possible complications.  Then thank them for helping you ensure nothing gets missed.

Focusing on removing her is the wrong approach for several reasons.  This is showing you that *you* have a work issue.  That's not a criticism; it's just kind of a thing that happens.  Something needs to shift so that you are the guy they listen to.  If at my job a finance person told me about what I needed to do to get approval to extend the term on a grant, I wouldn't have listened.  But if it wasn't clear to me who did what, I might have inadvertently done so.  And if I knew that person and trusted them, and *I didn't know or trust the more relevant person*, I might either intentionally or unintentionally listed to advice from the wrong person.  Those are the things you can fix. Whether this person continues to be employed is mostly outside of your sphere of control, yet you are making it mostly the focus.  Fix your own authority and relationships, and then when she tries this stuff, she will be ignored and you will be notified.

I'm not actively trying to get her fired.  My opinion is that she should be.  I don't have authority to fire her, and my boss already knows my opinion when I told him several weeks ago.  There has been no further discussion about it.  I will bring to his attention anything I believe she is doing wrong that is going to have an impact on my ability to do my job, or anything I think will affect business, but other than that it's not my problem.  I will continue to post hilarious things I overhear her say, but only for entertainment purposes.  My boss is not reading this thread (I sure hope not).

We already have an industrial hygienist and safety consultant coming in to review our programs and help get things established.  I'll be the one working with them and will be cutting her out as much as possible.  Hopefully we can correct anything she's done wrong, and I will have documentation in place to back me up.  This way it won't be me saying you guys shouldn't be using bio hazard bags for paint cans, it will be a subject matter expert saying "this is the correct way this needs to be done" and I can rely on that.

I work at a chemical company as a chemist, so perhaps I can relate.

Typically, chemical companies take safety and environmental/etc... very seriously.  They have to, because they are heavily regulated to do so.  Also, the hazards in such jobs are significantly higher than say for a law firm, or a software engineer (which basically have not job related hazards aside maybe from the commute to work).  The cultures in the companies I have worked in is very serious about this.  If you have a safety incident and someone is injured, it is common for the perpetrator to be fired even if it was an innocent mistake.  We have monthly safety meetings, to review how to be more safe.  We have 'safety moments' at most meetings, to reflect upon how we might be safer.  There is a constant barrage of reminders from leaders/executives about how safety is the top priority and we must pursue it above all else.  Of course, a lot of it is BS... but no one can deny that it is at least touted as some sort of high priority.

At my current and previous companies, if someone without credentials for it and not hired for that role, came in and started messing around with the pre-defined routines for safety/environmental/etc... it would cause problems.  It would get noticed.  They would probably be told to stop and not interfere with our current procedures.  If they persisted, I would not be surprised if they were fired.  I don't know the legality of how it all goes down... I suspect the company first has to generate a paper trail (documentation of her fuck ups) before firing her.

The only angle I would take in your situation is to indicate to management that she is jeopardizing the safety and/or environmental compliance of the company and its employees.  It seems you have done this already, so you are probably on the right track.  As others have indicated, keep a paper trail.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: PoutineLover on December 03, 2019, 03:23:33 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379

Is that site even real? I read through that thread, and jumped up a level and looked at other threads.  I can't tell if it's full on crazy people or a parody of crazy people.


Same here, I just looked it over for a good 20 minuets and cannot tell if this is real or a troll website.
I honestly have no idea, I just found it when I searched for nanobots and vaccines and thought it was too funny not to post.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Aegishjalmur on December 03, 2019, 04:22:55 PM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379

Is that site even real? I read through that thread, and jumped up a level and looked at other threads.  I can't tell if it's full on crazy people or a parody of crazy people.


Same here, I just looked it over for a good 20 minuets and cannot tell if this is real or a troll website.
I honestly have no idea, I just found it when I searched for nanobots and vaccines and thought it was too funny not to post.

It's a parody site... But I am equally sure it isn't as much a parody as we would hope....
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on December 03, 2019, 06:11:38 PM
I wish there was a like button so I could like every dumb thing this woman has done since this thread began.  She needs to be sat down by management and figure out what the fuck she is actually doing at this plant other than fucking with @frugalnacho 's job. It has gotten past the point of understanding another person, this is a job and you are royally fucking it up. FN, I feel for you.  You are not crazy, this lady is bat shit from the sounds of it. The spelling errors and the MSDS vs SDS things I could maybe see, but the "skeletosis", soot from the furnace, and nanobots? holy shit this is gold, prime content here.

I don't remember if I followed up about the furnace and the soot.  I got maintenance to come in and look at the furnace.  First thing he did is look at it and say "this is the exhaust pipe.  It's not even connected to the air circulating duct".  Then he got a vacuum and cleaned up the dust around the furnace, never cleaned anything inside the furnace or adjusted anything.  Mysteriously the ear aches and "sickness" that was plaguing her vanished overnight. 

This is and excellent guide for how to "win over" other staff -- small actions taken quickly to immediately show a response to a safety concern.   The actions don't even have to make a meaningful difference, it is just that you listen, act, and poof! the person feels that you are looking out for their welfare.  Buying PPE or bringing in the mechanical tech or whatever are obvious and easy for you to do.

It doesn't actually need to be technically correct or significant.  This is partly why Sandy is getting good responses from people.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: mozar on December 03, 2019, 10:22:03 PM
I'm glad you are bringing in an official expert to codify things, but I think you should bring in sandy to take notes. It might make extra work for you to correct them but it will show you are team player. I've never seen it work in the long run to avoid difficult people.
Quote
I think you are misconstruing my confidence level too.  It's not that I lack confidence, it's that I lack confidence in areas I shouldn't be confident in.  I don't work in the paint booth, and I am unfamiliar with a lot of the chemicals they use.  When asked how to categorize and dispose of 30 different items...I don't know! I don't know that off the top of my head, I would have to check the hazardous waste regulations, check the chemical components, and make a determination of how to dispose of each item properly.  Then document that, and make it an official company policy for how we do it going forward, which apparently no one has ever done.  But WTF, how have you been disposing of everything for the last 20 years if you guys don't know?! In contrast safety sandy has the utmost confidence to start delegating that everything gets put into a bio waste bag, even though she's completely wrong!
This sounds like a task you should do.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on December 04, 2019, 12:09:44 AM
I'm glad you are bringing in an official expert to codify things, but I think you should bring in sandy to take notes. It might make extra work for you to correct them but it will show you are team player. I've never seen it work in the long run to avoid difficult people.
Quote
I think you are misconstruing my confidence level too.  It's not that I lack confidence, it's that I lack confidence in areas I shouldn't be confident in.  I don't work in the paint booth, and I am unfamiliar with a lot of the chemicals they use.  When asked how to categorize and dispose of 30 different items...I don't know! I don't know that off the top of my head, I would have to check the hazardous waste regulations, check the chemical components, and make a determination of how to dispose of each item properly.  Then document that, and make it an official company policy for how we do it going forward, which apparently no one has ever done.  But WTF, how have you been disposing of everything for the last 20 years if you guys don't know?! In contrast safety sandy has the utmost confidence to start delegating that everything gets put into a bio waste bag, even though she's completely wrong!
This sounds like a task you should do.
Yes.  Including checking 30 different types of paint, each no doubt with a long list of chemicals in its contents each to be checked against dozens or hundreds of pages of regulated chemicals and consequent disposal requirements, a job that could take days and no doubt has to be prioritised in OP's workload against all the other safety matters for which OP is responsible.

But no, along comes Safety Sandy, who has already made it quite clear that as an employee she doesn't and won't answer to OP, and says with a staggering lack of understanding that biological and chemical substances are actually different that chemicals should be disposed of as though they were biological substances.

And somehow this is OP's fault that he hasn't been doing his job properly?

wow.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 04, 2019, 02:14:19 AM
I'm glad you are bringing in an official expert to codify things, but I think you should bring in sandy to take notes. It might make extra work for you to correct them but it will show you are team player. I've never seen it work in the long run to avoid difficult people.
Quote
I think you are misconstruing my confidence level too.  It's not that I lack confidence, it's that I lack confidence in areas I shouldn't be confident in.  I don't work in the paint booth, and I am unfamiliar with a lot of the chemicals they use.  When asked how to categorize and dispose of 30 different items...I don't know! I don't know that off the top of my head, I would have to check the hazardous waste regulations, check the chemical components, and make a determination of how to dispose of each item properly.  Then document that, and make it an official company policy for how we do it going forward, which apparently no one has ever done.  But WTF, how have you been disposing of everything for the last 20 years if you guys don't know?! In contrast safety sandy has the utmost confidence to start delegating that everything gets put into a bio waste bag, even though she's completely wrong!
This sounds like a task you should do.
Yes.  Including checking 30 different types of paint, each no doubt with a long list of chemicals in its contents each to be checked against dozens or hundreds of pages of regulated chemicals and consequent disposal requirements, a job that could take days and no doubt has to be prioritised in OP's workload against all the other safety matters for which OP is responsible.

But no, along comes Safety Sandy, who has already made it quite clear that as an employee she doesn't and won't answer to OP, and says with a staggering lack of understanding that biological and chemical substances are actually different that chemicals should be disposed of as though they were biological substances.

And somehow this is OP's fault that he hasn't been doing his job properly?

wow.

I totally agree. The OP has no role in this situation other than trying to do his job and keep an interfering and ignorant person out of his job. This is not a go-getter situation. This is a delusional person willfully overstepping her professional boundaries to the potential detriment of both the OP and the company. It needs to stop. Go-getters put their hand up for tasks and do things beyond their remit WITH FULL AGREEMENT OF MANAGEMENT. That allows management the chance to mitigate any potential conflict (or conflict of interest) and/or foresee any issues that may arise down the track. That is most definitely not the case here.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 04, 2019, 02:34:46 AM
Have I misread, or did someone at the company approve the co-worker's food for the meeting?  Someone must have endorsed it.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 04, 2019, 03:01:04 AM
Have I misread, or did someone at the company approve the co-worker's food for the meeting?  Someone must have endorsed it.

From what I remember, Safety Sandy has her own budget for buying chemical supplies (or something like that), which is part of her actual job. She used that for buying bagels for the meeting.

For those who suggest that Frugal Nacho should be buying pizza or bagels for his coworkers, from his own money, I wouldn't want to do that either. That is not a frugal thing to do. But maybe if FN ever wants to have a meeting, he could ask his boss to approve sponsoring bagels.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: iris lily on December 04, 2019, 06:59:38 AM
Nanobots are real guys: https://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=109379

Is that site even real? I read through that thread, and jumped up a level and looked at other threads.  I can't tell if it's full on crazy people or a parody of crazy people.


Same here, I just looked it over for a good 20 minutes and cannot tell if this is real or a troll website.
Of course it’s satire, it’s over the top and it doesn’t ring true to real crank posts. Also the title “Landover Baptist church”  is a reference to
Westboro Baptist Church, my guess.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Here4theGB on December 04, 2019, 08:00:55 AM
Your management sounds like a complete failure.  I manage a large manufacturing facility that builds heavy industrial equipment.  It is very dangerous work for our production staff and we have someone carted off in an ambulance about every 45-60 days with a serious injury.  The most recent incident, a gentleman lost his hand, forever.  If some n00b came in (no matter what credentials and what title) and started trying to mess with safety procedures w/o going through the proper channels of management, they would've been walked off the property at the very first instance.  There is no go-getting when it comes to changing or creating safety processes, only go-get another job please.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on December 04, 2019, 11:10:10 AM
Again being an idiot or not vaccinating or annoying you is not a fireable offense. If you list everything that you mentioned in this thread, there is nothing that warrants firing someone. Unnecessary work sure, idiotic comments sure, but what has she done that actually requires her to be fired other than you wanting it. And just reading all your comments, the only reason i can see (as an outsider reading your side only) you wanting her fired is she is everything you are not (that includes being an idiot but also well-liked and confident). It must be exhausting to be you, always looking for faults. There is a reason she is well-liked and you are not (don’t mean they don’t like you, i mean you seem to be just tolerable at best).
I have definitely worked with people like her, i still do. But other than occasionally being annoyed, i would never try to get them fired for trying or annoying me. Employers like enthusiastic people (even if they are idiots), not know-it-alls who complain about coworkers to get them fired. You are NOT a team player.

I disagree with the [bolded] portion of this comment. 
A worker is supposed to do their job, show initiative, but not exceed their authority.  #SafetySandy is clearly exceeding her authority and doing so could actually harm the company or its employees.  This needs to be stopped and if management is too uncomfortable to have a discussion about what her responsibilities include and exclude, then they need to be rid of her as she poses a problem.  It is clear that management does not want to confront and correct. 

I haven't read anything about FN wanting to get her fired.  FN just want SS to be out of his/her hair. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BECABECA on December 04, 2019, 11:55:43 AM
Your management sounds like a complete failure.  I manage a large manufacturing facility that builds heavy industrial equipment.  It is very dangerous work for our production staff and we have someone carted off in an ambulance about every 45-60 days with a serious injury.  The most recent incident, a gentleman lost his hand, forever.  If some n00b came in (no matter what credentials and what title) and started trying to mess with safety procedures w/o going through the proper channels of management, they would've been walked off the property at the very first instance.  There is no go-getting when it comes to changing or creating safety processes, only go-get another job please.

This x100. If your management has allowed Safety Sandy to be putting the company at risk for as long as she has, especially after being alerted to it, they have shown you that you can’t trust their abilities as managers. If they can’t manage something as cut and dry as this, how do you think they’ll manage more difficult decisions? I wouldn’t trust my long term career to a dysfunctional company like this, and would be looking for another job at a company with managers whose abilities I believe in.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: coffeefueled on December 04, 2019, 01:34:50 PM
I don't understand the people who seem to be supporting the data entry clerk and saying this is no big deal or thinking that just because FN is telling us his unvarnished thoughts about the ability of some of his coworkers to think critically for themselves then that must mean he doesn't treat them respectfully when he interacts with them. I think letting the data entry clerk take notes on a safety consultant meeting is inviting trouble and could further a bad precedent of her involvement in areas she shouldn't touch. I think it would be a big deal and unacceptable if a data entry clerk started incorrectly doing parts of anyone's job. The fact that in FN's industry it involves real safety issues with how chemicals are used and disposed of, or telling anyone in a lab how they should do their job or use safety equipment, makes it even crazier. If you put feelings aside and look at her actions, they are not acceptable.

Sure, it would be great if FN's relationship with the general populace in his company was better, but it doesn't excuse her behavior at all. As an INTJ I totally understand what it's like to not win any popularity contests for being factual and blunt or simply wanting to do your job well without having to engage in a popularity contest at all. Communicating in ways that work for everyone is something to work on over time. (I think @Laura33 's comments on that theme were great suggestions)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 04, 2019, 02:30:22 PM
You seem sort of passive-aggressive, posting all your gripes online instead of working directly with her and your team. What have you done directly to address the issues and what is your plan to resolve this?

I tried talking to her.  She is unreasonable.  It's very difficult to communicate with her and not have the conversation controlled and steered by her.  That's why I created the thread.  Initially I thought I was failing at effectively communicating with her, but the more I learn the more I realize she is utterly incompetent and completely unreasonable.  It's very reminiscent of arguing with an anti-vax individual - there is no winning, there is no steering the argument back onto the rails of logic and reason.  Even if I find documentation showing irrefutably that she is wrong, then I just wasted a bunch of time collecting that as she is off onto another topic.  It's impossible to keep up and refute everything she says.  At this point I'm no longer soliciting advice on how to deal with her.

I work at a chemical company as a chemist, so perhaps I can relate.

Typically, chemical companies take safety and environmental/etc... very seriously.  They have to, because they are heavily regulated to do so.  Also, the hazards in such jobs are significantly higher than say for a law firm, or a software engineer (which basically have not job related hazards aside maybe from the commute to work).  The cultures in the companies I have worked in is very serious about this.  If you have a safety incident and someone is injured, it is common for the perpetrator to be fired even if it was an innocent mistake.  We have monthly safety meetings, to review how to be more safe.  We have 'safety moments' at most meetings, to reflect upon how we might be safer.  There is a constant barrage of reminders from leaders/executives about how safety is the top priority and we must pursue it above all else.  Of course, a lot of it is BS... but no one can deny that it is at least touted as some sort of high priority.

At my current and previous companies, if someone without credentials for it and not hired for that role, came in and started messing around with the pre-defined routines for safety/environmental/etc... it would cause problems.  It would get noticed.  They would probably be told to stop and not interfere with our current procedures.  If they persisted, I would not be surprised if they were fired.  I don't know the legality of how it all goes down... I suspect the company first has to generate a paper trail (documentation of her fuck ups) before firing her.

The only angle I would take in your situation is to indicate to management that she is jeopardizing the safety and/or environmental compliance of the company and its employees.  It seems you have done this already, so you are probably on the right track.  As others have indicated, keep a paper trail.

That has been my experience working as a contractor for large chemical companies (Dow, BASF) as well.  Also the case at most really big companies I've worked at (GM, Ford, US Steel, AK Steel, etc). 

Totally not the case at this plant.  This plant is much closer to a small 2 man operation.  A lot of safety and environmental policies are reactive rather than proactive.  ie a regulator comes in and says "whoa, you guys aren't following the regulations.  you need to do A, B, and C".  And then they figure out how to do A, B, and C, but don't go any further.  It's not a good safety culture.

A lot of it is just common sense though.  We use a ton of razor blades, but there is apparently no company policy on how to dispose of them other than "throw them in the garbage".  Why don't you guys just use some old coffee cans or something so you aren't throwing loose razor blades into the garbage that is being handled by some employees? How is that not obvious?  Also, people apparently don't even follow the unwritten policy of throwing them in the trash because I see them littered around on the floor.  You don't even have to be an OSHA expert to know that you shouldn't just toss razor blades on the fucking ground and walk on them. 

I'm glad you are bringing in an official expert to codify things, but I think you should bring in sandy to take notes. It might make extra work for you to correct them but it will show you are team player. I've never seen it work in the long run to avoid difficult people.
Quote
I think you are misconstruing my confidence level too.  It's not that I lack confidence, it's that I lack confidence in areas I shouldn't be confident in.  I don't work in the paint booth, and I am unfamiliar with a lot of the chemicals they use.  When asked how to categorize and dispose of 30 different items...I don't know! I don't know that off the top of my head, I would have to check the hazardous waste regulations, check the chemical components, and make a determination of how to dispose of each item properly.  Then document that, and make it an official company policy for how we do it going forward, which apparently no one has ever done.  But WTF, how have you been disposing of everything for the last 20 years if you guys don't know?! In contrast safety sandy has the utmost confidence to start delegating that everything gets put into a bio waste bag, even though she's completely wrong!
This sounds like a task you should do.

I don't want sandy to have anything to do with safety or any part of my job.  I get what you guys are saying about including her and being a team player, but she's a fucking cancer and I don't want her involved in any capacity with anything.  I do not want her to even have a part in meeting with the consultants beyond interviewing her as we would all the other employees.  But as far as sitting in a meeting with the consultants, developing and implementing new policies, and managing those policies moving forward, I want to cut her out as much as possible.  I don't care if she's enthusiastic and gung-ho about safety, she's fucking dangerous and I'm sick of dealing with her.

That is a task I am working on along with 100 other tasks.  That's the part she doesn't understand, you can't just say "poof" this is how we do things without knowing what you're talking about.  You can boil many of these items down to a single sentence, but the devil is always in the details.  In order to know how to dispose of all that stuff you first have to understand hazardous waste regulations, and what qualifies and what doesn't qualify.  The latex based paint is non hazardous, but you can't dispose of liquid paint, it needs to be dried.  Solvents are considered hazardous, but the rags you use that are soaked in that solvent are considered non-hazardous, but only if you follow all the guidelines from the state such as keeping them in a closed container, not having free standing liquid, etc.  Some of the other stuff is hazardous and needs to be segregated out, but they can't just be mixed together.  She also seems to be under the impression that you simply have regular waste, and "hazardous waste", and you can just put hazardous waste into a yellow bag and poof off it goes to a magic hazardous waste landfill.  That's not how hazardous waste works at all.  We need to categorize exactly what makes it hazard waste either based on characteristics of the substance (is it corrosive? is it flammable?) or specific components of the substance (does it contain chrome above the regulatory limit?).  Then the hazardous waste needs to be disposed of properly by a disposal company, and they need to know exactly what's in it in order to properly treat/destroy it.  And they need to track it via manifests because the generator of that waste is responsible for it forever, so you need all those paper trails saying what it is, who took it, where it went, and how it was ultimately disposed of. 

Have I misread, or did someone at the company approve the co-worker's food for the meeting?  Someone must have endorsed it.

Yes apparently the first meeting was approved.  Not by me, so she went to someone else to get approval.  I don't know how she pitched it, or any of the details since I wasn't a part of it.

Apparently subsequent meetings were not approved and she got chewed out by the finance department and had to pay for the bagels and donuts herself for that meeting.   

I don't understand the people who seem to be supporting the data entry clerk and saying this is no big deal or thinking that just because FN is telling us his unvarnished thoughts about the ability of some of his coworkers to think critically for themselves then that must mean he doesn't treat them respectfully when he interacts with them. I think letting the data entry clerk take notes on a safety consultant meeting is inviting trouble and could further a bad precedent of her involvement in areas she shouldn't touch. I think it would be a big deal and unacceptable if a data entry clerk started incorrectly doing parts of anyone's job. The fact that in FN's industry it involves real safety issues with how chemicals are used and disposed of, or telling anyone in a lab how they should do their job or use safety equipment, makes it even crazier. If you put feelings aside and look at her actions, they are not acceptable.

Sure, it would be great if FN's relationship with the general populace in his company was better, but it doesn't excuse her behavior at all. As an INTJ I totally understand what it's like to not win any popularity contests for being factual and blunt or simply wanting to do your job well without having to engage in a popularity contest at all. Communicating in ways that work for everyone is something to work on over time. (I think @Laura33 's comments on that theme were great suggestions)

I think some people are inferring that I am unpopular or not well liked based on me saying she seems to be popular and well liked. I don't think that is true at all.  I get along fine with everyone.  My point was if there was a big work party safety sandy would be that extroverted person walking around doing finger guns at people and chatting everyone up and making jokes, and I ...well I wouldn't be that person.  Not that I wouldn't socialize with anyone, I just wouldn't be nearly as exuberant as her. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on December 04, 2019, 04:48:52 PM
So, as I said before and as others have said, why don't you look for another job?  I agree that management seems to be severely lacking motivation, ability or both.  What would happen if there was a serious incident where someone was really injured or worse?  Whose ultimate responsibility would that be?  If yours, then get out, because having that fall on you without you having had the ultimate say in safety matters is totally unfair and unreasonable.  Don't put yourself in that position or the least of your problems will be looking like a job-hopper.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 04, 2019, 05:01:12 PM
I don't understand the people who seem to be supporting the data entry clerk and saying this is no big deal or thinking that just because FN is telling us his unvarnished thoughts about the ability of some of his coworkers to think critically for themselves then that must mean he doesn't treat them respectfully when he interacts with them. I think letting the data entry clerk take notes on a safety consultant meeting is inviting trouble and could further a bad precedent of her involvement in areas she shouldn't touch. I think it would be a big deal and unacceptable if a data entry clerk started incorrectly doing parts of anyone's job. The fact that in FN's industry it involves real safety issues with how chemicals are used and disposed of, or telling anyone in a lab how they should do their job or use safety equipment, makes it even crazier. If you put feelings aside and look at her actions, they are not acceptable.

Sure, it would be great if FN's relationship with the general populace in his company was better, but it doesn't excuse her behavior at all. As an INTJ I totally understand what it's like to not win any popularity contests for being factual and blunt or simply wanting to do your job well without having to engage in a popularity contest at all. Communicating in ways that work for everyone is something to work on over time. (I think @Laura33 's comments on that theme were great suggestions)

Of course it doesn't excuse her behavior.  I was under the impression that the goal was resolving the situation, not assigning blame.  SS owns the blame.

As for why I think maybe the coworkers don't respect FN, that seems the most likely explanation for why they would listen to someone who is clearly operating outside her lane, rather than the person who owns the lane.

What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 05, 2019, 08:09:23 AM
So, as I said before and as others have said, why don't you look for another job?  I agree that management seems to be severely lacking motivation, ability or both.  What would happen if there was a serious incident where someone was really injured or worse?  Whose ultimate responsibility would that be?  If yours, then get out, because having that fall on you without you having had the ultimate say in safety matters is totally unfair and unreasonable.  Don't put yourself in that position or the least of your problems will be looking like a job-hopper.

I don't think I will be held liable in the event of an injury unless I am the one responsible for it.  Merely being in this position won't make me responsible unless it can be demonstrated that I am being negligent in my duties.  I think there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that I am not being negligent and am actively improving many areas including safety.  I mean I can't be held liable for company policies that predate my birth, especially when I have documentation that some specific thing is not safe and I want to improve it.  I can't unilaterally make all the changes I see fit though, and I can't force other people to be safe if they don't want to be.

As for looking for another job...I just started this job in June after being laid off.  I had 12 years of environmental consulting experience, and got headhunted into a newer position as an environmental specialist about a year ago.   Basically did the environmental for the whole plant, and we had a separate full time safety specialist.  After that plant got shut down and I got laid off I found this job at a smaller plant in a different field, and got the environmental, health, and safety manager position.  I still have a lot to learn, so I am using this place to gain as much experience as I can.  Even if it's stressful I would like to work here and get that experience so I can move into a similar role and actually have some experience.  The company is a bit of a mess, but I am being paid decently, and I am gaining a lot of experience that I didn't get in my first 13 years of employment.  I am going to stick it out and improve the company as much as I can, hopefully making it a safer and more environmentally friendly plant in the process.  If it works long term and I can retire from here in 5 years then that's great.  If it doesn't work long term, I'd still like to gain as much experience as I can in the meantime so I can be more effective in my next role, which I imagine will be something similar to this one.  So as stressful as I appear in this thread, I am going to hold off on looking for another job for a bit longer.

I don't understand the people who seem to be supporting the data entry clerk and saying this is no big deal or thinking that just because FN is telling us his unvarnished thoughts about the ability of some of his coworkers to think critically for themselves then that must mean he doesn't treat them respectfully when he interacts with them. I think letting the data entry clerk take notes on a safety consultant meeting is inviting trouble and could further a bad precedent of her involvement in areas she shouldn't touch. I think it would be a big deal and unacceptable if a data entry clerk started incorrectly doing parts of anyone's job. The fact that in FN's industry it involves real safety issues with how chemicals are used and disposed of, or telling anyone in a lab how they should do their job or use safety equipment, makes it even crazier. If you put feelings aside and look at her actions, they are not acceptable.

Sure, it would be great if FN's relationship with the general populace in his company was better, but it doesn't excuse her behavior at all. As an INTJ I totally understand what it's like to not win any popularity contests for being factual and blunt or simply wanting to do your job well without having to engage in a popularity contest at all. Communicating in ways that work for everyone is something to work on over time. (I think @Laura33 's comments on that theme were great suggestions)

Of course it doesn't excuse her behavior.  I was under the impression that the goal was resolving the situation, not assigning blame.  SS owns the blame.

As for why I think maybe the coworkers don't respect FN, that seems the most likely explanation for why they would listen to someone who is clearly operating outside her lane, rather than the person who owns the lane.

What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.

That's the crux of this whole thread.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense to me.  She's an idiot, and clearly doesn't understand all the things she is talking about, but there is something about her personality that makes people listen to and believe her. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 05, 2019, 09:47:23 AM
So, as I said before and as others have said, why don't you look for another job?  I agree that management seems to be severely lacking motivation, ability or both.  What would happen if there was a serious incident where someone was really injured or worse?  Whose ultimate responsibility would that be?  If yours, then get out, because having that fall on you without you having had the ultimate say in safety matters is totally unfair and unreasonable.  Don't put yourself in that position or the least of your problems will be looking like a job-hopper.

I don't think I will be held liable in the event of an injury unless I am the one responsible for it.  Merely being in this position won't make me responsible unless it can be demonstrated that I am being negligent in my duties.  I think there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that I am not being negligent and am actively improving many areas including safety.  I mean I can't be held liable for company policies that predate my birth, especially when I have documentation that some specific thing is not safe and I want to improve it.  I can't unilaterally make all the changes I see fit though, and I can't force other people to be safe if they don't want to be.

As for looking for another job...I just started this job in June after being laid off.  I had 12 years of environmental consulting experience, and got headhunted into a newer position as an environmental specialist about a year ago.   Basically did the environmental for the whole plant, and we had a separate full time safety specialist.  After that plant got shut down and I got laid off I found this job at a smaller plant in a different field, and got the environmental, health, and safety manager position.  I still have a lot to learn, so I am using this place to gain as much experience as I can.  Even if it's stressful I would like to work here and get that experience so I can move into a similar role and actually have some experience.  The company is a bit of a mess, but I am being paid decently, and I am gaining a lot of experience that I didn't get in my first 13 years of employment.  I am going to stick it out and improve the company as much as I can, hopefully making it a safer and more environmentally friendly plant in the process.  If it works long term and I can retire from here in 5 years then that's great.  If it doesn't work long term, I'd still like to gain as much experience as I can in the meantime so I can be more effective in my next role, which I imagine will be something similar to this one.  So as stressful as I appear in this thread, I am going to hold off on looking for another job for a bit longer.

I don't understand the people who seem to be supporting the data entry clerk and saying this is no big deal or thinking that just because FN is telling us his unvarnished thoughts about the ability of some of his coworkers to think critically for themselves then that must mean he doesn't treat them respectfully when he interacts with them. I think letting the data entry clerk take notes on a safety consultant meeting is inviting trouble and could further a bad precedent of her involvement in areas she shouldn't touch. I think it would be a big deal and unacceptable if a data entry clerk started incorrectly doing parts of anyone's job. The fact that in FN's industry it involves real safety issues with how chemicals are used and disposed of, or telling anyone in a lab how they should do their job or use safety equipment, makes it even crazier. If you put feelings aside and look at her actions, they are not acceptable.

Sure, it would be great if FN's relationship with the general populace in his company was better, but it doesn't excuse her behavior at all. As an INTJ I totally understand what it's like to not win any popularity contests for being factual and blunt or simply wanting to do your job well without having to engage in a popularity contest at all. Communicating in ways that work for everyone is something to work on over time. (I think @Laura33 's comments on that theme were great suggestions)

Of course it doesn't excuse her behavior.  I was under the impression that the goal was resolving the situation, not assigning blame.  SS owns the blame.

As for why I think maybe the coworkers don't respect FN, that seems the most likely explanation for why they would listen to someone who is clearly operating outside her lane, rather than the person who owns the lane.

What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.

That's the crux of this whole thread.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense to me.  She's an idiot, and clearly doesn't understand all the things she is talking about, but there is something about her personality that makes people listen to and believe her.

And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: merula on December 05, 2019, 09:57:10 AM
What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.

That's the crux of this whole thread.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense to me.  She's an idiot, and clearly doesn't understand all the things she is talking about, but there is something about her personality that makes people listen to and believe her. 

My hypothesis is that it's the combination of three parts:

I actually think the atypical piece about this combination of traits is that she's a woman. These type of people are all over the place (see, Oval Office), but they're usually men, because women's confidence and charisma is typically interpreted differently from men's, and the "I'm one of you" usually required for mass appeal generally doesn't work for women appealing to men. But she's made it work. I'm actually kinda impressed by that, not gonna lie.

How do you counter this? Well, if you come up with a foolproof solution, call the DNC. Until then, maybe try to increase your efforts around personal safety as a way to get buy-in to develop a safety-conscious culture? People are most likely to use PPE and guarding when they see how it benefits them as an individual, and most likely to disregard PPE or disable guarding when it seems like an unimportant extra step.

What if you set up "official" razor blade canisters, asking the workers how many are necessary and where they should be located? Extra points if you can get a magnetized picker-upper to make it safer to pick up a dropped blade, and mega points if you can finagle that issue into a safety boots allowance for certain roles.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: DadJokes on December 05, 2019, 10:06:19 AM
What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.

That's the crux of this whole thread.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense to me.  She's an idiot, and clearly doesn't understand all the things she is talking about, but there is something about her personality that makes people listen to and believe her.

I'm sorry in advance for using this as an example, but...

I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way about certain politicians. We think, "How can this or that person win their primary or get elected?"

I'm pretty pessimistic, so I just chalk it up to the belief that most people are idiots. I'll steal a George Carlin quote from another thread: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” Maybe that's why people are listening to Safety Sandy. I'd like to think that people in a professional environment aren't idiots, but that's the only explanation I have at the moment. That doesn't do much to help you though, so hopefully it's a different reason.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 05, 2019, 10:27:49 AM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 05, 2019, 10:36:58 AM
What explanation do you (or FN) have for why someone would listen to safety info from a person whose job wasn't safety, when there's someone whose job is exactly that?  Seem to me like respecting or liking her more is the most likely explanation.

That's the crux of this whole thread.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense to me.  She's an idiot, and clearly doesn't understand all the things she is talking about, but there is something about her personality that makes people listen to and believe her.

I'm sorry in advance for using this as an example, but...

I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way about certain politicians. We think, "How can this or that person win their primary or get elected?"

I'm pretty pessimistic, so I just chalk it up to the belief that most people are idiots. I'll steal a George Carlin quote from another thread: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” Maybe that's why people are listening to Safety Sandy. I'd like to think that people in a professional environment aren't idiots, but that's the only explanation I have at the moment. That doesn't do much to help you though, so hopefully it's a different reason.

People in professional environments are often idiots.  Not everyone employed at this company can be a high level intelligent person.  In fact that would be completely unstable for the business and we would probably go bankrupt to our competition.  You're not hiring an engineer to scrub shit off the toilets, or clean the rugs.  You aren't hiring an engineer to do some of the low level processes either.  You need some people to understand the different processes, and to have expertise and knowledge in that area, but you also need people that are essentially an extra set of hands that take instructions from those people that do know what they are doing, and also to do tedious and repetitive tasks.  Those people get hired in at $10-15/hr.  If they were much smarter and more valuable they would probably have moved on to another job.  We have a good mix; some smart people, a lot of average people, and a lot of idiots.  The amount that people listen to sandy seems to be inversely proportional to how smart they are.   
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on December 05, 2019, 10:46:06 AM
Yes, exactly, IQ does come into it, and the desire not to have to think too deeply about an issue with some complexity when someone can just tell you a simple answer.  Which of course is related to intelligence.  She would make a perfect cult leader.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 05, 2019, 11:30:07 AM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear.

Again, you are making it about her.  I get it.  She sucks.  She's doing stuff she shouldn't and it's making your job more difficult.

But you want this to be solved by everyone realizing she's a moron, rather than making everyone realize that you aren't (in a nutshell).  I think it would be much more productive and professionally beneficial for you to focus on the latter, instead.  (And I realize that my use of "you are not a moron" might get your hackles up, so please know it was just a maybe-cute turn of phrase.  What I really mean is that you need to make them respect you and go to you for these things.  Not because they realize she's an idiot, but because the respect your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you.  It's not about them needing to see she's an idiot who gives out idiotic information.  Again, make them want to come to you, whether she or the person who may end up eventually replacing her, or someone else, is an idiot or not.  Work to shore you your reputation, rather than waiting for them to return to you once she's been fully exposed for what she is.

You shouldn't lie to people.  But are you thoughtful with how you deliver your truths?  Are you approachable?  Pleasant?  Do you make them feel dumb or embarrassed (unintentionally) or anxious when they do come to you?  When you have to research something, do you still project confidence, or do you act embarrassed or uncomfortable?  Do you get back to them as quickly as possible, and keep them updated if it's taking a while? 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 05, 2019, 11:52:35 AM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear.

Again, you are making it about her.  I get it.  She sucks.  She's doing stuff she shouldn't and it's making your job more difficult.

But you want this to be solved by everyone realizing she's a moron, rather than making everyone realize that you aren't (in a nutshell).  I think it would be much more productive and professionally beneficial for you to focus on the latter, instead.  (And I realize that my use of "you are not a moron" might get your hackles up, so please know it was just a maybe-cute turn of phrase.  What I really mean is that you need to make them respect you and go to you for these things.  Not because they realize she's an idiot, but because the respect your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you.  It's not about them needing to see she's an idiot who gives out idiotic information.  Again, make them want to come to you, whether she or the person who may end up eventually replacing her, or someone else, is an idiot or not.  Work to shore you your reputation, rather than waiting for them to return to you once she's been fully exposed for what she is.

You shouldn't lie to people.  But are you thoughtful with how you deliver your truths?  Are you approachable?  Pleasant?  Do you make them feel dumb or embarrassed (unintentionally) or anxious when they do come to you?  When you have to research something, do you still project confidence, or do you act embarrassed or uncomfortable?  Do you get back to them as quickly as possible, and keep them updated if it's taking a while?

This thread is specifically about her, and me dealing with her though.  I am simultaneously building relationships with people, learning the processes and regulations, and getting better at my job.  I am solving problems and issues we have, and making improvements where I can.  I'm not reporting all of that though because this isn't a journal about my job, just a thread about her specifically.  In addition to people realizing she's a dolt, they are also realizing I'm not a dolt.  I can't work on everyone, and all issues, in all areas right now though.  It will take time for both of our reputations to be fully built within the company.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BECABECA on December 05, 2019, 11:59:06 AM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear.

Again, you are making it about her.  I get it.  She sucks.  She's doing stuff she shouldn't and it's making your job more difficult.

But you want this to be solved by everyone realizing she's a moron, rather than making everyone realize that you aren't (in a nutshell).  I think it would be much more productive and professionally beneficial for you to focus on the latter, instead.  (And I realize that my use of "you are not a moron" might get your hackles up, so please know it was just a maybe-cute turn of phrase.  What I really mean is that you need to make them respect you and go to you for these things.  Not because they realize she's an idiot, but because the respect your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you.  It's not about them needing to see she's an idiot who gives out idiotic information.  Again, make them want to come to you, whether she or the person who may end up eventually replacing her, or someone else, is an idiot or not.  Work to shore you your reputation, rather than waiting for them to return to you once she's been fully exposed for what she is.

You shouldn't lie to people.  But are you thoughtful with how you deliver your truths?  Are you approachable?  Pleasant?  Do you make them feel dumb or embarrassed (unintentionally) or anxious when they do come to you?  When you have to research something, do you still project confidence, or do you act embarrassed or uncomfortable?  Do you get back to them as quickly as possible, and keep them updated if it's taking a while?
FN is new to this company. Honestly, his management should be supporting him and making it clear to the employees that this is his area and that they should take direction from him. The fact that SS is able to confuse the lab techs isn’t a reflection on FN who is new to the company, it’s a reflection on management. Now if FN had been at the company for years and had been clearly presented as the one with authority over safety and then if SS came in and the lab techs started immediately taking her word over FN, then I’d say FN has an issue with how he’s perceived. But that’s not this situation.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 05, 2019, 12:58:06 PM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear.

Again, you are making it about her.  I get it.  She sucks.  She's doing stuff she shouldn't and it's making your job more difficult.

But you want this to be solved by everyone realizing she's a moron, rather than making everyone realize that you aren't (in a nutshell).  I think it would be much more productive and professionally beneficial for you to focus on the latter, instead.  (And I realize that my use of "you are not a moron" might get your hackles up, so please know it was just a maybe-cute turn of phrase.  What I really mean is that you need to make them respect you and go to you for these things.  Not because they realize she's an idiot, but because the respect your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you.  It's not about them needing to see she's an idiot who gives out idiotic information.  Again, make them want to come to you, whether she or the person who may end up eventually replacing her, or someone else, is an idiot or not.  Work to shore you your reputation, rather than waiting for them to return to you once she's been fully exposed for what she is.

You shouldn't lie to people.  But are you thoughtful with how you deliver your truths?  Are you approachable?  Pleasant?  Do you make them feel dumb or embarrassed (unintentionally) or anxious when they do come to you?  When you have to research something, do you still project confidence, or do you act embarrassed or uncomfortable?  Do you get back to them as quickly as possible, and keep them updated if it's taking a while?
FN is new to this company. Honestly, his management should be supporting him and making it clear to the employees that this is his area and that they should take direction from him. The fact that SS is able to confuse the lab techs isn’t a reflection on FN who is new to the company, it’s a reflection on management. Now if FN had been at the company for years and had been clearly presented as the one with authority over safety and then if SS came in and the lab techs started immediately taking her word over FN, then I’d say FN has an issue with how he’s perceived. But that’s not this situation.

Of course they should be.  And of course this woman shouldn't be overstepping.  I haven't for a second implied otherwise. 

I was attempt to suggest ways of addressing the problem that are more in his control.  "Fix management" and "make sure everyone knows she sucks and stops respecting and listening to her" aren't really actionable.  Making sure they DO listen to him, and only him, on matters of safety is.

But FN has clarified that he's not looking for that in this thread, so I'll stop. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on December 05, 2019, 03:46:57 PM
Have I misread, or did someone at the company approve the co-worker's food for the meeting?  Someone must have endorsed it.

From what I remember, Safety Sandy has her own budget for buying chemical supplies (or something like that), which is part of her actual job. She used that for buying bagels for the meeting.

For those who suggest that Frugal Nacho should be buying pizza or bagels for his coworkers, from his own money, I wouldn't want to do that either. That is not a frugal thing to do. But maybe if FN ever wants to have a meeting, he could ask his boss to approve sponsoring bagels.

Not with his own money (although once could be a win, I don't think FN is that invested in long term tenure here)...   

With the company money which his boss pre-approves, as a means to turn around this dump truck of a mess they (company) have on their hands with Safety Sandy telling everyone how they will get sick and DIE! if they don't have unneeded (expensive) PPE and sit in furnace dust, and that the company lets the nano-bots climb into their skulls from the paint that is not packaged in bio-hazard bags...

------------------------
hmmm  are nano-bots bio hazards?  Now there is an interesting question.  When is life not life?  etc.   What about tech that acts like a virus... do you put it in a bio-hazard bag or a chemical/ trash bag, or do you need to use magnets or something on it first? 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 05, 2019, 05:48:32 PM
One day in our shop and your nanobots are guaranteed to die of cancer
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 06, 2019, 01:58:23 AM
I wondered whether OP's employer pays a lot of money per bag of hazardous waste. It would be a waste to fill them up with wrong waste. This could be another reason for management to stop her.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 06, 2019, 07:35:31 AM
I wondered whether OP's employer pays a lot of money per bag of hazardous waste. It would be a waste to fill them up with wrong waste. This could be another reason for management to stop her.

Hazardous waste disposal is orders of magnitude more expensive than regular trash disposal.  This is due to a number of factors: the waste usually requires secure packaging because you can't really risk a hazardous waste leaking out and spilling like you can with regular garbage, it requires segregation and a special pick up, it requires extra attention during the entire transport process to ensure it doesn't spill or leak (unlike a regular garbage truck that drops small amounts of garbage and leaks "garbage juice"), and it requires special disposal/destruction once it reaches its final destination (based on what it is.  Cyanide needs to be destructed chemically, most flammables need to be incinerated, other chemicals need to be neutralized chemically, and some chemicals are essentially nuetralized by encasing them in something like concrete so they can't leech out into the environment). The entire process is tracked using manifests as well, so that any point in the transportation process you can trace where the waste originated from.  In theory every piece of hazardous waste that has ever been generated by anybody (and properly disposed of) has a paper trail so you know when it was generated and by who, what exactly is hazardous about it, who transported it, where it eventually ended up, and how it was ultimately disposed.  And if at some point in the future it's discovered that the disposal was inadequate, they have all those records so they know who is responsible.  This is a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the general idea.

A dumpster of regular trash is like $70 per load.  We just had loads of expired chemicals picked up, and I probably could have fit them all into a single dumpster, but it's going to cost close to $6k to properly dispose of it all.  If it wasn't loads of different chemicals and just one giant dumpster load worth of a single waste stream (for example 10 drums of sludge from the wastewater treatment - which means it's 10 drums all classified the exact same, and requires the exact same method of disposal, so it doesn't need to be parsed out), it would still be around $1-2k. 

As far as I know there is no such thing as just generic hazardous waste disposal.  We will need to segregate everything considered hazardous, and then create a profile for those waste streams.  If you have lots of different stuff you can get a "lab pack" disposal from a waste management company, and they will come take it all, but they are essentially doing the same thing behind the scene by going through every SDS and creating profiles, segregating it all, and then disposing of each stream appropriately.  It's a major pain in the ass, is very expensive, and goes far beyond merely putting it into a special colored bag. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Weisass on December 06, 2019, 07:47:26 AM
And I say this as gently as possible--maybe there is a corresponding something about your personality at work that makes people not listen to or believe you.

That's what I've been trying to get at.  If you shore up the relationships with other people, then her nonsense will stop to matter because it will be ignored.  People will respect your authority and defer to your expertise.  If she chimes in, they will not listen because she is not the person to listen to with regard to safety. 

People are listening to an idiot outside her lane instead of you for matters directly concerning the lane you own.   It's not a pleasant reality, but that likely means that you have some relationships to work on or other changes to make.

Yes and we will eventually get to that point.  Some people have realized she's a dolt, but some other people are slower to come to that realization.  I'm definitely noticing a correlation that the dumber employees are slower to realize.  We have a lot of dumb employees. 

I think one of the things about my personality that makes me less believable than her is that I'm unwilling to to lie and fake my through it.  If you come to me with a complex situation that I'm unfamiliar with I am not willing to just bullshit you and say I instantly have the answer.  But that's what people want though, an instant expert answer, which sandy is more than willing to give immediately regardless of how well she understands the subject.

I did just hear her talking with a newly hired lab tech.  The lab manager was in a meeting, and lab tech was asking Sandy about how to do a specific method he hasn't been taught yet.  Sandy said she's not allowed to go over it with him as she has been instructed that she's no longer allowed to do lab tech work and has to leave that to the lab techs.  I'm not sure what incident prompted that, or who laid that rule down on her, but it's good to hear.

Again, you are making it about her.  I get it.  She sucks.  She's doing stuff she shouldn't and it's making your job more difficult.

But you want this to be solved by everyone realizing she's a moron, rather than making everyone realize that you aren't (in a nutshell).  I think it would be much more productive and professionally beneficial for you to focus on the latter, instead.  (And I realize that my use of "you are not a moron" might get your hackles up, so please know it was just a maybe-cute turn of phrase.  What I really mean is that you need to make them respect you and go to you for these things.  Not because they realize she's an idiot, but because the respect your expertise and are comfortable dealing with you.  It's not about them needing to see she's an idiot who gives out idiotic information.  Again, make them want to come to you, whether she or the person who may end up eventually replacing her, or someone else, is an idiot or not.  Work to shore you your reputation, rather than waiting for them to return to you once she's been fully exposed for what she is.

You shouldn't lie to people.  But are you thoughtful with how you deliver your truths?  Are you approachable?  Pleasant?  Do you make them feel dumb or embarrassed (unintentionally) or anxious when they do come to you?  When you have to research something, do you still project confidence, or do you act embarrassed or uncomfortable?  Do you get back to them as quickly as possible, and keep them updated if it's taking a while?
FN is new to this company. Honestly, his management should be supporting him and making it clear to the employees that this is his area and that they should take direction from him. The fact that SS is able to confuse the lab techs isn’t a reflection on FN who is new to the company, it’s a reflection on management. Now if FN had been at the company for years and had been clearly presented as the one with authority over safety and then if SS came in and the lab techs started immediately taking her word over FN, then I’d say FN has an issue with how he’s perceived. But that’s not this situation.

Of course they should be.  And of course this woman shouldn't be overstepping.  I haven't for a second implied otherwise. 

I was attempt to suggest ways of addressing the problem that are more in his control.  "Fix management" and "make sure everyone knows she sucks and stops respecting and listening to her" aren't really actionable.  Making sure they DO listen to him, and only him, on matters of safety is.

But FN has clarified that he's not looking for that in this thread, so I'll stop.

I think you have been one of the more thoughtful voices in this echo chamber of condescension, personally. Thanks for trying to inject helpful discourse.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 20, 2019, 11:23:36 AM
Well it's finally happening folks.  Safety Sandy has finally run the gamut and pissed off other people in the company.  I was aware she was bumping heads with the finance department, but apparently she was also bumping heads with my manager, other area supervisors, and even the owner of the company. All of her responsibilities are going to be shifted to other people and her position is being eliminated with the start of the new year.  No one besides management is aware of this yet.  Her total time at the company will have been 7 months.  Much longer than I would have figured.  It sure was a wild ride.  I laughed, I cried, I vented my unfiltered thoughts in this thread in abundance an it helped keep me from going insane.

I believe this is the right move by the company, and I would have done it myself if I had the authority.  I'm glad it's finally being done, but at the same time I feel bad for her.  I've never been fired, but I've been laid off when the plant closed, and it totally sucked.  I'm highly employable and landed on my feet (in this dumpster fire of a company), but I turned down other job offers to take this one.  I don't think she is going to have the luxury of being so highly employable.  I feel like I want to celebrate, but also feels a bit like dancing on someone's grave.  I mean I'm still going to celebrate tonight because it is going to relieve a giant headache for me.



Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on December 20, 2019, 11:34:11 AM
I'm pleased for you.

Also a bit sorry for safety sandy, though.  I think her main problem is that she is trying to do the wrong sort of job for her abilities.  Such an obvious "people person" should be in some sort of customer facing/PR role - preferably one in which her mistakes are not going to be safety critical ones.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 20, 2019, 12:07:30 PM
I'm pleased for you.

Also a bit sorry for safety sandy, though.  I think her main problem is that she is trying to do the wrong sort of job for her abilities.  Such an obvious "people person" should be in some sort of customer facing/PR role - preferably one in which her mistakes are not going to be safety critical ones.

I'm not sure that talking shit you just made up is ever a good thing in a job. Even if she worked in mall retail she'd be giving the wrong information. What's going to happen if someone asks her if the clothing manufacturer uses child labour, or if the doughnut contains nuts? She's totally capable of creating a PR nightmare wherever she goes.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on December 20, 2019, 01:36:48 PM
Best Christmas present ever huh?  Too bad they’re talking the approach of phasing out the job though, because someone needs to sit this woman down and tell her the truth.  Otherwise she’ll be doing this for the rest of her life.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: iris lily on December 20, 2019, 04:56:23 PM
Best Christmas present ever huh?  Too bad they’re talking the approach of phasing out the job though, because someone needs to sit this woman down and tell her the truth.  Otherwise she’ll be doing this for the rest of her life.
This kind of employee has been coached on appropriate behavior many times by many managers at many jobs. Sitting her down for a repeat is just a waste of someone’s time.

Buh bye Sandy!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on December 21, 2019, 02:58:49 AM
I feel a bit sad for people that are fired too.... but.. in this case, it is likely that Sandy is used to being fired every 3 months to 1 year, so she may take it in stride and have a system worked out.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Catbert on December 22, 2019, 01:08:46 PM
Don't feel too sorry for her.  IIRC her previous jobs generally lasted 3-6 months so 7 months is longer than typical for her.  She's getting a "layoff" rather than firing for "cause" so she'll collect unemployment and have a nice break until she finds another employer.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: iris lily on December 22, 2019, 02:36:42 PM
Don't feel too sorry for her.  IIRC her previous jobs generally lasted 3-6 months so 7 months is longer than typical for her.  She's getting a "layoff" rather than firing for "cause" so she'll collect unemployment and have a nice break until she finds another employer.

I for one hope she can go back to reviewing and correcting doctors’ orders. They dont know much about nano bots, so she will be able to aid patients in that regard.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 23, 2019, 07:18:49 AM
I agree that sitting her down and explaining what she is doing/has done wrong is likely a waste of everyone's time.  She's totally clueless, and it's not for lack of being told.  I've told her multiple times she's wrong on something, but she's in denial and knows better than me.  I think it's likely the same thing if top management told her; it would just turn into another story about this crazy ass place she worked with crazy ass managers that didn't know shit about anything, and they actually let her go because they didn't want to deal with the reality of implementing the correct procedures for safety and hazardous waste.  All the details about her being really dumb and overstepping her boundaries into areas she's grossly under qualified in would be completely lost in her version of the narrative, just like it is with her previous employers.  I'm sure you voluntarily left all 10 of those short stint jobs listed on your resume, and none of them fired you.  I am also pretty sure a lot of the technical stuff that gets done around here will be listed on her resume as well.   Atomic absorption spectroscopy? Oh yeah I have tons of experience with that, in the lab I used to manage we used one daily.  Even though she neither manages the lab, nor has ever used the AAS.

As annoying and frustrating as she is though, she is still a real person, and she also has multiple kids.  I can only imagine she is a typical american and is going to have some xmas related debt on some credit cards, so getting fired/laid off right after xmas will be quite the blow.  I hope she can get some unemployment and find another job soon, hopefully one better suited to her personality and skill set.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Roadrunner53 on December 23, 2019, 08:05:12 AM
So many people are their worst enemy. Makes you wonder if they actually have an agenda or are just know it all's. I worked with a guy who could be a very nice person, but he had to interject himself in to everyone else's business. He and I worked a lot together and at times he was great and other times he would just get too personal or try to run the show. One of the last straws was when he came to me and decided that what I was doing wasn't what he thought I should be doing. My boss assigned me the work I was doing and I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do. I was furious! Even worse, had he got his nose into my business, he would have interfered with my relationship with my boss! My boss would have thought I crabbed to this individual about my assignment which I loved! I told him to mind his business and I was doing exactly what I was assigned to do and to butt out! Of course, he couldn't get it thru his thick head and approached me a second time to tell me I should be doing something else. OMG! My boss was a Director of our department not an idiot! At that point, my head was ready to explode and told him it was none of his business what I was doing and told him he was NOT my boss! I told him this was MY job not his. I also told him how would he like it if I went to his boss and told them he should be doing something different. Of course he couldn't comprehend that. We were no longer friendly to each other. It was uncomfortable because I did like him. I tolerated some of his crap but this was the frosting on the cake!

I didn't realize that he had alienated so many of our coworkers during the 4 years I worked there. No one wanted to be around him. I don't know what bee got up his butt to all of a sudden decide I should be doing something else. He absolutely had nothing to do with assigning me work. Is that ballsy or what? What a JERK!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 23, 2019, 11:31:29 AM
Back at it again!  I need the water bills for an upcoming inspection, and she's the one the billing department forwards them to, so I go to her and say I am missing some.

No, I put those on your desk.
Yeah, I know, but I am still missing some.
Are you sure? I put those on your desk.
Yes I am sure, I have gone through and organized them by account number, and then in chronological order.  I am missing Nov 2019 for both accounts.
(after a minute searching around on her computer) Ah, here it is.
Nope, this is October.  I already have October, I need November.
(another minute searching around on her computer) Ah, here it is.
Nope, this is December.  I already have December, I need November.
There actually isn't a November because they do the billing cycle every 2 months, not every month.  So it's just these two.
No I'm pretty sure it's monthly, I have all the other months right here.
No it's actually every 2 months.  That's how they do my water bill at home too, every 2 months, so I get a bill for 2 months worth.
.........*blank stare*


I'm standing there holding a pile of monthly bills from Nov 2018 up through Dec 2019, and I have every bill but November 2019 for both accounts and she is telling me they do bimonthly billing.  WTF Sandy? How are you gonna claim it's bimonthly when I'm holding 11 consecutive months worth of bills for each account?

I am trying to have some sympathy for her since I know the axe is dropping for her, but...arg.  Bye Felicia. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on December 23, 2019, 11:55:00 AM
What, you’ve never heard of alternative facts?

What amazes me is that she keeps getting hired with her job history.  Doesn’t anyone check references?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: markbike528CBX on December 23, 2019, 12:12:48 PM
What, you’ve never heard of alternative facts?

What amazes me is that she keeps getting hired with her job history.  Doesn’t anyone check references?

Often references at prior jobs consist of "yes, SS worked here". I've been told to refer any inquiries to HR for someone fired for documented credit card fraud (among other faults of personality).

On the other hand, my inquiry to a reference was once answered "I wouldn't touch X with a ten foot pole".
Ouch, round-filed THAT application fast.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: nburns on December 23, 2019, 02:03:19 PM
Great decision to let this nut go.  The recent water bill story takes the absolute cake. I can't even comprehend how a sane person could legitimately sit there and tell you to your face the bills are bi monthly when you have monthly bills for over a year LOL
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on December 23, 2019, 03:34:33 PM
Back at it again!  I need the water bills for an upcoming inspection, and she's the one the billing department forwards them to, so I go to her and say I am missing some.

No, I put those on your desk.
Yeah, I know, but I am still missing some.
Are you sure? I put those on your desk.
Yes I am sure, I have gone through and organized them by account number, and then in chronological order.  I am missing Nov 2019 for both accounts.
(after a minute searching around on her computer) Ah, here it is.
Nope, this is October.  I already have October, I need November.
(another minute searching around on her computer) Ah, here it is.
Nope, this is December.  I already have December, I need November.
There actually isn't a November because they do the billing cycle every 2 months, not every month.  So it's just these two.
No I'm pretty sure it's monthly, I have all the other months right here.
No it's actually every 2 months.  That's how they do my water bill at home too, every 2 months, so I get a bill for 2 months worth.
.........*blank stare*


I'm standing there holding a pile of monthly bills from Nov 2018 up through Dec 2019, and I have every bill but November 2019 for both accounts and she is telling me they do bimonthly billing.  WTF Sandy? How are you gonna claim it's bimonthly when I'm holding 11 consecutive months worth of bills for each account?

I am trying to have some sympathy for her since I know the axe is dropping for her, but...arg.  Bye Felicia.

Does she have no comprehension that bills are done quite differently for a home vs business entity??? Having said that, my best guess is that her home bills are actually monthly....
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: BlueHouse on December 24, 2019, 07:07:13 AM

What amazes me is that she keeps getting hired with her job history.  Doesn’t anyone check references?

Safety Sandy has a skill that you've overlooked.  The ability to interview well.  Confidence like hers comes off very well in an interview and those people typically get higher paid jobs every time they switch because they have a few more buzzwords to add to their resume. 

@frugalnacho this has been one of the most interesting threads in a while.  Thanks for sharing your torment with all of us.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on December 24, 2019, 10:25:25 AM
I think it's fairly typical to not actually check into listed references and verify stuff.  As far as I know no one has actually verified my college degree or any of my credentials, for any of my jobs.  I don't think most companies spend the time and resources to do that, even though they say they do.  Maybe they do though and my experience is not representative as it's extremely limited to only a few companies I've dealt with. 

The job I turned down to take this one was with a large consulting company with like 80,000 employees world wide.  They told me all about how they contacted my former employer (who they had worked with extensively in the past) and they had lots of good things to say about me. I'm still good friends with my old boss and keep in regular contact though, and he said no one ever contacted him.

I know some companies do call up references though because I've been listed as a reference for a few co-workers and they did call me to ask questions about them.  Even with that, they just called up the number my coworker gave them. I'm not sure they had anyway to verify anything I said.  I could have just been pulling a George constanza on them and faking everything.  "Hello, vandalay industries..."
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Villanelle on December 24, 2019, 01:21:51 PM

What amazes me is that she keeps getting hired with her job history.  Doesn’t anyone check references?

Safety Sandy has a skill that you've overlooked.  The ability to interview well.  Confidence like hers comes off very well in an interview and those people typically get higher paid jobs every time they switch because they have a few more buzzwords to add to their resume. 

@frugalnacho this has been one of the most interesting threads in a while.  Thanks for sharing your torment with all of us.

There is so much truth here!  Most people can't lie or even significantly exaggerate without being a bit awkward or uncomfortable.  And in interviews, often people are slightly uncomfortable and uncertain.  Sandy has proven she can confidently blurt out whatever she deems to be the correct answer, with confidence.  I can see how that would look great in an interview. 
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: KBecks on December 24, 2019, 01:45:07 PM
Hopefully she spell checks her future job applications.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: caracarn on January 06, 2020, 09:49:17 AM
Best Christmas present ever huh?  Too bad they’re talking the approach of phasing out the job though, because someone needs to sit this woman down and tell her the truth.  Otherwise she’ll be doing this for the rest of her life.
This kind of employee has been coached on appropriate behavior many times by many managers at many jobs. Sitting her down for a repeat is just a waste of someone’s time.

Buh bye Sandy!
Oh, I think that is an assumption that is likely to be wrong.

The majority of managers do not provide realistic feedback to employees.  As one who does and having heard dozens of times that I was the first person they worked for who every told them of whatever problem we were discussing and they wish they had known sooner because it explained all the problems they had in other jobs, I never think it is a waste of time.  In fact is it downright rude to let someone like this go without making her aware of areas that were lacking.  Company can still cover their legal tail by sticking with the "position is being eliminated" story line but share they noticed some other items that would likely have blossomed into a concern shortly.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: iris lily on January 06, 2020, 09:58:29 AM
Best Christmas present ever huh?  Too bad they’re talking the approach of phasing out the job though, because someone needs to sit this woman down and tell her the truth.  Otherwise she’ll be doing this for the rest of her life.
This kind of employee has been coached on appropriate behavior many times by many managers at many jobs. Sitting her down for a repeat is just a waste of someone’s time.

Buh bye Sandy!
Oh, I think that is an assumption that is likely to be wrong.

The majority of managers do not provide realistic feedback to employees.  As one who does and having heard dozens of times that I was the first person they worked for who every told them of whatever problem we were discussing and they wish they had known sooner because it explained all the problems they had in other jobs, I never think it is a waste of time.  In fact is it downright rude to let someone like this go without making her aware of areas that were lacking.  Company can still cover their legal tail by sticking with the "position is being eliminated" story line but share they noticed some other items that would likely have blossomed into a concern shortly.

You may be right there, but having managed employees for 35 years I have run into the occasional employee who is directly told “this behavior of yours is unacceptable” and they do not “hear” it. Or at least they do not internalize it. I know because they are surprised to hear it later. And yet again. It is always a surprise.

But certainly there are managers who just do not want to confront the idiotic behaviors of the Sandys of the working world.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on January 07, 2020, 01:25:14 AM
Sandy was pretty extreme.   I know if she did not "play possum" and stay under the radar for the first while, I would have had her genteelly terminated within the 3 month probation period, or not so efficiently within the 6 month period.

If so, I would have not given any feedback other than "not the right fit for our team at this time".  "Wish you all the best." etc.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on January 07, 2020, 02:04:54 AM
Sandy was pretty extreme.   I know if she did not "play possum" and stay under the radar for the first while, I would have had her genteelly terminated within the 3 month probation period, or not so efficiently within the 6 month period.

If so, I would have not given any feedback other than "not the right fit for our team at this time".  "Wish you all the best." etc.

I like the "encouraged to seek excellence elsewhere"
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on January 07, 2020, 07:23:29 AM
I get what you all are saying about providing feedback, and in general I agree.  In almost all cases someone should get some feedback from management about their performance before it becomes a problem, and when the decision to fire them is made it would be good to explain the exact reasons why.   I know I would appreciate that.  Sandy is different though.  She's been given feedback from me, and from others, and the feedback is completely useless and not well received, and usually backfires.  That's kind of the problem.  She does something rogue, and it's completely wrong because she has no understanding of what she is doing, and you try to point that out, and all you get is back sass about how she knows better.  It's incredibly frustrating to deal with, and apparently every other manager in the company feels the same way and wants her gone.

"Umm, when was your last chemistry class?!" Bitch I have a chemical engineering degree and you can't even pronounce sulfuric acid, stop trying to school me on basic chemistry. 

She is not even technically an employee, she was hired through a temp agency and has been contracted under them since her start date. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Gronnie on January 07, 2020, 08:06:38 AM
The temp detail was kind of important to leave out. That makes it so much easier, temps are super easy to get rid of and shouldn't even need to give a reason.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: caracarn on January 07, 2020, 08:50:56 AM
Yes, I would agree.  You just call the agency and say she does not need to be here tomorrow.

Really strange if she is a temp that it would have gone on this long.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on January 31, 2020, 12:24:51 PM
It finally happened.  HR just came in, she gathered her personal belongings, and escorted her out of the facility.

No one knew what was going on.  I knew it was happening eventually, but didn't have details on exactly when.

This is basically me right now:

(https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/023/180/notsurprisedkirk.jpg)
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: mm1970 on January 31, 2020, 01:07:51 PM
It finally happened.  HR just came in, she gathered her personal belongings, and escorted her out of the facility.

No one knew what was going on.  I knew it was happening eventually, but didn't have details on exactly when.

This is basically me right now:

(https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/023/180/notsurprisedkirk.jpg)
Ha.  I was wondering if you would come back and give us the scoop when it was finally over.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: former player on January 31, 2020, 03:03:36 PM
Phew!  At last!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: SunnyDays on January 31, 2020, 04:43:17 PM
So did she look shocked on her way out?
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Goldielocks on January 31, 2020, 04:48:50 PM
That took a very, very long time for a contract / temp employee.  Wow.

I admire your ability to hang in there an only vent on this anonymous forum that did not impact your actual career / life / relationships.  It would have been a struggle for me.
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: Kl285528 on January 31, 2020, 09:45:04 PM
Please keep us updated on where she lands next. And let's hope she stays away from hazardous chemicals!
Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: frugalnacho on February 03, 2020, 07:32:49 AM
Yes she looked shocked. There were a few employees that seemed upset and didn't understand why they would fire her.  One employee described it as "literally retarded".  It will be interesting to see what all of the fallout will be. They seem to be throwing some blame around and are pissed at some specific upper management people - because they believe they are the reason she was fired.  I've managed to stay out of it enough and avoid confrontation with her that no one seems to suspect I hated her and wanted her gone as well.  I didn't have anything directly to do with firing her, but I'm sure if my true feelings were known some of these employees would think I was a contributing factor, but as for now they are directing their anger mostly at one manager that had a lot of issues with her openly. 

I think many of the people that liked her and thought she was doing a great job aren't able to see things clearly.  She kept trying to take control and rearrange the chemical storage area, and I didn't have the time or patience to try and interject myself and correct everything she was doing, so I was just going to let it run its course and let her have all the rope she needed.  A couple days before she got fired she had a run in with another employee over the placement of some chemicals, and there was a lot of yelling back and forth, and she then had a brilliant idea to move around more chemicals.  She came to me and said she was going to move these totes of "working solution" over by the acids to clear room for the waste treatment chemicals.  I kept it calm and friendly, but informed her that she absolutely cannot do that as those working solutions are concentrated cyanide solutions and they can't be stored by the acids.  Her response was basically "ohhhh, that's what those are? Hmm.  Yea, ok, I didn't know what was in those, we'll have to find another place...".  I didn't say anything, but all I could think was "W.T.F?! You don't even know what's in it? You feel like you have the knowledge to be deciding chemical compatibility, without even knowing what the fucking chemicals are?!?!?!?!?!?"

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/user-content.enotes.com/883fcfbcb50eb7b0adc37a8cd94d8517c711a9a9.png)

Probably no updates as I'm not going to keep contact with her.  I hope I have no future communication with her. 

Title: Re: Dealing with a know-it-all coworker
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on February 03, 2020, 09:13:35 AM
You got lucky. In my experience, the intelligent and hardworking staff drop out and resign one by one out of sheer frustration. The dickhead employee then finds themselves promoted by dickhead management.