Author Topic: work question  (Read 3263 times)

partgypsy

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work question
« on: January 22, 2020, 01:15:44 PM »
I should probably post this to some work office type forum, thought I'd ask you all. Is it ever OK to not answer your work phone? I have a coworker who will be leaving the project in a month. She excessively calls me and or walks by my office to tell me things, to remind me things that I already know, or ask me random things that she could ask in an email. I am talking about 4-10 or even more interruptions a day. It's really breaking my concentration.

A month or so ago I actually ended up sending her an email saying that I am busy, if you have questions email me, and I will get back to you, or lets set a time once a day to meet (we already meet 2 times during the week for more formal meetings). She did back off for a few days. But now it is back to being bad again. I have phone ID so I know it's her.

I'm thinking if I don't answer she will get out of habit, but I also worry that if I don't answer she will come to my cubicle... 

DaMa

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Re: work question
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 01:18:24 PM »
Can you forward your phone to voicemail or turn the ringer off?

ysette9

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Re: work question
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 01:18:50 PM »
It is totally legit to not answer your phone if it inconveniences you. It is a request, not a summons.

I think you need to be more direct with her. Can you wear headphones or otherwise indicate that you are busy?

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 01:32:24 PM »
She raps on my cubicle door and then opens it before I can respond. She's even done this when I have a dnd stickies on my door or I'm talking to a patient. I was pretty direct but I guess I need to try again. But yeah maybe I need to reinforce. It's at the point it really upsets my equilibrium, esp as she often makes sniping comments towards me. I almost feel like I am in some weird pissing contest. Ugh I hate this sh*t. 

eta there is a way to set phone to call forwarding to messages, but not for specific numbers.
I think I need to be proactive and set up official times for us to meet to review stuff, and ask her to contain contacts for those meetings, versus the drive by, just thought of something, wants to unload on me.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 01:47:30 PM by partgypsy »

caracarn

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Re: work question
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 01:51:27 PM »
Wow, yes I am not sure that you have any other option then being direct and living with the consequences.

A slightly different example is when I am talking to a colleague and the phone rings, they inevitably get uncomfortable and ask "Are you going to get that?" because for the most part there is this belief that a ringing phone will dismember you painfully if not answered in most workplaces.  My response is "No I am not going to get that.  I do not know what they want and it may or may not be more important than what we are discussing.  If it is important they will leave a VM or call me back."

You are in a similar boat, with different physical dynamics.  You colleague does not know if what they want is more important that what they are there for (though you clearly know it usually is not given the history), so you have tried to set boundaries with your words, your cube door and with sticky notes and they are ignoring them.  Next step would definitely be more firm and directly stating that you will be asking them to leave if they come in again outside of the agreed upon times or if they do not send you an e-mail.

Here4theGB

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Re: work question
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 02:30:11 PM »
I rarely ever answer my desk phone from calls within my company.  I probably let it roll to VM 10 times for every call that I take.  I don't bother listening to the VM's either, just delete all when full.  People only call me when they're too lazy to do whatever it is they need done and assume I'm sitting here waiting to assist them with their job.  Yeah, no.

That said, I hate my job and am hoping to be laid off, so yeah.......

ysette9

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Re: work question
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2020, 02:34:57 PM »
We donít even have office phones at my workplace!

seemsright

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Re: work question
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 02:41:08 PM »
I FIRED 9 years ago. But when I was working I was very firm in my boundaries and made others respect them. Next time she comes to you demanding your attention because of some small issue. Get up and go refill your water bottle, or go pee. Do not say anything just walk away. You may have to do this a bunch of times depending on how she reacts. You gave her instructions she is not following them. Time to take this issue in your own hands and handle it because if you do not she will railroad you.

Start to call her Karen...Karen go away. Karen not now. Karen...Karen.

I never played with this kind of thing. I had a job to do. I wanted to get in do my hours and go home. I was not at work to make friends, to solve others issues that I had no part of. 

SunnyDays

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Re: work question
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 02:42:32 PM »
Pop into HER cubicle every hour or so, and ask if there's anything she needs to talk to you about, because you'll be unavailable for the next hour.  Two can play that game.

frugalfoothills

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Re: work question
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2020, 03:00:43 PM »
If this has an expiration date and you're just looking to make your life less miserable until that date rolls around, I would set up a standing meeting every morning or afternoon (depending on your preference) and cover all the bases then. I would be nice about it and let her know that, for efficiency's sake and so that you can focus properly on her questions and comments, you'd like to set aside designated time to talk to her rather than fielding questions throughout the workday. She can aggregate her daily questions and comments and then run them all by you at once during your pull-up. If there are days that she doesn't have anything to discuss you can cancel. If that doesn't work then I would resort to more drastic measures but some people really just cannot take a hint.

My boss is the same way... all day every day, popping by my desk to run things by me, think outloud, etc. She's one of these people that has to talk out her ideas in order to wrap her mind around them and considers me a "thought partner." Unfortunately if this goes unrestrained we are talking about HOURS of the day spent as "thought partners." Because of this, I've covertly initiated a morning walk with her every day where we walk to get coffee and she can do a lot of her thought partnering on our walk. I've noticed when we get back to the office there are less interruptions during the day. We also have a standing weekly pull-up where I hold back anything that can wait until that time and we go over it then -- that cuts back on the day-to-day interactions.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2020, 03:18:15 PM »
I emailed her to see if we could set up standing meeting at beginning and end of week to consolidate to do lists and questions. She hasn't responded to email yet but hopefully starting tomorrow we can do that. I mean I don't mind answering one-off questions every once in awhile, but she is abusing it (and me!).

(another coworker's nickname for her: Bender)

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 09:24:48 AM »
OK, we are going to schedule a couple standing meetings. I am optimistic there is a more effective way for us to communicate...  eta meetings scheduled. Woah I ran into her in kitchen. I smiled at her and she stared back at me and then ignored me. A friend of mine previously suggested that maybe she's just not a "people" person. Nah I think she has some kind of problem with me. Don't care. 

« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 11:40:43 AM by partgypsy »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: work question
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 01:18:30 PM »
She has a problem with your boundaries.

Luckily, in a month that won't be your problem anymore :)

Fishindude

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Re: work question
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2020, 03:22:16 PM »
I won't defend her interruptions, but a whole lot of those emails are just wasted typing and words that could be much more easily handled with a quick face to face conversation.
Always burned my azz to get a page long email from someone across the office when it could have just been handled in a quick conversation.  Emails can be misread as you don't get voice tone, facial expressions, etc.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2020, 06:52:34 PM »
What is true, what we need to communicate about can be done alot more effectively than it is now. And no the stuff she needs to talk to me about can be quickly reviewed in an email, but she prefers to be overbearing and honestly rude to me. So she prefers to leave the study by burning bridges fine, but the work still needs to be done and I refuse to be her stress release valve.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: work question
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2020, 08:50:49 PM »
What is true, what we need to communicate about can be done alot more effectively than it is now. And no the stuff she needs to talk to me about can be quickly reviewed in an email, but she prefers to be overbearing and honestly rude to me. So she prefers to leave the study by burning bridges fine, but the work still needs to be done and I refuse to be her stress release valve.

Just tell her she's a pain in the arse. Use whatever language you deem suitable, but keep that as the message.

chemistk

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Re: work question
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2020, 07:17:38 AM »
What is true, what we need to communicate about can be done alot more effectively than it is now. And no the stuff she needs to talk to me about can be quickly reviewed in an email, but she prefers to be overbearing and honestly rude to me. So she prefers to leave the study by burning bridges fine, but the work still needs to be done and I refuse to be her stress release valve.

Just tell her she's a pain in the arse. Use whatever language you deem suitable, but keep that as the message.

I agree with this, but with a direct, diplomatic tone.

There are people who seek validation of the work they're doing from others by sharing/asking questions, constantly. If you're not thinking of their needs and priorities first (and frequently), then they feel a significant loss of control and will work to regain the upper hand (stonewalling, rebuffing, being rude).

There's probably other stuff going on too, but I've worked around one or two of these individuals and while their focus was never directed at me, I got to witness (and hear about behind closed  doors) how others felt about them.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2020, 02:13:37 PM »
It got a little better (I scheduled 2 weekly meetings). And kindness seems to work. But it seems to have gotten bad again.

Friday evening after I got home from work, she texted me on my personal cell (we have each other's phone for emergency reasons) 9 times, to let me know that I forgot to update a task. I said, well if you are looking at it, do you want to update it? No. OK, well I'll do it on Monday (was not important). she says, But I can't stop thinking about it. I repeat again I will update on Monday when back in office. The texting stops.

And this morning multiple emails from her, that she is out sick. Boss also happens to be out sick, so a few emails so everyone is on same page for following day including canceling a meeting invite that is under her control. Coworker and I do have ones of those scheduled meetings this day. I assume due to fact she is out sick and we already exchanged email updates, we are good. That would be incorrect.

She sends passive aggressive email saying "well I was waiting to hear from you to touch base by phone what we are doing today, but I haven't heard from you so this is what I'm working on but I'm moving slow because I'm sick." I respond with something short, "sounds like a good plan".

A few more scattered emails which I respond to. On boss's request she canceled the meeting invite for tomorrow. Previous times she has done this she cancels the invite with no explanation. People think meeting has fallen off their schedule, so I get a flurry of last minute calls and emails asking if there is still a meeting or not. So I send an email to the group saying the meeting is canceled, when next meeting is. She emails me. "I canceled this this morning..." I explain, Yes I know. And why I sent email. A couple more random emails from her.

Then the interventionist emails both of us with a question (yes about the meetings). Coworker responds and I also confirm. Coworker then replies just to me (not to me and the interventionist who emailed us)

title "I am out" and text "not responding to emails anymore today"

ookay.

I know I should be bothered by it, but the passive aggressiveness is annoying.

I need to practice things like "the personal cell phone texts are supposed to be for emergency use only".
"I'm sorry I thought you were out sick. Are you working today or not?"
"Please cancel the meeting invites so I can create a new meeting invite under my name (she has been weird this whole time about having control over the meeting invites). I will make sure that happens tomorrow.

MayDay

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Re: work question
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2020, 05:25:24 PM »
We donít even have office phones at my workplace!

I changed jobs within my company and never properly set up my new phone. Many of us deliberately let our voice mail fill up so no one can leave new ones. Just email me! Ok Boomer?

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2020, 06:28:00 PM »
I can't do that because I get calls from patients. But last week I was on a phone call with a patient and she called three times during the call, Letting it ring, but then hanging up(without leaving a message). She then Skyped in asking "why aren't you answering your phone?"  I responded "on a call".  And later when I brought this up with her, she said she called multiple times because "she didn't know whether I was away from my desk or or I was screening my calls". A, if I was away from my desk she could have left a message. B if I was screening my calls, .... Fill in the blank.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 06:35:58 PM by partgypsy »

FatFI2025

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Re: work question
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2020, 06:47:38 PM »
The subject annoying person sounds like someone who's low productivity because she's a hyper-collaborator. Every little thing she has to collab on. This is one of many archetypes of people who don't do anything at work and, in this case, also cause others to lose productivity. Pretty typical in bullsh*t job land. You definitely need to keep telling her to stop interrupting you throughout the day.

This makes me think it would be entertaining to map out the do nothing archetypes in bullsh*t jobs.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2020, 07:37:18 PM »
We have plenty of work to do, so that's not the problem (in fact understaffed). We just have very different ways of working. We have reports, and I want us to focus on using the reports, and letting our it people know if not working, errors so the reports are working correctly. She instead likes using more manual ways of checking things, but then wants to meet all the time.  In prior studies, you just run the reports, run through outstanding tasks until they are done. First come first served.  I think she is conscientious worker, but there is some issue going on, of wanting constant contact to the point it does affect my productivity, and she also assumes the worst of people. She has multiple times, come to my office or calls me angrily accused me of doing something (overwriting her work, deleting her document, not saving her changes) and it will be an instance where She did something wrong, but we will have a five minute conversation backtracking trying to figure out what the hell she's talking about. And then she doesn't apologize. It's def not normal.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 07:52:37 PM by partgypsy »

FatFI2025

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Re: work question
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2020, 08:10:20 PM »
We have plenty of work to do, so that's not the problem (in fact understaffed). We just have very different ways of working. We have reports, and I want us to focus on using the reports, and letting our it people know if not working, errors so the reports are working correctly. She instead likes using more manual ways of checking things, but then wants to meet all the time.  In prior studies, you just run the reports, run through outstanding tasks until they are done. First come first served.  I think she is conscientious worker, but there is some issue going on, of wanting constant contact to the point it does affect my productivity, and she also assumes the worst of people. She has multiple times, come to my office or calls me angrily accused me of doing something (overwriting her work, deleting her document, not saving her changes) and it will be an instance where She did something wrong, but we will have a five minute conversation backtracking trying to figure out what the hell she's talking about. And then she doesn't apologize. It's def not normal.

Ha OK maybe I was just transferring my self onto your situation ;). Still thinking about that list though.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: work question
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2020, 08:12:16 PM »
This sounds like a communication problem to me. You have totally different styles and requirements. I used to work with a woman who drove me insane. We would have to meet for a handover, and her idea of a handover was talking at me at high speed for 5 minutes and then rushing off. My idea of a handover was writing down issues as I went through the shift and giving her the list at the end. Neither of us could make head nor tail of the other's style. In the end, we agreed on a half hour handover in which she would speak more slowly so I could take notes, and I would verbally discuss the list of issues for her. She still drove me nuts, but at least we came to a middle ground.

In your situation, I think you need to take her out of the office for a coffee and tell her that it's not working for you. Blame it on different communication styles, and make it very clear what you need from her. And listen to what she needs from you. When you get back to the office, send her an email 'this is what I have understood from our discussion' recap. Really work on setting some professional boundaries. If she continues to cross them, perhaps you could ask HR to mediate a discussion.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2020, 05:46:18 PM »
Just to give people an update.

It has gotten so bad sometimes even if I'm in a great mood, I dread running into at work. She is leaving at the end of the month but still, we have so much work to do we need to be productive, but it's hard. She continues to use her spreadsheets. She is not giving feedback when her spreadsheets don't match what the reports do (she refuses to use the reports). Despite ignoring that request she is micromanaging tasks she does not need to. This weekend since her laptop was not connecting at home, she texted my personal cell, one day multiple times starting at 6:30 am on a Saturday, both to ask me to do something (which I agreed to). She continued to text me on my personal phone Sunday and Monday as well as to order me to do stuff (things that were my job, and I had already done on Friday).  I ended up ignoring the last few texts. We had a meeting and people were wishing her best wishes. And I piped up and said, maybe we can all go out to lunch. And she stares at me for a moment and says "I don't think so". I was embarrassed, and the group was silent for a moment because it was obvious she doesn't like me. 

Anyways I'm extremely busy at work. About 10 days ago I emailed my boss a bunch of docs to electronically sign. I only see an email from her with 3 of the docs attached. So I sent a couple emails reminding her to sign, let her know I put paper copies to sign in her mailbox, and also resent the docs electronically if she could do that way. I come in this morning and she emails me, I already did this, call me. Sure enough I look and there is a follow up email with all but 2, 3 docs needed attached. So I call her and she said, what's going on, I sent you these and you missed it, what is going on? And I apologize, and blurt out that actually I am feeling a little off balance with some interactions with (coworker). And basically boss says, yes you are not the only one.
She wants me to talk with her tomorrow before she write something up.
So anyways I've been feeling very emotional. If I was better with confrontation maybe this wouldn't have gotten so out of hand. At the same time I will need to document some of the stuff that has happened and try to find a way to make it constructive.


Anyways I feel pretty emotional. I feel I should have been honest and come to my boss a lot sooner that this was actually becoming a problem. 

lhamo

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Re: work question
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2020, 07:31:44 PM »
This person is dysfunctional and not your problem.

I forget the details, but didn't you mention in your journal that she is being removed from the project due to some pretty serious errors (if not outright fraud) in her work?

She should have been let go immediately.  She is now taking her anger/frustration/resentment/whatever out on all of you.

This is not your problem or your responsibility.  It sounds like your boss knows that.  Try to get confirmation of that from her tomorrow and ask her to set some clear boundaries:

1)  Delete your personal contact #s from her phone, and no calls or texts period from this point on.  Any feedback/input needed from you can be solicited by email, and you will fit her requests into your regular workflow as you see fit (on your schedule, not hers)

2)  Someone else needs to handle meeting scheduling and follow up.  Seriously -- what org has someone on their way out remain responsible for meeting scheduling.  Doesn't make sense.

Try adopting the grey rock strategy with her.  Any request, interaction, etc. you just act like a grey rock.  She will take her drama elsewhere for the last 7 days she is there.

Good luck.  One more week, more or less.  You can make it.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2020, 07:55:00 PM »
Yes. When I meet with boss I'm going to state things factually things that have happened. It's up to boss what she does with information. Yes she has made frequent errors; some which were big. I am relieved that it is not just me who have had negative/dysfunctional interactions with her. Just going to hang in there. Update meeting for today to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. Only thing of note let the team know via email that I'm working from home today and if need be can be reached via email. She called me on cell anyways. I didn't pick up, then responded to her request via email. At some point this afternoon I noticed on the email calendar she declined all the upcoming standing meetings with me. No explanation. No clue what's going with her, not sure I want to know.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 03:17:20 PM by partgypsy »

mistymoney

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Re: work question
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2020, 09:32:37 AM »
I should probably post this to some work office type forum, thought I'd ask you all. Is it ever OK to not answer your work phone? I have a coworker who will be leaving the project in a month. She excessively calls me and or walks by my office to tell me things, to remind me things that I already know, or ask me random things that she could ask in an email. I am talking about 4-10 or even more interruptions a day. It's really breaking my concentration.

A month or so ago I actually ended up sending her an email saying that I am busy, if you have questions email me, and I will get back to you, or lets set a time once a day to meet (we already meet 2 times during the week for more formal meetings). She did back off for a few days. But now it is back to being bad again. I have phone ID so I know it's her.

I'm thinking if I don't answer she will get out of habit, but I also worry that if I don't answer she will come to my cubicle...

don't answer, send email responses when that is appropriate.

For now - close the door for some concentration time.

Say - I'm in the middle of something - can you email that to me?

Stop the madness - any way you can. Do NOT reward her for the constant interruptions by being available for whatever she is spewing.

partgypsy

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Re: work question
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2020, 12:00:53 PM »
Well, finally got to catch up with joint supervisor. It was a good productive talk. It felt good to get off my chest stuff that I needed to say. In addition to our survey application which after she broke an important survey (that I then had to reconstruct) she was banned from working on, boss let me know she was banned from working on an application that she was assigned to and supposed to learn to be the point person for. And the multiple interruptions for minor things was occurring to my supervisor as well. She knew about some but not all that was going on. My supervisor fully has my back and I like (and respect) her.
 
In retrospect this situation was unusual (at least for our department). We also do not know if this is something that started recently with her, or it's been a pass the buck situation for awhile. My supervisor will update her supervisor (she has already met with her once before about this). It will be the head's decision what they decide.
 
In good news the new person seems to be working out well. I do feel better about work situation.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 01:27:41 PM by partgypsy »

caracarn

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Re: work question
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2020, 09:41:28 AM »
Praying all continues to go well for you and your organization.  Report sounds promising.