my coworker cried and called me militant

This post, my coworker cried and called me militant, was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

A reader writes 😛 TAGEND

I was wondering about your opinion on a strange statu I was in a few years ago that I don’t know how it works I should’ve handled.

I had a coworker, Jane, which has recently turned 50. I was in my mid 20 ’s and in my first professional established in my opt land. Jane and I didn’t click, but we shared a small office with no problems. I drove in front of the computer all day, and she was often away on fills. I meditate I had worked at the place for about a year at the time, and she had started after me.

My job was accomplishing successions that came through a digital arrangement. The those individuals who put in the orders( Jane was one out of 10) had to fill in as much information as possible. If I didn’t have the right information, I couldn’t do my job properly. Jane was impossible at this — she never crowded in enough info and coming it from her directly was like pulling teeth. At one point I would like to point out at one of our monthly gratifies to fill out everything( she wasn’t the only offender ). As we were looking at the board, somebody else moment at and asked him an prescribe that Jane had created, and I replied with something like, “Yeah, that one would need some part, Jane .”

One day, at another of our monthly sessions, one of the managers mentioned that if you had a problem with person you should cause them know, instead of going around sulking about it( not in those statements, but that was the gist ). Right after the powwow, I’m at my table and Jane comes in. She asks if I have a second to talk, and closes the door. What the manager had said had reverberated with her and she had something to say.

Her biggest question was that I had called her out in front of everyone and that I had been “militant” towards her. She said she had worked in different crews for 30 years and never satisfied person with this much attitude, and that all individuals she mentioned this to had agreed with her( I speculate she meant her friends and not our colleagues ). She also mentioned that I never said “hi” first in the morning, she was always the one who said it first. By this moment, she was very teary and said that she didn’t know what to do. I, has become a stage 10 out of 10 on the Scared of Hostility Scale, made an instant semi-genuine apology to smooth things over. Apparently, that was enough for her and said she was glad to have this resolved. If it hadn’t been, she was going to the boss to say that she couldn’t work with me anymore. This all came like a torrent and I was so high on adrenaline that I nearly couldn’t breathe.

Alison, I is certainly not militant , nor do I have an attitude. I am an watchful mess and a chronic goody-two-shoes, of course I say hello in the morning! I recognise that being called out on a mistake in front of others is never a good feeling, so I will be careful with that in the future. For me, though, this wasn’t resolved. I remember being agitated around her, feeling like she’d keep score on whether or not I said hi every day. I never did nothing about this, as I was a few months from leaving but hadn’t told anyone. Jane never mentioned it again.

I’m still moderately brand-new in my vocation, so I’d like to learn from this experience. Looking back, I should’ve probably told my boss straight off and not apologized. I study. Help?

Jane clangs over-the-top. But sometimes the easiest direction to deal with someone like that is exactly what you did: defend and give that be the end of it.

That’s not to say you wouldn’t have been entitled to handle it differently — to decline to apologize and to loop your boss in. You could have said and done! But it would have become it a much bigger deal, and even though you weren’t the one causing the drama , now you’d be enclose in it anyway. Time generating her the defense she wanted let you made it to rest without it becoming something bigger.( To was apparent, I am not advocating for any sort of across-the-board policy of rationalizing when you didn’t do anything wrong. This is specific to this situation, where you had a awfully worked-up coworker and an easy, 10 -second way to defuse things .*)

Except that you then got stuck with being anxious around her for the next few months as a result, which isn’t a good sequel either.

Ideally, if we could go back in time, I’d say to do what you did in that conversation, but internally reel your eyes at Jane, file this away as “okay, Jane is super sensitive about morning hellos and any public acknowledgement of her mistakes , noted, ” and move on. But “move on” can be a tough sell when feeling is in the mix.

* It’s also easy to call it a success now because it laboured. If instead Jane had intensified things, started picking at you all the time, or otherwise greeted mischievously, you would have needed to go to your boss at that point — and in hindsight, maybe now we’d be concluding “youve had” treated it differently from the get-go. But at least as an initial response, what you did was reasonable from a drama-minimizing perspective.

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