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minotaurasaurus
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Age: 37
Gender: Female
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Location: New Zealand

26 Sep 2017, 1:08 am

I've just started my first full-time job as a Graphic Designer for a large funeral company in NZ. I'm excited about the work. It's structured, gives me a little leeway of creative choice, and I'm learning a lot about dealing with people face-to-face (which despite chronic social anxiety, a few years ago would have been absolutely out of the picture for me). There's more to the job than just design. There's dealing with families who've lost their loved ones, helping them collect ashes if the receptionist is busy, and hopefully I'll get to go out with funeral directors on deceased transfers and sit in on a session in the mortuary (which is the bit I'm really keen on, even though it sounds morbid I'm so fascinated with human anatomy - biology freak - and see that as ultimately my dream job).

However, the design team is a team of two. For a large company, and with the fact that people die all the time, we get a lot of work, and have to work together. My predecessor in the job was great. She was laid back and made me feel at ease. My co-worker, my senior in the job, however, is not. He has been taking notes of absolutely everything he deems as me doing wrong, to the point that he is making up scenarios of me lying to him. I believe he would like me to get fired, but I'm determined to keep on working, because it is so hard for me to get employed - anywhere.

He had severe issues with my communication skills. I get so engrossed in each design project that I forget to communicate with him. Although I apologized to him for this, he took it to the manager. So, I made myself some visual reminders to keep communicating with him. During an incident last week, where our printer went down (we do all the mass printing for funerals also), I was so focused on trying to rectify the problem, especially as the technicians for the printer were not able to make it until the following week (big disaster!), and focusing on a funeral service I was working on, that I misheard what he'd asked me to do.

I did, as I thought, what he asked. He had some issues with the printer, and told me he'd counted 50 service booklets as coming out fine. I assumed (assuming is foolish, I know) that he'd removed the good ones from the bad, and wanted me to count the remainder so that he knew how much more he needed to re-print. Wrong. I told him I'd counted 155 (which I had also written down and put on his desk, because my short term memory, in busy times, is lacking severely).

While trying to reboot the monster printer again, he came out and started a tirade of absolute bollocks. Told me I'd said I only counted 5 (which I hadn't - I counted 155), and then accused me of lying.

This morning, he kept on with petty jibes and remarks about me, and despite my best efforts (which was tiring) has decided to be uncommunicative (which in my humble opinion typical of someone who knows they're in the wrong), even though I've upped my effort to keep on the communication with him about current work (thank you visual reminder!).

I've been there just over a month. Although I feel alien in all the social situations among colleagues (a lot of people work there), I seem to be trucking along well, and people seem to like me, even if I feel like I don't fit, stutter, stumble over my sentences. But they're all compassionate and kind people, and make me feel like I have a place, even if a little askew. But, working in close confines with this person. I keep just trying to appease him, but it seems he's not interested in making amends.

I'm awfully confused about the whole thing.



underwater
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26 Sep 2017, 1:20 am

Well, the guy's obviously got it in for you, and nothing you do or say will make him like you or cooperate well with you.

So you need to do damage control.

Do everything correctly.

Try to communicate by email, so objectives are clear.

Get along with the other employees, and most importantly, the manager above you guys.

Let this guy demonstrate to everybody how unreasonable he is. Try not to complain, because nobody will want to risk becoming part of the conflict, but that applies to him too. He didn't do well for himself for complaining to the manager about you.

You've been there a very short time. How long has this guy been working there?

Just in case, I'd be on the lookout for other jobs, because the guy is obviously trying to get rid of you. Better have some processes going than being completely dependent on this job.


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kraftiekortie
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26 Sep 2017, 6:05 am

If he's not your supervisor, he has to start minding his own business.

Do your supervisors take this man seriously? If not, just ignore the man, and continue to do your job.

You always have idiots in every workplace.

Saying this, I agree with Underwater's advice. She's above ground on this. Dot your "i" and cross your "t's."



Chronos
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27 Sep 2017, 4:50 am

minotaurasaurus wrote:
I've just started my first full-time job as a Graphic Designer for a large funeral company in NZ. I'm excited about the work. It's structured, gives me a little leeway of creative choice, and I'm learning a lot about dealing with people face-to-face (which despite chronic social anxiety, a few years ago would have been absolutely out of the picture for me). There's more to the job than just design. There's dealing with families who've lost their loved ones, helping them collect ashes if the receptionist is busy, and hopefully I'll get to go out with funeral directors on deceased transfers and sit in on a session in the mortuary (which is the bit I'm really keen on, even though it sounds morbid I'm so fascinated with human anatomy - biology freak - and see that as ultimately my dream job).

However, the design team is a team of two. For a large company, and with the fact that people die all the time, we get a lot of work, and have to work together. My predecessor in the job was great. She was laid back and made me feel at ease. My co-worker, my senior in the job, however, is not. He has been taking notes of absolutely everything he deems as me doing wrong, to the point that he is making up scenarios of me lying to him. I believe he would like me to get fired, but I'm determined to keep on working, because it is so hard for me to get employed - anywhere.

He had severe issues with my communication skills. I get so engrossed in each design project that I forget to communicate with him. Although I apologized to him for this, he took it to the manager. So, I made myself some visual reminders to keep communicating with him. During an incident last week, where our printer went down (we do all the mass printing for funerals also), I was so focused on trying to rectify the problem, especially as the technicians for the printer were not able to make it until the following week (big disaster!), and focusing on a funeral service I was working on, that I misheard what he'd asked me to do.

I did, as I thought, what he asked. He had some issues with the printer, and told me he'd counted 50 service booklets as coming out fine. I assumed (assuming is foolish, I know) that he'd removed the good ones from the bad, and wanted me to count the remainder so that he knew how much more he needed to re-print. Wrong. I told him I'd counted 155 (which I had also written down and put on his desk, because my short term memory, in busy times, is lacking severely).

While trying to reboot the monster printer again, he came out and started a tirade of absolute bollocks. Told me I'd said I only counted 5 (which I hadn't - I counted 155), and then accused me of lying.

This morning, he kept on with petty jibes and remarks about me, and despite my best efforts (which was tiring) has decided to be uncommunicative (which in my humble opinion typical of someone who knows they're in the wrong), even though I've upped my effort to keep on the communication with him about current work (thank you visual reminder!).

I've been there just over a month. Although I feel alien in all the social situations among colleagues (a lot of people work there), I seem to be trucking along well, and people seem to like me, even if I feel like I don't fit, stutter, stumble over my sentences. But they're all compassionate and kind people, and make me feel like I have a place, even if a little askew. But, working in close confines with this person. I keep just trying to appease him, but it seems he's not interested in making amends.

I'm awfully confused about the whole thing.


Since you insist on staying, keep a record, to the word, of all of the exchanges you have with this co-worker, so you know exactly what was said between the two of you.

I would also be sure to put your actual responsibilities before tasks you aren't technically responsible for, unless explicitly asked to do those tasks. I know...it seems strange that it would be a bad thing that you do extra things for the company, however doing these things can go wrong more frequently than they can go right, in the following way.

1. Your bosses expect you do to that which you were hired for, and if these things don't get done when they expect you to do them, because you were doing something they didn't expect you to do, they may become upset.

2. The person who's job it is to do the task you have decided to do may become upset, because you threaten their job security. I actually had an IT person become upset with me once because, in an effort to trouble shoot my own workstation (so I could do my work that day), I rebooted to the last known good configuration. This happened to be the configuration from the previous day, when I had last used that computer, yet the IT person, who was threatened by the fact that I had about 15 years more experience in IT than they did, decided to tell my boss, who knew nothing about computers, that I could have caused some cataclysmic event, which was completely not true.

3. They may decide to make it your official responsibility, without bothering to pay you more. This happened to my friend, though he was eventually able to use the fact that he did so many things around the office outside of his job description to negotiate a large wage increase.

4. The more you do outside of your job description, that wasn't asked of you, the more you give this man to say you did wrong.