44

I'm a recently hired assistant professor at a small teaching university. The department head has been successful in dramatically increasing student enrollment, such that our department is viewed almost as keeping the faculty and university afloat (and the department head is VERY highly regarded on campus). The department head is close to the office admin (he treats her like a daughter and she acts like a quasi assistant department head - approving new classes and setting the schedule, for example).

When I was newly arrived I foolishly agreed to a scheme proposed by the office admin where an instructor would develop a course that I would teach next term. After not hearing anything for quite some time, I checked up on the course progress and it turned out the instructor didn't intend to give me anything related to the course until the first day of class (when I was suppose to be teaching it that day). There was some back and forth and eventually the instructor committed to me that they would get me the course by the end of November. The end of November came and went, and when I asked about it I was assured I'd get it Friday. Friday came and went and on Monday I was assured I'd get it the next day, which I didn't. When I saw what she had made available to me on Tuesday, it turned out she had barely started working on the course.

I went to talk to the office admin (who had set the whole thing up and been acting as an intermediary) and told her the course wasn't near completion and at this point I wouldn't be able to teach it. She told me to talk to the department head. Previously I had wanted to involve him and she had told me repeatedly not to. As I left she began heckling me (telling me the instructor had been very busy with other projects), when I tried to respond to her, she cut me off and told me to talk about it with the department head. Again, as I turned to leave, she started heckling me (asking me why I expected the course so early) and told me I hadn't treated the instructor fairly.

I told her that I felt she and the instructor hadn't treated me fairly, and that they had thrown me under the bus as a newly arrived member of the department. She went NUTS. She started screaming, saying she didn't appreciate being accused of throwing someone under the bus and that I'd thrown her under the bus. She said she wouldn't accept being talked to that way and she would be complaining to the department head and her staff supervisor (which I found out later she did) and she slammed her door on me (I began walking away when she started screaming).

The department head came to my office and told me I wouldn't have to teach the course and that I'd be assigned another section of a class I'd already taught (which was fine with me and one of the solutions I'd previously tried to suggest). He didn't seem to want to hear anything else and just wanted it wrapped up as quickly as possible. I had written up my understanding of what had happened, which I gave him a hardcopy of (he didn't want to take it) and sent to him via e-mail. In the e-mail I asked to have another member of the faculty present at any meeting on the issue.

I think the existence of an e-mailed copy of the incident caught the department head's attention, as he then (later in the day) wanted to set up another meeting (but made it very clear no other faculty members could participate). At the meeting he again seemed very eager to brush things under the rug. I said that I wanted to be sure this didn't happen again, which he said he had no control over. I also said that I felt this shouldn't have happened and I wanted it to be treated seriously if it happened again, which he agreed to. I told him that the office admin had threatened to make complaints against me (which he said I didn't have to worry about). I asked him if I should be going on record about what had happen to HR and he told me not to. He told me that if I couldn't resolve things with him, the Dean was the next person to talk to and that under no circumstances would he involve other faculty members in meetings of this nature.

I talked to one of the senior faculty members and he told me that the department head has deliberately concentrated authority with himself and delegates things to the admin (so that another faculty member doesn't have control over them). He also said that he definitely didn't chastise the admin (and probably didn't even say anything to her).

I've thought about this situation and how unpleasant things will be in the department going forward. Since the new term has started I've been receiving dirty looks from the office admin whenever I've been forced into contact with her (I've been avoiding it as much as possible). I'm basically at the point where being in this department for the next 5 years leading up to tenure is pretty depressing (to say nothing of the idea of spending the rest of my career there) and am planning to set up another meeting with the department head.

Basically, I want to express that I think there's still a problem and I'm prepared to resign if that's the only solution. I obviously will make my resignation effective at the end of the school year (I won't leave them in the lurch). I'll tell him I wanted to give him another chance to solve the problem (and also feel that I should talk to the dean and HR before I tender my resignation so that they aren't blindsided - I want to let my department head know I'll be talking to them so he isn't surprised).

I'd be willing to stay if it was clearly expressed to the office admin that her actions were inappropriate. At this point I think that would require something along the lines of an official rebuke that would be put in her employment file.

For what it's worth, my teaching evaluations (from the one term I've been here) are very high and my research profile is probably the best in the department. I have a large number of other options for employment (which will probably be outside of academia). I don't need references or anything, so while I realize I'm "burning a bridge", that won't cause me any problems.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should move forward? I'd certainly understand anyone who thought I was "making a mountain out of a molehill", but this is still bothering me more than a month after the fact.

Sorry for the length, I thought it was important to include all relevant details.

EDIT: A moderator asked me below what I want from people who respond. I'm hoping for tactical advice (the best way to achieve an official rebuke, if it's impossible, advice on how to move past it). I'd also appreciate opinions on whether or not I'm justified being upset by the situation.

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    What kind of answer are you looking for? It seems like you know what your options are (do nothing and try to move past it, push for an official rebuke and possibly make things more uncomfortable, resign and pursue employment elsewhere). What are hoping we'll tell you that you don't already know? – ff524 Jan 19 '15 at 0:13
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    You have certainly given a lot of detail; in particular, it would probably be enough for any of the people involved to identify you from this post, if they should come across it. I am guessing this post shares more of your thoughts than you want to share with them. You can edit the post, but the original version remains publicly available via the edit history. You can delete it, but users with reputation over 10K can still see it. If you should want to make permanent changes or deletions, you will need to flag for moderator attention and explain. – Nate Eldredge Jan 19 '15 at 0:15
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    Ok, I wanted to make sure. You should also know that once answers are posted (and upvoted), it becomes much more difficult to delete your question; you can't do it yourself, and moderators will likely be reluctant (because it would also delete the answers which others spent time on). So you should expect that your post will effectively be public forever. – Nate Eldredge Jan 19 '15 at 0:28
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    Holy $deity, this is a long wall of text. – xLeitix Jan 19 '15 at 7:14
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    "the best way to achieve an official rebuke" - what do you hope to achieve here with an official rebuke? If your problem is that dealing with the admin is now awkward, this will make matters only much worse. In the worst case, the department head will then also be awkward around you because you annoyed her "assistant". I advise you to consider @gnometorule's answer. – xLeitix Jan 19 '15 at 7:21
64

I can't tell you what is the 'best' solution to your situation, but I can share with you how I would approach it. If you allow, a few words about my background. After a Ph.D., I went to Wall Street. In my second job, a person who was senior to most people in my group was universally despised (the mere fact to be assigned to work with him made a female analyst begin to cry. Another time she had to be talked out of quitting because of how he had treated her.). While generally well-liked, I had a vendetta with this person for the entirety of my job with this firm, which was detrimental both to my and the other guy's standing.

This is meant to be an obvious analogy. You, as I did, appear to believe to be entirely in the right (and in your case, it's fairly obvious that you probably are); but morality, and success and happiness at work are not the same. While you seem to have the academic side of your career under control (you mention being well-regarded in your department for your research, etc.), I think you should spend some time working on the softer social side of your job...which will be part of any job you might have. What happened to you here, could easily happen again if you go through with quitting, and run into a similarly entitled admin at your next job. So instead of running at the first obstacle, tackle it head on.

And for this, I would warmly recommend to de-emphasize due process, and to swallow your pride. Get some chocolates, and ask the admin to sit down with you in private - just you two. Tell her that you regret that you started off on the wrong foot, and for your part (even if you don't see a part at all, say it), you'd like to apologize; then hand her the chocolates. She let you down this time, but you can make her (and most) admins an ally. This doesn't always work. Some people simply cannot be worked with, but before you conclude that, work on your relationship with her. If you manage to make up, it will also reflect well on you with other department members, or at least your department head. If she's tardy in the future, remind her with a smile, and talk to your boss (in person), asking him to give her a nudge (which you could formulate along the lines of "She's probably crowded, but I really need X urgently. Could you have a word with her and give her a friendly reminder?")

Minus the chocolates, this is what I would do now were I again in my old situation.

It's your choice, but I'd value not hating going to work every day, over feeling that I've been slighted; and it's clearly better than remembering having "had" to leave your first job. And really, what you describe here is work 101: you'll have that one admin in most jobs you'll have in your life.

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    +1. Your second paragraph made me think of this old turn of phrase: "Would you rather be right or happy?" In the end this all seems to boil down to a personal conflict that neither party handled very well and is complicated by the unbalanced power dynamic. "Playing well with others" is a necessary skill in most work environments to resolve situations like this. – Lilienthal Jan 19 '15 at 10:17
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    Excellent advice, defuse the situation directly and in person. There's too little of that nowadays. – Michael McGriff Jan 21 '15 at 18:30
60

I'm probably going to get rated through the floor for this one, but there are two obvious things sticking out to me I consider worth pointing out.

First the possible resolutions you list and want to decide between appear equally ridiculous to me. Basically it sounds like you want to have St Peter descend from heaven with the book of good and bad deeds, get the scores added up and paid out, everybody shakes hands and then life can continue.

Life doesn't work that way. There is no compensation for past losses, and particularly life is not a zero-sum game: if shit happened to you that does not mean that somebody else profited equally from it, or that he or she had planned for that to happen.

For another, I think that the office admin appears to be doing an excellent job. She has been set up as the fall girl, and she works pretty well for that: an academic was supposed to provide you with course material in time and did not follow through. Obviously that is the person who actually let you down and who should have known what was needed by you when and provide it. Now it is hard to guess whether there is another story behind that (writing course material for someone else from scratch does not sound like something that should usually happen or be a good idea): if stuff is misorganized, a whole lot of negative consequences can accumulate all over the place without St Peter having anybody chalked up for malice.

But let's keep at this end of the story: whatever the reason, your course material provider did not come through, and you want the office admin on the hook for that. Are you surprised that she's not enamored with you?

Now how did she get to be responsible for someone else in that manner? The way your office setup sounds, some people think they are doing her a favor by pushing responsibilities on her which she has a problem handling, responsibilities that are outside her area of expertise. She'll probably get paid more than usual because of handling more than usual, but likely not as much as a proper handler would get. And she's not been wise enough to refuse those favors of trust and responsibility.

Now she's in a situation where she has to improvise and guesstimate a lot, and in that situation of getting more shoved onto her than she can competently dispatch, stuff went wrong. And mostly because somebody else did not carry the weight that she was told he would be lifting. She wasn't smart enough to just connect you and step out, so now she's being painted as the bad guy by you and you want her disciplined. And likely could have some chance of getting this accomplished. And you did try this via the department head already and she likely knows this. And you wonder why she's not all smiles at you.

Now if you get her fired, the department will need to get another fall girl that the department head can load with the stuff he does not want to deal with himself but for which he does not seem to have the funds to hire somebody with more than administrational capabilities. It would be a fresh chance, sure, but one starting from scratch.

Do you want to be the guy responsible for changing the department? Do you consider yourself sufficiently skilled in HR to make that decision?

I'd rather suggest that you try rebooting your relation. Try getting out of the "threat to her position and career" role since you won't improve your standing with either her or the department in that manner. Avoid situations where she is responsible for stuff she has no clue about and that should not be part of her job in the first place.

Try to avoid helping to set her up for failure. I don't know whether she has a chance to grow into the job that is expected from her, but it is not your basic task to fix that. If you can manage that she does not perceive you as a threat, you'll likely see much of what irks you now abate eventually.

Most importantly: get rid of your notion of justice: when things go bad, you cannot pin all the badness to one bad person's score. Often there is minimal cause for large effect. Intrigants enjoy working with minimal cause for large effect, but you don't make it sound as though the office assistant is enjoying what she is doing. Nor do you make it sound like she is subtle. She is rather reacting like a frightened child.

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    I really appreciate your reply (thanks! I agree with you on many points), but just wanted to clarify one thing: I'm not upset about the course, that's been settled to my satisfaction, I'm upset about being screamed at, threatened, having complaints lodged against me and a door slammed on me. I definitely wouldn't want to get her fired. Do you think resigning is a ridiculous resolution? – user2406714 Jan 19 '15 at 14:10
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    @user2406714: You didn't ask me, but the word 'ridiculous' rings unnecessarily like judging again. Resigning over an admin as faculty is immature, rash, impulsive, and certainly unnecessary I would say. This is an excellent answer. The actions that (understandably) upset you result from its last sentence. I know of someone coming to work to find all trash bins emptied on his desk (that was in Paris/France). Use what happened as an opportunity to learn dealing with future, more serious workplace issues. – gnometorule Jan 19 '15 at 15:29
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    While your point about seeking justice is wise, I would not call heckling a new hire an excellent job. – VGR Jan 20 '15 at 0:50
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    "She has been set up as the fall girl... Obviously [instructor] is the person who actually let you down." I couldn't disagree more. When everyone thinks everyone else is responsible for something, noone's in charge. That's an organizational failing, which ultimately falls to the dept head. When instructor flaked out, admin should have given him an ultimatum and stuck to it; when he failed that, she should have escalated to both the OP and dept head. In the real world, people will let you down, all the time. Fingerpointing fests are not a substitute for managing other people effectively. – smci Jan 20 '15 at 1:07
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    Whoa there. The instructor is the one who dropped the ball with respect to getting the course set up. But the admin has hardly acted properly. She shouldn't have given conflicting advice to the OP about involving the department head. She shouldn't have dismissed his concerns about the incomplete work. She shouldn't have become rude and confrontational over his expectation that the work be done on time. She shouldn't have carried a personal grudge forwards after the fact. The instructor screwed up the most. But the admin is not far behind and is hardly deserving of sympathy. – aroth Jan 20 '15 at 4:30
22

There are a couple of unspoken truths about academia:

  • Administrative people can make your life hell. From misplacing your grant applications to not ordering new toner for your printer, it entirely behooves you to be on their good side. This is triply the case for department heads -- I'm currently a program chair and I am deathly afraid of pissing off my staff.
  • Toxic departments are very common. There is no guarantee that your next job will be better. It may be, or it may be worse in different ways.
  • Being unemployed really sucks. Being underemployed (adjuncting) also sucks. Both are likely possibilities given the vagaries of the job market.

You're currently spending a great deal of emotional energy on this. I would try to clear the books as quickly as possible (chocolates help) and get back to focusing on your research. There's just one currency that's universally exchangeable on the job market, and that is research publications.

If your situation sucks, keep your head down and quietly apply to other places. But don't quit until you have a job offer in hand.

  • 1
    "I am deathly afraid of pissing off my staff". That sounds a little odd. Your staff work for you, don't they? They should be worried about upsetting you, not the other way around. That makes it sounds a bit like the world of "Yes, Minister", where the civil service actually run the country, not the politicians. – Faheem Mitha Jan 20 '15 at 12:09
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    Technically they work for me, but I am just a short blip in their careers. In another three years will be another chair, another 3-6 after then another chair. Because they hold all the institutional memory, the administrative support staff have incredible power. Yes, I suppose I could fire an individual but it would take an incredible amount of effort to do so given union rules -- and 1) the university may decide that I don't need staff if I'm firing them and so their replacements won't be authorized; 2) the actual replacement may or may not be any better. – RoboKaren Jan 20 '15 at 13:47
  • @mxmxmx Upvoted as recommended. :-) – Faheem Mitha Jan 21 '15 at 13:29
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    "I'm currently a program chair and I am deathly afraid of pissing off my staff." That sounds a little oddly insightful for a program chair. :) – Pete L. Clark Jan 21 '15 at 14:07
15

Just picking out one tidbit from a comment of yourself on your question:

I'd also appreciate opinions on whether or not I'm justified being upset by the situation.

That, in a nutshell, is your problem. Feelings are caused, not "justified". They are no currency which you can cash in for action if they are not counterfeit.

You are willing to escalate the situation as far as it will go since you are convinced that the feelings you have in your hand beat hers. "I take your complaint to your supervisor and raise you an official rebuke." And you ask for advice whether you should go "all in" and put your job on the table.

But this is a game that has no winner: the house takes all anyway. Don't worry about whether you are more righteously upset than the office admin. The question is how you are supposed to get along while you are there and you have not seriously attempted figuring that out. Your solution is that you want to have a permanent record on her file and then you both will get along fine and neither will be upset anymore to the degree where it would disturb the other.

You are a smart guy. That bet has lousy odds.

14

I retitled this "untouchable administrative member of department" since that seems to be the crux of the issue: the department head is in general excellent, however for reasons unknown [*] he has elevated the office admin beyond her competence and she is untouchable; you didn't sense this early enough and now you've walked into a landmine. Your issue is the political setup, not the particular issue with the new course not being ready; doesn't matter much and clearly she's out of line (although evidently she's also very insecure, and maybe if you'd privately managed to resolve it with her before it became a huge problem, this might have been avoidable; seems like she was genuinely afraid of getting the head involved, regardless whether he gives her a public rebuke or not; some would say it was a little naive to not have detected her untouchable status early enough; anyway it's too late now).

So it comes down to pragmatism vs principle; only you can weigh the following:

  • How many other people has the admin tangled with? Is she widely despised? Is she likely to leave/retire/get replaced(/promoted out)? You haven't supplied any context to us, we really need to know if you can muster the leverage to get her dealt with or not. Do some discreet asking around.
  • How long do you intend to stay there? How uncomfortable is it likely to get?
  • You can't get an official rebuke without at very least getting the dean involved (try that), threatening to resign, or maybe HR, which is burned-bridge territory.

[*] As to the dept head and admin's unorthodox setup, there may well be more than meets the eye, maybe he will protect her, or turn a blind eye to her excesses, or she has the goods on him. Again, try to ask around before you make a decision.

After you supply the missing information, it comes down to four options:

  1. You don't have the muscle to rectify this. Either a) resign quietly, b) resign to the dean and/or make a formal complaint, or c) stay and have to eat shit for a while until it blows over. Only you can determine what is the best career option. Put your pride and ego aside, admittedly hard to swallow.
  2. You do have the muscle, or she has made too many enemies. Palace coup time. Try not to alienate the dept head though. He is protecting her. In general what they advise about conflict: only start a battle if you're pretty confident you can overwhelmingly win it. Seems doubtful based on what you've said.

You haven't told us enough to advise. The only actionable thing I can say is to develop better radar for strange political setups like that, and the moment you do, discreetly figure out what their deal is, and don't cross insecure dangerous people needlessly. Both academia and large organizations are stuffed with incompetent insecure people capable of being vicious who are nearly impossible to dislodge and flaunt it; the longer they're there the more intractable they get. The art is to flatter/ charm/ keep them sweet and working for you instead of against you. Strictly, this one shouldn't have been your battle.

12

"I foolishly agreed to a scheme proposed by the office admin...". This was indeed foolish, and extremely unusual. I have to wonder what you were thinking. To a large extent, the whole situation grew out of that. Don't let office staff make your decisions for you. They're not qualified, for one thing. I'm also unclear how someone else can "develop" a course for you. What does that even mean?

I agree with the general message of the other answers in that there is no point targeting the office admin. You should recognise that you made a mistake taking advice/suggestions from someone you should not have been taking advice from (and who isn't qualified to give it). Learn from your mistakes. The world is full of people giving bad advice. Just like the world is full of germs. You can't do anything about it, so develop better defenses. You probably have already have a filter for bad advice. So develop a better one.

Yes, it sounds like other people screwed up and behaved in less than ideal ways, but forcing them to confront their screwups isn't going to do you any good. You're not their father. And these people aren't criminals. They're your colleagues. Or department staff. Don't treat them like criminals or naughty children. I suggest you talk to the office admin, and basically say that you got off on the wrong foot, that there were some misunderstandings, and that you'd like to let byegones be byegones and get a fresh start.

I agree with others that resigning would be a gross overreaction, unless of course, you are seriously dissatisfied with the job for professional reasons.

  • +1 for "indeed foolish". It was a dangerous decision. OP made a mistake with agreeing to this. The situation is unpleasant, but, on the long run, my recommendation is, swallow it, and do not do it again. Putting oneself at the mercy of massive lot of undeveloped teaching material is like flying without map, or filming without script. The instructor was unreliable, and the admin inexperienced, but when one works with people, unreliability must be factored in from the outset. I have a fantastic group of people to work with, still I know - and accept - everyone's weak points. – Captain Emacs Jan 17 '16 at 0:14
6

My reaction after finishing reading this long question is: a "Storm in a teapot" with the office admin, but a bigger problem is in the department.

Quit an academic job (assistant professor) because of some problem with an office admin? I think you are over-reacted. The person responsible really should be that instructor and the department head shares some of the responsibilities. The office admin is only the messenger.

If you really want to start a fight. Please fight against that instructor and the department head because they didn't do their jobs. Please don't target that office admin. If you get that office admin fired, do you really think the problem is solved? It won't happen again?

And I would like to say something for the students of that university. Please finish that scheme proposal for that course before you quit (if you ever quit that job) because you promised you would do it and it will be good for the students. You are a Professor in a teaching university. Please don't forget you have your responsibilities.

6

Almost all of these answers involve some form of manipulation, political maneuvering, or else tongue-holding. These sorts of solutions ignore the fact that everyone involved is human, and as such, possess some level of humanity.

The issue here (as in all human conflict) is communication. The admin behaved very poorly. We can agree on that. But it seems clear to me that she was communicating fear. She is afraid of the department head, but more basically afraid that it will be revealed that she is in some way incompetent. Her fear led to an outburst which, of course, made her appear to be incompetent.

Now she is living with her worst fear. You know she is incompetent, and you are raising it as an issue with the people from whom she most craves respect. How terrifying!

You are afraid as well. You fear that the admin will continue to make you feel uncomfortable, negatively affect your work life, and possibly involve you in another traumatic confrontation. Valid fears if nothing changes.

As long as she believes you view her as incompetent and are attempting to convince others to view her likewise, she is likely to make all your fears a reality. So the solution is simple: convince her that you do not view her as incompetent, and that you are not attempting to persuade others.

Communicate to her the following:

  • You respect the amount of responsibility she has, and the volume of work she is able to successfully organize and manage.
  • You understand why she was upset at you. She has a lot on her plate and she probably felt it was unfair to hold her responsible for the actions of another. (Avoid discussing whether her actions were justified, including her attempts to belittle your concerns.)
  • You regret the confrontation you shared, and the actions you took following it. You were attempting to prevent another conflict through mediation, but you realize now that neither of you desire conflict.
  • You are afraid that your relationship may not recover, which may result in the failure to work together effectively.
  • You hope that after communicating you can develop an understanding of each other to produce a relationship in which mutual respect can survive whatever minor point of contention may arise.

Your goal is to alleviate her fear of losing respect. She needs to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you respect her. Then you can have completely acceptable interactions in which her fear does not overcome her self-control.

Most of these answers are about getting what you want, but I would recommend considering that what you want might just include relationships filled with bidirectional trust and respect.

-4

A lot of the answers are really good if you really needed the job. I think by your post, you don't.

I found myself in a position almost exactly like yours at an old job. I was a manager of a tech desk, I had a lot of credentials and found a job in a day.

The head project manager, chewed me out, belittled me, complained all the way up to senior VPs... a lot of drama. Because I wanted to change technology (and this would involve a few of her projects being squashed). It was my job to upgrade technology and I found it insulting that someone who didn't even understand what an IP address was, was telling me what we should use.

To make my story short, it basically turned out exactly as yours. Bosses told me she shouldn't have done it, she had no business even having the conversation, then tried to sweep it under the rug.

How did I deal with it?

I was ultra open about it. I was new and didn't want people talking behind my back or thinking I was some kind of doormat.

I have many examples. One of the first was her giving me dirty looks. I simply waited until she was talking to one of our directors and they seemed to be having a good chat. I walked by to get a coffee and said something to the effect, "I am glad you can smile at work, I thought the dirty looks were a constant."

In a meeting she butted in loudly while I was talking a couple months in. I simply said, "Excuse me I am talking. I appreciated that you can be loud and slam doors but you need to wait your turn for that." [almost everyone in the room was laughing but it was a little mean]

She promptly left the room and went to HR. Which was funny because our HR had to write her up for her previous outburst and put her on anger management watch - if she had one more issue she would have been required to go to a class.

She left a couple months later. I didn't try to stay away from her, ignore her, or anything like that. I simply completely acknowledged the situation and handled it with a bit of humor.

I noticed quickly that my reaction really helped with my reputation in our offices. First, I didn't run to HR and file a complaint. Really this gets you nowhere and makes you look like a tattle-tale (also it is very easy for the person to just lie and act like it never happened or that you did something inappropriate). Second, the higher-ups saw that I would not let a person railroad me or (my ideas) because they had been there 10 years and I just started. Third, I didn't go talk behind her back and bad mouth her. Everything I said about her was to answer a direct question from a higher up or with her in the conversation.

  • 5
    Tech jobs are easier to change than academic jobs. – RoboKaren Jan 20 '15 at 10:49
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    @RoboKaren - you are joking right? I am in academia now. Much much easier for me to move around than the tech industry. – blankip Jan 20 '15 at 15:17
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    @RoboKaren - and you completely missed the point of my answer. The OP said he would have no issue finding another job and didn't NEED this job. I would only give this advise to a person in this situation. – blankip Jan 20 '15 at 16:29
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    You seem to work at an astonishingly unprofessional, antagonistic, and unpleasant place of work. Any supervisor should have talked about your behavior (hers obviously too) 1-1 at the first, or at least second occasion. – gnometorule Jan 20 '15 at 19:02
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    As I see it, the point of this answer is a bully not realizing he is one (or fondly relating he is) proudly sharing stories of extreme, hostile, passive-aggressive acts that would anyone in a professional work environment get reprimanded and, if not ceased, fired. You can suggest that OP bully similarly, but that doesn't make it a good answer. – gnometorule Jan 20 '15 at 21:32

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