Finally, something that I actually really want to write about!
And while I did love Starting Over’s fantastic idea of sloshing a few back, I think -and this is VERY out of character for me- that I am too angry to drink. What was the deepest level of aggression again? Fury?
I know that we all have “that coworker”, the one where there is just no chance that you will ever get along with them. The one where, in the first week of the office, you already cringe at their ticks. I almost felt bad for this girl when I first started because something always seemed off with her. And then my favorite professor, a professor we happened to share when I was still at graduate school, pulled me aside after class one day last fall and said, “so Nasty Coworker mentioned that you’re struggling at your new job. Are you ok?”
I wasn’t struggling. I was FAR from struggling. And this is after I had lent her all of my books and old notes from his class that she was taking at the time, meticulous notes that had gotten me the only A in his class that semester and pages already marked for the take-home finals and projects.
A few weeks after that, she made an office-wide announcement that she wanted to organize an office dinner, one where we could all bring our significant others. Which is a great idea, considering that these people have become a sort of family to me and I’ve never met their, well, families. At the time, there were eleven of us in my particular office and I was the only one not in a relationship of some sort; everyone else was either married, engaged, or on the verge of engagement. After this announcement, she turns to me with over-exaggerated sad eyes and goes, “oh, I guess you can come too.” I have no problem being single. I love being single, I love having focus right now. But my singleness seems to mean one thing to her: I’ve been referred to as “the office tramp” on more than one occasion, following the simple equation that since I’m not in a relationship, I must be after every piece nearby me.
I refused to let this get in the way of my work, refused to even bring it up to my boss because it was petty. I was pulling great cases and my investigations were being widely recognized and there was no reason to acknowledge aside from a random venting.
So in preparation for a huge meeting I had today with my boss’ boss’ boss (yes, that’s confusing, but it should be noted that he’s very important) my boss asked her to prepare an agenda of things my Amazing Coworker and I needed to discuss. I got in to work Sunday at 1:30 pm to finish preparations for it. At that time, she told me the agenda wasn’t completed, that she was still working on it. I worked a couple of cases, prepped my notes, and did some minor video review. At 4:30 she made some comment in passing about GoogleEarth- my office uses to top version of that to plot information. Since she was doing the agenda, I asked if I would need to prepare anything to present on our work with GoogleEarth. I have little knowledge of how we plot the information; that’s mostly her job within the office. “No, no,” she said. “I explained everything to Amazing Coworker so that he can present that info.” I asked about seven times if she was sure; she said yes. Since she was getting ready to leave, I asked if she had the agenda ready. “No, I still haven’t finished it. I’m going to have to finish it at home and email it in later tonight since I won’t be here tomorrow.”
It doesn’t take an investigator to realize that something wasn’t right.
This morning I got to work and my boss asked if I was ready. I had my black button up tucked into a white pencil skirt, with black patent heels and a few strings of pearls. Hell yes I was ready.
“Ok, so you can you pull up the GoogleEarth information with all of the plotting on your LCD tv?”
My heart dropped a little and I stammered that I didn’t know how to do it, forty minutes before we were expected to present. My Amazing Coworker slid over a copy of the email from Nasty Coworker, a steady string of emails back and forth from my boss and her.
Boss (Friday): Here’s the tentative agenda, can you type it up? Caitlyn and Amazing Coworker discuss cases, Caitlyn discuss Google Earth, etc…
Nasty (Friday): No problem
Nasty (Sunday, 10 am): Here’s a copy of the agenda [with attached agenda]
Nasty (Sunday, 4:50 pm): I taught Caitlyn how to do everything with GoogleEarth. She’s been prepped for the presentation.
Amazing Coworker understood what was going on immediately: Nasty Coworker had set me up. She’d lied about not having the agenda ready, knowing that I’d only have an hour Monday morning to look at it. She also lied to my Boss about having taught me everything, and she lied to me about not having to do anything with it. She set me up to bomb in the biggest meeting I’ve had with this company to date. On top of that, she was asked to update the majority of the information on our slide show and she didn’t.
Despite all of this, Amazing Coworker and I pulled the strings together perfectly. We performed nearly flawlessly, even answering perfectly when the big boss interrupted us to quiz us on random numbers.
Even still I wasn’t going to say anything; I don’t like to stress our boss out with drama that isn’t case related. But our boss came over after Amazing Coworker had left for the day and said, “So…did you just forget how to use the program this morning or were you just flustered before the meeting? Because Nasty Coworker said that she taught you everything yesterday.”
In a carefully-worded and polite response, I told him that she hadn’t, that I saw the email she sent him and that she had lied to him. That she had told me I wouldn’t be using it even after the agenda had been created. I saw the moment it clicked in his brain when the muscles alongside his jaw shifted. When I asked if it would be best for me to sit down with her and talk about this, he responded that he would be the one talking to her.
So I guess it’s out of my hands for now. I’ve got a few days free before she returns to work and I fully plan on focusing on work until I have to deal with that. Other than that, I’m not so sure on how to proceed. Have you guys ever had a coworker like this? What’d you do?