Work Anxiety: The worst kind of Co-Worker and how to deal with them

Most of us have to work. We do so to make money so we can survive and do the things we love. Now if you have been working, even for a week, you know you run into all kinds of people. It’s not just customers, it’s the people you work with and believe me there are some real idiots out there. A prevalent problem for many is problem coworkers. Even worse are the problem coworkers who are not dealt with by management.

The good news is we have a hot job market; it’s never been easier to get another job then it is right now. Leaving a job is no small thing though, particularly if you have anxiety. So what is this “worst kind of Co-Worker”? it’s the coworker who has no authority over you, but they have power. Let me explain with a few examples. You work in a dept. that produces widgets, you have been there 2 years your coworker has been there 12. You do the same thing, have the same title etc. but because of their tenure they have power, or at least they THINK they have power.

Another example is someone who has a narcissist or “strong personality” you know the type, the person who can never admit they are wrong, they never apologize. Maybe your company tolerates this person because they need bodies or your boss just sucks too. So this person isn’t necessarily in a higher position then you they just exert power because no one will put them in check. Including you, you have anxiety you don’t want conflict. These coworkers are the worst kind, they have no authority but they have power so how do you deal with them?

I work for money so I can live a good life and do the things I love.

There are a couple of ways really, but most create even more toxic situations. You can go to the boss, that may or may not be the best idea only you know if your boss is trust worthy. You can go to HR, which IMHO is always a mistake. HR departments are marketed to be for the employees but it’s actually the exact opposite. They are there to protect the company from legalities involving employees. It’s been my experience that when you go to HR you put a target on your back, don’t do this unless you are prepared for all sorts of B.S.

The last best solution? Is ignore the coworker. Now this will result in that person reacting, but again we are in a situation where this person has power but not authority. When you ignore them, you remove their power so you now put them in a position by which the only way they can enforce their power is by using authority (which they don’t have). This creates the situation where they are forced to over step, and then you have them.

Now by “having them” I mean they have created a situation where you are forced to either comply or there is a consequence. This is when you use one of the responses below:

  1. “Let’s go talk to the manager, if she says I need to do that, then I will”
  2. “I am going to do my job first, if I have time later I will do yours”
  3. “No”

Each one of these has the potential to create a serious melt down but you’ve done something remarkable here. You have changed the power dynamic; you are now the one with the power. You see the equation is simple, and human interactions are predicated on this simple equation. Someone wants something, they want you to do it, you do it because you benefit. Both people in the equation benefit, prior this person was the only one benefitting, with anyone of the response above you begin to benefit as well.

Work is work, these people aren’t your friends. They might want to be, you might consider them to be, but at the end of the day you do work to obtain a benefit (mostly wages). Don’t put up with any crap at work, particularly in this job market. YOU have the power (for now), companies need you more then you need them. Start flexing.

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