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Old 12.04.2011, 14:14
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Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Hi,

I'm hoping that some of you can shed some light as to how to deal with my extremely difficult Swiss colleague.. I'm not attributing her behavior down to her being Swiss, but perhaps some of you may have experience in how these issues are dealt with over here..

I work for a multi-national as a PA and the colleague I work with does the same job. We both manage a group of directors and run the office together. At the beginning we got along really well and she was super helpful. Then after a few months her attitude started to change and she became incredibly moody every day. I thought it was something I had done so I asked her on a few occasions and she would usually say it was nothing to do with me. She is extremely efficient at her job but an extreme control freak at the same time.. If i dont give her a response on something right away, she will ask me every 10 seconds until I do.. She has this very aggressive and bossy approach, whereas I am the complete opposite.

She constantly asks me personal questions about where am I going and what am i doing. If when i tell her its private, she still persists! I've never experienced anything like it.. She continuously interferes in my work and questions everything I am doing...Then suddenly she will perk up and be super nice to me, and go out of her way to do things for me.. But usually the next day the mood has switched and we can ignore each other for days..I have sat her down twice now to try and talk about it and she has apologized once but nothing has changed since then... I'm beginning to seriously wonder if she may be bi-polar...

It is really starting to affect me and I have started to hate coming in to work..I'm utterly miserable most days..I dont have issues with my bosses at all, just her and she is not even my boss! I am really not sure what to do anymore, except leave which I dont want to do, as it's a very good job... Any advice please?
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:28
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

I lived with a bi-polar depressive and they are very difficult. Even the better times do not cancel out the extremely bad ones. Maybe she has not been taking her Lithium lately, they always think there is nothing wrong with themselves: everyone else is horrid!

In your shoes I would E-Mail your personnel office (HR) and ask them for a meeting to discuss your personal problem with your colleague. Don't write anything more, it might be filed against you.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:36
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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I lived with a bi-polar depressive and they are very difficult. Even the better times do not cancel out the extremely bad ones. Maybe she has not been taking her Lithium lately, they always think there is nothing wrong with themselves: everyone else is horrid!

In your shoes I would E-Mail your personnel office (HR) and ask them for a meeting to discuss your personal problem with your colleague. Don't write anything more, it might be filed against you.
You're assuming she has actually been diagnosed bi-polar, maybe she is just a moody cow?
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:37
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Envy. It's not a Swiss thing, but what might be local is the fact they think they can just act upon being overloaded with envy. I had it at work, with friends too, when they felt disadvantaged against me. People compare a lot, instead of trying to get their chances higher independently. Simple scheming.

I would be quickly done with this mobbing kind of behavior.

Cut all unnecessary communication to work related stuff only. Be civil and impersonal. Have a word with your supervisor, I would report a colleague who's ill work performance is influencing mine asap, just be smart about wording it, nothing too negative, more asking questions. Before you do that, tell her that you have noticed her having difficulties at work. Ask he if there is anything you can do, workwise, to help her adjust. Keep a journal of all of the strange stuff that is happening. She might think that her being a bully will push you out. You might be outperforming her, and you have no idea what she says behind your back.

To have somebody bark at me wouldn't go anywhere. I would be polite, but not feel the urge to immediately answer her. Why? If she insists, ask her again, what problems she has, show a big concern and suggest an HR worker to help her. Passive aggressive is still aggressive. Why should you dislike coming to work, just because you let somebody bully you. Just show her you aren't afraid.

Good luck. Been there. Put a smile on you every single second. You are not falling apart. It is obviously not you. Enjoy your work again. And, sign up for some in house training, get even more advantage over her.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:44
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Thanks MusicChick. There is a lot of truth is what you have said.. In the beginning I needed her help and I think she enjoyed the dependency. I am really trying to keep relations purely work related and civil. Its difficult though, when she gets in one of her 'nice moods' to do that..

I really feel intimidated which im sure she can sense.. It's not n my nature to be aggressive, but ive had to be one of two occasions otherwise she would eat me alive...Life is just too short to be miserable everyday over someone else's behavior..

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Envy. It's not a Swiss thing, but what might be local is the fact they think they can just act upon being overloaded with envy. I had it at work, with friends too, when they felt disadvantaged against me. People compare a lot, instead of trying to get their chances higher independently. Simple scheming.

I would be quickly done with this mobbing kind of behavior.

Cut all unnecessary communication to work related stuff only. Be civil and impersonal. Have a word with your supervisor, I would report a colleague who's ill work performance is influencing mine asap, just be smart about wording it, nothing too negative, more asking questions. Before you do that, tell her that you have noticed her having difficulties at work. Ask he if there is anything you can do, workwise, to help her adjust. Keep a journal of all of the strange stuff that is happening. She might think that her being a bully will push you out. You might be outperforming her, and you have no idea what she says behind your back.

To have somebody bark at me wouldn't go anywhere. I would be polite, but not feel the urge to immediately answer her. Why? If she insist, ask her again, what problems she has, show a big concern and suggest an HR worker to help her. Passive aggressive is still aggressive. Why should you dislike coming from work, just because you let somebody bully you. Just show her you aren't afraid.

Good luck. Been there. Put a smile on you every single second. You are not falling apart. It is obviously not you. Enjoy your work again. And, sign up for some in house training, get even more advantage over her.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:49
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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Thanks MusicChick. There is a lot of truth is what you have said.. In the beginning I needed her help and I think she enjoyed the dependency. I am really trying to keep relations purely work related and civil. Its difficult though, when she gets in one of her 'nice moods' to do that..

I really feel intimidated which im sure she can sense.. It's not n my nature to be aggressive, but ive had to be one of two occasions otherwise she would eat me alive...Life is just too short to be miserable everyday over someone else's behavior..
You know, that happens all the time, all over the place, in any country. That's adult life. When you learn how to not get it phase you, you will not exactly turn into somebody who enjoys this kind of challenge, since there are many more fun things than this lame one, but, it will not shock you anymore, nor make your work unpalatable. That's just human nature. If it helps, you could find something she is really good at, and praise her, schedule a lunch together, etc. Some chicks get this way when they have a boy trouble, maybe she has no friends. I have noticed how much my colleagues care for formalities, ie - compliments on their clothes, food they bring to work, haircuts, positive comments if they did something right, etc. Something we don't care about back home, but if you ignore small talk here, people get really offended.

I think it was Kafka, who said one should never be a prisoner of somebody else's neurosis.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:49
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

I once had a new boss like that. He would be the most difficult person in the morning and nice in the afternoon ( but not always). I finally understood the pattern. He was taking whatever medication he was on at lunch time. It lasted for months. It had gotten to the point I was ready to quit. Finally, one day I walked into his office and closed the door ( I really didn't care anymore) and we had it out (verbally).

It got a little better but not much. A couple of months later I was promoted and a few weeks later he got fired. That day, his boss (fairly senior) was walking around the office and stopped by my desk and asked " what are you smiling about?".

Patience.
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Old 12.04.2011, 14:51
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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Hi,
Any advice please?
Start calling her 'Mom'.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:29
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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Hi,

I'm hoping that some of you can shed some light as to how to deal with my extremely difficult Swiss colleague.. I'm not attributing her behavior down to her being Swiss, but perhaps some of you may have experience in how these issues are dealt with over here..

I work for a multi-national as a PA and the colleague I work with does the same job. We both manage a group of directors and run the office together. At the beginning we got along really well and she was super helpful. Then after a few months her attitude started to change and she became incredibly moody every day. I thought it was something I had done so I asked her on a few occasions and she would usually say it was nothing to do with me. She is extremely efficient at her job but an extreme control freak at the same time.. If i dont give her a response on something right away, she will ask me every 10 seconds until I do.. She has this very aggressive and bossy approach, whereas I am the complete opposite.

She constantly asks me personal questions about where am I going and what am i doing. If when i tell her its private, she still persists! I've never experienced anything like it.. She continuously interferes in my work and questions everything I am doing...Then suddenly she will perk up and be super nice to me, and go out of her way to do things for me.. But usually the next day the mood has switched and we can ignore each other for days..I have sat her down twice now to try and talk about it and she has apologized once but nothing has changed since then... I'm beginning to seriously wonder if she may be bi-polar...

It is really starting to affect me and I have started to hate coming in to work..I'm utterly miserable most days..I dont have issues with my bosses at all, just her and she is not even my boss! I am really not sure what to do anymore, except leave which I dont want to do, as it's a very good job... Any advice please?
Accidently trip her up at the top of a long flight of stairs.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:40
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

And what if it was her job to drive you crazy until you quit, at no cost for the company? Just asking.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:49
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

I know I made a stupid comment & its obvious I wouldn't advise that but...she is getting you down...get nasty...you have nothing to lose because she is going to make you ill anyway and that will never look good.

At least you don't have to put up with that behaviour at home (some men marry women like that) who are fantastic actors and seem great in the beginning.

Don't take it anymore, or you could give it time (I have no patience for it myself) and you could actually get used to someone like that as there are plenty here and though I generally like the Swiss, it is only here I have witnessed such dreadful behaviour from a woman. Fact.
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Old 12.04.2011, 15:56
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Thanks for your response...Am already taking a firmer stance as we speak.. I was just questioned about my kontrolltestfahrt tommorrow and how long it will be, why, why, etc... I told her that it has been cleared with my boss and should she have questions please refer to him... She has been quiet since...

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I know I made a stupid comment & its obvious I wouldn't advise that but...she is getting you down...get nasty...you have nothing to lose because she is going to make you ill anyway and that will never look good.

At least you don't have to put up with that behaviour at home (some men marry women like that) who are fantastic actors and seem great in the beginning.

Don't take it anymore, or you could give it time (I have no patience for it myself) and you could actually get used to someone like that as there are plenty here and though I generally like the Swiss, it is only here I have witnessed such dreadful behaviour from a woman. Fact.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:04
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

It might be an idea to have formal word with personnel. If she is difficult and devious she may well take it into her head to complain about you. If you have a formal word with HR, (and make it a rational and detailed complaint with actual instances and if possible dates of behaviour) you are already on record as having had "mobbing" behaviour used against you and it makes it difficult for her to make your life a misery.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:15
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Thanks. I have thought about her running off to HR before i get a chance to, in which i case i wouldnt be able to get my side of the story across in the right way.. It does help a bit that she has also gotten up the noses of other employees by being so persistent and hounding people, including the HR manager, so I may just have a leg to stand on...

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It might be an idea to have formal word with personnel. If she is difficult and devious she may well take it into her head to complain about you. If you have a formal word with HR, (and make it a rational and detailed complaint with actual instances and if possible dates of behaviour) you are already on record as having had "mobbing" behaviour used against you and it makes it difficult for her to make your life a misery.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:28
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

Just take the mick out of her. Smile inanely when she has a go at you. Go hmm-hmm while staring out of the window when she insists on bossing you about. Give ridiculous answers when she insists on asking you questions about your private life.

Miserable sods cannot stand having the micturition ripped out of them, as they expect people to respond sensibly to their bad manners and mood swings. Act like a clown (while making sure you continue to do your work in an efficient and professional manner, of course) in response and you will maintain the upper hand.

How do you think I cope with working with people from Schwyz?
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:31
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

She sounds bortherline to me, stay away!
Bipolars go on the same mood for days/weeks but bortherlines change very fast. I had a bortherline friend, I should emphazise HAD! I could not tolerate her anymore so just disappeared and she knew she was bortherline!
I would just try to ignore her and be firm when you give her your answers and most of all do not try to be her friend, they are attention seekers, do not give into that!
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:33
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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How do you think I cope with working with people from Schwyz?
Erm....you moved to Glarus to forever cure their envy?
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:35
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

OK this is an opportunity to give the most wild answers to the where are you going question...

My starter for 10.

"I am off to the Serengati to watch the graceful and spectactular migration of wildebeeste"

"I am off to IT to watch the graceful and majestic migration of data" works well to wind up IT collegues
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:36
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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Freche Kerl.
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Old 12.04.2011, 16:43
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Re: Help! My Swiss colleague is driving me mad!

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OK this is an opportunity to give the most wild answers to the where are you going question...

My starter for 10.

"I am off to the Serengati to watch the graceful and spectactular migration of wildebeeste"

"I am off to IT to watch the graceful and majestic migration of data" works well to wind up IT collegues
Oh, I love this. In fact, the best strategy for somebody nosy has been retorting with the most unrelated question. Usually they get the point, or at least they feel like the ball is on their court.

Have you filed that complaint?
Oh god, I love Gruyere, what's your fav cheese?
When did you file it?
Blue cheese isn't that bad, either. Do you gain weight after that, though?
Who did you send it?
Does your breath smell bad, after some cheese? What Swiss mouth wash is good? Migro's sucks.
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