Dear Getting a Grip: She’s trying to get me fired. I know she is. Every single mistake I make, every oversight, every task that I didn’t think to do that way, but did this way, she points out to our boss. It’s incredible! My co-workers say they notice it, too. Why does she have it in for me?
Dear Points Out: Any criticism in public, whether from a co-worker or boss, stings. That said, let’s see if we can get to the essence of this by starting with the reality of the situation. Could your co-worker actually get you fired? Does she have that power over your boss or over the company’s hiring and firing decisions?
And what’s the truth of her concerns? Are you making mistakes, missing details, doing tasks in ways that aren’t in accord with the company’s work flow? Is this co-worker simply the one who’s willing to speak out? If she weren’t there, might another co-worker be able to point out the same problems?
I ask because most people are quite focused on their own jobs, their own careers, and their own lives. They might care on some level whether or not someone gets fired, but the time and thought required to “get” someone fired costs time and thought they would rather spend on pursuing their own goals.
Getting a Grip: Conflicts with co-workers are almost always best handled through a company’s mediation or conflict resolution process. Speak matter-of-factly with your H.R. manager or with your boss. Meetings will probably be called and, from there, concerns can be aired and, ideally, resolved.
Like that idea? Then proceed. In a well-run company, your good work will speak for itself. If you don’t like that idea, and envisioning a candid discussion about the quality of your work - whether solo with your boss or in a meeting with your co-worker - breaks you out in a cold sweat, she’s not trying to get you fired. You are. You need to ask yourself why.
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Getting a Grip, a workplace advice column, is written by Anne Giles Clelland. Getting a Grip regrets that not all questions can be answered, personal replies are not possible, and questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.