A 26-year-old woman embarked on her first job after graduating with her postgraduate master’s degree. Things went downhill when her mentor grew snappy with her and left work early to avoid her. Here is what she had to say:
In her department, the woman encountered a 27-year-old colleague named Thea, who had joined the company two months prior. Thea was known for her impressive efficiency and speed in handling complex tasks.
The woman observed Thea consistently being assigned intricate projects, despite her relatively short time spent at the company. Eager to learn from Thea, the woman expressed her interest in joining the projects Thea was involved in.
Initially, Thea seemed receptive to the idea, which encouraged the woman to pursue this opportunity further.
Struggles With Deadlines
Working alongside Thea, the woman quickly realized that her colleague had a strict adherence to deadlines. It was a significant departure from her previous experiences, where deadlines were more flexible. This shift presented a challenge, and when the woman occasionally fell short of these stringent timelines, Thea’s response was straightforward: “Be faster next time.”
The Whiteboard Enigma
One day, the woman noticed a sizable whiteboard at Thea’s desk, meticulously detailing her meetings and tasks for the entire month. Impressed by the organizational display, she inquired about the meaning behind the tasks listed. Her inquiry, however, triggered an unexpected reaction from Thea.
A Sudden Outburst
Thea reacted with irritation, snapping at the woman with the words, “Not everything with my name needs you involved.” This abrupt hostility caught the woman off guard, but she chalked it up to a possible bad day for Thea. She decided to let it slide, believing it to be a temporary issue.
Unfortunately, the situation didn’t improve. Thea’s behavior took a turn for the worse. She became distant, offering less assistance, imposing even tighter deadlines, and actively avoiding the woman by leaving work early.
The woman found herself in an increasingly hostile work environment, which was adversely affecting her productivity and morale. She felt compelled to take action and report Thea’s behavior.
Turning to HR
Collecting evidence of the ongoing issues, the woman submitted her report to the Human Resources department. HR promised to address the matter and subsequently held a discussion with Thea.
However, the outcome of the HR intervention was not what the woman expected. “The talk didn’t seem to go well because now our boss has told me to just stay out of her way, and removed me from all projects that involve her”, the woman explained.
A Conflict of Consequences
Fearing that she had ruined a good workplace opportunity, the woman was torn between preserving her workplace relationships and standing up for herself. the results of her actions left her questioning whether it was worth the damage caused.
Curious to see what others thought, the woman posted her story on an online forum. However, she may not have done this if she realized how much hate she would receive. “You poked your nose into her business, slowed her down, kept poking around so much she started leaving early to avoid you, and you narced on her to HR,’ jeered one reader.
Most readers thought the woman was the problem here, not her colleague. “You created a hostile work environment by repeatedly sticking your nose in her business”, accused another commenter. “She’s there to do her job, not teach you. Helping colleagues is important, but you were being excessively intrusive; no wonder she’s distancing herself from you.”
Showing Her How it’s Done
One forum user commented their view on how they think the woman should have handled the situation. They wrote: ‘’Mentoring does affect productivity when your mentee is so needy. You want to learn from her, but can’t keep up with her deadlines, so you ask to be a part of even more of her work. You’re just dragging her down and that becomes very frustrating very quickly.”
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