A new co-worker named Steph joined an individual’s department at work. The individual was paired up with the woman to help her adjust and become familiar with the work, but this came with an unexpected challenge.
Agreeing to Help
Steve, the workplace manager, had asked the individual to mentor Steph. The manager had noticed that she had been struggling, and the individual was happy to help.
Becoming Steph’s Go-to Helper
The individual helped Steph adjust to her new job, and she found this help valuable. However, time passed and Steph continued to rely on the individual’s guidance, even though she had received substantial training.
Steph’s Reporting Habits
The individual had noticed that Steph had a peculiar habit of reporting her co-workers to Steve for minor problems. The individual explained: “This ranged from reporting co-workers who were discussing the election during working hours, to a co-worker receiving a call from her son while at her desk. We’re not very uptight about these kinds of things”.
Identifying the Source of the Reports
While Steve never explicitly identified Steph as the one making these reports, it became an open secret among the team, which started to irritate them. These reported incidents led to meetings that consumed their free time, causing resentment among the workers.
Reporting Steve Himself
This situation became more serious when Steph’s reporting habit extended to reporting Steve, who was also her manager. This, unsurprisingly, annoyed him as well.
Steph’s Quest for Friendship
Steph soon realized that she was not making friends in her new workplace, enquiring to the individual why they thought this was. “I responded that she was a little quick to report stuff”, the individual wrote. “I explained that while I didn’t want to discourage her from reporting things, reporting minor things could put the others off a bit.”
Miscommunication and Clarification
A misunderstanding ensued when someone reported to Steve that the individual had told them not to report anything ever. The individual instantly knew this was Steph’s doing, and clarified what had transpired.
Thankfully, Steve understood the individual’s explanation, and the matter was resolved. However, the individual was worried this problem would escalate and therefore asked Steve if they had to continue helping Steph. Steve explained that the individual should simply use their best judgment.
In light of Steve’s advice, the individual decided to withdraw their assistance from Steph. When she asked for help, they claimed to be busy, which Steph clearly noticed.
Confrontation After Work
After work one day, Steph confronted the individual, questioning why they had stopped helping her. The individual explained that they had their own workload to manage, which caused Steph to become frustrated. She suggested that the individual’s actions were affecting her productivity and that they owed it to the team and the department to act professionally.
Doubts and Self-Reflection
The individual reflected on Steph’s response to their decision. They believed that they had made the right move to step back, as Steph was beginning to interfere with their work life. However, they also feared that they would be held responsible for preventing Steph from completing her work.
Asking Their Community
The individual was a member of an online community and shared their story with its members. They were grateful to receive unified support from their online pals. “She doesn’t sound very bright”, commented one member. “If you keep biting the hand that feeds you, you’re going to starve. Let her starve. She won’t last very long.”
Some Helpful Advice
Many readers gave the individual some friendly advice to help resolve the issue. One person had the following suggestion: ‘Try out the phrase “If you can’t cope with your workload, our supervisor needs to know about it so they can reassign work accordingly. Please discuss it with them.”’
Don’t Be a Snitch
Other readers focussed on Steph’s dissatisfaction with her ability to befriend her new co-workers. ‘To work in an office, you need to play the game, and “don’t report others constantly” is a rule you learn when you’re in kindergarten’, stated one person. “Maybe Steph should have thought of that before she became the office snitch.”
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