Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

1 Bump

Coworker problems still going!

Last week I asked a questions about a coworker who is completely disrespecting my space at work. Long story short, she covers my breaks (I'm a receptionist) and I often come back to my things reorganized. It's my desk - I'm the only receptionist, but she seems to have boundary issues (in that she doesn't understand them). My main frustration is that she rudely shoves my knitting projects aside (my work is very quiet) even though they're not remotely in her way. I've left her notes asking her to please not to this but nothing seems to change.

I stayed home yesterday - the weather here is absolute shit. So big surprise, I come back today to my desk completely rearranged. Now, I have a huge L-shaped desk and there's PLENTY of room here. There's probably nothing she could be doing down here that would require her to move EVERYTHING. I came in this morning and I can't FIND anything, and she's taken it upon herself to try and "help" me do my job better - putting things where she seems to think they would be better, etc. She has only been here a couple of months and, quite frankly, is a TERRIBLE receptionist when she has to cover me - I've been here six months, and I'm pretty good at my job and I definitely don't think I need any "help" from this idiot. I'm SURE she thinks she's helping by reorganizing everything... but she's not. I have everything where I know it is, the way it's been since I got her. If I thought it would be better in a different place, I'm pretty sure I have the sense to move things around myself.

I'll be honest. In this type of situation I'm pretty timid. Until recently I had a problem even telling older people that they were wrong, even if they were VERY wrong about something. This particular woman is probably in her early fifties, and I'm twenty five - most of the rest of my coworkers are older than me as well. I hate confrontation and I'd sooner bitch about something to my friends or my fiance than actually do something about it.

My fiance suggested emailing her, rather than having to stare at her stupid blank face and hope that some of my words get into her brain... but I don't know. I still don't think that talking to her at all will have any effect. Mostly everyone here agrees with me that she seems a little... lacking in the common sense department.

Some of you gave me some really good advice last week, but now this is a more specific problem... ie, touching my freaking stuff! If I decide to send her a quick email, what should I say? What would you ladies say? Or, what would you do instead?

Help! I'm losing it here!


Asked by AdensMama0308 at 11:12 AM on Dec. 4, 2013 in Money & Work

Level 24 (18,609 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • Whoa! Your Co-worker is a NUT! Tell her straight out in a nice way like I said.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 12:39 PM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • Dear So-and-So,

    While I appreciate your efforts to try and help me, I would rather that you please leave the stuff on my desk where it is. I have a system that is working for me, and while I know you mean well, when you come in and rearrange things without my knowledge or consent it confuses me. I then have to take extra time out of the work day to find where things are again, and put them back where I had them. I mean no disrespect, but I am asking you politely to please stop rearranging my desk.

    Thank you.

    Your Name Here

    As for the knitting thing, I'd just tuck the project into a bottom drawer when you go on break. Out of sight, out of mind and all that.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:22 PM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • I understand you will email her, but you might practice citing your objections out loud in front of a mirror. Once you hear the words come out of your mouth you can get comfortable with them and they may not sound as bad as you think they will. There is a polite, calm, way to address any issue. GL

    Answer by silverthreads at 2:47 PM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • I don't mean this to sound rude, but it's really pretty simple: either get over your issue with telling older people they're wrong, or accept that this is how things are going to be.

    She's not going to stop unless you bluntly, and obviously, call her out on what she's doing. If it bothers you this much, then open your mouth and tell her to knock it the hell off and quit touching your stuff. Don't sent an email, look her in the eye and tell her not to touch your stuff anymore. Otherwise, she'll just keep doing it and if you aren't willing to stand up for yourself, then you'll need to just accept that she's going to keep doing it. YOU have to be the one to put a stop to this situation.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 11:23 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • When I gave my advice last week, I had no idea you had not spoken to her. I understand this is difficult for you but you need to gently but firmly tell her that this is your desk and you have it arranged so that you can do your job to the best of your ability. Ask her to not touch any of your things and to put things she uses back where she got them.
    If you do not say something to her you can not expect that she will see anything wrong. It is not fair not to give her the chance before escalating this.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:25 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • Why not just tell her the next time she comes down to cover you 'Thanks for coming down to cover me. Oh, and hey, if you could do me a huge favor and not rearrange my stuff I would sure appreciate it. Sometimes it takes me a while to find things when I don't know where you have put them and I have things set up in a way that works for me. Thanks a bunch!' If you are feeling more giving and kind, then tell her where you are going and ask her if she wants you to pick something up for her. Kill her with kindness.

    Other than a verbal confrontation I don't really see anything different happening.  If you send her an email she can pretend she didn't get it or if things are not said in a certain manner and she takes something wrong she could use that against you.  


    Answer by QuinnMae at 2:51 PM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • I'm going to send her a quick email then. The face-to-face thing is daunting for me. So what if I just say, "Hi [most annoying person ever], I have a favor to ask you - when you are covering for me, can you please not take the opportunity to rearrange everything on my desk? I have things where I like them and I'd prefer it if you wouldn't move things around just because I am gone for a day. Thanks!"


    Also I AM getting better and going against what older people say to me - I guess I'm getting more comfortable with the fact that I'm an adult too and they're not all smarter than I am! Just confrontation (with anyone) is something I'm flat out terrified of.

    Comment by AdensMama0308 (original poster) at 11:35 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • Can't you just lock your desk? If not then say "please don't rearrange things on my desk, it makes me crazy! Thanks" & smile & walk away.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 11:36 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • It's the stuff on my desk that she rearranges. My supplies, my books, everything. I came in this morning and she'd even REDECORATED the Christmas tree I put up last week.

    Comment by AdensMama0308 (original poster) at 11:38 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

  • Do not email her, when she comes to take over for you today, say very nicely.
    Please do not arrange my desk, I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking over for me on my lunch hour, but I wouldn't go into your space and move things, so please don't do it at mine.
    How could she get to work if you couldn't? Not being rude, just asking.
    You have to grow a set and just be nice and calm, and as the last time we suggested, it might be good to talk to your supervisor IF she continues after you speak to her face to face.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 11:46 AM on Dec. 4, 2013

Next question in Money & Work
What would you do? School or Work?

Next question overall (Just for Fun)
Giggle ;) adult content