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I have a work problem. I normally get along with all my co-workers, supervisors and staff. I work as an administrative assistant in a small firm and about 7 months ago our firm hired “Karen”. Karen’s desk is right next to mine in the adjoining cubicle, and I really dislike Karen. She is chatty, obnoxious, argumentative, and a “know-it-all”; and frankly, she rubs me the wrong way. I have been at this firm for over six years with a decent salary and good benefits. I don’t want to have to change jobs over this single person, but I just loathe going to work every day now since they hired Karen … Until Karen, I used to like my job. I have talked twice with my office manager, Julie, who says that they like Karen’s work performance, and there isn’t much they can do.
Dear In Cubicle Hell:
Well, since this is a small firm, it doesn’t really sound like the firm, or your office manager, is going to do much to move Karen away from you. If there is any type of a transfer you can make to a different department in your office, I would tell your office manager you are interested in the next available position and be clear the reasons why. In the interim, I would be friendly with Karen, but don’t “egg her on”. Don’t let her get under your skin. She may just be trying to dig in and take cheap shots at you because she sees it as a sport. If you have to talk to her, just keep the conversation short and to the point. If she starts gabbing uncontrollably, tell her “I really have to get back to work now. They (whatever your company is) don’t really like us talking excessively while we are supposed to be working.”
Unfortunately, you may have to do the best you can and try to make the best of a bad situation. Do not let “Karen” ruin your life – because you certainly don’t deserve it. Hopefully, if nothing changes, maybe Karen will find a position somewhere else. In the meantime, keep reinforcing to your supervisor and/or office staff you would like to be moved out of your department (or away from her) the next available opportunity.
Last, if you are truly miserable, you might consider checking the job market to see if there are other firms you may be interested in working at. Life is too short to be miserable every day. If the situation doesn’t improve, a change of scenery to another employer may be just what the doctor ordered. Before taking this route, however, consider letting your supervisor and office manager know why you are thinking about a career transition; they may not have realized you were serious until this point.
Thank you for stopping in today and I would love to hear from you! I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: email@example.com I would love to hear from you!
Until next time~