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update: my bombastic coworker is pushing me over the edge

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. I’ve just gone through all the updates that came in, and we have a TON. So starting today, prepare yourself for a flood of updates — multiple updates every weekday for the rest of the month, and at least one each weekend day.

Remember the letter-writer who was in a training class with an incredibly irritating coworker? Here’s the update.

Thank you very much to everyone for your advice as it really helped, and I managed not to murder Cersei.

I emailed Alison on the way home from the second day of training, and the letter wasn’t posted until the fifth day, so a few things happened before the letter was published. Training was broken into modules, and at the end of each you had to fill out an evaluation of that module, including the instructor’s handling of things. They were anonymous so in mine I put that the instructor needed to get a better handle of students going on tangents and even jokingly outright said that they needed to take control before I strangled Cersei.

The next day I came in to see the instructor for the next module, Ned, had mixed around everyone’s nameplates so we were working with new people. Low and behold, my nameplate of Sansa was right next to Cersei. I literally muttered under my breath “oh hell no,” immediately turned around, and went up to Ned. I asked him if I could not sit next to Cersei, and he agreed, switching around a few spots to make it less obvious that I requested it.

Clearly the training team had read my feedback because instantly Ned and Catelyn in their various modules were quicker to cut off and shut down Cersei. Catelyn started telling her “we’re moving on” and, “I’m going to stop you there, Cersei.” With less of a platform to speak, Cersei started to get less and less disruptive. However, just whenever I started to think “maybe Cersei isn’t so bad after all” she would almost immediately say something to me that usually involved shutting my ideas down rather rudely because clearly despite my personal experience in things, I knew nothing.

But as we progressed from product and industry knowledge into the areas of customer service and technology, she got to be less and less of an expert, and I started to be more. For customer service, Cersei deals with clients who book appointments, while I get the retail off the street aspect. She may have more years on me, but due to the higher volume of customers I work with, she and I ended up being rather neck in neck with experience and knowledge.

Then came the tech system training, and boy did the tables turn. I had been training on the system in my location for two weeks already, so I was comparatively an expert on it. I had to recuse myself from answering some of the questions Catelyn asked the class because I not only knew it, but had a notebook filled with detailed notes of every system process broken down step by step. Meanwhile, Cersei was hopeless with technology. She was always lagging behind, couldn’t figure out simple things like how to delete an item, and didn’t understand the explanations no matter how many times and ways they were explained to her.

Unfortunately, I decided to be a kind person and help Cersei a few times. This, coupled with my notebook of awesome, meant that whenever Cersei couldn’t figure something out and Catelyn stepped out of the computer lab for a second, guess what would happen? I would hear the shout of “Sansa! Sansa! Can you help me with this?”

Overall it was a trying few weeks, and a good lesson in not only dealing with difficult people but standing up for myself and giving feedback to higher level people. After seeing the Cersei criticism got results from Ned and Catelyn, I was more confident to take action again. We had a woman, Melisandre, come from HR to show us the time clock system. At the beginning of the lesson she put a chair in the middle of the computer lab and told us all to put our cell phones on it, and then checked each computer that Skype Messenger and Outlook were closed. After the lesson, and a few grumbles from my class, I went up to Catelyn and told her plainly that I didn’t like how Melisandre treated us (there were a few other issues too.) I told her that we were adults, which meant we can be trusted to put our cell phones away and that not even in my junior high drama class were they forced to be put in the middle of the room on a chair where the teacher could see them.

So thank you again to everyone for helping me get through the training sessions. I might have to see Cersei again from time to time, but thank god I’m going to be safe in Winterfell when the wildfire burns the Citadel.

Oh, and to everyone who suggested I look around at my classmates for their reactions of Cersei, you were totally right. I literally caught one person rolling their eyes.

update: my bombastic coworker is pushing me over the edge was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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