Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just your friendly office psychopath...

About five years ago I was friends with a charming colleague. She was bright and bubbly, about 15 years older than me, and generally good fun. We were close. She was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant.

Things began to sour when I became her supervisor. She made snarky comments, became belligerent in team meetings, deliberately ignored my instruction. But things really went downhill when her sister's best school friend became our Big Boss.

In a matter of weeks it became obvious my name was dirt with 'Management'. It turns out my 'friend' had been telling the boss all sorts of lies about me...that I was discussing confidential information with people I shouldn't have; that I was bitching about co-workers...five years of bloody good work was overturned with a few falsehoods.

But the absolute doozy was one to do with me taking medical leave. I had to take two weeks off to have an operation and recover...she told the boss it was completely elective and I was only having it because insurance would cover it. Did I mention the operation was to remove A TUMOUR FROM MY THROAT? Oh yes, a tumour that was leaching calcium from my bones...completely unnecessary.

Then the Big Boss left and she no longer had any power...but the toxicity continued. Things eventually came to a head when I tentatively confronted her after she made a (male) colleague cry. She ranted at me for an hour, called me a liar and fat (wow, what a cutting insult), and threatened to charge me with harassment. I was gobsmacked. It was only much later I found out she'd been bitching behind my back for a long, long time.

Eventually, she left the organisation and I continued on...but, to this day, I remain sad and confused about that whole situation. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why I went from friend to foe.

For my peace of mind, I have to put her squarely in the "office psychopath" box...I think everyone has one. Want to share your tale? Go on, it'll make you feel better...

13 comments:

Moi said...

Good gosh! You DID manage to make her "green with envy" and what a person!

My maternal instinct when I read that, was to say "If only I'd known" but what could I have done?

To even let her into your thoughts is a waste with that type of person!

stepforddreams said...

Sheesh that is FERAL. I have one, when I was completing the last of my studies I worked at a big ugly multi-national co as a part-time PA. It was a great job because it allowed me to do my homework while I was "working" i.e sitting at a desk answering the odd call. Anyway one of my classmates was a summer intern at the firm. She took great pride in introducing me to associates at our work Christmas party as HER ASSISTANT. She made the butt of her lame jokes all night and was an incredible bully. Until it came time to pick which interns would be hired as permanent employees because by then I'd told all the other PAs. One of them was "friendly" with the big boss *shudder* and told him was a pratt this intern was for poking fun at me and he decided she was never to work there again.
I felt kinda bad since I knew it was her life long dream to work for this particular institution. Then again she was a bully and a cow so I guess I had the last laugh.

Bells said...

holy crap what a nightmare! To think she was so nice to start with.

I've had a few really troublesome office psychos. Do I start with the branch manager who played office favourites with all the young, pub going types? Or manipulative, lying middle aged woman who defied belief? I could go on....

Bethwyn said...

She sounds like a nutjob and unstable. Glad she's moved on!

I haven't had an office psycho, but I recently dumped a long term friend after she went a bit nuts. It had always been an emotionally draining friendship and after she snapped I just couldn't deal with it anymore and told her to stop contacting me. Of course she had "no idea" why I would do such a thing, never the perp and always the victim, etc. But I feel like my life has gotten much easier since we parted ways. Nobody needs toxic relationships.

numberchic said...

oh yes, I've had a few.

An older lady who was a good friend but changed when I became her boss and then bitched and gossipped behind my back with all the employees and turned them all against me.

A PA who was in love with the boss's son and spent hours crying on my shoulder about him (he'd never leave his wife etc) and then she left because it was too painful to work with him and told the boss the reason she was leaving was because she couldn't work for me. In the meantime she had lied to the boss's daughter about me so his wife then also hated me. She was a nasty piece of work.

A receptionist who was rude to all my clients and refused to speak to me and made my life a living hell but the boss's were too weak to deal with her and told me I was the one with the problem. Excuse me?

An older lady in the midst of "the change" and a divorce, reported me to the discrimination board (or whatever it is for unfair dismissal) because she said I was a workplace bully as I'd confronted her as to why she would continuously leave a security door open and also confronted her for nicking off work early every day.

Hence why I changed jobs and am no longer in a management position - I don't want to deal with employee crap!

Market Girl said...

Oh there is a can of worms to open. How about that common thread... the older woman. We all know one of those!

Time for a BEX :)

Iris said...

Wow, feral is right! How awful.

I once worked in retail and my boss there was a bit of a perv. I was warned that he liked to touch female employees' hair, and although he never got near mine he used to call the shop and chat...from his bed. Blechhhh...

sparsely kate said...

Oh gosh, this is why I probably wouldn't last in a professional work environment. I'd have stabbed her eyes out with a biro in a fit of emotional rage.

I have had one truly revolting experience at work with a woman called Rhonda was assistant manager at a budget supermarket store in Canberra. God she was feral - and she went out of her way to humiliate and 'teach a lesson' to me in front of customers and other staff. When she broke me down enough that I started crying, she acted disgusted and sent me to the bathrooms to clean myself up. She then followed me in there!! and was ranting and saying, "Do you think I'm unprofessional? Do you think I was wrong to do that to you?"
I was intimidated and dreadfully embarrassed. Took me years later to realise that she was just such a sad and pathetic woman, her one bit of power in life was berating 18 year old girls.

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I used to work for Qantas. In big companies particularly,there are office psychos,and ferals. One of the reasons, I took early retirement. Not worth the hassle. From fender4eva :-D

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

It's like my husband always says... You can't make sense out of nonsense.
She's a stupid bitch-- I hope that makes you feel a little better-- it made me feel better for sure.

Barb Fisher said...

Ooh geez, I worked in HR for a long time and hence, have seen some corkers. Have decided the world is full of kooks! Decision to leave HR was the best ever.

From my own personal experience, there was my employee who did excessive amounts of (paid) overtime to avoid spending time at home with her controlling husband. When I stopped approving quite so much (she really didn't have the workload) she went off on stress leave and called it a personal attack on her. Long story and eventually the truth came out when she tried to commit suicide. However she eventually still blamed it on work, and as a result I had to go and sit in on her psychiatrist's meetings with her and establish a return to work plan. Very. Messy.

Then there was my colleague in London, caught out by camera's having a shag with an options trader on the trading room floor....

Or my fiery red headed American boss who accused me of running over a piece of our signage in the carpark and told me she was going to get forensics to match the tyre-marks! And what?? Put me in jail? I nearly died laughing. (PS. I didn't have anything to do with it!)

This is just a few from a very wide reportoire. And don't even get me started on the 'friend' who turned psycho! That's a whole othe story.....

Jesmi said...

I have had one truly revolting experience at work with a woman called Rhonda was assistant manager at a budget supermarket store in Canberra. God she was feral - and she went out of her way to humiliate and 'teach a lesson' to me in front of customers and other staff.
Who is the psychopath? Boss, coworker, supervisor,etc.? What quality is being destroyed? What is your position in this environment? What kind of protection do you need to stand up for what you believe in? I need more info to be able to give any kind of reasonable answer. Blessings on you.

Mazz said...

Ha i love that cartoon, brilliant!