I have been in my current job for about a year now. I love the work and I meet many interesting people through my job. However, one of those interesting people is making me a bit crazy right now. I’m hoping someone out there will have a suggestion.
Our team at work is in charge of marketing for a large college. Many people in our department are spread out through several campuses so we rarely see everyone at the same time. One of the ladies I work with is across the hall from me. To simplify, I do external communication activities while she concentrates on internal. Though there is that distinction, there is a great deal of overlap in our jobs.
I was told by co-workers when I started that this woman who I’ll call Melissa has many quirks. She certainly does. While I find them interesting and sometimes annoying, I’ve tried to just go with the flow. However, she’s rude to a fault and can be quite overbearing. She interrupts people all the time, questions you to death over every single detail, and always second guesses everything I do. If I tell her it is raining, she had to go find a window to check for herself and then ask me how long has it been raining, how much, when will it quit, etc. It never occurs to her that I’ve just given her all the information I know and don’t have any more to give.
While all that is annoying, I can ignore her most of the time. We both have offices and keep the doors only slightly ajar most of the time. However, now her behavior is interfering with my job. As I said, our jobs are distinct but similar. For example, a group of our students recently placed in a national competition. My boss obviously expects me as the external person to send that information out to the press. Melissa would like to share that information internally among the staff. I worked with the instructor to craft a release and spent several hours prepping the information for release as soon as the results were announced. Melissa ignored my work and asked that he (the instructor and coach) provide her with the same information personally. The instructor was very annoyed, as he had already worked with me to get the information only to have to turn around and do it again for her, as she wanted it in a different format than the way I needed it. This poor guy was stressed. I had him lined up to do media interviews. He was giving final exams this week and had just traveled for several hours to get back from the competition.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. I am finding that people will ignore my requests for information if they have already spoken with her since they rightly assume we should be able to share information. I have asked her if we could work together to create a better way to get the information with one or the other of us taking the lead on each story, but she insists that the way things are working are just fine. However, people have come to me asking that I talk to her about the situation and complaining that they are spending too much time answering to both of us.
During a lunch with my boss and another co-worker, I brought up the subject. Trying not to complain, I just asked if she knew of a good way we could work together. She brought us both into her office this morning and brought up the subject – saying she had received some comments and questions about it but not from me. Melissa immediately went on the defensive. She couldn’t believe that anyone would complain. She claims she does communicate with me. She says that what I write for the media is too bland for her purposes…called me and my writing vanilla. She claims that what she does is more time sensitive – my stuff has to be out within an hour to two hours but her stuff waits to be published once a quarter so I don’t quite get her logic there.
I’m trying not to take things personally, though the vanilla comment hurt a lot. I even suggested that if we make a request of a staff/faculty member that we cc: each other to make sure we know what the other is working on and don’t duplicate efforts. She made the vanilla comment again and said people should just get used to getting requests from both of us.
My boss is frustrated and doesn’t know how to get through to her. I am frustrated because I feel like she’s working against me every chance she gets – telling someone today that she needed the information first because her publication needed to be proofed. I had six reporters waiting on me to get them details for stories running this weekend.
Any suggestions on an approach I can take. I feel like if I go to my boss again that it will just look like I’m complaining. I don’t want to be the one bringing problems to my boss, but honestly I’m getting more and more frustrated.