I am having a very anxious Saturday. I’d forgotten how difficult anxiety is to deal with. I’m not really sure what has set it off this time, but some things have been going wrong, or at least in disturbing directions, so I’ll list this out.
First, my darned AC has broken entirely. My place is hot, the summer is a hot one, and being too hot does set off an automatic anxiety response. Today I tried phoning for repair people but no one seems to repair small portables. I am going to try again Monday with some places listed on the manufacturer site.
I had a therapy session Thursday evening that I didn’t get a chance to digest, as I had to go to bed pretty much instantly on getting home, then worked the next day. So maybe it’s a hangover.
Then I’ve had issues with a co-worker. This has really disturbed me. We’ve been working together for four weeks, the only two on the project. I’ve been with this employer for five weeks now.
He’s an odd duck. He is quite extroverted and chatty, in a way. So I was drawn in at first. The work gets boring, and it’s fun to chat at times. I did notice he was extremely critical of many many people. In fact, pretty much the first thing he said to me was critical of what I was doing – I was struggling with a new timesheet and had asked my boss for help. The co-worker, C, said that we should not be asking for a lot of help, we were there to provide solutions. To which I replied that I did not have a solution to a timesheet that had locked me out – I needed someone to fix it. However, we were good buddies for a few weeks, having lunch together and such.
I did notice that he never discussed the project, despite some attempts by me to do so. As no one is really managing this project, that meant we were going off in different directions. He seemed to feel that he was going to save the project, making his own decisions on everything, and not letting anyone in on what he was doing. He didn’t want to submit any work for three weeks, when he was going to deliver a large number of documents all at once. One time, I did discuss an issue with him, and had thought we’d agreed on a way forward. A week later, I mentioned it to him again, and he said he’d never agreed to anything. So, he lies. I felt foolish and somehow at fault, but went off and made my own plan without him. He really wanted to work on his own.
Well, it didn’t go as he’d hoped. He wasn’t able to deliver the great number of documents, and he got some feedback that he didn’t like on one he did submit.
So he quit. He stopped talking to me entirely the day before and the day he quit, and I had little idea what was going on. I was just confused.
We’re also both having issues with the agency that placed us, as they still haven’t paid either of us, after many weeks on the job. So C was completely outraged at this situation. And yes, it’s a difficult situation.
C actually wrote a paper he called a ‘project evaluation’ and sent it to the boss and the agency. In it he listed all his complaints – no team lead (I’m assuming he meant he should have been team lead), no project management, no access to systems being documented, no working from home or overtime so he could meet his (self-imposed) timelines. Then the complaints about the agency, the time sheets and the lack of prompt payment.
The odd thing for me was that he didn’t send this before he quit. He quit first, then sent his ‘evaluation’ after that.
Meantime, we’d been ‘best buddies’ except for the working together part. So I did feel the loss when he stopped talking to me. However, I was also a bit relieved to have a rest from the criticisms of the project and the agency.
He started thawing the following week, and by Thursday, we had lunch together again, and he told me he’d actually quit, and written this ‘evaluation’. I’d had no idea.
Oddly, my boss at work didn’t hint or say anything whatsoever about C quitting. So I was in the dark.
So then last week, mid-week, we were pals again. And Friday it seemed to fall apart again. C was so very angry at the agency, as they had not paid us as they had promised. Then he was angry at the project, and at lunchtime angry with the gardening person who was driving a mower right where we were trying to eat, and angry at the construction that is happening on the street outside.
Earlier, I’d been trying to work with a title page which is an image, and C was trying to explain how to do a particular thing with it. He loves to instruct. Then he got impatient and told me to look a thing up in the Help. Fine. I couldn’t actually find it in the help, and in any case, was only doing this because he’d suggested it. He was quite short and sharp with me, clearly pissed off, and withdrew.
By lunchtime he’d recovered, and we had lunch together. Where he was angry at everyone else, possibly excluding myself, or possibly not. Then sometime after lunch, he asked me in this angry way if I’d emailed the agency finally to ask for an explanation of why I hadn’t been paid. I didn’t feel like doing that just then, and didn’t see why it was his business. I said no, I didn’t want to deal with it at the moment. At which point he stomped off for a ‘walk’, and never said a word to me the rest of the day. Including leaving without saying goodbye.
This kind of behaviour has probably triggered the anxiety. First of all this male rage, which to me is out of proportion to what’s spoken of as the cause. Then the impatience with me by someone who I thought was my buddy. The scorn about this project, where I am doing better than he is, yet he seems to believe he has the superior approach. The sudden withdrawals which seem to be designed to punish.
I’d thought that now that he’d quit, and he was talking to me again, we would be OK until his two weeks were up. Apparently not.
What business is it of his whether I email the agency about my pay or not? Surely that is my own responsibility, and has little to do with him?
Then his scorn at lunch about ‘people who are always asking for help’. I pointed out that I’d just asked him about something that morning, and he was silent in response. I get the feeling that he is angry with everyone – no one is living up to his high standards.
The fact is that he hasn’t ever tried to work anything out. He simply barrelled ahead with his own plan. When that didn’t have the desired effect of everyone falling down in amazed awe at his skill, he quit. No discussion about the project whatsoever.
I was a bit worried they would cancel the project with this set-back, as there are only the two of us on it, and it’s going more slowly than they had thought anyway. However, when I think about it, the project is a result of an audit finding, so they actually can’t just shut it down. But 50% of the project staff quitting is a set-back for sure. The environment is not very open, so nothing is openly discussed unfortunately. I actually wouldn’t speak to my manager from one week to the next unless I knock on his door. I make sure to knock on his door once a week at least, so he remembers what I look like.
Presumably when I go back Monday I’ll again be ‘treated’ to the silent treatment. I don’t think I’ll be work buddies with this guy anymore, even just for another week. I don’t need this kind of drama in my life. Fine, if he wants to quit, maybe that’s what he needs to do. I don’t want to be involved. I don’t appreciate the periodic silent treatment. I’m going to be polite next week, but I won’t chat with him anymore. I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t played politics in any way, and it’s not OK.