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How to Handle Smoke and Mirrors in the Workplace

Alexandra is an ambitious, self-driven, and aggressive woman who knows what she wants.

Learn how to deal with that insufferable coworker.

Learn how to deal with that insufferable coworker.

Do's and Don'ts of Handling the Over-Inflated Coworker

There is always one person in the office who nobody likes.

No matter where you seek employment, there will always be that person. Typically, this individual is of higher rank, has been there longer, and has "higher ups" wrapped. You think, "I'll be the one that gets her fired!"

You proceed to visualize yourself with a huge raise and the entire staff at your feet. At some point or another, we've all had this fantasy.

So, what do you do? More importantly, what shouldn't you do? Here is a list of things not to do when faced with an over-inflated worker.

Do Not

1. Talk About This Person Behind Her Back.

Gossip is the worst. So why does it feel so good to do it? Gossip is an empty glass. When you talk poorly or spread news that's better kept to yourself, it's a way of looking for sympathy. More so, it's a way to feel connected. You want to find the smoking gun in another coworker, hoping you will form an army ridding that person of the office. The truth is, gossip makes you look untrustworthy and immature.

2. Complain to Human Resources.

Think back to when you were in grade school. There was always that kid who ran to the teacher or guidance counselor upon every insult. Most HR departments encourage you to speak with them when an issue arises.

Just like the tattle tale kid, who nobody liked, you have now become the office snitch. Nobody should scare you into silence. Reporting bullying and harassment is not the same as complaining about an irritating worker. There are ways to make yourself heard. Running to HR is not one of those ways.

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3. Run Away to Another Job.

There is nothing wrong with finding another job. Finding another job for the wrong reasons will only further your disappointments. While sitting at your desk, thoughts run through your head of the perfect job. You think, "I'm going to find a place where everyone loves me, puts me in the best office, and pays me a six-figure salary."

No matter where you go, you will start at the bottom. You can be the most competent worker, but just like everyone else, you have dues to pay. You are already thinking, "I've been through so much; I've paid more dues in one hour than this office has in its entire life."

You think to yourself, "If people knew how terrible my commute was, they would thank me for coming and give me a raise." You hope they will see how tough your life is and fire the person you despise. None of that is going to happen. Unless you are leaving a job for the right reasons, stay put.


1. Take Refuge in the Bathroom.

Sometimes all we need is to reconnect with ourselves and realize "it will be okay." It's hard to look at the bigger picture while constantly being hounded every minute. Even if nature isn't calling, go to the bathroom, close your eyes, and just be. Take five minutes to gather your thoughts. Doing so will minimize the chance of you exploding and doing something you will regret.

2. Take Control of Your Role.

We don't have to like everyone we meet, and they don't have to like us. We forget about that last part. Yes, you heard correctly; people do not have to like you. However, being disliked and enduring disrespect are two different things. If you don't like this person because their face irritates you, or the fact they were born makes you revisit your stance on birth control, chances are you need to grow up and learn to live with it.

If this person has outwardly been nasty, it's perfectly acceptable to say, "You hurt my feelings." It's not acceptable to say, "Who do you think you are?" The former statement automatically makes them the aggressor, whereas the latter makes you the villain. By sweetly saying, "You hurt my feelings," you become the damsel in distress. While we don't like to think of ourselves as victims, in the case of the master manipulator, we need to beat them at their own game.

3. Make a Pros and Cons List.

Make a list of everything you love and hate. If the cons are filled with things only related to the much-hated worker, take a deeper look at why this person takes so much room in your mind. To your surprise, you might do some introspection and find out hidden things about yourself.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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