How to Deal with an Officemate Out to Sabotage You September 12, 2008Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
Tags: how to face an officemate who will sabotage you, how to handle a sabotaging officemate, how to handle saboteurs in the office, office saboteurs
If you have been the unlucky recipient of someone’s bad vibes, brace yourself. Depending on how bad that person has it in for you, you might have to rely on your common sense and survival skills just to shield yourself from an attack. Here are ways you can deal with an officemate who has made it his life’s purpose to sabotage you:
Know thy enemy.
You’ll never be able to win against a sabotaging officemate if you don’t know who they are, what their role is in your department and your company, who their cohorts are and why they are working against you.
Find out why they are making you the target of their attacks. Was it something you said or did? Or is your presence the indirect cause of what they perceive to be as their problem? If, for example, you got the promotion and Bob did not, the reason why he’s trying to sabotage you should be clear to you by now.
Know what your sabotaging officemate’s motives are and you’ll understand why you are being attacked. The motives behind the unsavory acts or remarks will also help you design the right counter-measures, should it become necessary.
Learn who to trust.
Most saboteurs don’t work alone. They could have spies working for them, gathering information from you without your knowledge. If someone is out to get you, be careful about how you do your job or interact with your officemates, bosses or clients.
Keep your private stuff guarded.
One of the easiest ways to find your weaknesses is to sniff around your desk. Keep important documents, reports, presentations, modules, notes, even scribbles and doodles from prying eyes and itchy hands. Keep them with you or hide them under lock and key.
Use passwords to keep important files where they’re supposed to be. If your computer is shared over a network, check which folders are open to others and whether or not they are critical to your job.
When sending files through e-mail, be careful about attachments. You might also want to delete logged messages on your Sent Mail folder to make sure it’s clear. And yes, never share passwords with anybody, especially officemates you think may be sabotaging you.
Keep your big mouth shut.
A very common way an officemate can sabotage you is by using your own words to work against your favor. A saboteur can turn a flippant remark or a harmless joke into an issue strong enough to be used against you. Be careful about making comments regarding a company policy, a project, a task, a boss, a client or a fellow officemate.
Should you confront the saboteur?
That depends, although I do advocate pulling the weed off the soil as soon as it peeks out of the dirt. Just make sure that when and if you do approach your sabotaging officemate about the issue, you have sufficient proof and support. If the reason is flimsy, you’ll seem paranoid and over-reacting.
If you do confront them, do so privately and in a firm, businesslike manner. Don’t raise your voice, become hysterical, gesture wildly or start throwing accusations. Keep strictly to the issue at hand and avoid making it a personal attack. Remember that you’re a professional and are quite capable of behaving as such. Leave the hysterics to the other party.
Have enough proof to prove your innocence.
I have a friend, Jenna (not her real name), who was accused of using company funds by her officemate. What was appalling about it was that the officemate was the one who actually spent the money. Although he did eventually confess to the deed when confronted by their boss, he first had the nerve to ask that he and Jenna pay back the amount 50-50. Good thing that Jenna had enough documentation to prove that she did not touch the money.
To keep your sabotaging officemate at bay, keep extra copies of important documents. (Just make sure it’s legal to do so.) These documents should be enough evidence that you are not who your saboteur accuses you to be.
Look for support.
If the attacks are becoming harsh, physically threatening or more difficult to handle, don’t hesitate about asking for help. There are times when you can’t really do it on your own. A good source of support would be your supervisor or manager, people in your department, a trusted and respected colleague or a supportive client.
A caveat, though: if the issue can be kept between you and the saboteur, then there’s no need for it to spill over to management or other departments. Don’t cry ‘Uncle’ at the slightest provocation. Try to handle the issue yourself first before you go to an authority figure.
When facing an officemate out to sabotage you, keep your cool, know your facts and stick to the issue. It’s a jungle out there, so don’t say you weren’t warned.
What’s your story?
Has an officemate ever tried to sabotage you? How did you fight back? Share your story here.