Bullying Dominating Coworker

Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2016 03:07 pm
I'm having boundary issues with a person I work with. I'm a woman in my early thirties, he is a man in his late thirties.

We are both employed part-time for an organization (our positions/job descriptions are the same), and we were hired at the same time. I have more experience in this line of work than him.

We are also both live-in caretakers on a property with a different organization. We live in separate buildings, me with my boyfriend (also a care-taker, more maintenance oriented) and dogs, him with his dogs and another part-time caretaker, about a 1/4 mile apart. In this incidence, our positions are different. He does more maintenance stuff; I do more public outreach. He has been here longer than I have by about 2 years, so I guess he would be considered to be more of a supervisor based on seniority. Despite his longer presence on the property and previously being responsible for the upkeep of the house I’m living in, he did little to nothing to improve it. It was unoccupied at one point and became infested with rodents. There were plumbing problems, and the flooring was nasty. Since my boyfriend and I have moved in, the house has been very clean, there are no rodents, many plumbing issues have been repaired, the walls painted, and we are installing a new floor.

My coworker is charismatic and charming. Very extroverted, confident, fun, interesting. A lot of people like him. On the less positive side, he can be aggressive and domineering. I have heard him talk about other people who work on the property to the manager in not-so-nice ways, implying that they are doing poor work. I also feel like he will keep information to himself to give himself an advantage, or provide mis-information. For example, he told me it would take a long time to get permission to drive the vehicles on the property and that it wasn't worth pursuing. When I got the part-time job I filled out some forms, had a background check done, and in a few days was able to drive the vehicles for the job, which also qualified me to drive the other vehicles I had been told I couldn't because of the long process involved (the vehicles were covered by the same agency). If you were to call him on this, he would vehemently deny it.

I'm more of an introvert, quiet. I don't like gossip. I am experienced in my primary field, and people respect my knowledge and work. I get along well with the manager of the property. I get along well with the public when I do outreach and frequently have repeat customers. I could work more on my self-confidence and assertiveness.

So there are the issues: he dominates and bullies me at the part-time job, and has been dominating me at the care-taking position also. At work, he will speak over me, boss me around telling me what to do, and has even gone so far as to grab tools out of my hands, even in front of our boss. At the care-taking job, he shows up at the house that I'm in whenever he wants, either without warning or proceeding his visit by sending a text saying "be over in 10 minutes", frequently disrupting my activities, making comments on my projects and how he would do them, and wanting to talk shop about our other job. The frequent unannounced visits make me uncomfortable, like I'm being monitored.

He also picked a fight with my boyfriend and a short-term tenant that was staying at the house, showing up suddenly, criticizing the projects in progress, and freaking out at the tenant because there were boxes sitting out (the tenant had just moved in). I was not home at the time, but it was a serious argument. When I came home there were household items broken and in the garbage, so stuff got damaged. And no, there was nothing wrong with what we were doing, everything was on schedule, he apparently just wanted to come over and throw his weight around. I was livid. In this incidence, I did contact the manager and we all had a meeting where we kissed and made up. The coworker kept his distance for a while, but has since started resuming his old activities.

When I've asserted myself in the past, he gets mad and nothing changes. When I've replied to texts where he says he's coming over shortly to let him know it's not a good time, he shows up anyway.

Lately I've been feeling anxious, depressed, and very unhappy.

Besides leaving my jobs, is there anything I can do to improve this situation? I’d like to have a good and respectful relationship with my coworker. Any effective, non-insulting phrases I can use when he just shows up or bosses me around? Anything I can do to firmly establish boundaries?

Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2016 03:11 pm
This is your boss's job, and he is, frankly, falling down on it.

So - talk to your boss. Explain - this coworker makes me uncomfortable, and here's how.

Have proof. Photos, emails, whatever it takes.

Explain you are not trying to get the guy fired. You just want boundaries to be clearly established. You need to be able to do your work in peace without this guy bugging you.
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2016 03:41 pm
I agree - you need to get your boss involved. It seemed to help before short-term - along with what jespah suggested you could add that when meeting before it helped for a while but unfortunately it is beginning to be an issue again.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2016 12:04 am
Talk to the manager about this problem. He/she has the responsibility to correct issues that are 'aggressive and domineering.' Listen to what Jespa said. No worker should have to work under those conditions.
Before you go to the manager, speak to this "charismatic and charming" guy, and explain to him how his aggressive and domineering behavior affects you.
If that doesn't do the trick, by all means speak to the manager.
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2016 01:22 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I think I wouldn't have a talk with him about it, it might backfire in odd ways, like him going to the manager first. I'd go to the manager as Jespah described.
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2016 01:30 pm
"Backfire in odd ways?" How? I've worked in management for most of my working career.
0 Replies

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