I am always astounded by the number of co-workers that throw people under the bus either consciously or unconsciously. It takes a certain kind of unhappy asshole. One specific co-worker attempts to not only throw me under the bus, but in front of them as well as push me off a subway platform. Is that an expression? If not, it should be. It’s like our families have had an ancient feud and she’s been trained all her life by the greatest bitches that have walked the Earth, to make me look like a moron.
I knew things weren’t going to go well in the first 30 seconds of our introduction:
“It’s so nice to meet you,” I said extending a hand, relieved I was no longer the newest person.
“I was your runner up,” she said to me like I ditched her for a lunch and deserved an explanation.
Trying to remove the instant awkward she had placed on the conversation, I smiled and responded with, “well Runner Up, it’s very nice to meet you.” Right or wrong, that was my split second response.
Fast forward 2 months and the assaults are consistent. The most obvious are in e-mail communication. When I e-mail her about one of her mess ups, I e-mail her without our boss cc’ed on them…..because I’m not an asshole. Once she realizes I too have contributed to a mistake, she immediately cc’s my boss and explains how difficult my error has made her job and how much time this has cost her. Like an errant child who needs to learn, she then proceeds to explain the proper process, making sure to lay out each step and why it’s so important for the company. Occasionally she’ll sum up the e-mail (just one more time) of how detrimental my mistake was.
From a social perspective, all my co-workers love Runner Up. They can’t figure out why I have issues. Runner Up bends over backwards for other co-workers, joking with them or talking like an 80 year old Chinese man (I don’t know if this is a nervous thing but it’s odd and annoying) when responding to questions or dropping something off at their desk, engaging in friendly banter. On her way back to her desk, her eyes stay straight never glancing down at me to acknowledge my existence.
Once we had a project we were stuck together to complete. We had to put labels on various products in the warehouse as they were behind and needed help. We stood in silence most of the time at the large processing tables.
When I opened up my 67th box and pulled the items out to process, I noticed from the corner of my eye that she had looked up and was staring at the goods. She then mumbled something inaudible.
“I’m sorry I didn’t hear you,” I said as I cupped my ear.
She repeated herself but in little to no increased tone. She made no effort to walk closer either. By now I felt annoyed, but I still didn’t hear her. There were massive rotating fans above us making it very hard to hear. Regardless of the fans, I find I have a tough time hearing people even when there aren’t background noises.
Frustrated, she swiftly walked over to me like she was going to punch me and yelled “WHAT DO YOU HAVE THERE?” Obviously any sort of connection was immediately thrown out the window after this declaration of war. She even went so far as to roll her eyes and mumble “God” under her breath in the most exasperated tone.
That was the last straw for me. I was over her asshole-like tendencies and I was tired of being neutral in every confrontation. Normally I am of the speak softly and carry a big stick school of thought. At that moment, I threw that stick as far as I could throw it.
“Calm the fuck down,” I said slowly to her with a don’t fuck with me look, “I didn’t hear you,” I said in a very clipped tone. I wanted to drive home the point how pissed I was with her, not only for this but her overall coldness towards me. You don’t have to like me; just don’t be a jerk.
I resumed politeness and finished the conversation with, “These are horse totes.”
She was probably pissed at me but realized she had poked the bear one too many times. She nodded her head, turned around and went to her post.
I’d like to say after that confrontation we suddenly realized we had a lot more than we thought in common and began having lunch together. Nope. This hag continues to cc our boss whenever she has confirmed I did something wrong and is still the same ass hole she was when she introduced herself as the runner up.
You were the Runner Up for a reason.