- 2 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013
So I started my job a little less than a year ago. The area I work in is really open, no cubicles. Oh how would love a cubicle. Because there isn’t any division of space, it’s tolerated for people to chat. That’s fine by me, but my coworker never stops!
At first, I was ok with it, because I think I didn’t realize how much he was testing me to see if I’d respond. He also teases me nonstop. It’s like he never aged mentally past 14… He’s over 30 and I’m 19.
My first mistake was that I allowed it to happen to begin with. He says now that in the beginning he was testing me to see if I could take his sense of humor, and unfortunately I mostly just go with the flow and don’t really take offense at things people say. Generally, if someone makes a joke at my expense, I don’t care. But its gotten to be a bit much even for me.
My second mistake was that I didn’t realize that using self depreciating humor was like blood in the water that never goes away to this person. I’m Asian, and can every so often poke fun at the stereotypes because I’m candid, and that’s just my humor. I don’t do it all the time, and allowed myself to because as you’ll see soon, our workplace is pretty loose with rules (and what you can say without being in trouble). I just didn’t realize that 1. of course one should never say anything like that in the workplace. 2. One or two jokes in front of him will turn into an invite for him to return it over and over.
To give you an example of what I mean, a couple days ago another coworker was coming down with a cold, and he said to me “if you got pinkeye, you’d be screwed” (a dig at my Asian eyes), and waited for me to laugh. I didn’t. I ignored him, and he then made some crack about how his joke went right over my head. This morning, I started up my computer and opened my email (I always do this first thing), and he told me to restart my computer (an email from IT had been sent out saying this), and I got so sick of him telling me to do things when he isn’t even my superior. I simply said “I know, I get the emails too”, and he told me that I didn’t have to be a bitch.
All day he makes noises, whether it’s singing the Mario brothers theme over and over in a squeaky voice, making random sounds/songs and demanding that I admit that he has the best singing voice ever, or other equally annoying things.
When other workers come over to get something from the supply shelf near our workspace, he generally yells “No!! Absolutely not!” for no reason at them. If he asks me what I think about something and I respond, he’ll say “no/yes you do, don’t lie”.
He also swears like a sailor, tells me paranormal activity stories, won’t shut up about his personal life. I have heard EVERYTHING from his hobbies, to the details on how every one of his relationships went south and how he dealt with them, to personal histories with all of his friends, all the way from highschool through college AND of course I get current updates. He also talks to himself about nothing. All day he’s saying things like “that’s weird” “wait…what?” “Oh! That’s because..”, telling boring stories he thinks are hilarious (completely unfunny, boring, inane things), updating everyone on what a Facebook friend commented recently (something that he would consider “funny as hell” would be if a friend commented “lol what” on something he said. He will even look things up so he can give me exact quotes from his phone or Facebook feed, and talks to his phone like “dude, sucks to be you” when he gets a text.
He also likes whispering bad things about coworkers, like “I bet money that the bosses son gets paid x amount more than us”, or that a coworker of ours sneaks paid lunches (which he doesn’t), gossiping things he assumes or heard somewhere, and it’s exhausting because I remain diplomatic and remind him that he doesn’t know those things, and I refuse to participate in the badmouthing.
I already told him I have to focus on work. It worked for maybe two weeks. I asked to be moved. My manager knows he’s like this, and there’s nowhere for me to be moved in the office. We are allowed to wear headphones, but sometimes I just concentrate better without music.
They’re not going to fire him, he’s been there for almost ten years. I need the money and benefits I get from that job. It’s not because he likes me, or anything like that. I think he just has social issues. He doesn’t pick up on normal cues like tone of voice, blatant disinterest, or any of the normal things.
I’ve tried ignoring him, and sometimes wear the earbuds without music and pretend I can’t hear him. But then, he’ll either come over to my desk, or throw things like paper clips at me until he has my attention.
It’s driving me bonkers. The problem is that despite all of this, he is a very low self esteem, introvert of a person. Because I’m a compassionate person, and my sister in law was good friends with him when she worked here, I invited him out with our group a couple times (he knew a lot of the people), and my husband and I even sprung for him to the movies just so he’d get out of the house, because he can’t really afford to do things like go to the mall, or out to dinner or movies.
So now I’m in an even awkwarder position, because I’m technically friends with him. I know people say not to mix work and personal worlds, but they were already pretty mixed before I got there because he already knows my SILs.
So I know I made mistakes that got me here. I regret them. I know. My fault.