My office mate is an annoying freak!

Should I get a new job? Her crazy behavior drove me to apply, but now I'm reconsidering.

By Cary Tennis
Published November 11, 2004 8:21PM (EST)

Dear Cary,

I work in a small sales and marketing office in the Midwest. On most days there are fewer than five people in my office. There happens to be only one other woman (besides myself) who works in the office. Although we get along quite well, I don't consider her a friend or confidante. She, on the other hand, does consider me a friend and confidante and has no problem coming into my office to go over the latest catastrophes happening in her life. It seems like every day some major wrong has been done her and she feels the need to dump all of this on me. Sometimes I am very busy and let her know that I can't discuss it, but most of the time I just sit quietly and listen. I am a good listener and am normally pretty good about being able to console or even advise people if something goes wrong in their life, but I can't muster sympathy for these trivial problems any longer.

A couple of weeks ago this woman wrote a scathing e-mail to me and my colleagues (including my boss) and bit my head off on the same day; then later that day she came into my office with one of her Can you believe?! catastrophe stories. I felt that her Jekyll and Hyde behavior was so unacceptable that I asked her to please leave my office. Once she left I decided that neither I nor my boss would ever have the balls to say anything to her and that my only choice was to get a new job.

So, I began looking on job boards and applied for four jobs. I have a pretty good-looking résumé, but can you believe that all four of those jobs contacted me wanting phone interviews? Three of them weren't right for some reason or other, but the fourth phone interview was amazing! The woman who interviewed me asked me challenging questions for 45 minutes and gave a great description of the job. I was sweating, and we weren't even face-to-face! By the end she said she was so impressed that she wants to meet me next week. This job is very similar to what I currently do and is about the same distance from my home, but the salary is higher and it is a bigger company.

My question for you is: I am satisfied with my current job and the only major problem I have is that my colleagues sometimes really annoy me, but won't that happen anywhere? The only reason I even applied for the job was because I was having a bad day; am I being petty thinking I should leave a job because the people I spend 50 hours a week with bug me?


Dear Annoyed,

It's possible that you have been handed a little gift of motivation from the cosmos. I would consider this annoying co-worker as a magical catalyst that spurred you on to improve your life. It's true that we tend to look back on situations that seemed intolerable at the time and say to ourselves, It wasn't really as bad as all that. I could go back to it. And it's true that there will always be annoying people in your life. But a better-paying job at a bigger company is a good thing, whether your present job is intolerable or not.

I say follow through on this offer. It's natural to have second thoughts and doubts, but you don't have to give in to them. Your life could well improve quite a bit as a result of your annoying co-worker.

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