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Stuck in an Annoying Job Situation?
How to Deal with Irritating, Insulting Co-Workers
In a Frustrating Work Environment

Dear Dr. Matt:

My name is Bristol. I am 39 years old. I live in Boston, Mass., USA.

I need advice regarding a situation that I have at work. I work for a law firm. I have been there almost 5 years now. I've been in my current position in the same dept for over 2 years. A few months ago, we were so busy that the firm hired another attorney to take on half the work load. I have tried to be helpful to this new attny. I've always done everything that was asked of me and I've never complained or had any drama with anyone but this new attny just does not seem to like me at all, and by the way both attnys are female as well.

I try to strike up a conversation and she snubs me. Every time I go to her with a question she acts like I am stupid. She's always sarcastic but she seems to single me out for some reason, for example: Last week she asked for a file but she said there was no rush. Today she got a phone call about that file an she needed it right away but last week I spent an hour looking for it. I went to each person in the dept and no one had a clue.

Today the antagonistic attorney sent out a mass email telling everyone to look for it. 2 minutes later another email was sent saying file was found. I wanted to let her know that I had been trying to find it and was also curious about how it was found, so I sent her an email and said, "where was it? I looked everywhere for it last week." She wrote back and said, " Maybe next time you should send out an email instead of wasting valuable time looking for it." I felt that was a rude and out of line. I didn't respond back because I didn't want to create more conflict.

I don't know what to do about this. I thought about talking to her, but I think that is a bad idea. I would be just asking for her to verbally beat me up again. I am concerned that she's trying to run me off, and if that doesn't work she might try to find a way to fire me. I can't afford to lose my job.

Can you tell me what I should do, Please?

Thank you,

Related Articles: Wedding Snub: What to Do When You're Disrespected
The Warmth of Your Love Can Melt Her Coldness

Dear Bristol:

It appears that the new lawyer is trying to reinforce the fact that she IS a Lawyer, and thus is supposedly better than you.

If this is what she is attempting to do, ironically, she is exposing the fact that she is insecure in some way. As a person, she's not really better than you at all. Only people who are insecure have a need to assert their supposed power and position. In contrast, people who are confident have nothing to prove, they feel content with who they are.

Concerning the missing file, a person only knows in retrospect NOT to spend an hour searching for a file, and to send out an email instead. The normal thing to do was exactly what you did — take time to search for it. Indeed the new lawyers comment was insensitive, and reflects an egocentric theme of "I'm higher and better than you."

The first thing you do, is to WARM UP her COLDNESS by genuine, heartfelt compassion. You see, in the WARMING rays of the SUN it is impossible for cold frost to survive. Your warm compassion will not guarantee that she will WARM UP, but at least she has a constraining invitation to WARM UP.

If you do the opposite, and return her COLDNESS with COLDNESS, your situation will get worse. The saying goes "that which you Resist, will Persist." So instead of resisting, you must surrender yourself to the Source of Pure Compassion. Jesus taught this truth: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:31-46). You show love for your Lord and Savior as you love those who mistreat you.

Showing genuine, heartfelt compassion for others is NOT a physical choreography that you can simply DO — like mowing the lawn or combing your hair. Instead, it is a way of being that you cannot choose to do directly; instead, as you choose to surrender to the Source of Pure Love, then the Creator works a miracle in you. This Redeeming Miracle causes you become more compassionate and loving, beyond your normal abilities.

Eckhart Tolle describes the process of "surrender" very well. He speaks of escaping from the stories you are tempted to tell yourself — rationalizing stories that may rattle around in your Head about how the new lawyer is rude and insensitive. When we get Stuck in such Stories, we are unable to Surrender to the Source. We must completely abandon all stories that accuse and resent, in order to find the inner peace that comes through complete surrender.

As you surrender, the Creator will lift you to a higher level of awareness and a higher way of being. And here's the most amazing part: In your new state of higher consciousness and being, EVEN IF the new lawyer continues to be abrasive, you will be able to retain your inner peace — and you will find that her offensiveness will NOT offend you. Said another way, you will not take-up being offended or being a victim. Here's the truth about being offended:

"Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things
do occur in our interactions with other people that would tempt us to take offense.
However, ultimately it is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me.
Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false.
To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted
or imposed upon us by someone or something else."

- David A. Bednar 

Again, in the WARMING rays of the SUN it is impossible for cold frost to survive. Your warm compassion cannot guarantee that she will WARM UP, but at least she has a loving invitation to WARM UP.

You cannot come to this calm, non-reactive way of being through your own mortal will power; instead, you must rely upon the Creator's transforming power to become a person of peace. You will be able to resist offense-taking and WARM UP her COLDNESS with the Creator's Help.

I've written an article that gives greater detail on How this is Done, entitled "Do I Really have a Choice NOT to Be Stressed: Am I a Victim or a Volunteer?"

I know your situation will improve as you apply true principle, not because you are powerful and capable, but because the Creator is powerful and perfectly capable. All you must do is humbly yield and surrender. You must do the opposite of what your co-worker is doing: She is caught up with Managing an Image of being powerful and capable — directly because she is insecure from the Core. Her assertive drive for power and superiority is the dreary ditch in which the new lawyer is STUCK. Don't join her.

Surrendering to the Source and Creator of all Life, looks like being kind, patient, and compassionate with the very person who is mistreating you — for she IS "the least of these." How you treat her, is how you are treating your Lord and Savior.


Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

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