merissanathangerson

My Coworker is “A Pig”

In Career, Drama, Mental Health on December 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

 

Loud, large and boisterous: Mimi Bobeck of "The Drew Carey Show"

 

Dear Yenta,

I work in an office with about 10-15 other people. The problem is this particular woman. She’s a 55 year-old reject, who gets off on not doing her job correctly, cussing people out after she gets off the phone with them and stealing. All of this upsets us, but the real thing that is the worst, is the fact that she’s such a pig. I do not say pig loosely. For example, her first day of work, it was a girl’s birthday and she brought a bunch of cupcakes in. Well, she took one to eat and then she took two and hid them under her desk to take home with her. Another coworker thought it would be funny to hide them from her. This lady went around to every person in the office asking, “Where are my f-g cupcakes?”

I had a party for my wedding at the office, we ordered pizza and she ate 5 large pieces. Whenever we have any sort of food or candy here, she immediately stuffs her face and half of the people here don’t even get a taste. If there’s something in the kitchen, for everyone, she will take the entire plate to her desk and leave it there until it’s gone. She only works on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, so on Tuesday & Thursdays we will bring in goodies to share. Well, apparently she started coming in on Tuesday and Thursday specifically to steal our candy. We had an entire bag of snickers bars and we look this morning and they’re ALL gone. We have a service where we provide candy and snacks to clients who use our offices. She constantly steals all those snacks blatantly.

How can we stop this? She makes it unbearable!

-KK, Baltimore

You say traif, I say troubled. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear KK,

In the paradigm of meditation and religiosity, it is asked of the individual to look at every feeling, every emotion, and every reaction as stemming from within their own troubles.  Not only that, but taking it to the next level, it is up to the individual to see those around them, and their irritations with the world, as mirrors of their own irritations and impatience with themselves.

This being said, perhaps you see yourself as “A reject who doesn’t do their job correctly, a pig.”  These are rough and strong words, fully judgmental, and they act as a distancing device between you and your co-worker.  It sounds to me like she is not “a pig” but a woman with food issues.  This is an opportunity for compassion, for patience, and for extending your heart to another.  For help with this, try DharmaSeed.  You can download hundreds of live talks to your ipod that will help make you a better person.  It is not her who makes your workday unbearable, as you said, but it is your reaction to her that makes your day so awful.  That reaction, unlike her, is something you can control and change.

 

You have a tall order ahead of you.  If I were your boss I would take you aside and ask that you cultivate a more open relationship with your community.   A banding together against this woman for her ways reminds me of the rough edge of a middle school playground.  Your first task is to look at yourself.  Why you are so judgmental, and why you don’t find a place for this woman in your heart?  What is a “reject” but the person we are afraid of accepting?  What about her mirrors your own fears, dilemmas or troubles?

And second, why not seek to understand, or at the very least, remedy the situation rather than balking and repelling.  Be honest, “I know you love candy, so we brought you extras.”  If she is ashamed of the breadth of her desire for food, showing her that you accept it without shaming her might prevent her from feeling the need to hoard and hide.  Bring her extra cupcakes.  Don’t scorn, pander.

This woman might need help.  (See Overeaters Anonymous, http://www.oa.org.)  She may, in fact, feel like “a reject,” explaining why you see her as one.  Even troubled women who hoard food and seem like losers in an office setting are human and in need of a little love.  Find her story, take her to lunch, and humanize the person you have marked as the enemy.  You will be surprised, I promise, by what you find.


Merissa Nathan GersonCreate Your Badge

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