“Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
Wow, you know how I found your site? I googled “dealing with a bitch” and your blog came up. I realize YOU’RE not a bitch, but I thought perhaps you can help me with one.
We actually started off as friends. I met Tiffany at work, and was frankly flattered she pursued a friendship with me. She’s very smart, beautiful, with a biting wit. I felt like I was part of the cool kid’s table for once in my life, and I hate to admit it, but I joined in plenty when she would dole out funny/nasty comments about our co-workers. Whether people love her or hate her, they all seem to respect her because she’s actually good at her job. No one stands up to her.
Well, recently she got a promotion, and I swear it seemed that overnight, I went from “friend” to “indentured servant.” She’s not my direct supervisor, but she’s in tight with my real boss. She keeps saying she’s going to push for me to get the next opening, as soon as she settles in her new position. Meanwhile, she asks me to do all this shit for her. I feel there’s a quid pro quo deal happening here and I hate it. I’m afraid if I call her on it, she’ll sabotage my chances to move up. My boss thinks she’s like the savior for her department, and while I have a good working relationship with him, I am by no means anyone’s savior.
By the way, don’t tell me to leave my job. I’ve put in five years, and I’m up for a raise and promotion in four months. But what do I do in the meantime?
Getting Close to Going Postal
Gotta be honest here…I may not be your Go-To-Gal when it comes to office politics. If you were to poll all my former co-workers/bosses, I think they’d say the same thing:
“Great worker,creative thinker, but man,
she doesn’t know how to play by the rules.”
But I’ll give it my best shot here.
Let’s get one thing straight here…
Tiffany will NEVER, EVER fight for you to get a promotion.
That’s the carrot she’s dangling, and I promise she’ll have you running around that dog track for as long as you let her.
You have two choices here. The psychotherapist in me should tell you to confront her and try to find the solution…to be like Obama and say “be the change and you can change the system.”
But since I’ve never worked in a place called Fantasy Land, and I’m not voting for Jimmy Carter, um I mean Barack Obama, I’m going to give you the answer that may actually get you results. Consider this the
Hillary Clinton Approach to Any Kind of Politics:
1. However Hard You’re Working, or Innovative You’ve Been,
Don’t Rest on Your Laurels.
Roll up your sleeves and get down and dirty in whatever is your boss’ pet project of the moment. Come in early. Work late. Email him suggestions, ideas, etc at all hours. Remember, you’re like a prize fighter for the next four months, so train to win.
2. Lose That Hero Worship Trait of Yours and Project Infallible Confidence.
Haven’t you figured it out yet, that the difference between the cool kids and the dorks – so to speak – comes down to self esteem? I am sure everyone else has also figured out Tiffany’s arrogance, but she’s allowed to get away with it because:
a. she does good work, and
b. she obviously knows how to play with the big boys without threatening them.
Observe her style. Learn from her – and then make it your own.
3. Make Yourself Scarce.
Try not to be around her…keep the friendly facade, say the quick hello, bullshit banter, but then cut things off and get busy with something. She’ll eventually get the message, but won’t have any real reason to spew venom your way. And if she tries to bad mouth you to your boss, she won’t have a leg to stand on because you’ve been working your ass off.
4. When Your Review Comes Up, List Everything You’ve Done Solely or Collective for Your Employer.
Sell yourself – because if you don’t, no one will.
If you don’t get the promotion after all this, then it’s time to be the one that flies away from the cuckoo nest. Don’t make five years turn into ten years of being underappreciated.
May I also say this…I get the feeling that you were the girl in high school that was, at best, ignored or, at worst, ridiculed. If so, consider yourself lucky. Who wants to pique in high school? You’re all grown up now, relatively, so don’t worry about the cool kids’ table anymore. Judging from my own high school reunion, most of those guys and gals are either working at Radio Shack or hosting Creative Memories parties. So, get on with it.
10. “Workin’ at the Carwash Blues,” [Jim Croce] Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits.
9. Why You’d Want to Live Here,” [Death Cab for Cutie] The Photo Album.
8. “Unsuffer Me,” [Lucinda Williams] West.
7. “These are the Armies of the Tyrannized,” [Kaki King] …Until We Felt Red.
6. “Somewhere a Clock is Ticking,” [Snow Patrol] Final Straw.
5. “God is a Bullet,” [Concrete Blonde] Still in Hollywood.
4. “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” [Pat Benatar] Crimes of Passion.
3. “In the Devil’s Territory,” [Sufjan Stevens] Seven Swans.
2. “Mine’s Not a High Horse,” [The Shins] Chutes Too Narrow.
1. “Not My Friend,” [Norah Jones] Not Too Late.