In this intriguing workplace drama, the Original Poster (OP), a newly employed graduate, finds herself embroiled in a complex misunderstanding with her efficient yet standoffish colleague, Thea. As OP’s attempts to learn from Thea spirals into a heated conflict that culminates in an unexpected Human Resources intervention, their strained relationship takes a decisive turn. The climax leaves us in suspense as OP’s well-intentioned efforts to advocate for herself have unforeseen consequences that resonate within the office and beyond.
A New Beginning
OP, a new graduate, starts her first job in India, eager to learn and grow. Fascinated by her colleague, Thea, who juggles both grad school and complex tasks at work with impeccable efficiency, OP seeks to join the projects that Thea handles. Despite being initially welcomed by Thea, OP struggles with the strict deadlines Thea imposes.
Admiration From a New Employee
OP admires Thea’s ability to manage both work and postgrad simultaneously, a feat she herself struggled with. OP and Thea hold the same title but are at different levels, a common practice in India. Thea is not her senior, and this is also Thea’s first job.
The Whiteboard Incident
One day, OP observes a detailed whiteboard at Thea’s desk, outlining all her tasks and meetings for the month. Intrigued by the system, OP asks if she could be included in Thea’s projects. This request upsets Thea, who sternly tells OP that not everything involving her necessitates OP’s involvement.
Following the whiteboard incident, Thea becomes increasingly distant and tough to work with. She becomes less supportive, imposes even stricter deadlines, and starts to avoid OP by leaving work earlier. OP perceives a change in their professional relationship, causing her work environment to feel hostile.
Reporting to HR
Driven by the deteriorating situation, OP decides to report Thea’s behavior to the HR department. OP tells HR about Thea’s unfair deadlines and her lack of clear instructions on locating documents and shows them a string of condescending texts. She justifies her actions by stating that she was only trying to establish fair treatment.
After the HR meeting, OP finds herself removed from all projects involving Thea. Their boss instructs OP to stay clear of Thea, and Thea is moved to a different section of the office closer to the seniors. Thea seems displeased, and the seniors attempt to appease her to prevent her from leaving.
OP bypassed the usual reporting hierarchy because her seniors didn’t see an issue with Thea’s methods, and the manager’s focus was on deadlines and maintaining good relationships. She felt justified in her decision to go directly to HR because she saw no other viable route.
The Coattail Rider
Thea accuses OP of trying to ride on her coattails, benefiting from her hard work. OP defends herself, explaining she was just intrigued by the interesting tasks Thea was handling and curious why she hadn’t been included. She denies trying to exploit Thea’s position or efforts.
Following the HR report, OP’s coworkers start to scrutinize every aspect of her actions and intent. OP feels overwhelmed and defensive, given her coworkers’ overwhelmingly negative responses. She realizes that her pursuit of fairness and learning opportunities may have been seen differently by others.
The Silent Treatment
At work, OP and Thea avoid crossing paths, communicating only when absolutely necessary. This silent treatment amplifies the tension between them, complicating an already stressful situation. Despite their physical distance, the impact of their strained relationship pervades the office.
The seniors, noticing the continuous conflict, decide to intervene. They hold separate meetings with OP and Thea, trying to resolve the misunderstandings and find a way to restore harmony. Despite their efforts, the atmosphere remains strained.
A Lesson Unlearned
OP’s image remains tarnished in the office. Her coworkers do not trust her and try to avoid her at all costs. The public verdict serves as a reminder of the incident, casting a shadow on her professional growth.
OP tries to move on from the incident, focusing on her professional growth and future projects. She pledges to be more mindful of her actions and their implications, vowing to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts her experience online to tell her side of the story. The readers in the forum had a lot to say on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “You were being clingy to the point where it’s hurting her productivity and then misinterpreting her frustration as hostility.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “You were the one who created a hostile work environment by repeatedly sticking your nose in her business. She’s there to do her job, not teach you. Helping colleagues is important, but you were being excessively intrusive.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “She didn’t have to involve you to begin with. You aren’t entitled to being on every one of her projects. You got offended because she called you out on sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong, and you tried to threaten her.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader responded, “This was a very foolish thing for you to do. Thea is more productive and better at the job than you are, by your own admission. As a manager, if one of my mediocre employees came to me with the complaint that my rockstar employee’s deadlines were difficult to keep up with, I wouldn’t listen either.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.