Sabotaging Co-Worker

Outline of the conversation:

Meena works as a public relations specialist for the IT company Infosys, in Hyderabad. She landed this position directly after raduating from college, and has managed to do well. She is approaching her one-year mark with Infosys, and will receive an employment evaluation that could enable her to advance to a higher position. Everything seems to be going great, until Meena discovers that a jealous co-worker is trying to sabotage her chances of receiving the promotion. This upsets her, causing her to lose focus and begin to slip in job performance. When the situation becomes too stressful for Meena, she takes a sick leave to escape the job for a few days, hoping that things will be better when she returns. When she arrives to work a few days later, her co-worker friend Vani gives her apep talk.

The Conversation:

Vani: There you are. I have been worried about you. I called your mobile a few times and left messages, but you never returned my calls.

Meena: I know. I apologize Vani, I have not been able to talk to anyone for a few days.

Vani: Well, talk to me now, before our workday starts. You will feel better after clearing your mind.

Meena: Oh no, there she is! I can't talk about it now. She will use it against me.

Vani: Meena, what is going on between you and Kalindi? Come talk to me right now. We'll step into the small lounge. There is usually nobody in there at this time. Hurry, come on!

Meena: Ok. I hope she does not suspect anything.

Vani: Alright, now that the door is closed, and nobody can hear us, tell me what this is all about.  I knew this had something to do with Kalindi.

Meena: Oh Vani ba-hen, she is spreading malicious rumors, she is trying to turn our team against me, she is doing her best to outdo me for the team leader position.  But when I see her, she smiles and is nice to me. In the past year I've worked well with everyone, and never had a dispute. I don't know why she is doing this. Worst of all, it seems to be working. 

Vani: How do you know this?

Meena: A co-worker of ours secretly showed me some emails Kalindi sent to the HOD. The messages contain false information about me. They portray me as a lazy and incompetent employee. They indirectly point to me as the culprit of last month's series of erroneouspress releases that left the office. You know that was not me. The emails said that I lackpunctuality, and cite my recent tardiness as evidence. You know that I was late those times because my mother was ill. Except for that, I am always on time.

Vani: Yes, I remember. But what makes you think this nonsense is working.

Meena: Well lately, the HOD has not been providing timely feedback on my work as he usually does, and seems to be avoiding me. I see Kalindi working closely with him, and it seems that she is getting many more assignments than me. I feel left out. When I'm in the break room, I feel suspicious eyes on me.

Vani: What makes you think that she is a more valuable employee than you?

Meena: I did some research on Kalindi. She graduated top of her class from the University of Mumbai. She was involved in many more organizations and activities than I was in school. She has worked here longer, she is prettier, she is better with people, she...

Vani: Meena, listen to me. Don't cry. Everything is going to be alright. You must not become depressed because she is jealous and resentful of your achievement. She may have many accolades, but what good are they if she contrives to ruin the reputation of another employee for her own gain. What does this tell you about her as a person? We should support our team members who are elected to lead, not undermine them.

Meena: I have been working hard for this position. I really want it. You know what? I hope she loses her job. I don't care about her.

Vani: You should not say things like that. You do not mean that. You are upset and obviously worried about your job, so consider these methods of solving the problem.

Meena: Ok. You are always so helpful.

Vani: First, do not take any more sick days. While you are out, she is here working hard to win the promotion.  If I'm correct, you still have six weeks until your evaluation. You have time to exceed the department's expectations. So put in extra hours, show how hungry you are for assignments, and don't take no for an answer. I also have many projects, and could use your assistance.

Meena: Oh Vani, that's so nice of you.

Vani: Don't mention it. Make sure your hard work is noticed by our superiors, as well as your desire to get that well-deserved promotion.  You must take precautions.  You know all this, but let me remind you.

Meena: Please do!

Vani: Always keep a backup of your work in case she tries to place blame on you.  Save all of your emails with pertinent ideas you contributed and work you've done. You must have documentation, and be prepared for any questions the HOD may have regarding your performance. It cannot just be your word against hers.

Meena: Yes, I've been very frustrated and did not think of these good points.

Vani: Don't let Kalindi's envy get to you. Try to not let her see you upset; exude confidence. Try to dissolve the tension with a little humour, if there is any to be found in the situation. Share a joke with her.

Meena: Now that could be difficult.

Vani: It's worth a try. You will probably have to confront her. When you do, approach the issue logically, not emotionally. You cannot control her thinking, but set a good example with your honesty. Try to see where she is coming from. Even though her behaviour may be unethical, you never know what personal issues could contribute to her misconduct.

Meena: I have not thought of that. But what if this does not work?

Vani: You might have to take the matter to the HOD. When you do, sit down in private and have a candid talk with him.  Don't expect him to already know your side of the story. When explaining the problem, do not be petty or personal, and don't criticize Kalindi in any way. Just state your case, and elucidate your desire to work in harmony with all employees.

Meena: Thank you Vani. You are my best friend here.  Let me treat you to lunch today.

Vani: Ok, but let's get you back on track first.  Come on, there is much work to do. 

Vocabulary:

Sabotage - To cause the failure of (something) deliberately.

Pep talk - A short speech that is given to encourage someone to work harder, to feel more confident and enthusiastic, etc.

Malicious - Having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person.

Punctuality - The quality of arriving or doing something at the expected or planned time.

Tardiness - The condition of being late.

Erroneous - Containing or characterized by error, not correct.

Resentful - Having or showing a feeling of anger or displeasure about someone or something.

Accolade - An award or an expression of praise.

Contrive - To make (something) happen in a clever way or with difficulty.

Undermine - To make (someone or something) weaker usually in a secret or gradual way.

Pertinent - Relating to the thing that is being thought about or discussed.

Exude - To show (a quality, emotion, etc.) very clearly or strongly.

Unethical - Morally bad: not ethical.

Candid - Expressing opinions and feelings in an honest and sincere way.

Elucidate - To give a clarifying explanation. 

 

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