How to deal with arrogant coworker?

So, I was driving to get to work this morning. I, as a student cashier, am expected to be the only cashier to work on Saturdays, and start at 8:30am at that. Anyway, I made the mistake of taking my normal route, unfortunate because I was trying to go right by a comencement location while people were still arriving. I swear I sat at that light for 10-15 minutes because the sensors notived that EVERYONE wanted to turn into the parking lot (which none of the drivers would realize until the last minute) and refused to give me a green at the same time so that I could get to work. I ended up being 10 minutes late, but I thought no big deal.

I walk in, and the only other people there, as usual, are the emergency phone girls. One of them is new, a vet student, and nice. The othere one I have never really had problems with, but sometimes if I ask her a question (usually about the phones, which I don’t use as much during the week) she talks at me like I’m an idiot.

Today I came in and she instantly goes into “Oh, we were wondering if you were coming.” I tell her how I got stuck in traffic going past the graduations and I didn’t think of that before I was already stuck. “Well we had to turn people away already. That’s why (My Supervisor) always says to be here at 8.” So I think, ok, you couldn’t tell people that I shoudl be there in a minute? Fine, they don’t HAVE to pay as they leave, it just means we’ll send out a paper bill later, with the hundreds of others we send at the end of the month from people who checked out when cashiers weren’t on duty.
I thought to point out that I was told by my trainer when I started that we didn’t have to be there until 8:30. She responds with “Yeah, but (Supervisor) always says to be here at 8 because you guys are always late, so you can be here and start at 8:30”

Well that’s the first I’ve EVER heard of this. I don’t appreciate her attitude, even thought she is older than me and has worked there longer, I know a lot of people who mistreat the student workers because they are just students. And I’m wondering who “you guys” are, because I am never late, besides one time I was behind by 5 minutes because I wasn’t feeling well, but I came in and stayed anyhow. I pretty sure she is referring to past student cashiers, but what has that to do with me exactly?

Basically, since this person has a completely different job than me and is not in my chain of command, how should I deal with this? I don’t want to look like I’m whining to my boss, but I don’t want this woman to think she can just do whatever she wants to me. Especially if she’s going to spread misinformation about my working habits to my supervisor, which she has been known to do.

Almost forgot, once after I had just started, someone told my supervisor that I wasn’t acting like I wanted to be there at 8:30am every Saturday, causing my super to ask if I wanted a different job!! How excited does she want me to be?! The day in question I fulfilled my job properly, and wasn’t particularly anything that day, it was just normal, I wasn’t in a bad mood or anything more than being at work on Saturday. I am perfectly happy with my job, and only add this because she obviously has no problems reporting to my supervisors.

So it’s 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday and you aren’t there. Nor is there anything in your post that suggests you called to tell them you were stuck in traffic. Your co-worker (who probably isn’t any more thrilled to be there on a Saturday morning than you are) has to stop what she’s doing (a completely different job, you point out) to tell customers who want to settle up and go on their way, that the person who’s supposed to be there to help them isn’t there. And even though you didn’t get there until 8:45, you tell your co-worker your supervisor says it’s okay to be there at 8:30, while her supervisor makes her get there at 8:00.

Seems like the right way to deal with your co-worker is to apologize for inconveniencing her.

No, she works a completely different shift than I do( there a few hours before I get there and after I leave), and I ended up staying about 15 minutes later because I was in the middle of helping a client. I was stuck in traffic ** two blocks away from work**, so it didn’t occur to me to call, especially since i didnt have my phone and didn’t actually know what time it was until I walked in. I doubt that there was even anyone there at exactly 8:30, and it wouldn’t have stopped her from doing anything.

I think her issue is that her co-worker has grouped her in with some other slackers. She’s to be there at 08:30, this one time she was late. And is then accused of always being late. That’s pretty lame, and would piss me off too.

There was a similar situation where I used to work. One receptionist was scheduled to be there when the doors opened at 7:30, while the other two weren’t scheduled to be in until 8. If the 7:30 opener was late, the boss was in a bad mood all morning (and sometimes all day) toward everyone, not just the person who was late.

I’m the kind of person who is habitually early (blame it on my mother) so the situation was neatly resolved by my volunteering to be the opener every morning I worked. I lived at least a half hour closer than anyone else and was usually early anyway, so it made sense.

Kind of a hijack of the OP I guess, and I’m sorry. I guess it just pisses everyone else off when someone is late and causes friction. Respect from fellow employees can only be earned and won’t be earned by being late.

Don’t mean to sound lecturing, but it is a bitch to be trying to do one job and get interupted because someone isn’t there to do their job.

Regardless of what’s fair, you won’t get far with an attitude of “I’m only here to do my job, no more no less.” Getting along with your coworkers is a good habit to pick up. While she has no authority over you and seems to be harboring a petty gripe against you, the best thing to do is tell her you’re sorry for any inconvenience. Be proactive and go to your boss and apologize for being late. Then mention that someone else said the expectation was for you to be there at 8, and that you were told 8:30. Ask him for clarification, and put the ball in his court. If he backs you being there at 8:30, then next time this girl brings it up you can say you’ve already spoken with boss about the matter, and she’s welcome to do the same if she has an issue.

Is asking someone to be ready 30 mins before their shift starts common? I know if someone asked me to consistantly get into work 30 mins before the hours I get paid from, I would point-blank refuse and treat it as an extremely unreasonable request.

As a student, I once worked at the university post office. Most of the staff were full-time employees; the part-time positions were reserved for students.

The full-time employees were generally nice, but occassionally you’d get one who was always talking about “you guys”, how we were always making mistakes or getting in the way or doing something inappropriate. It was like they saw us as invaders of their space. Also, I think some of them were jealous or resentful because student employees had the “good life”, you see. We will spoiled little children who didn’t know what the real world was like. The full-time employees, not having a college degree usually, were the salt of the earth.

It may be that your co-worker has a problem with students in general and wants to keep you in your place. I would just ignore her since she has no power over you.

Send a present?


Wellk, there are two sides (sometimes more) to every story. In the real world of business, making anyone else wait or otherwise be inconvenienced because you’re late is a sin. Fact of life. Get used to it. Doesn’t matter if it’s retail or manual labour. Don’t be late.

Getting along with co-workers is an interesting exercise. Some people are just hard to get along with no matter how nice and perfect you are. Your co-worker may be one of these, I don’t know. Your options in dealing with someone like that include (but are not limited to) becoming antagonistic back to them, ignoring them for the most part, being polite and friendly. You live with whatever choices you make.

However, and I don’t mean to come off condescending, you’re still learning. This could be a good experience for you. Work is more than just you and the boss and the work. There are a lot of variables, as you are finding out. Good luck to ya! :wink:

If that’s what you have to do to get them there on time, then I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all. It sucks to have to constantly cover for people who always have an excuse. Some of us don’t have the luxury of an excuse.

I agree with previous posters that it is extremely important to be on time. Also, any time you are running late, call. It is extremely bad form for your start time to pass, and you’re not there, and they haven’t heard from you. Repeat: if you even think you will be late, call. See also, don’t be late.

As far as arriving before your shift starts, not if they won’t be paying you for it. Sometimes for jobs where they really want you to be ready to start at a certain time, they will pay you for a little bit of prep time if you show up early. For example, they may want you to get there at 8:15 and clock in then, to be ready to work at 8:30. Maybe this is what your coworker referred to? But for hourly work like this, if the job controls your time, it should be paying you for that time.

What happened was by no means the end of the world, but learn from it. Also, try to keep in mind that your coworker(s) have seen a lot of students come and go. True, they shouldn’t hold the bad apples against you, but it will be hard not to. There probably have been students who one day just up and quit and never called in, leaving everyone scrambling to cover for them.

Good luck! The world of work doesn’t necessarily get much better (see, Dilbert) but you get better at it.

BTW, being at work at 8:30 generally means being at work, with your material or clothing ready, and prepared to take over the shift or do whatever else you need to do. It doesn’t mean blowing through the doors at 8:30 and then taking five or ten minutes to get your stuff together.

I don’t know if you do this, but if you have a habit of cutting it so fine that you’re technically not ‘late’, but your co-workers wind up having to stick around after their shift is over because you’re not prepared to relieve them, then that may be contributing to some animosity.

It’s a good habit to get into to arrive at work at least 15 minutes early. That way, if you do get stuck in traffic, you still make it before 8:30. If traffic is normal, you have some time to prepare yourself, get a coffee, organize your materials, or do whatever else you need to do to be ready for a shift. And it never hurts to relieve people a little early from time to time. It goes a long way towards building goodwill with your co-workers, and leads to a more pleasant working environment.

The OP didn’t mention if she had a cellphone or not. If she was in Australia, NZ, or the UK I would assume she did- but these boards (based in the US) are full of people who don’t have cellphones, so it’s quite probable she didn’t have one and couldn’t call to warn she was going to be late. (It’s a moot point if she did have a phone, but sometimes you don’t realise how late you’re going to be!)

I was working at a fast-food restaurant a couple of years ago and got held up in one of those major traffic jams caused by roadworks in inconvenient places. I could see that the traffic wasn’t moving, and I was going to be late for work.

I called them up before I was actually late (ie, about 10 minutes before I was due to start) and the supervisor started carrying on at me like a lunatic, saying I was “always” late (This was the first time during my soon to be short career at said restaurant that I was) and acting like it was some major conspiracy on my part to make her life difficult.

This traffic jam- which was so bad it was on the news that night- meant I was 15 minutes late for work (I managed to take some back roads and side alleys in the end, to get out of the jam and get to work) apparently was all concocted by me in an effort to get to work later.

For the next two weeks, I had this supervisor bitching about me being “late” and “unreliable”, so I eventually told her to go to hell and quit. It just wasn’t worth the hassle, in the end.

So yeah, I totally sympathise with the OP on this one…

Then you would be fired because you aren’t the boss.
If your work hours start at 9:00, that does not mean get there at 9:00 on the dot, hang up your coat, grab a cup of coffee, gab for 20 minutes and THEN start working. It’s generally good practice to get to work early so you aren’t rushed if you are running late.

Excellent advice.

One of the most important things I have learned in the working world is that it doesn’t matter if you’re right. What matters is whether you get along with those around you and get your job done.

Some people don’t get this. They think they should stand up for themselves when they know they’re right and caving in is “ass kissing.” I see it more along the lines of “preserving the peace.” My pride is less important than a harmonious workplace.

You’re not going to like everyone you work with, and not everyone is going to like you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get along. I work with a woman that’s one of the most passive-aggressive people I’ve ever met. She takes offense at the most incredibly inconsequential actions and twists the story to make it look more aggregious. It’s a real effort to be nice to her, but I go out of my way to be friendly to her, chatting pleasantly, doing favors for her and accomodating her moods. Yeah, I don’t HAVE to do these things, but frankly, I don’t want my time taken up by personal conflicts.

Hubby works as a manager in a prison. He’s said to me in exasperation that if it was only the inmates, his job would be wonderful. They don’t cause problems-- the employees do. Half of his day is devoted to calming petty squabbles among the staff. He says it’s like he’s back in high school. Sarah won’t work with Jenny because Jenny said something nasty about Sarah’s friend Claire, who works in records and hates Becky because she’s dating Jenny’s ex-boyfriend, and Jody is rumored to be intending to sabotage Theresa’s project because she’s allies with Sarah . . . . It goes on and on.

All Hubby cares about is whether the work gets done, and it irritates him when personal conflicts prevents that. His bosses won’t be very understanding if he reports that a project isn’t done because Sarah and Jenny are at each other’s throats over a snide comment about a third party.

When it comes time for promotion, the people who get involved in this crap aren’t at the top of his list. The rights and wrongs of the matter aren’t at issue. (In other words, he doesn’t give a flying fuck if Sarah has a legitimate reason to be mad about what Jenny said.) What’s important is whether people can put aside their childish bickering to get a job done. Those who can are valuable employees and will move up in the ranks. Those who can’t stay in their current positions.

If I get in at 9:00, det some coffe and then gab for 2 minutes then I am starting work 25 minutes late. If I get in at 8:58, immediately log on and settle down to work then I’m on time, and I’ll have nobody say otherwise including my boss. If he wanted me there at 8:40, he’d have to pay me from 8:40.

S hould be ‘get some coffee and then gab for 20 minutes’

I hate an employer who lets underlings tell others how to perform their job.
I hate an employer who makes a big deal about an unavoidable tardiness.
I hate an employer who tries to tell you to arrive early and then doesn’t pay you for the time.
I hate an employee who gives off a “leave me alone” vibe. Don’t know if that was you or not, but please…if you’re in a bad mood, fake a good one for the rest of us.