I hate early mornings also! (coworker question).

So, I’m on a field job in a hellish part of the country (SOUTHsouth, super hot, lotsa humidity and I’m originally from a cold dry climate). My first day down here was a nightmare. Equipment problems, 106 degree heat (plus whatever humidity was out and about), heat exhaustion for me (including talking to Ralph and nearly passing out several times), snarky, unpredictable, judgmentally young (you know the type), too-book-smart-for-her-own-good coworker…

It’s been a real joy (heavy sarcasm). The first two days were sheer misery (due to factors listed above, and more), the last 4 days went much more smoothly and we’ve got about 3-3.5 days left. And for the most part we’ve worked it out, but…

Let me ask you all this. In my 40 some odd years of working (since I was a pre-teen), I’ve pretty much understood that it’s the employees duty to show up at work reasonably well-fed, well-rested and ready to go. Right?

Do any of you think it’s reasonable or normal for an employee (or just a human in general for that matter) to be “I’m really quiet in the morning” (where “really quiet” frankly equals 1-3 hours in the morning of “silent as the grave” and giving off obvious “I hate the world because I have to be up early” vibes, including critical snarky statements if your coworker [me in this case] has to confirm she’s going the correct direction to the work site, for instance), for a lion’s share of the work morning?

The girl claims that it’s just that “you’re internalizing it and interpreting it wrong” and that she’s not being snarky at all. But here’s just one example. I was driving one morning (didn’t make THAT mistake again, I’ve made her drive since then). Anyway, I asked “it’s left at the main road right”? And she answers “well, you’ve been by the sign that says our site name 1000 times”. How hard is it to simply confirm “yes, that’s right”? If you’re SOoooooOOO “quiet” in the morning, and have that much trouble, (where other times she acts as if she’s about to die from fatigue and can’t possibly work up the energy to say two words), wouldn’t it have been easier and required less energy to just say “yes”?

Now, part of the time, she can be a real sweetheart, but there’s no predicting the snark monster. And it seems to occur when I least expect it. Generally if I’m just confirming a task or some such. But then other times she snarks when I’m NOT sharing every last thought I have! (ARGH!). And she literally NEVER starts even discussing the job in any sort of civil way until at least a good solid hour into the day. Most of the time it’s closer to two or three hours.

I mean, I’m not expecting either of us to be full of joy at brutally early morning hours (the only way to safely and quickly complete a good portion of the work day in the relative cool), and I’ve made it clear I’m not expecting “Chatty Kathy”.

Even so, this girl usually refuses to say much more than two or three words, ONLY if absolutely necessary (for example, faint weak pointing motion toward gas station, “stopping for gas”) and that in a very obvious “I’m miserable, this sucks” kind of tiny moan-y I-hate-the-world-I-can’t-possibly-be-expected-to-put-any-more-energy-into-any-decibels-than-for-them-to-make-it-two-inches-past-my-face voice, for anywhere from an hour to three hours into the work day.

And I can see 10 to 15 minutes on the way to the job site, drinking coffee and gearing up for the day, but isn’t it kind of odd for someone to need THAT much time to become reasonably civil and work-sociable? I’m thinking, God help her if she gets out on site with someone who’s not willing to put up with it. She claims this is the “just the way I am, I’m not changing for anyone”. If you were this girl’s husband or boyfriend would you put up with this?

Am I the unreasonable one? Should I be making sure I stay silent as the grave as well (when in Rome…). Is this normal? I say snark, immaturity, and lack of professional courtesy, what is your opinion dopers?

Yeesh, I can’t wait until we’re done.

It’s not you, it’s her. It’s too bad you have to work with such a witch. I would have had it out with her by now, and definitely would not let her bitchy remarks slide, but I’m not saying that’s necessarily the best approach, just that I have low tolerance for that kind of stuff. It may not do any good, but at least you wouldn’t feel like you were being abused.

Have you started at a new job?

I don’t talk to my coworker much because he turns almost any conversation into a monologue on politics, religion, or the latest conspiracy theory. So it’s pretty quiet in our office, and I kinda like it that way.

You’ve said a lot, but I’m not sure what your problem is other than that you think there’s a normal way for people to be and that this person isn’t being that kind of normal. That seems to annoy you because it’s fickle or bitchy from your point of view. That’s fine, but I guess I don’t really understand the problem. Is it normal for her to do that? Maybe, I don’t know. Is it normal for most people to do that? Maybe, I don’t know. It could be that she just doesn’t like you, or it could be that what she’s saying is right and that your asking her about it, or necessitating any kind of conversation about it, is just making her really annoyed. It could be that she’s just a bitch and that’s that.

Whatever the case, she talks if she feels like it. If she gives you shit for something that seems like an overreaction, you’re obviously free to call her out on it. It isn’t really your job to make sure she’s more sociable. Anyway, I’m not sure what else to say about this. Seems to me like a kind of non-issue. If she doesn’t want to talk, she doesn’t have to. If you don’t like that she doesn’t, well… whatever. I’m not sure what to say about that other than that you don’t like it. She’s basically right when she says that she doesn’t really need to change something that insignificant. If she’s not up, she’s not up. Now, if she’s not doing her job correctly then that’s a whole other bag of potatoes. If she is, but she’s bitchy and self-pitying, then whatever. You don’t have to like her just because you work with her, and you certainly don’t have to be her friend (or friendly). Get the stupid job done and get on with your life?

Normal, no. But not necessarily unreasonable. Is talking a requirement of the job? Because if the job is, say, data entry and the right data is getting entered into the right place at an appropriate speed, her lack of talking and the vibes she’s giving out don’t matter.
However, if her job requires long discussions with her co-workers, then she should be able to speak with them at least civilly by the time she gets to work.

Thanks! I was starting to feel as if I were Alice down the rabbit hole. I’ve told her a few times and made gentle hints regarding flies/honey/vinegar etc. a few other times. But as you say, it’s not practical or useful to get into a full blown “look honey, your work ethic blows” conversation with her. All she does is claim that it’s just me “internalizing my own issues”. Thank you, Dr. Freud. :rolleyes:

She’ll either learn, or she won’t and at some point, someone less tolerant than me is going to go off on her.

I haven’t started a new job, this coworker (thank goodness) is from a different district than mine. Our industry frequently takes us on jobs out in the field and this is my first one out of my own district. So I’m used to field jobs (over 20 years in the industry now), but I’ve honestly never met anyone quite like her.

I would have more (what’s the word?) respect, or something for her, if she were just out and out grouchy all of the time. Then I could just realize “well, she’s a bitch” but this is a bad habit and it’s clear she either doesn’t see it that way, or isn’t self-aware enough to realize how she’s sounding and acting, or both. She is young, and somewhat new to the industry, but she’s in her late 20s or just around 30, so it’s not as if she’s fresh off the assembly line or anything, she’s worked and has gone to college and so on. In fact, she was a teacher, so she HAS to know that this whole “I’m going to refuse to talk and hate the world for the first three hours I get up” thing doesn’t fly. What did she do, only teach in the afternoons?

Anyway, I guess I’m a bit of a Pollyanna, but my hope was that I could help her see the error of her ways and snap out of it, at least around me. (I know, I know, dream on). The job is over in approximately 3 days so WHEW! for that. :smiley:

Thanks for the commiseration all.

Yeah, it’s the kind of job where we need to be able to be discussing the day’s tasks and such, and throughout the day, not just when she’s “up for it”. In a consistent (and imho, professional snark-free) way. Just to be clear, it’s not that’s she’s quiet in the morning (though three hours to fully wake up?). As I said, she wants to be quiet when she wants to be quiet and then all of a sudden she’ll think of some task and get all snippy like “why didn’t you talk to me about ABC equipment?” for instance.

You can’t have it both ways, and I don’t have ESP as to when you’re “safe” and when you’re ready. Maybe you should be issuing memos or something.

Again, a lot of it is the way she’s quiet, I mean a person can tell when it’s just “they’re in their own little world” as opposed to “if I have to suffer, everyone has to suffer”. And people know when remarks are snotty as opposed to neutral. Things such as the bitchy remarks, the little disgusted sighs, the weak little “can’t. go. on.” voice, and so on. C’mon, that’s just plain immature and unprofessional. Not to mention illogical and useless. Does it make you feel less tired to act that way?

It’s entirely possible she doesn’t like me and that’s fine, but if so, don’t bother being friendly and chatty at other times, that’s hypocritical. I guess a lot of it’s the inconsistency (other than the constant morning misery, which IS every morning), of her snarkiness and little attitude attacks.

She’ll be all fine and dandy until the tiniest little thing happens and then she gets all snappy and pathetic. I mean, I’m almost twice her age, fat, out of shape and falling apart like a 1972 Pinto, and if I have the audacity to ask her a question when she’s a bit out of breath, she about snaps my head off (because I’m supposed to have ESP and know, with my back turned, that she just lifted something). YEESH woman, how is it a fat old woman can lift that, and still manage to breathe normally and act decent, and you can’t control yourself emotionally?

FTR, she’s quite slim (not scrawny though) and a vegetarian, so she should be whipping my ass. But yeah, a lot of you are right, I’m just chalking it up to one of those weird things.

Hoo, boy, let’s be grateful she’s no longer a teacher! I wonder if she left that field willingly.

Yeah, I’d have had it out with her already. I am NOT a morning person by any stretch, yet I worked mornings getting up and to work anywhere from 5am for over a decade. Took me another 5 years at the current job to get the schedule I want, and now my alarm clock is set for noon. I generally don’t get up before noon, and haven’t for several years now, except…

Occasionally our second location needs help in their spay/neuter clinic. Last April/May the clinic manager was fired with no plans in place for replacement. The only person who could cover his position was me. It’s an hour commute (rather than the 20 minutes for my regular job/location), and have to be there at 8am, which means I have to get up SIX hours earlier than normal, often having worked until midnight the night before. Not an easy task on four hours sleep. But I did it, and arrived with a smile on, because it’s not the fault of the rest of the people who work there. A couple times I cried in the shower (I really dislike the work itself, too, even though I’m perfectly qualified and capable of doing it), but managed to keep it together when it counted. Punishing your coworkers for what happens to be circumstance is just not an option. It was three weeks of really unhappy for me, since I still had to make sure the bare bones of my regular job were done, too. But taking it out on the people around me would have been extraordinarily childish and a total asshole thing to do. Business is business and we had appointments to keep and a clinic to run.

To little whiny bitch, all I would have to say is suck it up, buttercup. I can give attitude as much as you can. You really wanna go toe-to-toe with me? Knock it the fuck off.

Or maybe they won’t. Maybe it will come down someday to “Well, of the two equally qualified employees, I can promote (or not lay off) the one who stays civil and professional, or Ms. Snark. Hmm…” She should learn to be polite in her own self interest.

This (above) is the key.

Look, I don’t know you, and I don’t know your co-worker. And it’s completely irrelevant what her husband or boyfriend will or won’t put up with.

But the"just the way I am, I’m not changing for anyone" crap is nonsense. In the working world, we’ve all got to get along with our coworkers. We don’t have to like them, we don’t have to be their BFFs, but we have to be civil. And professional. And this “hey, I’ve gotta be me” stuff is just prima donna bullshit.

It’s not a non-issue. When asked a simple question, like which way to turn, “well, you’ve been by the sign that says our site name 1000 times” is not an appropriate answer in a work environment. It’s not necessary to be all chatty an friendly, but a simple yes or no isn’t that tough, right?

Back when I was supervising a bunch of people, this kind of attitude would not have flown. Not at all.