What would you do if you were me?

One of my coworkers (the one that likes to start trouble), found an e-mail on my bosses desk and read it. Turns out the e-mail was from my other coworker. She was asking for the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas off. The first coworker decided that this was unjust because I have more seniority and should have first pick at days off. So, she came and told me. Then, she made a copy of the e-mail and gave it to me :frowning:

Here’s my dilemma:

  1. I tell my boss that coworker 1 is snooping around on her desk. My boss confronts her. Coworker 1 now knows that I told on her.
    I don’t want this happening. Coworker 1 delights in making trouble for people. She’s always badmouthing my boss and coworker 2 - to me and anyone else who will listen. I don’t need this crap
  2. I request Christmas Eve off. My boss will know that I’ve seen the e-mail. I never ask for 1 day off this early. A week, yes. Not a day. With this, I have no choice but to tattle. Not only does coworker 1 get dealt with but now everyone thinks I’m a petty tattletale
  3. I report coworker 1 to Human Resources. This is just as undesirable because she will know I told and she’ll be a bitch to me and HR probably wouldn’t do anything anyway

Now, just so you know my boss is not coworker 1’s boss.

Also, I really don’t care about the stupid holidays. My family usually celebrates Christmas on the Eve but we can always do the day after. It’s not a big deal. Of course, it would have been nice if she asked me if I had plans first - just like I did before I put in for my vacation. It’s just common courtesy but it’s still not a big deal.

Normally I don’t care what my coworkers think of me. I’m here to do my job, not to make friends. But, I’m also trying not to get on anyone’s bad side. The last thing I need is for someone to be badmouthing me to anyone who’ll listen. I’ve been promoted 3 times in 3 years because of people thinking highly of me. I don’t want to have that reputation tarnished.
Now I’m in the middle of the petty crap that coworker 1 is always starting and I don’t know what to do. My boss isn’t comfortable with her already. I know she’d get really mad if I told her. I want to but I don’t the consequences for myself.

So, what would you do if you were in this situation?

  1. I would tell CW #1 (politely, I guess, since you don’t want to get on her bad side) to mind her own business. You don’t care about the holidays, and it’s not her place to worry about YOUR vacation days. If CW #2 asked for the days off first, that’s between her and the boss. Also, you feel that what’s on the boss’s desk isn’t anyone’s business but the boss’s.

Man, I’m glad I don’t have co-workers anymore!

Does your seniority, in fact, entitle you to first pick at days off? If not, then Coworker 2 has rightfully earned the first pick by asking first. In this case, the right thing to do is to ignore the email, request you vacation days at your customary time, take what you can get, and let Coworker 1 go and screw herself without your input.

If your seniority does entitle you to first pick, then your boss should come by and ask you before giving Christmas Eve to CW2, or should bump CW2 when you file your request at your customary time. Either way, you’ll be a bit of a hero to CW2 if you suck it up and let it go.

Scarlett67 - I already told her that I don’t care about the holidays. I didn’t tell her to mind her own business because I’ve learned to watch what I say to her. That kind of comment would put me on her bad side.
I know my boss would be mad if she knew that CW1 was snooping. I just don’t know how to tell her without CW1 knowing it was me who told. Normally, I’d just go tell my boss and be confident that she wouldn’t say anything about me. Unfortunately, my boss is slightly lacking in tact.
I’m seriously considering just keeping my mouth shut and remaining neutral like I always do.

Nametag - I’m not concerned with the holidays. I would have liked it if CW2 checked to see if I had unbreakable plans but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. If she had asked me first, I would have told her not to worry about it and I’d reschedule my family stuff to the day after Christmas. I don’t care much for the whole “I have seniority” thing. I’ve only been here 6 months longer than CW2 has and most of that time was in a different department. I have seniority with the company but she has it in this department. In my mind, we’re equal. I just always make a point to make sure my coworkers don’t have plans before I ask for time off. It’s not required. It would be nice if everyone did it but I not going to hold my breath.

The only reason I even mentioned the holiday thing is because that is how CW1 brought to my attention the fact that she was reading my boss’ e-mail. I’m more concerned with the fact that CW1 was reading stuff on my boss’ desk. My boss isn’t even here today so there’s no way that she knows CW1 saw the e-mail.

I know this is kind of underhanded and devious, but is there any way you can let it slip to someone other than CW1, CW2 or your boss that you suspect CW1 of snooping in the boss’s office, and hope that it will get back to your boss? If you make it casual, and don’t mention what the snooping turned up, it will seem less like “tattling”, more like a legitimate concern that she might be snooping on anyone’s desk (which could be true).

Co-worker #1 did some very bad things.

a) she violated your bosses privacy.
b) she violated the security of the company. (how would you feel knowing co-worker #1 was looking at your salary information or a past review, or any other thing that’s none of her business)
c) she tried to anger you into fighting with someone else for her own amusement, like a kid who puts two bugs in a jar hoping one will kill the other)

Co-worker #1 is untrustworthy and a jerk.

Personally, I’d tell co-worker #1 that she did a bad thing, and that she’s put you in a position where you have no choice but to tell your boss that her privacy (and your companys security) was violated. Then I’d do it.

If this isn’t something you’re comfortable doing, at least tell your boss so she can lock up her computer when she’s gone.

I’m glad to see my last post went through. My work computer tried to commit suicide right after I hit submit.

Bill H. - The e-mail wasn’t in the computer. It was a printout on the desk. I know CW1 is sleazy but I don’t think she’s so far gone that she’d snoop in someone’s computer. I would love it if I had the courage to do what you suggested but I’m a coward. I hate confrontation. I can’t stand having people mad at me or being involved in investigations of any kind. I’m sure that if I said anything, there would be an investigation.

h.sapiens - I think I did this without even knowing it. I was talking to one of people from my last department. She also happens to be one of my best friends. I didn’t even realize it until I read your last post but I was hoping she’d say something. I remembered too late that I told her in the smoking room. We have an unwritten rule that anything that is said in the smoking room is private and doesn’t leave. :smack:
She’ll assume I told her there because I didn’t want her to say anything.

Strangely enough, I’m not really concerned anymore. I went to my first Yoga class last night. During our cool down, I was just lying there with an herbal pack on my face for about 10 minutes. I had time to relax and think about it. I came to realize that my boss knows CW1 is snooping. She’s mentioned it before. I just forgot because I was so frustrated that I didn’t think about it. Since I’ve remembered that, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to tell her - because she already knows.
I’m not going to say anthing to my boss or CW2 about the holidays because I don’t care.
It’s amazing how a little bit of uninterupted relaxation can clear your mind so you see the bigger picture. I would recommend it. It also makes me wonder how many confrontations could be avoided it people would just relax and think things through.

Sounds to me a little like the co-worker is shit-stirring by proxy.

If it were me (and depending on the circumstances), I’d probably:

-Hand the copy email back right away (you don’t want it to be found in your posession), make sure that you say something like “You gave me this, but I do not want it”.
-Tell the co-worker that while you appreciate the concern, they have acted improperly and put you in an awkward and potentially risky position.
-I may or may not report this first incident (you have to make the choice yourself), but I would certainly tell the co-worker that repeat performances will be reported.