Dealing with a difficult co worker, need advice !!!

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Joined Oct 23, 2013
         going to make this as short and sweet as possible. How do you deal with a difficult co worker, both as a regular cook or even as a head chef?

         I struggled in the very beginning of my new job but now im doing extremely well, but now im faced with the problem of having to work very closely with someone who does not work well with others. To me she doesnt seem to handle stress very well, as she turns into a B**** when having to deal with stressful situations. She is almost impossible to communicate with, without her freaking out or getting an attitude. She doesnt want help, as she thinks she can do everything herself, but god forbid you ask her for help or she will talk down to you with disrespect. She does not come off as a person i can see myself pulling aside and trying to solve our indifferences, as i think that will make things worse. 

          This is someone who has been pulled aside already for her behavior, as well as apparently crying on her second day of training. I really have no clue how to handle this situation, i really love this job, and worked my butt off to get it, but i really dont want to have to work with someone who isnt a team player and has a serious lack of communication skills. 

          I hate having to go to higher ups and complaining about the people i work with, but its becoming unbearable at this point. What would be your advice for this kind of situation? 
 
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4,701
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
I don't let their problems become my problems. I can do nothing about their problems. I can do something about my problems, but I am not accepting any new problems at this time.

I focus on doing my job to the best of my abilities.
 
2,186
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
The four agreements.

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don't take anything personally.

3. Don't make assumptions. 

4. Always do your best. 

    As trite as these may sound, I have found these four guidelines to be immensely helpful when dealing with bad coworkers. 

As ChefLayne pointed out, keep focused on your own problems. You can be sure that you are not the only one who recognizes her behavior so you don't need to point it out to anyone. Just keep doing your job well and get through the day the best you can. 
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
 
I don't let their problems become my problems. I can do nothing about their problems. I can do something about my problems, but I am not accepting any new problems at this time.

I focus on doing my job to the best of my abilities.
 
The four agreements.

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don't take anything personally.

3. Don't make assumptions. 

4. Always do your best. 

    As trite as these may sound, I have found these four guidelines to be immensely helpful when dealing with bad coworkers. 

As ChefLayne pointed out, keep focused on your own problems. You can be sure that you are not the only one who recognizes her behavior so you don't need to point it out to anyone. Just keep doing your job well and get through the day the best you can. 
yes i do understand both of these, so thank you. But her behavior is affecting my quality of work, like i literally cant do anything without her intervening onto my hard work with her rudeness/attitude. I just dont know how to work around this problem at this point. 
 
3,991
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I've been in your shoes several times. It's not easy... I know!

There are two basic options: (1) find a better work environment and (2) be patient and wait until that person sinks their own ship. Going to management with a complaint is what all HR/management folks say to do... but I find that to be just lip service. HR/management doesn't want to deal with that person either and probably won't. They are likely waiting for option #2 to happen... which is ironic since they can make it so if the situation is affecting their corporate environment and/or bottom line.

Suggest when that person is rude... politely ask that the comment be repeated and re-phrased. Act stupid and say you didn't understand. Sometimes when rude people hear themselves a second time they can hear the rudeness. I did that to someone so often that they started speaking real slow and real loud... thought I was retarded and hard-of-hearing. But when others could start hearing the abusiveness it stopped.
 
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You do the best you can. She intervenes. You continue on doing the best you can with the situation as presented to you with her intervention. If the results of the interaction effects quality of the business, management will either recognize the issue or they won't.

If they recognize the issue they will deal with it in a constructive or destructive manner. If they deal with the issue in a constructive manner, all well and good. If they deal with it in a destructive manner. You do the best you can with the situation that you are presented with.

If management doesn't recognize the issue, you do the best with the situation that you are presented, etc. etc. etc...There is no cut and paste solution.

Do your job and hope management does theirs.

You aren't going to enlighten her and you aren't going to enlighten management. They either are or they aren't.
 
2,186
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
     I will add this. With only one or two brief exceptions, every job I have ever had has had a coworker, supervisor or employee who was a pain and a problem. This did not change even when working with my family. I'm having the same problem right now at my current job. 

      I keep wondering when I will find a job with fellow humans who enjoy the work, carry their baggage single handedly, communicate well and show respect for everyone. So far this job has eluded me.

     As a business owner, I know I get to set the atmosphere in the workplace but that doesn't mean I won't unintentionally hire someone who doesn't fit in. I will get rid of them as soon as possible but until I am able to do so I have to put up with their bs. 

    As an employee, I follow the four agreements just to make sure I'm not the one poisoning the atmosphere. 

     Answers to these problems depend on the situation. Sometimes they quit. Sometimes I quit. Sometimes a direct response works best, sometimes management intervenes, other times the employee overcomes themselves and gets it together. Sometimes I just learn how to adjust. 

     So all we can really do is offer some moral support and general suggestions. We all know how much it sucks having to go to work every day with a problematic coworker. Unfortunately, if it isn't this one, it will be someone else some day.

Best of luck.  
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
 
     I will add this. With only one or two brief exceptions, every job I have ever had has had a coworker, supervisor or employee who was a pain and a problem. This did not change even when working with my family. I'm having the same problem right now at my current job. 

      I keep wondering when I will find a job with fellow humans who enjoy the work, carry their baggage single handedly, communicate well and show respect for everyone. So far this job has eluded me.

     As a business owner, I know I get to set the atmosphere in the workplace but that doesn't mean I won't unintentionally hire someone who doesn't fit in. I will get rid of them as soon as possible but until I am able to do so I have to put up with their bs. 

    As an employee, I follow the four agreements just to make sure I'm not the one poisoning the atmosphere. 

     Answers to these problems depend on the situation. Sometimes they quit. Sometimes I quit. Sometimes a direct response works best, sometimes management intervenes, other times the employee overcomes themselves and gets it together. Sometimes I just learn how to adjust. 

     So all we can really do is offer some moral support and general suggestions. We all know how much it sucks having to go to work every day with a problematic coworker. Unfortunately, if it isn't this one, it will be someone else some day.

Best of luck.  
so i should learn to adjust to having to work with someone who has zero respect for their fellow coworkers, and that their poor attitude should just be put up with instead of fixed.... i just cant see that getting me very far. I can say right now quitting this job is NOT an option im going to take,  since i had to work hard as heck just to get it, and i do actually really enjoy it when working with the right people. 

im just hoping that since they have noticed her poor behavior before they will notice it again and fix the problem hopefully soon. I plan on giving it a week, before i actually step up and say anything about it. I take work very seriously because its what i love to do and i dont take to kindly to fact that a sour co worker is trying to screw with my hard work ethic. 
 
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Joined May 7, 2012
so i should learn to adjust to having to work with someone who has zero respect for their fellow coworkers, and that their poor attitude should just be put up with instead of fixed.... i just cant see that getting me very far. I can say right now quitting this job is NOT an option im going to take,  since i had to work hard as heck just to get it, and i do actually really enjoy it when working with the right people. 
im just hoping that since they have noticed her poor behavior before they will notice it again and fix the problem hopefully soon. I plan on giving it a week, before i actually step up and say anything about it. I take work very seriously because its what i love to do and i dont take to kindly to fact that a sour co worker is trying to screw with my hard work ethic. 
this person has been present at every job I've ever had. You deal with it and move on with your day.
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Take a bit of your spare time and watch the kids movie Rattitooey. I find it not only relaxes me but gives good advise in how to deal with difficult co-workers.  Seems quite apropos to your situation!
 
856
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Joined May 14, 2014
Your other option is to tell her to eff off, how effective is that going to be? How does she interfere with your work?
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
Your other option is to tell her to eff off, how effective is that going to be? How does she interfere with your work?
telling her that would only get me fired. they dont deal with foul language at my work. she doesnt take well to delegating certain tasks, she basically wants to do it all herself. i tried to break down our station to make it easier where as she did 4 menu items and i did the other 4 and then we would both do desserts.(we have about 8 salads we are responsible for, plus 6 desserts)  She didnt like that idea at all, and her response was basically we will figure it out as we go. Well about 20 minutes into getting hit hard with orders she begins to order me around like im her B****, constantly taking things out of my hands and stepping into my way in order to try and take over. i constantly had to tell her i was good and that "i got this" and her response was to freak out and kept telling me to stop......

now im not an idiot i know my station pretty damn well, so im not taking to well to the fact that this girl has no respect for the three other people who are suppose to work along with her and work together. ( im not the only one who has talked about her poor behavior, im about the third person at this point) i definitely think certain people are taking note of her behavior but no one has really pulled her aside and told her to get rid of whatever attitude she has with the rest of us and do better or get the eff out. 

im stuck working with this chick for 5 days, so im just dreading having to deal with this when my "weekend" is over with. 
 
856
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Joined May 14, 2014
Do you really need two people on your pantry station? What kind of volume are you doing?
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
Do you really need two people on your pantry station? What kind of volume are you doing?
i dont make that decision, so i cant really say. we are a brand new restaurant located in the heart of all the amusement parks of orlando. On the first day of soft opening we had over a couple thousand on just the first day. So its pretty packed, and thats just when its open for half a day, so i can imagine it being a lot more when we go to regular hours. 

im not gonna lie ive done a lot of pantry station jobs, and the setup of this one is pretty "special", its basically split into two different sections, and the desserts are having to go through the dish area and into a cooler, as well we are responsible for grilling and searing our own ahi tuna, chicken and ribeye steaks that we use for some of our salads. It really isnt the greatest setup in all honesty. Which is probably why they have two people on it. 
 
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I have worked with and hired people like this.  Most of the time these type of people are starved for praise and attention. I have been successful with a few things. Say yes to everything she asks. If she wants to be a mentor, then let her. Praise her for things. Ask many questions about a task she has given you, even if you know the answer. When she turns into a bitch, make a point of asking what you can do for her to make her feel better. It's kind of a nice word to let her know she is acting bitchy. 

It takes a lot of energy for someone to be like that. She will eventually come around and become normal. No Reaction!!! to anything she does bitchy. Some thrive on that. Praise might be her trigger.

Some need to make someone feel inadequate to reaffirm themselves. good luck
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
 
I have worked with and hired people like this.  Most of the time these type of people are starved for praise and attention. I have been successful with a few things. Say yes to everything she asks. If she wants to be a mentor, then let her. Praise her for things. Ask many questions about a task she has given you, even if you know the answer. When she turns into a bitch, make a point of asking what you can do for her to make her feel better. It's kind of a nice word to let her know she is acting bitchy. 

It takes a lot of energy for someone to be like that. She will eventually come around and become normal. No Reaction!!! to anything she does bitchy. Some thrive on that. Praise might be her trigger.

Some need to make someone feel inadequate to reaffirm themselves. good luck
no offense but i dont believe in praising people for poor behavior, i dont think this girl wants to be a mentor since she hates when you ask her anything. My plan is to try hard to ignore her rude behavior. I just cant wrap my head around the way she acts towards people, like this girl cant be that dumb thinking that she wasnt gonna have to work together with other people for this job to work, then again maybe she's completely naive to her own behavior and thinks its ok. Like if your not a people person, then maybe you shouldnt be in a job where you HAVE to work with other people, apparently its a hard concept for some people to understand. 

ill give her three days, maybe five if i can stand it. But then im going to my boss and saying something. 
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
For whatever reason, she may feel threatened by you (or our very existence at "her" station).

Her hormones may be "temporarily off balance" and need a bit of time to re-adjust. It happens... sometimes more pronounced in some women than in others.

Alternatively... she may like you and have a secret crush on you.
 
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Joined May 14, 2014
Rather than split up dishes split up areas, i.e. one does all the grilling and salads & one does desserts and whatever. Then be firm with her when she gets in your area. Don't help her and let her know she isn't welcome. She doesn't care if you like her so reciprocate without being a dick for no reason. Wait it out without causing problems as stated sbove.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
 
 
I have worked with and hired people like this.  Most of the time these type of people are starved for praise and attention. I have been successful with a few things. Say yes to everything she asks. If she wants to be a mentor, then let her. Praise her for things. Ask many questions about a task she has given you, even if you know the answer. When she turns into a bitch, make a point of asking what you can do for her to make her feel better. It's kind of a nice word to let her know she is acting bitchy. 

It takes a lot of energy for someone to be like that. She will eventually come around and become normal. No Reaction!!! to anything she does bitchy. Some thrive on that. Praise might be her trigger.

Some need to make someone feel inadequate to reaffirm themselves. good luck
no offense but i don't believe in praising people for poor behavior, i dont think this girl wants to be a mentor since she hates when you ask her anything. My plan is to try hard to ignore her rude behavior. I just cant wrap my head around the way she acts towards people, like this girl cant be that dumb thinking that she wasnt gonna have to work together with other people for this job to work, then again maybe she's completely naive to her own behavior and thinks its ok. Like if your not a people person, then maybe you shouldnt be in a job where you HAVE to work with other people, apparently its a hard concept for some people to understand. 

ill give her three days, maybe five if i can stand it. But then im going to my boss and saying something. 
Well I don't think I said praise her behavior or personality. As for her behavior, I think I mentioned how to let her know she is not acting properly by offering to help her feel better and less frustrated. Just keep in mind, this person is probably just as upset with your behavior, right or wrong, as you are with her. Be prepared to to confront her when you drop a dime. Have all you ammunition at the ready. She will probably confront you on performance. I would try to redirect all allegations back to her behavior. A manager will usually react to performance before behavior when you're doing big numbers.

Just tryin to help. 1 cents
 
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Joined Sep 5, 2012
For whatever reason, she may feel threatened by you (or our very existence at "her" station).

Her hormones may be "temporarily off balance" and need a bit of time to re-adjust. It happens... sometimes more pronounced in some women than in others.

Alternatively... she may like you and have a secret crush on you.
 

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