Behind Closed Doors
When she was hired she knew the job was under her capabilities. She insisted that being part of a large stable company was enough. I assured her that with time she could transfer to a position more suitable to her abilities. There would be no growth in our department, I explained. She accepted.
Over the following months, I’d work with her to give her more “interesting” work on her request. On a few occasions I would get to the office a little earlier – I was always late – to find her behind closed doors with the Manager.
Those conversations were never disclosed with me. In spite of knowing I had done nothing wrong, they unsettled me. At around the time of her meetings, she became disrespectful and would raise her voice at me.
One day, I was called to answer her complaints. Basically, I was overworking her giving her my work. She blamed all her mistakes on others and stated there were a number of things she claimed she could do better than I.
Her claims were easily crashed. Not only I had an impeccable reputation, but she was not well liked, I was. More than one person offered their appreciation of the situation plus I had documented by email to Senior Management to whom I reported the times when she had asked for more work.
When it was time for her evaluation, I went against Management advice. Rather than giving her a substandard grade, I concentrated on her good qualities; she was a smart woman who produced good work. I also asked her to have lunch with me.
During lunch I offered her a clean slate and a proposition. Easy, I felt. “When something goes wrong admit your mistake and I will back you up all the way. But if you try to fight me, if you lie behind my back, I will work just as hard to prove you wrong”.
She said it was fair.
She didn’t last very long in my department. She moved to another where quickly she fostered a bad relationship with her coworkers and was soon dismissed.
I recently saw her in a crowd. She has indeed moved up.
There are people who will base their success on lies and backstabbing. Sadly, sometimes that strategy works better than hard work. If the end justifies the means, there is no remorse in their actions.
I could have nailed her in her evaluation, but chose not to. I still feel good about my decision just like she feels good about her actions.