On liars

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I don’t like liars.

I know, not exactly a profund or unique stance, but I guess it gets to me when someone I know and like lies right to my face.  Damn.  It just totally bugs.

Bess and I have worked in the same office for a few years now.  Until about a year ago, we were just acquaintances, really.  We didn’t share any projects so our conversations were mostly just small talk.  I thought she was a pleasant enough girl, though she always struck me as somewhat immature.

When she was initially hired, she had her own application to support and keep her busy.  But, like a lot of other applications, hers was soon replaced and she was left without a whole lot of work to do.  Our boss then started sticking her on my projects as a “back up”.  Fine, great.  Everyone can use a back up.  If it meant my boss would feel more comfortable OKing my vacation requests, I was all for it. 

When she started working with me, we were in the middle of a big deployment which was on a very tight timeline.  It was not a good time to get someone completely up to speed, but she helped where she could.  However, I did start to notice that she had a big tendency to plead ignorance whenever faced with a more complex task that required a little brain power or asking others for some guidance.  But, I felt some responsibility for that since I hadn’t taken the time to train her thoroughly. Besides, I had started to like her personally and she was fun to hang out with.  And I can’t say that for many others in my department.

Once all the drama of deployment had died down there was time to get her up to speed.  However, whenever I would ask if she wanted to review some functions, she said she was busy helping someone else of their project.  OK, fine.  No problem.  No rush.  Wanna go to lunch?  She was always available for a long lunch.

A few months later, my manager gave her a chunk of my work and informed me that she was the lead.  I told my manager I didn’t think it was a good idea as that was one of the more complex projects and she simply did not have the experience, nor from what I could tell, the interest.  Yet, he persisted.  This would be my “big opportunity” to mentor Bess.  Gee, thanks.  But frankly, I was pissed.  I was looking forward to that project because I knew that the complexity would be a challenge.  Besides, I had been the lead on it for years, and was regarded as the expert.  But, OK, sure,   It’s just work.  I got over the blow to my ego.

Bess was told she was now in charge and that I was available to train, mentor, help, etc.  Again, I tried to set up some working sessions, but she was always busy with something else.  OK, no problem.  I understand the impulse to try and muddle through something on your own. Maybe that is just how she works.  After a while I stopped checking because I knew she wasn’t going to bite. 

As the time ticked down towards the deployment, Bess still had not done anything.  My boss told me I needed to try harder to mentor her. What the . . .?  I told him he needed to do his job since she wasn’t listening to me.  But all his attempts to manage her had failed, just as my attempts to mentor failed, so he finally told me just to finish the damn project.  For the next three weeks I busted my hump to finish a project she had been given three months to do.  And I did, because I’m good like that. 

I had assumed, as had everyone else, that the lead position was back in my hands.  Wrong.  When it came time for revisions, my manager told me that Bess was the lead and that I needed to once again “mentor” her.  Sigh.  So, for the last few weeks it’s been the same old game.  She’s always busy when I’m available to help, and will never ask me for help without prompting.  Yet, I still liked her for some reason.  That was until yesterday.

Another colleague, for whom Bess was supposedly doing work, told me that Bess hadn’t been doing any work for her for a while, and as far as she knew, no one else was giving her work.  Oh?  Then what has she been working on?  “Oh, didn’t you know?  Bess lies.  Bess lies a lot.  I’ve caught her in all kinds of lies.”  I didn’t want to believe she had been lying to me all this time, but it did explain quite a few things.

If I had any doubts, this morning they have disappeared.  The project manager, who had her own concerns about working with Bess, sent me a copy of an email where Bess said her revisions were just about done with the note to me “is this true?”.   And no, no it is not true.  Not even close to true.  The girl is a liar, an unmitigated liar. 

I’m not bailing her out this time.  If my manager asks me to again, I will be honest with him about her dishonesty.  I’m not going to be used again.

I don’t like liars.  

 

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22 responses »

  1. seam like thairs alotta leak pontoons around hear lately ~ so it aint all wayz kind to be nice eh ? now perhaps therez a bitto distance between puttin down the bailin bucket an climbin up inner grill but may bee itz sorta the same thing in long run ?

    tellin it like itiz is gonna kawz sum body a whirled of pain and not tellinitz gonna due the same rite ?

    sew ~ watts best seems to come back agin to motor vayshun yes ?

  2. I remember Politically Incorrect (remember) and a Clinton on Clinton comment (thatz George on Bill ~ bring on the funk) wear he opined on the trubling die-velop-mints of the then sitting Pres (an eye think he was mostly ina sittin poe zishun) “Lyin and sex go together” sew maybe sum thinz missin in yer present poe zishun?

    put down the palin bucket !

  3. I’ve been hitting some similar challenges lately. Indeed, I got a discplinary warning a month ago – and all of it snowballling because of politics and lies that extend back two years. My initial reaction was to hint at legal action, which had everyone backing off in a mighty hurry, with shock expressions. I have surprised quite a few people, including the CEO, who all thought I would take it lying down. The fact is, I’m also damn good at my job. So they’ve backtracked real fast because this kind of conflict is a losing situation for the company in every way. But in the office, some people have pathological tendencies towards intrigue and self interest.

    Anyway, I do realise that only dharma can really help me here. And it’s because I’ve not been applying my lojong practice at work lately that things have developed to the point they have.

  4. tpgoddess – yes, I fear the archetype is pretty recognizable to anyone who has worked in an office . . . oh hell, who has worked in general.

    BB Golly Monkee – The anger I’m feeling about this situation is more of a low boil versus a sudden wildfire. I think I can handle this one a bit more effectively than just getting up in her grill and screaming.

    While she may interpret my future actions as bitchy, I see them as more wrathful. She really does need to learn this lesson that a) she has to take responsibility for that which has she been given responsibility and b) liars get caught. Bailing her out is not a kindness. Once I bail that joint, who is there to bail her out? So, as always I will be there for questions and advice, but I am not going to do her work for her. And yes, she will probably fuss and act like a victim, and she will probably cry. Oh well. Too bad, so sad.

    Being an aspiring Bodhisattva doesn’t mean you’re a doormat.

    WJ – Geez, it sounds like you and I worked in the same office at one time. A few years back a co-worker was telling lies about me. And rather than being appeased with “oh, you know she’s kind of troubled. Just ignore it.” I also made vague legal threats, and they got to the bottom of it right quick. People were held accountable, and apologies were made to me.

    I think the dharma practice does help in sorting out what is the right thing to do versus what feels good (revenge, glorious revenge).

  5. Being an aspiring Bodhisattva doesn’t mean you’re a doormat.

    You said a mouthful, there.

    It’s not a kindness to allow someone to persist in their inability to take responsibility for themselves. Sure, she’ll suffer … but she’s the author of her own pain, as indeed we all are. Maybe she’ll learn that it’s less painful in the long run to do her *&%%!! job properly.

  6. I’ve had this experience as well. The most frustrating part was having management triangulate on the problem by trying to get me or some other employee to fix it (with no actual authority to do so) rather than actually manage.

    I posted something in my own blog a few days ago about getting a new, alcoholic department head who recruited other heavy drinkers as employees, then leaned on the rest of us to take up the slack and made it clear she considered us, not the hung over employees sleeping on couches in the break rooms, as the root of the problem.

    It kind of sounds like you’re in a ‘sick’ workplace — that is, one where agendas are driven by ‘under the table’ stuff rather than the stated objectives.

  7. “Being an aspiring Bodhisattva doesn’t mean you’re a doormat.”

    rite on gurlfriend ~ unless of course itz four the benny fit of all.

    “I think the dharma practice does help in sorting out what is the right thing to do versus what feels good (revenge, glorious revenge)”

    sew we can supper-rate feelings from motor vation then ? thatz watt eye think . . .

  8. There is something about a lie, especially when it affects you directly, that just grates and chafes. My personal opinion: if you lie and you get caught you get whats coming to you. I would imagine that “whats coming” is a broad term and define any number of consequences. So let her be bitchy, let her cry, let her be a victim.

    She gets whats coming to her (does that sound to vengeful?)

  9. a little ~ but wrath ther than “what’s coming to her” how about = what she’s created ?

    Her lie is LB’s karma no ?

  10. yup butt ~ it’d bee all hour karma if it a pears 2 our minds – sew wear doez that leaf us in relay shunship to those lyin s o beeez ?

  11. Baron – Yup. Even though she may believe that by lying she is getting something for herself, the truth of the matter, she’s creating a bad situation for herself and others. Like the kid who only learns that the stove is hot by burning himself, she’s going to have to learn that lying doesn’t pay by basically getting caught.

    mccarp – Thanks for dropping by. 🙂 I have no doubt, in the end, I may end up having to fix the problem. But, that will only after my manager asks me to, and the whole situation has been explained to him. I will do it because I have to, not out of a desire to get her out of bad spot.

    It is sad because she has been able to get away with murder and there have been no consequences for her. But, after I have spoken my truth, I have to let it go. I’m not her manager, and our manager knows my opinion about the whole thing. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a “sick” environment. I’ve been in those (and one very similar to the story you told on your site) and this isn’t really the same. The manager is inexperienced, and is afraid of losing staff, lest it give manager the impression that his team is not productive.

    BB Golly – Hmmm. Separate feelings from motivations? Interesting question. I think that two different motivation – revenge/teaching her a lesson for her own good – can have the same result. But, I wouldn’t say those motivations feel the same. Revenge is pretty red hot, whereas teaching her a lesson for her own good is much cooler, more detached.

    Adam – Yeah, it does bug. And it’s kind of funny. She has told me that she was slacking on someone else’s project and I was less than outraged. “Oh, that Bess.” But, when it happens to me? And she lies? And I considered her a friend? I kinda felt my heart slam shut. I don’t hate her, but I don’t trust her. And it’s hard to keep your heart open to someone you don’t trust.

    BB Golly – Right. She’s created the causes to experience the suffering that is coming from lying. I created the cause to be lied to. So, I accept the suffering from being lied to, and not create further causes by not lying to others.

  12. sa~weeeet

    “it’s hard to keep your heart open to someone you don’t trust.”

    too tru ~ can we keep our heart open and knot trust them ? eye no thatz a wired concept but seems like to only work able alternative ? ?

  13. BB Golly – Keeping our hearts open even to those we don’t trust is most definitely a challenge, but if we’re going to follow the Boddhisattva’s path, it’s something we need to learn to do.

    Stevo – Yes, welcome to corporate culture. In my 10 years with the company I can’t honestly recall seeing anyone get canned. It’s reassuring in some ways, but it’s also hella annoying in others.

  14. okey dokey then ~ sew seems to me the die stinction we’re looking for here is between being loving and compassionate while at the same time recognizing the potential for harm.

    We can trust that we hue man beans are off ton gonna fall prey to our die lussions ~ n without dharma the chances go up expo-tentionally eh?

    Seams two me if we take this approach we can be both open and protected in ternally and x. yes ?

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