my coworker trained me and now won’t stop telling me how to do my job

A reader writes:

I’m having some difficulty understanding my role in my organization and I’m not sure how to address it. I’m working in a field where it’s expected that you get on with your work with a pretty high degree of autonomy. I know what my tasks are, but there is some judgment that needs to be exercised in determining the timing of certain repeating tasks. I’ve worked in this field for 10 years, but I’m new to this particular employer, only about six months.

My facility is small, and only has three of us performing all of the department’s functions. In bigger facilities it was more of a task hopper, where everyone grabbed what needed to be done as it needed to be done, but this smaller one has tasks divided up pretty cleanly among all of us.

Before I came, however, there was one guy, Bran, who was doing it all — and to be sure, a lot was getting left undone because they were so short staffed, but as more staff has come on board, tasks have been redistributed. I was a recent addition and I have a set of tasks, but they’re all ones that Bran was doing up until recently, and he has very specific ideas on how they should be done, even if it’s a matter of opinion and not procedural necessity.

I’ve learned my role and taken his input in stride, made changes to my tasks, and done well. But I’m struggling now because he’s not letting go, and still making decisions as if he were performing all of the tasks. He decides schedules for the day or week and dictates it to myself and the other employee, when he isn’t involved in the process at all otherwise. On days he’s gone, we determine for ourselves what needs to be done, but frequently he takes issue with some decision that isn’t what he would have done. It’s very frustrating to not be given the autonomy I’m used to and should be able to expect, but I’m not sure how to take over the tasks without him digging in and retaliating. He’s very resistant to change, and he views any deviance from The Way He Wants It Done as proof of incompetence, even if it’s a very fluid decision that could be performed in several different ways.

He’s also taken to pulling me aside and telling me directly that I’ve done something wrong. As I learned, I tried to take this in stride and gracefully accept the feedback, but I’m finding more and more that it’s not about an error on my part as much as it is his personal preference for the task — and any attempts to explain my thought process is waved off and viewed as “making excuses.”

This guy is my peer, he is not my manager, and as far as I know my manager hasn’t asked him to manage me at all. I’m quickly coming to a boiling point with this issue, and I want him to stop it, but can’t figure out a way to address this without seeming like a brat. Autonomy is something I highly value at my job, and if this is the long-term plan, it’s not going to work — not for me and not for most other experienced employees who would follow. I can’t imagine most people would find it acceptable to be pulled into an empty office to be lectured by their coworker like this, but I’m at a loss. I was going to wait it out until he moves into another role projected about a year from now, but I found out recently that he won’t be moving to another office area for this role and will still be right in the thick of things, and I’m sure he’ll still be dictating everything unreasonably.

It’s possible that Bran thinks he’s supposed to be doing this — that he interpreted your manager telling him to train new coworkers as “lead their work forever,” or that he’s not good at recognizing that you can be left on your own now. Or it’s possible that he’s just a controlling blowhard, who knows.

I’d start by telling him directly that you’re at the point where you’re ready to work autonomously. For example: “I think I’ve got this, and I’d prefer to work more autonomously from here on. I’m at the point where I’d like to figure out my own schedule for the day and handle my work on my own. Has Jane (or whatever your manager’s name is) said we shouldn’t do that?”

If he pushes back, don’t bother getting into it with him. At that point, just say, “Hmmm, well, I’ll talk to Jane and see what we can figure out.”

Then go to talk to your manager. Say something like this: “I want to check with you to make sure my understanding of my role is correct. I’d like to be able to figure out my own work for the day, and make my own decisions about how to get my work done. I’m finding that Bran wants to direct what I do and when and that he takes issue with it if I don’t do something the way he would, even when it could be done well several different ways. [Insert particularly egregious example here.] I want to be sure that you haven’t asked him to manage me, and that my understanding of my role and my autonomy is correct.”

Assuming that you hear that she has not in fact asked Bran to manage you, say this: “Okay, that’s what I thought. I’m going to be more assertive about setting boundaries when he tries to direct my work, but would it make sense for you to make sure he knows that’s how you want it to work? In the past when I’ve pushed back, he’s dug in and even lectured me.”

If you have a good manager, she should talk to Bran and set him straight. If you have a conflict-avoidant boss, she may leave it to you to work out among yourselves.

If it’s the latter, you’ll need to say this to Bran: “I talked with Jane, and she was clear that I should be managing my own work. So from this point forward, I’m going to figure this stuff out on my own, and I’ll check with her if I have a question.”

If he insists he should stay involved, say this: “That’s different than what Jane told me, so it sounds like you should talk with her.”

Then, if he keeps trying to manage you in the future, just calmly and matter-of-factly tell him no. Use language like this:
* “Thanks, but I’ve got this.”
* “I’ve already set my priorities for the day — I’m good.”
* “This is the kind of thing I talked with Jane about and am handling on my own.”
* “Oh, I’m not looking for input on this. I prefer to handle this on my own.”
* “Yeah, I get that there are other ways to handle this, but I had a bunch of reasons for doing it this way.” (Followed by, if necessary, “My understanding is that it’s in my purview to decide how to get this done.”)

If he starts asking you questions about your work, say this: “I have it covered. Why do you ask?” Say this in a confused tone, like you’re confused and mildly concerned about why he’s asking, to reinforce that you don’t consider it an appropriate query from him.

You may need to talk to your manager a second time if this doesn’t work. Worst case scenario, it could come out that your manager actually does want Bran doing this stuff, or at least isn’t prepared to stop him — but if that’s the case, it’s better to know that sooner rather than later. More likely, if you stop accommodating Bran’s pushiness, he’ll either back off on his own or complain to your manager and end up getting set straight. But whatever the outcome, you want to start setting these sorts of boundaries so that it pushes the issue to the surface so that you can get some sort of resolution.

{ 139 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. I GOTS TO KNOW!

    This would drive me absolutely batty. Please talk to your manager to get clarification ASAP. You are just gonna fill with rage until you do.

    Reply
    1. Infinity Anon

      Yep. The manager can either step in with the coworker to tell them to cut it out or the OP might find out that the coworker does have a supervisor role.

      Reply
      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!

        Exactly, and OP can (hopefully) adjust to the correction if she knows he has standing to make it, and be more confident in pushing back if she finds out he doesn’t.

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        1. Steve

          Agree, I would totally talk to the manager first, not last. OP needs clarification about what things need to be done the way Bran says (for reasons OP doesn’t know yet, being only 6 months in) and what things are in their authority to do their own way. Pushing back against Bran without that knowledge is just going to add friction and waste time. And furthermore, it sounds like OP has already tried that and all they got for their effort was a lecture from Bran.

          Reply
  2. Hmmmmm

    Something that I always find interesting is the difference between procedure, convention, and preference. Moreover, the differences and how people often get them confused in the workplace. I wonder how long Bran has been working in his role. I’m wondering more if he has ever done it anywhere else…or even if he has ever worked anywhere else. He might genuinely be mistaking preference or convention for procedure because he has never seen it done any other way. It might not even be his preference. This is just how he was trained to do it by someone else and now he’s passing on the bad habits because he genuinely believes they are procedure or policy.

    Reply
    1. Koko

      This is one of the things I’m very conscious of as a manager. When I got my first report t was tough to let go of certain things and know that might be done differently. But I know from experience that I developed my own methods based on what made the most sense and was easiest to me, and she’ll be more effective in her position if she has that same freedom to tailor her methods to her own ways of thinking and doing. It also means she can work longer or get started on tasks immediately without interrupting me to ask every time how I want something done.

      A good example is naming conventions. I had particular ways that I named certain database objects so I could find them and work with them in Excel reports more easily. But I am no longer working with those database objects every day. She is the main user of those objects now, so she gets to decide how she wants to name them.

      I do share tips and suggestions with my employee, but I always explicitly phrase it like, “I’ve usually done XYZ to save time, but feel free to do whatever works for you to get ABC outcome.”

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      1. EddieSherbert

        I think this is a good way to handle it :)

        My manager moved from “my position” to being the manager (and then hired me), and we struggled for a very long time with “but this is the way I did it when I had your job” on very small details (such as naming conventions/folder organization for items manager rarely uses anymore).

        Once I got comfortable in my role and to know her better, we had a couple frank conversations about it (luckily, she is the kind of manager I CAN have blunt conversations with!). And she’s gotten a lot better at letting me set things up on a way that work for me (assuming “my way” is as efficient as her way was).

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        1. Narise

          My philosophy while training has always been- I’ll show you the current process and once you have it down and understand reasoning behind it you can make changes as needed. This allows us to evaluate if they are learning the current process and are a good fit for the job. It also lets them know that if they don’t like a current process they can have input to change it later but for now we’re just going to focus on training.

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      2. TurquoiseCow

        This letter reminds me a bit of the one from the person who was fired for messing with a coworker’s keyboard because she didn’t like the way the coworker used the caps lock key. What works for one person may not be the most efficient way for anyone else.

        In my experience, micromanagers are sometimes concerned for their job safety, and they hold on to little pieces of “knowledge”, thinking that the company couldn’t possibly survive without that knowledge. This might be Bran’s concern, especially if he’s being tasked with training newcomers.

        I recommend trying to let it go if you find yourself a micromanager, though. Those I’ve worked with seem to really suffer from the amount of stress they put themselves under.

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          1. Sibley

            Actually, I don’t think that was the same type of situation. It’s not unreasonable to expect that your coworker won’t disable part of your keyboard. If the person using the caps lock key was trying to require everyone else to do so as well, then that would be comparable.

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            1. LSP

              I don’t think the equation is with the person using caps lock, but rather the person who disabled the key, thinking they knew better, despite the fact that it had no impact on their work whatsoever. That, I believe, is the analogy being made here.

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    2. JessaB

      This. I am a big fan of tell me what to do not HOW to do it unless there are laws or regulations involved, or if the process involves other people and this is the way it must be done to coordinate. But I get my back up really fast if it’s do it this way, not because I made a mistake in the final product, but just because do it this way. And managers who do not get this, I want to run away fast.

      The other thing that bugs me about this is that it’s clear he let a lot slide because he was swamped. He may be a little upset that it’s all going okay now when he was saying in the past that everything was fine because he “had it under control,” and now he’s trying to grab back some control.

      Reply
  3. Mike C.

    Also, you need to push back against the “making excuses” thing he does – understanding your reasons for doing things is a rather important part of collaborating or training.

    But let’s be honest here, it’s mostly just a sh*tty way to being dismissive of how you do your job. Don’t let him get away from treating you like that.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      Yes. This is really about him retaining an unhealthy degree of ownership over tasks that are no longer his and which he isn’t directly responsible for anymore.

      My suggestion is, “I’m telling you my rationale for doing it this way, not making an excuse. You might not do it this way, but it was done correctly.”

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    2. designbot

      I’d be likely to say something like ” I’m sharing my thought process to that you can feel assured that I’m on top of it and have reasons for doing the things I do. I don’t need any excuse to decide the details of how I do my job.”

      Reply
  4. PB

    My sympathies, OP. I used to work with a Bran-type. Let’s call her “Janet.” It was somewhat different, as Janet was not tasked to train me. In fact, I’d already been in the organization three years, and knew local procedures pretty well. She would regularly take me to task for things that weren’t wrong, just not her preference. When I tried explaining why I’d done things a certain way, she’d talk over me and say, essentially, “But I want it this way.”

    After making an honest effort to address it with Janet, I brought it up to our manager, Anna. It had gotten so bad at that point that, while I was talking to Anna in her office with the door closed, Janet interrupted us to tell me about something else I’d done that was wrong. Anna did intervene, and told her to stop “nitpicking” my work. It did solve the problem, but I didn’t love it. “Nitpicking” suggests that I was in the wrong, when I was not. Regardless, things got better after that point.

    I hope your manager is effective at helping!

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    1. Myrin

      FWIW, I wouldn’t say that “nitpicking” infers that you were wrong. I’m still not sure that it’s the right word regardless, but that’s because as I understand it, it specifically refers to putting a lot of weight on small details when those details aren’t really important which I’m not seeing in Janet’s behaviour, who really just sounds like an obnoxious smartypants. But anyway, I’m glad the behaviour stopped because holy cow, that sounds annoying!

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      1. AMT

        “Micromanaging” might be closer, although it sort of implies that Janet has the authority to manage in the first place.

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        1. Snark

          What it is, really, is Bran, and a lot of others, have an unhealthy commitment to being The Competent One, and they sort of get off on the feeling and image of being the one who keeps the wheels on the bus and catches all these errors and well, I’m just glad I’m here to make sure it all gets Done Right.

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    1. Ruffingit

      Leave. This falls under your manager sucks and isn’t going to change. You could make the effort to try and get them to see that you can do the work without the constant oversight, but IME that doesn’t often work well. Usually you just have to move on.

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      1. EddieSherbert

        I think it depends on the situation – my manager DID do this to me, but she’s easy to talk to and takes feedback well. So once I was comfortable enough in my role/with her, I was able to be pretty blunt with her about it.

        She also takes the “okay, why this way over this way?” kind of questions well… and accepts “okay, but my understanding is that you very rarely use this folder, and I use it all the time. In an emergency, would you still be able to find X file even if you had to follow my organization system? (yes) Okay then!”

        (My manager is also a first-time manager and I’m her first/only employee, so we’ve had a lot of growing/learning “together” since I started!)

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      2. BRR

        I think there are a number of ways to try and push back first but if it’s your manager doing this they unfortunately have the ability to crush autonomy.

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    2. LSP

      You’d need to have a conversation with your manager, along the lines of:
      “You seem to have some specific ways you want me to do certain things. Can we talk about that? Obviously, if the reason is related to company protocol, regulations, or something bigger than the task itself, it would be helpful for me to be aware of those influences. If it’s not that, I was hoping we could talk about your thinking behind it. I have some ways of doing things that work better for me, so I’d like to know why you think they should be done a different way.”

      Make it about learning how to do your job better, and not picking a fight. Even a somewhat reasonable manager would be open to this. If you manager is not even somewhat reasonable, you have a bigger problem.

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      1. TootsNYC

        And I think you can say, “Having a certain level of autonomy is an important part of job satisfaction for me.”

        Reply
  5. Ruffingit

    The only thing I would change about Alison’s advice is this. Instead of saying:
    ““I think I’ve got this, and I’d prefer to work more autonomously from here on. ”
    I would say: “I’ve got this.” Seems a small thing but it can make a big difference in how other people perceive what you’re saying. I think is not a very forceful statement and implies you’re unsure. Stating it unequivocally is the better way to go. Otherwise, this is great advice. Bran needs to back off.

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    1. JessaB

      YES mentioning autonomous work implies that he has the right to decide when you get to BE autonomous. This is a problem because it sounds like you’re giving him the right to manage some of your product. You’re really not. You want him to walk away from you except when necessary to do HIS job, not yours. Your autonomy should not be in his hands but your managers.

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    2. BRR

      I just did this exact thing. I was going to say think but the topic wasn’t up for debate. My situation is a little different though as this person in no way, shape, or form should be suggesting how I do my job.

      Reply
  6. Pete

    I don’t have any problem with a trainer being disappointed or even upset the trainees aren’t following the training provided. “Please do it the way I instructed you to do it.”

    When something goes wrong and the problem can’t be solved in the manner it was when Bran was alone will Management be irked? If so, will it be aimed more toward the OP or the trainer?

    Sure, maybe Bran is a control-freak, but until Management says otherwise I’d do it Bran’s way.

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    1. Mike C.

      The trainer needs to explain why it needs to be done in a certain way or shut up about it. Saying, “that’s just an excuse” isn’t helpful to anyone.

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      1. Lance

        And this is the biggest issue: they’re not taking any feedback, they’re not listening to any opinions, they’re just brushing everything off and saying “my way.” That’s just not functional, especially when they’re not even so much as a peer, per the letter.

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    2. Murphy

      I’m taking OP’s word that the things Bran is complaining about are his preference versus actual formal policy or procedure.

      Also, his making people’s schedules for them sounds pretty outside of the scope for someone who isn’t a manager or team lead.

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      1. RVA Cat

        Everything about this makes me think Bran has appointed himself team lead without the manager’s knowledge or permission.

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        1. Elizabeth West

          I feel that way too. Plus, OP said “I’ve learned my role and taken his input in stride, made changes to my tasks, and done well,” and also has ten years’ experience. So they’re not a new trainee and there is no real need for Bran to hover.

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        2. Megan Johnson

          OP here. This is a pretty accurate read. The management position was vacant when I arrived and has only recently been filled by someone who is very familiar with the site and procedures, but is not always accessible as they’re still transitioning into the role from another role that still requires some of their attention. Bran’s oversight has been helpful during the staffing lulls but it’s inappropriate now.

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          1. teclatrans

            Oh, if there was a management gap and the manager isn’t fully on-scene, I could see Bran thinking he was being asked to be a stand-in manager, or even just deciding that this is what was required (and then doing a piss-poor, miceomanagey job of it).

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            1. RVA Cat

              It also sounds like maybe Bran applied for the manager position and is working through his disappointment by bossing around the OP.

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      2. TootsNYC

        Also, remember that the OP has ten years of experience in this field–just not in this company. So it’s reasonable to get training on some of the company quirks, but once you’re up on that, a person’s expertise in the field in general (and in employment, in general) should have some weight.

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    3. Myrin

      The way I see it, Bran has lost the standing to ask that of the OP when the “training time” was over, though (although it’s not clear from the OP if there was even such a time allotted in the first place; it certainly becomes more murky when there is no clear expectation of how long the training period will go on because that means that at some point, one of the two will need to say “Okay, I think I/you know everything there is to know about the processes now” which doesn’t sound like it’s happened here). Now he’s just a regular coworker of hers and as such, why would the management’s criticism of OP’s procedures be aimed towards Bran?

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    4. Ramona Flowers

      I don’t have any problem with a trainer being disappointed or even upset the trainees aren’t following the training provided. “Please do it the way I instructed you to do it.”

      But OP has been clear that there isn’t just one way to do these tasks.

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      1. KHB

        That doesn’t necessarily mean that all possible ways are equally good (either in terms of some absolute metric or just in terms of what other people who rely on the OP’s work expect). From what we know, I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that the tasks (or at least some of them) really do need to be done Bran’s way, for reasons that the OP doesn’t yet understand.

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        1. Jadelyn

          This is true, but if there’s a real reason, then someone needs to be clear about that reason. Absent any explicitly stated “we do it X way because doing it Y way results in Z problems, which X doesn’t cause” sort of thing, any “do it X way, not Y way” is a statement of preference and there’s no reason for someone in a generally autonomous role to prioritize someone else’s preference over their own.

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          1. KHB

            I agree.* Bran hasn’t been forthcoming with the reasons, for whatever reason, but maybe the boss will be. The OP should be prepared for the possibility that that’s what she’ll hear when she asks, and not treat it as a foregone conclusion that Bran’s wrong and she’s right.

            * (Up to a point, at least. Someone asking “but whyyyyyy?” about every single little thing becomes annoying really quickly and loses the right to expect answers after a while. It doesn’t sound like the OP is at that point, however.)

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        2. Government Worker

          Six months in, when you have experience in the field, is plenty long enough to understand reasons for doing things a certain way, or at least to be told that there are reasons (“This needs to be in this format because of how we’ll do reporting at the end of the year, but you won’t be trained on that until January”).

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        3. KRM

          If your protocols are that strict, the trainer needs to be clear up front during training why only way X will do, and that Y and Z cannot be accepted. If this isn’t covered, or if the trainer is saying “I like to do this task using X”, that would mean to me that X, Y, and Z are all appropriate ways to do things. Otherwise you’re doing a huge disservice to your employees by not making a vital part of their jobs clear.

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          1. KHB

            To me, it sounds more like Bran said, “We do this task using X,” full stop, and OP decided on her own to use Y instead. (“I’ve learned my role and taken his input in stride, made changes to my tasks, and done well.”) If Bran isn’t well versed in Y and Z (which he may not be, if he’s spent his whole career using X), he may not be in a position to proactively explain why Y and Z won’t work in this environment and only X will do.

            Which is all to say: Talk to the boss, but more from a perspective of “Bran keeps telling me to do X instead of Y – is there some reason I’m not understanding why Y won’t work?” rather than “Bran is stepping all over my autonomy and he needs to stop.”

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            1. Well OK Then

              I think how each one of us commenting depends on our personal experience. You are coming from a place of wide differences, where something like charts were created an external program, but now the program has chart making capability.
              I’m interpreting from a place where I was told that I can’t print a spread sheet on two pages if it’s too big. Well, I can but I have to cut out the tables and scotch tape them to a tabloid sheet and Xerox it so that it doesn’t have to be flipped over.
              “Well, I can just paste the second half of the columns below the first half and print them out that way.”
              “You can do it this time, but please see Jane. She’ll show you how to properly create the document.”
              And there was Jane running over with scotch tape and scissors.
              I think Bran and OP are somewhere in between.

              Reply
              1. KHB

                “You are coming from a place of wide differences, where something like charts were created an external program, but now the program has chart making capability.”

                That’s interesting – what makes you say that?

                All I’m saying is that it’s possible that when Bran tells the OP she’s doing something incorrectly, he has a point. And therefore that the question to discuss with the boss is not really “Does Bran have the authority to tell me what to do?” but rather “Is there some reason I need to be doing these tasks exactly as Bran would have done them, rather than using different procedures when I think they make sense?”

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                1. Well OK Then

                  I agree it’s possible she’s not doing it the best way. But from what I explained, you can also see that maybe she’s not doing it the way Bran prefers.

          1. KHB

            You mean Bran? I’m not seeing much indication that Bran is upset – just that he thinks (rightly or wrongly) that the OP is doing her job incorrectly by not doing it the way he told her to.

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        4. OP

          Generally the tasks have very clear consequences as to what happens if they’re not performed correctly, but the type of deviation I’m talking about has no influence on the end result besides better workflow or more efficient time usage, or even just how I’ve grown more comfortable doing it. If there was a situation where my preference caused a problem I’d want to hear about it, but my experience is that Bran is making mountains out of molehills – in order for the terrible outcome he’s envisioning to happen, multiple things would have to go wrong and multiple fail safes would have to fail. It’s not really less safe or practical either way from that aspect.

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    5. NW Mossy

      Could management freak out? Sure. Are they likely to? In a reasonably healthy organization, no. I don’t think the risk of major negative consequences to the OP is high enough to justify accommodating Bran’s preferences.

      Decent managers in general shouldn’t spend a lot of time in the weeds around how things are done, so long as the outcomes are meeting standards and any mandatory controls are followed. Even in situations where an error occurs, it’s not necessarily true or obvious that the error would have been avoided/mitigated/easier to solve under the prior method. Also, decent managers try pretty hard not to throw blame around but instead focus on what can be done now to address it and/or prevent for the future.

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    6. K

      When I was in college, the office manager flipped out when I entered the fax number on the machine before loading the paper and hitting send. Apparently I had to load the paper first, then enter the fax number, then hit send. IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER in sending the fax, except doing it her way meant I couldn’t always see the whole fax number on what I was sending and would sometimes have to write it down on a separate sheet of paper.

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      1. Snark

        And in that situation, I’m of the mind that no matter what your standing in the org is, you can say something like “It really doesn’t make any difference, so I’ma do me, and you do you,” with justification.

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          1. Jennifer Thneed

            I disagree, because those are different methods of cooking eggs that have different outcomes. A person might actually prefer one outcome over another, and both methods are fine, but they’re not two paths to the same destination.

            Whereas how you handle the fax machine actually has the very same outcome: a fax comes out the other end and the receiver can’t tell when you punched the phone number in.

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      2. Megan Johnson

        I had a trainer who was insanely bound up in the idea of closing a document and THEN closing Microsoft office. You had to close both of the X’s in the right order and that was the only way to do it. Drove me batty.

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    7. Snark

      “I don’t have any problem with a trainer being disappointed or even upset the trainees aren’t following the training provided. “Please do it the way I instructed you to do it.””

      Well, that’s kind of the trainer’s problem, if there’s multiple valid ways to do something based on one’s personal judgement and style. Bran’s way isn’t the only way, and an experienced professional is entitled to apply their own judgement to that kind of situation.

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    8. LadyProg

      OP has 10 years of experience, if they were fresh out of school I could maybe get it but no experienced professional needs this much hand holding.

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      1. Snark

        Yeah, maybe for a total newb Bran’s approach works, but if you’ve been active in the field, you should be able to get fully up to speed and capable of independent work within a few months.

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    9. Emily

      If they’re consistently doing something wrong and Brian is concerned it’s going to come back to him, Brian should document this and speak to management himself, and then OP’s manager can clarify this for OP. He’s not in any kind of supervisory role, so even if he’s accurate, continually having these sorts of “I’m correcting you” conversations isn’t the way to go about it.

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    10. Government Worker

      This attitude strikes me as more typical for fairly junior employees, or employees who don’t really care that much about learning and growing within their roles. With 10 years of experience, OP seems like she is qualified to work more independently and to bring her own judgment to her work.

      In my job, I do different types of tasks: recurring reports, long-term projects, responding to one-off requests from other departments, and responding to requests from external stakeholders. I’d be pretty irked if a peer (who probably doesn’t have a good picture of everything on my to-do list at a given moment) tried to tell me that I should put off prepping for a meeting on long-term project X to do recurring report Y, or that department Z’s request is higher priority than what I’m currently working on. They hired someone with my experience so that I would be able to make those judgment calls myself, and I value the ability to do more mindless work when I’m more tired, to build my own reputation for getting back to people quickly, and to prepare for meetings in advance or right beforehand as I choose.

      Reply
      1. Government Worker

        A concrete example: This morning I sent out a monthly recurring report about 8 business days later than usual. I was out on vacation for 5 of those, but I also made the judgment call that it was a lower priority than some of the other pre- and post-vacation things I had to deal with. I would have welcomed questions or concerns about the delay from anyone who actually uses this report (none will come, trust me), but if a peer angrily told me that prioritizing X and Y over getting the report out on my first day back from vacation was “making excuses”, I’d be pissed, because X and Y matter a lot more to the organization than this report.

        Reply
    11. Observer

      Why on earth? The OP is not a junior person who has no clue. And Bran is not the supervisor.

      Just because you trained someone doesn’t mean that you then get to impose your preferences on that person for the rest of their tenure there. Even a supervisor should stay away from imposing preferences (vs actual requirements) especially on experienced staff.

      Reply
    12. aebhel

      If OP is no longer a trainee, then this doesn’t apply. Training new employees doesn’t mean he retains ownership over those tasks forever; if management has a problem with OP’s work, that’s up to them to discuss with her.

      Reply
    13. Samata

      I agree in some cases, but this doesn’t seem to be a case of procedural training gone awry. My read on the situation is that OP prefers to put the toilet paper on the roll with the tail underneath and Bran prefers it over the top. As long as it comes off the role & you get to wipe, it DOES. NOT. MATTER.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        Actually, it can matter–
        • if the wall gets damp from shower condensation, you might want the toilet paper to not fall against the wall, so: over.
        •Or if the cat plays with the toilet paper, you might want it to not unspool, so: under
        • Or you might want to just always have it be whichever way people are used to all the time, so that if the end gets “lost,” people don’t also have to figure out which way to turn the roll to find it.

        But it sounds like the OP is smart and experienced enough that she would know whether one of these applies.

        Reply
        1. Observer

          It sounds like the OP is smart enough to tell if this is the case. Also, in that case, it’s on Bran to explain. You don’t lay down a fiat to someone at your level with a decent amount of experience. And you DEFINITELY don’t brush off the other person’s explanations with “that’s just excuses”.

          Reply
  7. pomme de terre

    Ahh, totally experienced this — a person at my job trained me to do an ongoing task that has some judgment calls built into it before switching to a part-time schedule. It took her a while to back off and she’ll still occasionally try to micromanage it when she’s in. How am I capable of doing this task independently on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, but then suddenly in need of supervision on Tuesdays and Wednesday? And as in the OP’s example, the task doesn’t have a One True Procedure to get it done right.

    Eventually her workload shifted to tasks that are more suited to someone who’s only in the office two days a week. And I did it with no major screw-ups for a few months, and word got out that I’m the primary task-doer around the company so the task became more unofficially mine and not hers, so mostly it’s fine now with the occasional random incursion. It’s annoying but I’m sure we all do weird territorial things on occasion.

    Reply
    1. JessaB

      The problem is that until management put her off the task and you completely on it, she thought that as the employee there longer, she retained full ownership and therefore it needed to be done her way to be right.

      Reply
  8. Eric

    The other thing I would try at a certain point is a three-way conversation between you, Bran, and your manager, rather than a never-ending series of one-on-one conversations.

    Reply
      1. EddieSherbert

        Yeah, agreed. I think talking to manager, alone, first is still a good call.

        Then manager can decide if this needs to be a “three-way sit down”… or ideally just shuts Bran down and then everyone moves on with their lives ;)

        Reply
  9. animaniactoo

    I would actually start at your manager:

    “I wanted to clarify this with you. My understanding is that Bran is supposed to be our trainer, but once we’re trained we’re supposed to take full responsibility for our schedules and the tasks we’ve been assigned and we are supposed to work more or less independently from then on. Is that correct??”

    If manager says “no”, then you continue a clarification conversation including that it seems to you that some of what Bran is taking you to task on is his personal preference rather than actual necessity, and that he’s dismissing your reasoning as excuses. Because if he IS supposed to be acting as a sort of team lead, he’s doing it badly and your manager needs to know that. She needs to be able to address the need to let certain portions go as long as the results work, and she can’t as long as she doesn’t know about it. Or, that he needs to be able to listen better and counter with why something needs to be done a certain way without simply dismissing your reasoning as “excuses”.

    On the other hand, if the answer is “yes”, then you’re giving her a head’s up now that you’re going to start pushing back at his continuing to schedule your tasks for you when you’re able to work independently now. And whether she has any preference about how you do that. Because all of this goes kind of nowhere without your manager’s support, so getting her onboard from the beginning with your approach will help defuse whatever blow up may be coming down the road when Bran resists your moves to walk without holding his hand anymore.

    Reply
    1. animaniactoo

      Also because if she’s worked with him longer, she might have some good ideas about approaches that will work best (or better) than others.

      Reply
    2. Ann O'Nemity

      The advantage to talking to Bran first is that he may back off before you have to escalate it to the manager.

      Reply
        1. Infinity Anon

          I think that the first conversation with the manager does not have to be an escalation. It could simply be a clarifying conversation about whether or not Bran is supposed to be acting as a sort of supervisor.

          Reply
          1. Infinity Anon

            It can even be phrased more to ask about the amount of autonomy that can be expected in this job instead of accusing Bran of overstepping.

            Reply
          2. Ann O'Nemity

            As a manager, I think it’s great when employees try to figure this stuff out before coming to me. And if they do come to me, they can say, “Yeah, I already had a direct conversation and Bran is digging his heels in.”

            Reply
            1. Jesmlet

              I just think it’s messy if what they’re trying to figure out is a clarification of someone’s role though. If Bran comes back and says, “no, I’m actually the team lead” but actually isn’t, what’s OP supposed to do then?

              Reply
        1. OP

          Bran’s a good guy and I don’t think he’d lie to make himself look better, but I do want to get to the manager first simply because she would (I think) feel less annoyed at my questioning the hierarchy, particularly if it turns out that Bran DOES have a supervisor capacity.

          Reply
          1. Mookie

            You mentioned you didn’t want to be seen as a “brat,” and I think that’s fair (not fair that you’d be viewed that way, but a fair and reasonable fear) and a good reason to approach this as you would any other peer, before bringing your manager into it, but since you’re not entirely sure if he’s still regarded as a supervisor, it makes sense to clarify it with your manager. And doing so will probably give you a boost of confidence to then push back against Bran when he oversteps next time.

            Reply
  10. cncx

    i had a coworker like this. can only second what AAM said. I also found that giving a non emotional written rundown to my boss (at his request) helped him see what was going on- especially the “telling me to do stuff that doesn’t impact the final outcome and is down to personal preference” type of things.

    Reply
  11. SheLooksFamiliar

    Whenever I’ve been asked to train new peer team members, I made sure I knew when I was ‘done’ with training. It’s one thing to be available for questions as needed, quite another to assume management of their work. Learned to use words like, ‘You should probably run that by your boss and see what s/he wants…’ and such-like. I agree with everyone else that Bran seems to be overstepping, and hope OP can help get this resolved with her manager’s backing.

    Also, I wonder why some people can’t distinguish preference from process. It just made sense to tell people that, for some things, the process had to be followed, like it or not. For instance. government compliance requires that we report X this way, so please document X this way without fail. For other things, I asked the new person to please follow my process for a few weeks to really understand everything from start to finish. Then they were welcome to adjust it, as long as they delivered the desired results. For still other things, they could do whatever they wanted. Who cares how they label their Outlook folders? Or what their meeting invitation subject line looked like? Maybe I’m weird, but this just makes sense to me.

    Reply
  12. hbc

    Assuming you confirm Bran doesn’t call the shots on everything, I would flip the script on him a bit and ask him to justify his preference. “So what happens differently if we name the file based on the customer versus the manufacturing date?” … “Okay, so it’s just that it’s slightly harder to find by date. How often do we search for these files by date?” … “I see the logic, but it sounds like we’re almost always going to be able to get the datestamp from the file itself, and the customer info is useful to see. So I’m going to go with customer name.” Depending on the environment, you might want to preemptively put out a group email explaining the new naming convention you’re using and your logic (including the counter-argument) and asking for objections if there’s anything you haven’t covered.

    If he tries to correct you later, “It’s not wrong, this is how we’re doing these custom teapot files now, remember?” You just have to be sure that your manager has your back and won’t listen when Bran runs in claiming that you’re wiping out all the date information and whatnot.

    Reply
    1. MicroManagered

      My issue with this approach is that, by inviting debate, you might give Bran the impression that he has a say over things he really doesn’t. Something like naming files might actually have a case for his input (if they’re shared files), but if it’s stuff like how OP governs her workday–Bran’s justification for his preferences doesn’t matter. Asking him to explain might falsely reinforce the idea that it does.

      Reply
    2. Observer

      I don’t think this is really a useful tack to take. The OP is not more right than Bran and that’s not even the issue.

      The issue is that the OP has a perfectly valid way of doing things AND is being micromanaged by someone who doesn’t have the authority to do so. By trying to make Bran justify his opinions, it implies that there is ONE right way – which the OP says is not the case – and that Bran has some authority to decide THE RIGHT WAY. You really don’t want to go there.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        Yeah, this. This is not something to logick your way out of, it’s just something to shut down. Don’t give him more rope.

        Reply
        1. Mookie

          Yep. It’ll embolden him to continue trying to “manage” the OP when certain processes end up being necessary. It’s not about what method is right, but about letting the OP own her work.

          Reply
  13. Snark

    In general, having dealt with a similar coworker who took an unhealthy and borderline neurotic level of ownership over the entire office’s deliverables, the secret is to be a stone wall. With your boss’ buy-in, of course, but you just need to shut it down, over and over, until they get the hint. It will take some persistence. Just hold the line. It will piss him off, and you’ve got to keep holding it. Alison’s scripts are good, but you have to just stick to them and stonewall the crap out of him. Do not let him review and critique, do not get baited into “don’t give me excuses” land, don’t justify yourself. Just, “Bran, I’ve got this handled.” “Bran, I’ll be setting my own schedule for the week.” “Bran, I’m not looking for input on this right now.”

    Reply
    1. Lora

      Also “Bran this is not the appropriate forum for that comment/question/derailing”
      “Thank you Bran now moving on to other stuff”
      “I’m sure we both want what is best for the company” (said with a smile showing all your teeth)
      “Mmm. Mmm-hmm. Well it’s been lovely chatting with you but I am urgently required elsewhere.”

      I have one of these now, except he has less education and experience than me, and won’t accept literally ANYTHING math- or science-related that I tell him. I just let him screw up and watch the bus roll over him since he won’t take any advice from me. And had no less than two academics with zero industry or regulatory experience try to tell me how to do FDA related paperwork. They were both REALLY sure that if only I would yell at people instead of training them and dealing with their learning curves, everything would go way better. Guys, it doesn’t even work on postdocs, why would it work on people who can walk across the street and get another job?

      Reply
      1. Snark

        “And had no less than two academics with zero industry or regulatory experience try to tell me how to do FDA related paperwork.”

        I have fighter pilots tell me how to write environmental assessments. I’m like, why don’t you write this shit, and I’ll take your F-22 up for a spin? I promise not to do a flyby of the tower when the pattern is full.

        Reply
        1. Lora

          I wish I could say that, but I don’t even know what these two do, since they never seem to produce any tangible results. Every time I ask them for something that should be performed by their department, and specifically by their role, they say they haven’t had time to do it, and I end up doing it. It’s a good thing nobody really questions me when I say we need to build capacity.

          Reply
  14. Jesmlet

    I feel like I do this sometimes, not to the extent that he’s doing it and more so because this person actually requires an annoying amount of micromanaging. I’m wondering now though whether or not she actually understands that I’m only doing this because some things don’t get done correctly or often enough without it. Though I certainly don’t give lectures, I do occasionally praise where things were done well and suggest corrections for how they could be improved. When you’re a senior person and your peer is making mistakes and your manager doesn’t really manage, it can often feel like it falls to you to suggest corrections even when on paper that’s not your job.

    Reply
    1. animaniactoo

      OMG OMG OMG have I been here. For about 2 years. However… I let him fail. I didn’t *tell* him to do it the way I was suggesting. I told him to check with our boss about it. I told him to make sure to check with production line that it was okay to do it that way. I told him to check with the packaging manager about timeline.

      Even though in reality I knew the answers to each of those questions (he was wrong) except for one particular occasion when I was wrong because my company agreed to do something very non-standard for that design only. But… that was one occasion out of 50 or so.

      If he didn’t check, I generally waited until it was discovered. If it was about to cost the company big money, I’d go have a quiet word with this one or that one to check something before it got further. But usually they caught it before that point… just at a point where it was going to mean a week or two delay (annoying but not unrecoverable).

      And when I was told to keep a closer eye on his work despite not being his supervisor, I told him that had happened because I didn’t want to do it behind his back. None of it helped… but in the end I had treated him like a co-worker and not like I was his supervisor, and the work did not suffer drastically for it.

      Reply
      1. Jesmlet

        Ugh, I wish I had it in me to do that but I like the girl and I want her to do well… That’s still something I’m working on. Nothing’s gonna blow up if she messes up but she and the company would lose out on “money on the table” as we say which is not ideal. Of course it’s only been about 6 months so maybe if we get to the year mark and I’m still hand-holding, I’ll just let it be.

        Reply
        1. animaniactoo

          I liked him too, and wanted him to do well. But he needed to be able to BE responsible for the job and following up and having some sort of system that covered for his faulty memory. Which he’d happily tell you about. Okay… but dude. Systems. Notes. Checklists. Figure this out. Do this. Accept the help that was offered to help you set up to do this. Ask for help.

          I had to bite myself back hard a couple of times, but I gave benefit of the doubt in looking for reasonable explanations long after others had given up. I had some proactive conversations that other people above him should have had with him. I tried. But I left it up to him to execute. Because I had to keep in focus that if I was working harder at getting him to do his job right than he was, there was an issue and I had to not buy into it for my own sake.

          Reply
          1. Jesmlet

            I had to keep in focus that if I was working harder at getting him to do his job right than he was, there was an issue and I had to not buy into it for my own sake.

            Feel this so much. The way I check myself now is reminding myself that I literally don’t get a cent off the effort I put in to doing her job and she benefits a lot. Not the best way to think of it but sometimes being selfish is the healthiest option.

            Reply
            1. kitryan

              I’m in the same boat except my person’s work process is intimately intertwined with mine. If he does part one of it, I do part two and get stuck fixing all his errors. If I do part one and he does part two, I may not have to deal with the errors immediately, but I do when we come back to the project a month later (so I review everything, even if I wouldn’t normally have to). If I give them room for initiative (I’d much rather do what others have mentioned and be rigid where it really does make a difference and flexible where it does not) then what goes out is invariably garbled and confusing. And there isn’t any support for any staffing changes, so I just micromanage, review, and fix constantly, to keep from having our department look bad and having to fix problems down the road when they’ve caused a noticeable issue-and I try to explain my process and why I do things the way I do in hopes that there will be a lightbulb moment at some point.

              Reply
  15. Gee Gee

    If That Thing needed to be done the way Bran is dictating, there would already be official guides in place to ensure that it happens. Nobody cares about how I structure file names in my personal drive, but if I’m uploading documents to Department Shared Drive, then I need to follow the File Naming Convention Document.

    I’d be tempted to ask Bran where the “XYZ Issue Policy Document” was for whatever nitpicky thing he’s harping about. If he can’t produce a Style Guide/Official Policy/Legal Justification, *shrug*

    Reply
    1. Specialk9

      You work in places with file naming convention documents, already in place before you get there? Cool!

      (Wanders away, mind blown)

      Reply
      1. KHB

        Yeah, I was just thinking that the “Everything not forbidden by official written policy is fair game” attitude wouldn’t fly at my workplace either. There’s no official document (as far as I know) that says that the TPS reports need to be filed in the purple folder, but everyone is told in training that they need to be filed in the purple folder, because that’s where the people who need to refer to them later expect them to be. If some new hire showed up and insisted on filing their TPS reports in the green folder (because that’s what they did on their last job/because there’s no Official Document of TPS-Report-Filing Folder Color/because green is just as good as purple, really, if you think about it), they’d quickly get a reputation as the Annoying New Coworker, at the very least.

        Reply
        1. Katelyn

          But isn’t that a great justification for writing it down somewhere? So that when you and your team win the lottery the poor shmuck who didn’t join the company pot can come in and will know to look for the TPS report in the purple folders?

          Maybe it’s because I work in a large company and we are pretty regularly audited, but documentation helps the new guy know the standards, and helps me when I’m doing that annual filing for the second year after the previous finance team has moved on and can’t remind me what steps go in which order. Documentation is way easier than trying to rely on my memory and that I’ll have my notes from last year end…

          Reply
          1. Grapey

            Then the new guy asks “WHY are we using the purple folder”, and the people that wrote the documentation shrug and go “It’s how we’ve always done it”, which is the #1 phrase change management consultants zoom in on for process improvements.

            Reply
      2. animaniactoo

        I wrote em!

        And created the templates for the products and the packaging, and I do the server organization walkthrough.

        Reply
  16. Train Wreck

    I’ve been in Bran’s shoes. I was the only person in my role before more employees were hired. Because the first hire was right out of school, I admittedly expected her to defer to me at least a little bit given the experience gap. But that training was a hard learning experience. I didn’t have any authority to say “x must be done this way,” so every question about or deviation from The Way It Is Done was tough to navigate. Sometimes it’s a thin line between “this is wrong” and “this is my preference,” and both of us needed to learn which was which. (Of course I trust OP knows these are Bran’s preferences vs. procedure.)

    And I’ll say this too, relying on someone else to correctly do all the things that were once only yours… that can be tough to let go. But Bran needs to let go! What really helped was when I could see that hire succeeding at what I trained her on. So I stopped caring that her methods seemed confounding or that she questioned me on everything. As long as she was getting it done correctly then I had done my job.

    All this probably took about a month or two at the most. Not six months. I think Alison’s scripts are effective because I’m pretty sure that hire used some of them on me to make me back off and realize I was overstepping.

    Reply
  17. NyaNya

    I went through a similar problem with the added issue of the person being my manager’s favorite, can-do-no-wrong direct report. I opted to bring up my role in a generic way. I had been told that I was taking over a project he previously worked on, but my coworker had immediately sent me a to do list with deadlines. In my first meeting with my manager, I asked, “Would you like me to fully take this on as my own project or am I assisting Coworker on this for the things he doesn’t have time for?” She immediately clarified, “no, no – I want this to be your project to handle and hopefully be able to list as something you’ve managed from start to finish.” I was able to then independently respond to coworker letting him know that I’d already discussed a timeline with Manager and I’d let him know if the project produced something he’d need for his own work. It also avoided me “complaining” about someone who I knew manager would be reluctant to rule against. Over time, taking that tack of “I’ve already come to a decision in consultation with Manager” worked and he backed off considerably.

    Reply
  18. Anlyn

    Ha, I had a Brad, sort of. He was training me on “his” system, so I could be a backup, and he insisted I use certain color highlighters on various parts of the form. When I got comfortable with what I was doing, I stopped using them because I didn’t need them. He got pretty agitated about it until I told him I was fine and this way was faster and easier for me. We ended up getting along pretty well until he retired.

    The funny thing was that over the years, he drifted off to other areas and I stayed on that system for awhile, and he would come back and ask me about how to do a specific portion, and tell me how smart I was for knowing it. I couldn’t help but internally chuckle when I thought “you trained me on it!”. Of course, it’s now in the hands of someone else entirely and I know if I had to pick it up again, I’d be asking much the same questions he did.

    Ah, Info Security. Good times.

    Reply
  19. LSP

    OP, Alison’s advice is right here.

    My manager has a very hands-on, take-charge personality. When I first started with her, I felt like I was expected to be on the back seat until she needed me. When my 90-day review came up, she told me she wanted to see me leading more client meetings, leading the work of our contractors, etc.

    I’ve been working with her for nearly three years at this point, and she still gets stuck on the way she would do things vs how I do them, and she has acknowledged that’s something she needs to work on. It definitely feel, though, that her trouble letting go of things enough for me to step up, has made it harder for me to be considered for possible promotions.

    She’s overall a good manager to work with, and we keep an open line of communication, even on awkward things like this. However, as annoying as this behavior is coming from a manager, it is straight-up unacceptable coming from a coworker.

    Reply
  20. taco_emoji

    This sounds like someone who’s trying to take on more of a leadership role, but thinks that leadership just means ordering people around.

    Reply
    1. Bets

      Yes! So many people think they’ll be noticed for bossing people around who don’t need it and promoted because they “showed initiative.” So many people also think management is bossing people around.

      Reply
    2. teclatrans

      Yes, that is what I am getting, especially with the OP’s update where she says there was no manager when she arrived, and the manager is still a bit AWOL as they get caught up on the role.

      Reply
  21. Bets

    I work with someone who wants to control all the things; that’s what it’s about. I also wonder if OP is younger than the person who is trying to manage them, and what the genders of each person is. I haven encountered plenty of wannabe middle management men who believed I didn’t know things because I was younger than them.

    Reply
    1. OP

      Right on the nose – I’m younger and female, while he’s older and male. I certainly don’t think that it’s an overt factor in his thinking, particularly since my field is female dominant, but it might be a peripheral issue.

      Reply
      1. Bets

        Yes. It’s going to take some constant pushback on your part to get this behavior to stop. Talk to your manager and beware of sabotage.

        Reply
        1. Artemesia

          And don’t ask your manager if Bran is supposed to be managing you; what if he says ‘yes’ although he hadn’t thought of it before. Instead tell the manager you are up to speed as a result of Bran’s training and your practice and are able to take control of the process and need her advice on getting Bran to back off from constantly inserting himself into the process. Never ask a question that might lead to things jelling in a way you don’t want to have happen.

          Reply
  22. Goya

    It drove me batty when an old co-worker did this!

    However….I also have to catch myself from saying something or redoing things that I used to do that my new co-worker now handles. She’s not doing anything WRONG, it’s just not to my liking or my standards (we work in a very visual field, so it drives me nuts when things aren’t spaced properly/centered/etc.), and our supervisor is the one with the final say.

    Reply
  23. RB

    Boy do I know this feeling. It seems like I’ve run into this at every new job I’ve had. The only positive or hopeful thing I can add is that it dissipates over time, as my co-workers gain confidence in my abilities and see that I actually know what I’m doing.
    Sometimes, if there’s a particularly difficult person, I try ignoring them in small ways that aren’t likely to cause a giant rift. If they notice later that I did that, I show them how my way of doing the thing worked just as well or better, and I say something about, “oh it’s just a personal preference” if they seem offended.

    Reply
  24. ML

    My friend got me a job and trained me at her company. She was so controlling of her previous roles going to me, and so unable to let go, that I was in a constant state of “being trained.” It was awful.

    It started off as advice, “for the future” and “moving forward.” It eventually escalated into monitoring all of my emails – even internal emails that she asked me to send to her first so she could look it over. And it didn’t stop there. I acquired her former clients, but if they called, she would panic, she would stand over my shoulder, she would go “what are they saying… WHAT ARE THEY SAYING…. Say this… Say this… No! Say this!” And if I said anything that she wouldn’t have said herself, she would walk away, she would punch her desk, and she would scoff and make comments under her breath, and after I would be done with the call she would tell me how everything I did was wrong. That is how controlling she was.

    it drove me insane and I’m so glad I stopped working with her. Never again

    Reply
    1. Mookie

      Oh my god, that’s awful. I could see that just destroying the personal relationship, as well. Thankfully you’ve both moved on elsewhere. Did she ever cotton on to how terrible she was being?

      Reply
  25. anony-mouse

    Here is another script that worked for me:
    Bran: “Why aren’t you working on X? / You should be working on X right now!”
    anony-mouse: “Yes, I know X is important. In fact I’ve blocked the whole afternoon for X, but I’m finishing Y first.”
    Repeat like a broken record: “Yes, I know X is important. I’ve already planned for it.”
    If he asks why I don’t switch now, I’ll sometimes explain I don’t want to waste productivity on task-switching and that usually gets him of my back.

    Reply
  26. AMPG

    I think this might have something to do with a phenomenon I’ve encountered before – “Process” people vs. “Results” people. Process people trust in having a good process for a task, because it gets them the result they want. Results people don’t care as much about the process as long as the result is right. These types tend to approach work very differently – Results people will often reverse-engineer a task from the desired result (even if they have access to a successful process), and have a hard time parsing a process without knowing what the result should be. Process people don’t reverse-engineer from the result, and can get very uncomfortable with any deviation from the process, because they don’t trust that the result will be right. Neither type is better or worse overall, but each type is better suited to different environments, and they can often have huge problems communicating with each other about task management. I suspect the OP is a Results person and Bran is a Process person, and at least some of the friction is around that.

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