is my coworker sabotaging my work?

A reader writes:

I recently switched departments, and I feel a little insane. The woman who is training me for this new role has the same title I do and is my peer. She is very good at her job overall (customer support), but struggles with some basic administrative competencies such as computer literacy. She has told me last week that she feels intimidated by me and that she sees me in our manager’s role some day.

My concern is that I suspect that she changes details that I enter in our databases and spreadsheets. I am a gifted administrator, and the type of mistakes that she finds in shared documents and databases are not mistakes I would make (such as entering incorrect dates or forgetting to save changes). She talks to me about these “mistakes” at length, explaining how important it is for me to follow her instructions exactly. The mistakes she finds make me look incompetent.

If this happened once a week, I might believe that I had simply made a mistake, but they happen every day. Frankly, this job is extremely easy compared to other admin roles I have had in the past, so the volume of mistakes I am confronted with by this one coworker is unbelievable.

The only motivation I can imagine would be if she is concerned about her status on the team now that there are two people with her job title. I am not sure if there is a way I can prove that I am not making the mistakes she finds, but I am concerned my new manager does not trust my competency when my coworker presents evidence of my incompetence every day. I also have no idea how to talk about my suspicions without sounding nuts.

Is it possible I am actually making a hundred little mistakes? Is it possible she is creating these mistake? I have no idea what to do.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 63 comments… read them below }

        1. Lilo*

          The fact that she was using someone else’s computer and log in is very strange and makes me side eye their IT security.

          1. Mae*

            I don’t think it’s that strange. Not a good practice, but my nonprofit did the same thing when I started. As I was training to replace them, I had to use their computer and log in to train. It took IT a few weeks to order my computer, load it and bring it over (they work in a separate building). Since I was an internal hire but switched departments, I did not have my own computer, the only programs I could access were the ones used in my former position until the new computer was set-up and log in credentials created.

            1. Lilo*

              It’s a bad idea from a security perspective, especially with a new person. You want a unique digital record.

              1. Magenta Sky*

                It’s a bad idea, but there are reasons why it happens. Usually bad reasons relating to bureaucracy and how approvals for money being spent happen, but real world reasons.

                It’s why I trained our lead HR person in how to set up log-ins, and one reason why we nearly always have a spare computer sitting around.

              2. Mae*

                I agree it’s a bad idea, but when you don’t have a computer or log in and your new manager wants you training daily so you can be up-to-speed when the retiring person is leaving, you can’t say no, I don’t want to train because I don’t have my own computer and log in. He did the paperwork for me to get my own computer, log in, email, access to programs, etc., the day I accepted the job but because of the way our company is structured, we had to wait until IT (our company calls them MIS), got the computer ready and set up the accounts.

                The head of MIS is one of those people who had been there forever and only did things his “way”. He eventually moved on to oversee the capital office MIS system and our new MIS person gets things done quickly. The longest anyway has had to wait for a computer since he took over is 3 days .

            2. Observer*

              It’s a bad idea and totally unnecessary in most cases. Generally speaking, you can have more than one person’s log on on a given computer.

              1. Magenta Sky*

                Most companies use some kind of network sign-on, like Active Directory, and the new person has to be added to that. And in a big company, with a lot of different services, that can be far more complicated that it sounds like to an outsider. And administrative access *really* has to be limited to a very small number of very, very trusted individuals, who are inevitably very busy with things they see as more important.

                It happens, and the reasons why are bad reasons, but it’s not likely to change at most companies.

                1. Works in IT*

                  Too busy to do their job duties?

                  I’m one of these people where I work, and the idea of…. not doing new hire accounts because I’m too busy to do one of the most high priority tasks I have, is…. weird.

                2. Emily K*

                  Same here – we start the process with IT the day the candidate accepts the offer. If they had a special computer order (like for a graphic designer getting a non-standard machine) then depending on how far in the future their start date was, they may need to use a loaner computer for a few days, but I’ve never heard of anyone not having their login setup before their first day. And our IT department is chronically short staffed and has been for years. They are ruthless about prioritizing what gets done vs what gets delayed, and new hire accounts are super important – not just for software access but for getting them an email address so they can start communicating and receiving files on their first day without the email history being in another staffer’s email account or having to use a non-secure non-corporate email; and being able to set up orientation meetings between the new hire and other staff which can’t happen until the new hire has an Outlook calendar set up in their name.

                3. Lexin*

                  Where I work, IT accounts are set up as soon as we have a start date. In my case, this was a bit of a shock, because I could start immediately and they only had a week’s notice. But they managed to get me my logon credentials within the deadline.

            3. fhqwhgads*

              Using their computer while waiting for your own to arrive is NBD, but everyone should have separate logins. What’s extra ridiculous about LW’s sitch is since Jane was training LW by using Jane’s machine and login…to anyone besides Jane these mistakes would all appear to be Jane’s own…so unless this was some sort of setup to gaslight away her own mistakes by blaming LW, Jane makes no sense.

          2. A*

            Yup. This jumped out at me as well. Also that everyone was just… ok with that. At my first job out of college they wanted me to complete certain admin tasks in a similar setup (very small family owned company, not big on ‘better business practices’ or assessing potential liability) and I refused. I wasn’t rude about it, but was very clear that I was not comfortable operating under a shared login unless there was a definitive way to distinguish between individual’s contributions. They looked at me like I had three heads, but after I explained why I felt that way and how this was with THEIR best interests in mind and not just my own, they agreed and changed their SOP for those tasks.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Thank you!

        Seeing that they were using the same computer log in, I wonder if Jane was catching her own mistakes and simply wasn’t aware [given her difficulties with computer literacy] that they weren’t the OP’s but her own.

        1. Lilo*

          I wonder if they were both logged in at one and things didn’t save properly as a result.

          Having two people use the same login is a super bad idea.

  1. Anonnnnn*

    Saving a local copy is great advice, it will log the time so you can use that as a timestamp for evidence. I’m not sure what system you are using, but try to see if there is a way to lock editing–that way any updates will be redlined with the user’s name and the time that it was changed.

    1. designbot*

      yeah or even just screenshotting at various points, since that automatically names it after the time saved.

  2. Holy Moley*

    Screen shot your work and save it, then you can compare it the next day or later on when she says you made the mistake.

  3. Backstabbing and Undermining Your Way To Profit*

    Clearly the OP should have begun counter-sabotaging “Jane” by making minor edits to her work and then announcing that she caught some errors, and when confronted, reply with mystified shock that someone would ever do something so scandalous and trivial. Heavens!

  4. StaceyIzMe*

    The advice to save, double check and retain copies of your work makes a lot of sense to me! In the meanwhile, WHY are you in a role that doesn’t challenge you and affords tasks that are less complex and less (presumably) likely to be remunerated at the best possible level for your role in your industry? Maybe there’s a different transfer that could be worked out that is more closely aligned with your talents and that would be a better “fit” for your capabilities. THAT might be something worth working on. Having to endure petty hostility after a transfer from someone who can’t be bothered to work on their own career goals but must meddle in yours? Maybe there’s a way that you can “nopety-nopety-nope-nope-NOPE!” your way out of that. Good luck!

    1. Mel_05*

      Eh, not everyone wants to move up the ladder.

      My current job is less complex than my previous jobs and it does pay a little less, but it’s also lower stress, closer to home, and has a lot of perks that my previous jobs didn’t offer.

  5. FredW*

    What is a good strategy if you are the manager in this scenario? I have one employee who is not directly sabotaging another but wants to keep certain work for themselves. They are actively blocking the other employee from doing work that is part of their job. Employee 2 is taking flak for not taking on this work and it seems that E1 has been making it near impossible for E2 to actually do it.

    1. hbc*

      Who is E2 taking flak from? If for some reason you can’t get E1 to stop blocking right away (I know, I’ve been there), you at least need to defend E2 from any and all fallout. Tell your own manager or other higher ups that you’re working on a transition but that E1 is the same obstacle they’ve always been. Tell colleagues of E1 and E2 that the work is in the process of transitioning, but it’s taking longer than expected through no fault of E1.

      If it’s E1, you need to shut that down. “E2 can’t do anything until you’ve assigned him a file. No one can make this happen except you.”

      1. FredW*

        The flak was coming from me. I just figured out what was happening. The appearance was that E2 had their own preferences and did not care to learn to do these tasks. E2 told me that E1 is just so good at it that they have so much other work to do that they just let E1 do it. Where E1 is apparently telling E2 not to work on it until they are trained on other things. Then not training on the other things. This is despite clear instructions to cross train on everything. They are completely overloaded with work, and can function with only one person doing this set of tasks but that is a problem when E1 is out of the office. E2 is still doing a lot of work, just not learning new things. I chalked reluctance to train up to not wanting to slow the work down (the training is lengthy).

        1. Tim K*

          E1 is probably going to tell you that they are too busy to train E2, even if the problem is more about their priorities, so be prepared to come back with “okay, I’m going to take [task] off your plate for [amount of time] so you have enough time to finish the training.” Or make some other concrete change to their current assignments where there is now something E1 is very clearly NOT supposed to be doing instead of training E2. Task-hoarders never have time to delegate. Some of them will learn if you start reassigning their work yourself and some will never learn and you have to decide if they’re worth it, but I’ve never yet seen someone figure this out just from having a discussion about it.

          And it’s much easier to then address this as a performance issue if E1 continues doing something they’ve been explicitly told not to, rather than failing to do something they should and constantly falling back on the “but there’s no time” excuse.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      Make it clear (in writing) to the problem child that assisting the other person in taking on these tasks is an explicit part of their (that is to say, the problem child’s) job, with specific steps to be taken and specific deadlines.

      And then treat it like any other situation where an employee refuses to do their job.

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      I was an E2 and the manager did…nothing. E1 was the favorite and she didn’t want to share even though it was presented as cross-training.
      She also refused to be cross-trained because she never had any time due to her really high workload. Luckily I have all of the rejection emails and meeting invited she declined so my butt.
      Now I am leaving and she has to take on a lot of my work and is super pissed because “E2 never trained me on that”. She also took a two-week vacation a few months back and was mad that no one helped with her tasks when she was gone so she had a HUGE pile of work to complete when she got back. I reminded her that she never wrote her process documentation or cross-trained anyone on her tasks so we couldn’t help. She didn’t speak to me for a couple days after that (she couldn’t anyway…buried in work).

      Have E2 document all requests or attempts to do the work they are supposed to be doing so when manager asks they can reply “I’ve requested that task from E1 repeatedly both in person and via email but they keep sending X instead.”

    4. SomebodyElse*

      Depending on the work type this is a pretty easy one to correct. You put the onus on E1 to include you in the sharing of the work.

      You just get both in the room together and say something like…
      “There seems to be some problems with the paper clip sorting process. E2 hasn’t been able to complete the sorting report which I’ve asked them to take over until E1 has passed on the counts. We’re going to now log the counts in this spreadsheet/sharepoint list/whatever by EOD Tuesdays so that we all have the access to the counts when we need them. E2, will that work for you? E1, how about you any roadblocks or challenges with that? Oh, and when posted, why don’t you go ahead and notify the group in Teams/Slack/Email”

      You’ve done a couple of things here… made it clear who is responsible for what part, explicitly stated the hand off, set the timeline, and made E1 responsible for telling you they’ve done what you’ve asked. Having both in the room and hearing the same message eliminates any confusion (intentional or unintentional). 99.9% of the time this will eliminate the problem, because saboteurs or work hoarders will not go against your directions directly.

      Be on the lookout for other instances though… there will probably be some.

    5. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Lay out the expectations of E1 very clearly and directly, including consequences of refusing to do so. This is no different than not doing their work. Have E2 document everything so you’re aware of the specifics of what’s happening. And most importantly, who is giving E1 flak? You should have their back and stand up for them if you know what’s going on, as well as being able to say what steps are being taken to fix the issue.

    6. Tippy*

      As a current E2, you have to have a clear conversation with E1 where you make it explicit that sharing the work is an expectation of the job. Then you need to identify specific examples of when this happens, and work through what you want to see from E1 in the future.

      Depending on why E1 is doing this, that plus some follow up/reinforcement may be enough. Is E1 a perfectionist? Do they need to learn delegation/collaboration skills? That’s probably easier to tackle, because there’s no ill intent.

      If E1 is hoarding work for more sketchy reasons, like they need their name on everything or want to force E2 out or keep E2 disempowered, then the only way to keep this in check is to, unfortunately, manage E1 more closely. Hold them accountable for their actions and make it clear this is a job performance issue. They may come up with a lot of excuses–keep bringing them back from the behaviors they need to model to do their job correctly.

      I’m currently an E2 in the latter situation and it’s continuing partly because my manager struggles with direct communication and holding people accountable, as well as following through with real consequences. So my manager sees and hears about messed up stuff, including straight up dishonesty, but then always buys whatever explanation E1 has, even if it’s a real misrepresentation of what’s going on.

  6. Cookie Captain*

    I encountered something like this recently. I noticed a web posting for an event I was in charge of had the wrong date. Very minor. I sent a quick, friendly email to the person who posted it–basically, “noticed this, not a big deal, can you switch it it to X date when you get the chance?”

    She called me to tell me that the date was already correct and I must have been looking in the wrong place. She clearly got my email, quickly changed the date and then bluffed about it for some reason. It was very strange.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I wonder if it has the same delay after final update that Alison’s grumped about to us on this site. She says when she makes final edits right before clicking to publish, those final edits can sometimes (but not always) take a while to make it to the published page.
      Of course if you can see the edit history and know I’m wrong, then bets are off and the poster is acting weirdly self-conscious!

      1. HailRobonia*

        When I do web edits and report that they are done, for some of the people I work with I try to remind them they may need to refresh their browsers to see the change take effect.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          That’s just what I was thinking. Cookie Captain, next time, use F5 to force a page refresh, to ensure that you’re seeing the latest iteration. (And then, if you’re feeling it, screenshot what you see and save that image. It will be time-stamped.)

  7. Anya the Demon*

    Given how much Jane enjoys catching these mistakes and taking to you about them (and really, how is she catching every one of those mistakes every day?), I’m inclined to think she’s making those changes herself. Maybe she caught one mistake and it gave her an idea etc. I agree that you should definitely start saving copies of your work if you can. If you can’t, then take pics with your phone – so you can at the very least find out for yourself what is happening. I imagine that you’re checking your work pretty carefully at this point, and you’d know if you were making all these mistakes. I think Jane is undermining you.

  8. Seeking Second Childhood*

    There’s a very simple answer here that lets Jane be a bit careless but not creepy: With TWO people logging into the same systems at one time, things were getting overwritten.
    OP opens Spreadsheet1 and starts editing.
    Jane opens Spreadsheet1 and clicks by rote to edit the original — which might kill off everything OP did at the start of her session.
    OP saves her changes.
    Jane saves her changes and clicks by rote to ignore changes made by another user since she opened it. That would kill off anything OP did AFTER Jane opened a second instance of Spreadsheet1.
    It would sure explain why OP’s changes were missing — and why some errors looked like things she wouldn’t do, if the open/save happened in the middle of a multi-step process.

  9. HailRobonia*

    I’ve seen this happen to a coworker. Luckily the shared document had a changelog and the inept saboteur was called out, with a little face-saving “it looks like you might have accidentally pasted incorrect information after you started editing the document.”

    1. pancakes*

      That doesn’t seem lucky for anyone but the saboteur. I had someone sabotage my work once years ago, and I’m still angry about and demoralized by the way higher-ups allowed her to get away with it, as if having a massive tantrum and sabotaging someone else’s work is an acceptable way to behave. It is, apparently, an acceptable way to behave, and it shouldn’t be—it’s aggressively childish and petulant.

  10. MicroManagered*

    One time, my manager kept coming to me with “mistakes” that I’d made that appeared to be related to not saving changes to shared documents. I started saving the documents on our shared drive and emailing them to myself, only to discover I would receive an incorrect version. The issue did actually turn out to be some technical problem where our shared drive was saving documents, but picking up old versions when you browsed for something to upload. I am probably stating that poorly to anyone who works in IT, but anyway. It can happen.

  11. Removed Knife from Back*

    Until the day before I started, I had expected to be made a regular employee; instead I had to work on a “trial basis” as a Form 1099 independent contractor, which was highly improper since the situation met all standards for legal employment. This was in the HR dept of a very prominent organization!

    When I was brought in to take over some of the lower level benefit admin duties from Sanya so that she could have more time to to handle the rest, she found subtle ways to make everything more difficult. Her files in the shared drive were saved under file names that did not make sense in subfolders of subfolders of folders only tangentially related to the document topic. It took endless amount of time to search for the documents I needed and I struggled to catch on and keep up with basic tasks I had done for 20+ years. I tried asking Sanya where I could find things and got either a vague answer or a scolding that I should be able to intuit that documents related to topics A and B should of course be filed under topic K. That is, when she was there–she teleworked a couple of days per week (and then had a nanny quit) and made it clear that I was not supposed to contact her at home with trivial questions, She received an important health insurance bill that I was supposed to pay and moved it into a file folder where I would have no reason to look; when the supreme boss got involved, she sat there smiling like a Cheshire Cat. After that, the boss agreed with me that unpaid bills merited a top level folder labelled as such so I could check it regulary.

    At first, I thought it was me just not catching on but there was someone else there for a bit whose job overlapped mine who had the same problems. Later on, a coworker told me that I was the third or fourth person brought in to take over parts of Sanya’s duties who experienced the same subtle sabotage and either left or was asked to leave. (Probably the reason for the “trial basis”.) They decided not to keep me after 60 days. On my last day, the boss had a major meeting with me, Sanya, and another employee who was gong to have to (again) fill in the work I did. The boss went through several processes I had been doing and diagrammed them step-by step on a board. She wanted to know in detail all of the sticking points. Aming other things,I told her that the common drive filing system was like a maze with twists, turns, and dead ends but that was the way Sanya wanted it and, while we were at it, the HRIS system shared some of the same issues. Sanya was told directly to revise the computer filing system so that current business was kept on top, file names had to reflect the content of the folder, and that anything directed to her requiring action by another person was to be immediately forwarded by e-mail, cc boss, to that person. I had the distinct feeling the boss finally caught a clue that it wasn’t that there were no capable benefit admins in the area, but that her #2 had been undermining new hires.

  12. Phoenix Programmer*

    I have dealt with this a few times in the past, and it’s always with people who have come out and admitted they are intimidated, or I have found out through the grapevine that they see me as a threat. Frankly this is always a red flag in a trainer.

    I disagree with some parts of Alison’s advice from personal experience.

    1. Never mention you suspect sabatoge until you can prove it. People typically trust the known quantity in this situation and it makes you look…self absorbed? I guess is the best I can conclude I was painted as. It also meant that once I did prove the sabatoge, I was not treated any better. It was written off as, yeah that was wrong but you ARE a PITA soooo waddya expect?

    2. It’s best practice to create a back ups folder on the shared drive under your name where you back up your critical work, this is the perfect way to catch the sabatouer without running afoul of your shared drive policies.
    3. Check the last edited time, which auto updates when the file is saved, as a quick check if the file has changed since “your mistakes” were found.
    4. Once you find the sabatoge, skip the coworker and go straight to your boss. You don’t want to give your coworker time to cover their tracks.

  13. Phoenix Programmer*

    I seem to have posted my response I to a black hole.

    I’ve had this happen to me 3 times. My advice is:
    1 never suggest sabatoge until you can prove it.
    2 create a backups folder in your shared drive folder where you keep a copy of critical reports. Helps with critical errors and finding sabatoge.
    3 Check the last saved date on the file in the shared folder as a quick check to confirm if anyone has saved your report since last worked on it.

  14. Phoenix Programmer*

    Story time:
    First time I was sabatoged i naively went to my boss to express my concerns. The response was essentially – aren’t you prescious to think anyone would sabatoge you. A few months later, I was able to prove sabatoge, and that same boss wrote it off as an honest mistake and sign that sabatouer should be responsible for that report.

    Second time I waited for proof to tell my boss but looped in my coworkers. It was not provable, the sabatoge was always verbal in closed door meetings. Things like “we always do x on this report” then public chastizing that he was clear about the importance of Y. My coworkers sided with sabatouer. Think – I just finished my training with sabatouer and he said I should do X, is that correct? And their response would be, Sabotouer knows it’s Y so you just need to listen better. The closest I came to proving sabatoge was that I sent a report I had checked with a co-worker and corrected prior to sending out and sabotrainer immediately responded with a chastizing email about errors I would have made following his instructions. After that incident some co-workers were suspicious but most still assumed I was just dense. I went to my boss and asked for no closed door trainings, leaving the sabotauge out, and my boss approved. After that, surprise! my error rate evaporated. However my relationships with my coworkers never improved.

    1. Cercis*

      I had a similar experience. Sabotrainer (I like that, BTW) would tell me one thing and then take me to task publicly when I actually did follow her instructions. I asked for a meeting with our boss and explained that we seemed to be having a communications issue and I’d like a company email (I was a temp through an agency) and I would email my questions to sabotrainer and she would respond via email and then boss could review our communications and help me understand what I was missing.

      Boss agreed and I got an email address the next week. Suddenly, my errors mysteriously stopped. I have no idea what would have happened because we decided to move to a new city and I quit. But I’d like to think that boss got a clue and the next person didn’t have to face the same sabotage.

  15. AnonEMoose*

    So, this is pure speculation, taking the update into account. But I have to wonder if the boss may have realized that Jane was causing issues for the OP, and chosen to take action without directly involving the OP.

    So Boss moved the training responsibilities to Bob, and privately had a conversation with Jane about Knocking If Off. Jane, maybe being embarrassed by her actions, or wanting to demonstrate to Boss that she is behaving herself, is being conspicuously nice to the OP.

    Also possible that Boss moved OP’s training to Bob because Boss thought perhaps a different style would be more helpful to the OP. No way to know, but either seems possible.

  16. Theelephantintheroom*

    I had a coworker who was doing this to me, so I started saving the files to my computer before uploading them to our shared server. There are also ways to view previous versions of documents (you can Google it for your system). It sucks that you have to, though, it really does make you feel crazy when people do that.

  17. Not So NewReader*

    Decades ago, I had a boss sabotage me. I agreed to come in early to reprogram a register. The instructions were typed single spaced on both sides of the paper. There were 20 pages (40 sides). Yeah, this was a while ago.

    I took a straight edge to help keep my eyes from crossing. I double checked each page before I left it to make sure I remembered doing each line.
    It took a while and when I was done and tested it, the display was horribly wrong. It did not even look like letters or numbers.
    I figured, well, I did something wrong and I called IT. They remoted in and started looking around. “Oh you didn’t do page 16 and 17.” whaaat??? I looked and there was no page 16/17. “Well, how can this be? We triple checked the pages before we sent them to you guys and then we stapled the pages.” The staple was missing.

    This absolutely brilliant woman deduced that I was being messed with. She was probably right. I fluffed it off because I knew I would handle this one. The brilliant computer whiz fixed the problem and stayed on the phone to test it. By the time the place was supposed to open, the register was fine, I was fine and she was off the phone with me. My boss walked in. When she saw me standing there calmly and just being my usual self, the color drained out of her face.
    Boss must have asked ten times if I had any problems. And I just let her do that. “We’re good here.” Finally after a couple more times, I said, “Oh yeah, by the way…..”
    “You called WHO?…. They did WHAT???…. and they said WHAAAATTTT???”
    I simply said, “And we will not go through this again. Ever!” I walked away from her. I think it took her the rest of the day to calm down.

    What saved my butt was taking responsibility for what I thought was my mistake combined with calling in outside help. Because I did not fail when my boss was so sure I would fail, she never set me up like that again. She never factored in that I would actually try to fix the problem.

  18. Anji*

    If you cannot print copies, take pictures with your phone. LW, I’ve been in a very similar situation at a former job. A coworker was extremely off kilter, and she was not only sabotaging me, but also other coworkers. If she was not physically tampering with our work, she lied to the boss about all kinds of things in an attempt to ruin our credit and character.

    Please take pictures if you need to, and, as Alison suggested, make sure you’re not the culprit. But, trust your gut and collect evidence of your work.

    Good luck.

  19. cncx*

    This happened to me once at a job, it involved doing some rote data entry (think a bibliography) onto a website. I had other problems with a fellow employee who was senior to me, and had in fact put in my notice because of this person. My last project as i was wrapping up were these web pages- i literally finished the thing at noon on my last day and left. The following Monday, this senior employee calls my boss screaming that i had completely messed up what was supposed to be my swan song, that they were gonna miss deadlines, and it was all my fault so please call my new employer and give me a bad recommendation. The IT administrator checked the last edited versions of these webpages, and she had sabotaged my perfect work at 330 am on a Saturday. Talk about petty and doing the MOST. Driving me out of the job wasn’t good enough for her, she also had to try to get my boss to call my new employer and was planning to do so at the crack of dawn on a weekend?

    Are there anything in your data entry programs or file share, like shadow copies that stores versioning? If not, take a picture with your PHONE, email a copy to yourself, something. Trust your gut on this one. I didn’t think my former coworker would stoop that low and wow..protect yourself.

  20. Lexin*

    I’m a former union rep. and I helped a member once with a similar problem.

    What was happening was that my member, a personal assistant, would receive an email on the part of her boss with an instruction to set up a meeting. Before she could set up the meeting, or even read the email properly, it would mysteriously disappear. Hours or days later, when my member was in trouble with the higher-ups for not acting on their instructions, it would equally mysteriously reappear. There wasn’t time even to take a photograph of the email, even had photographing your computer been allowed where we worked, which it wasn’t.

    We suspected that her boss (not the higher up, but her line manager) was removing these emails into her own inbox, holding on to them until the deadline ran out, then putting them back. But we could prove nothing, because eight people had access to that inbox and it could have been any of them doing this. Even IT couldn’t help.

    I still feel that there were ways we could have resolved this, or even identified what was going on and who was doing it, but in the end my member was sacked (let go) for “inefficiency”, which I thought completely unfair. I still think about this case.

  21. cheeky*

    I’d make copies or take screencaps of my work before she touches it, for the sake of comparison. Then you’d know if the problem was you or her.

  22. Emma*

    This happened to me with a job share. She had no idea that Excel showed who had last modified documents so I would take screenshots of everything on my last working day of the week & do the same when I returned the following week. I showed the boss, she totally believed me but didn’t do anything, just told me to keep an eye out. I was so glad when I left!

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