update: how do I write a peer review for my horrible coworker?

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! All this week and next, I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer wondering how to write a peer review for a horrible coworker? The coworker, Mike, was yelling at customers and colleagues, sulked when asked to stop shouting, was angry with 20% of customers, left work in the middle of the day without saying anything, and refused to work with returning patients who he doesn’t like. Their manager, Chad, was doing very little. Here’s the update.

I had my review on Thursday 2 weeks ago. I got a “Meets Expectations” which equaled a 3.5% raise. I then asked Chad how I could earn more than a 3.5% raise or higher than “Meets Expectations” and he said “Resolve this thing with Mike.” Apparently Lana (who I thought was an ally) said that the tension between us was making her uncomfortable and she wanted to leave. Also, Chad had asked Lana about the day Mike shouted at me, and Lana said she didn’t think Mike shouted at me. I felt alone and unsupported.

So that Friday, Mike, Chad, Lacey (our grandboss) and I had a 2.5 hour (!) discussion. Mike had been holding frustrations about *me* for so long. One of his complaints is that I ask other people about their weekends and always seem happy to see them, and I don’t do the same for Mike. I was able to express my frustration at his eating at his desk, the slamming phones down, the slamming drawers, and the falling asleep at work. Mike said I type too loudly, which was a surprise to hear, but not untrue. I have fat fingers and am a poor typist.

I was fine the first hour, but by hour two, I was in tears from sheer frustration and, yes, a little bit of anger. I committed to cheerfully saying “Good Morning” first to Mike since that was a big complaint to him. I also committed to asking, “What do you hear in what I’m saying?” as a way to reduce communication errors.

Mike agreed to not eat at his desk. He did say he would try not to fall asleep at work, but he couldn’t guarantee it. (Really?!?) Then after our meeting, Mike asked to take the rest of the afternoon off and he did.

Our grandboss said that she reads the patient surveys that people fill out, and if Mike was as bad as I claim, then she would know it by now. So she didn’t believe me. I’m not saying I felt gaslit, only that nobody seemed as concerned about Mike’s behavior as I did. Does that mean I am over-reacting? IDK.

It seems like nobody has a problem with Mike’s behavior except me, and the customers who won’t work with him, but aren’t bothered enough to complain. I have at least one customer a day who would prefer not to work with him.

Things have felt really fake-friendly to me. I cheerfully say “Good Morning!” and we have inane conversations. I am clenching my teeth a lot. Mike continues to be late, continues to be rude to customers, he fell asleep at work again, and yes, the bathroom was so bad that I couldn’t use it one day. Housekeeping had to be called again. (I did NOT mention the bathroom during our talk.)

I’m staying at this job because it has amazing benefits (like, really good!) and I have a few health issues I had been neglecting, so I’m going to get all the treatment I can and maximize the employee and health benefits. I know I want to leave, though, so I have started writing mini articles on LinkedIn, to establish myself as a competent, approachable professional with expertise in this field.

Thanks for the sanity check. You and your readers are a delight.

{ 219 comments… read them below }

  1. Hills to Die on*

    Ahem, well, thank you for the update. I am sorry that people refuse to see the problems and I am glad you have really good benefits. At least you have the sanity check.

    1. Generic Name*

      Yikes, I agree. I hope those benefits include awesome coverage (as in everything for free!!) for mental health resources, because there’s no way to stick around in this type of environment without it negatively affecting one’s mental health.

  2. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    I wonder if you could ask for customers who say they don’t want to work with Mike to submit a form as to why they do not want to work with Mike?

    1. NoCanDosville*

      Given the bosses’ responses so far, I wonder if Chad and Lacey would see this as OP instigating things even further rather than accepting there really is a problem.

      1. irene adler*

        What about refusing to work with the customers who will not work with Mike? Which I know, will result in OP being the “bad guy” here. But if Mike can take off for an afternoon at will, why can’t OP do same, leaving the customer for someone else to manage?

        1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

          This is a good point, if up until this point LW is cleaning up Mike’s mess they have not had the chance to see him in his full glory. I would “go home sick” if I knew it would mean that Mike had to pick up the slack and they might see what’s happening. But also if it’s okay that he “can’t promise not to fall asleep at work” . . .

          1. Egmont Apostrophe*

            You know, if this was family that would be a plan, because you’re mostly stuck with them.

            It’s a job, go get a different one.

          2. Vio*

            I could understand if he had some kind of health condition causing fatigue or narcolepsy then the company would be accommodating, especially if he was able to still work to a high level, but none of that seems to be the case here. it certainly sounds more like someone with special privileges that suggests either friends in high places or a nice stash of blackmail material

        2. yala*

          if there are unofficial “benefits” folks get that aren’t set in stone, and they’re favored or OP’s in the doghouse, OP absolutely cannot do the same thing as Mike without getting in trouble. It’s not fair at all, but when something is unofficial, you can’t really say: “But Tony gets away with it!” At least, not if you also want that benefit. At best, Tony won’t get away with it anymore. But now that’s just one more reason for them (and anyone else who got cracked down on) to be mad at you.

          1. Cmdr Shepard*

            That is generally true as long as the unofficial benefit is not extended/declined based on a protected class.
            Think a manager allowing all the men to take 2 hour lunches, but telling women they can only take 1 hour lunches etc…

            1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

              It is telling, I think, that the OP specifically identified and used he/him pronouns for Mike and Chad, and she/her pronouns for herself and Lana. Perhaps we don’t really have enough to go on to make a big stink, but it sounds like Mike is the classic “man getting away with BS that his women colleagues wouldn’t be allowed to.”

              Nice username. Punch some Reapers for me?

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I have a feeling that this is what would happen as well – somehow it will be OP’s fault. Sadly, I have a feeling it will still all be OP’s fault even after they do leave for that better job and management has to deal with Mike and customers can’t sidestep home anymore.

        When somebody wants to bury their head in the sand, they will find a way and an excuse.

        1. HigherEdAdminista*

          Mike sounds like what Captain Awkward calls the missing stair. They don’t manage him or do anything to get rid of him, they just work around him, letting him do what he wants. It’s a sweet gig for him so I’m sure he wouldn’t give it up!

      3. John Smith*

        More than likely as this happened when I raised problems with a former manager. Rather than address the issues, senior management decided I was the one with the problem. I’ve found that a number of managers will make an issue someone else’s problem and not their own whenever they can.

      4. Julia*

        At a previous job I had a coworker who was so bad at his job such that people would request to talk to me. I suggested they make a complaint to our manager. This led to bad coworker arguing that I was targeting him by having people make exaggerated or false complaints. My manager didn’t think I was having people lie and also said I should not tell people to make complaints. Bad coworker was eventually put on a PIP which was something.

    2. Screen Porch Office*

      Or OP can keep a running list of the clients who have requested to work with someone other than Mike. Put the date next to each one. It’s not your opinion – it’s a data point, and one the bosses are not seeing. So show it to them (after a couple of weeks).

      1. Emily*

        I really think at this point that would be a wasted effort on OP’s part. It’s pretty clear there is something screwed up about the management at this place and frankly I wonder if there is a gender aspect to it. Much too often men are allowed to get away with behavior that women are not and more often have their behavior excused. I think OP would be better off expending her energy searching for a new job.

        1. Lego Leia*

          When there is a favourite, like Mike, I agree that tracking is incompetancies getst turned into a “you” issues not a “Mike” issues. As in, why did you spend work time tracking Mike’s patient interactions? Who told OP to track Mike’s hours, since that is not part of OP’s job?

          1. Genie*

            What about starting a log of patient scheduling and staff requests? It allows for better service with the added benefit of being able to note how many of the requests are “Not Mike.”

      2. RC Rascal*

        If she does this they will claim the time she spends in documentation is proof of her vindictiveness about Mike.

      3. Wintermute*

        I don’t think that doubling down and trying to force the issue after being told that “patching things up” is a requirement to be considered a high performer.

    1. UKgreen*

      I am astounded by this. I’d be tempted to set off the fire alarm to wake him the heck up…

      1. Ally McBeal*

        That’s literally illegal (in the US anyway), but plenty of phone alarms are loud enough to startle.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah. Forcing the entire floor at best, or the whole building at worst, to evacuate just to wake someone up would be a firing offence in most places.

    2. Another person here*

      Maybe the managers see it as an appropriate accommodation for his medical problem, somehow?

      At least all of this makes it clear the OP has more of a manager problem than a Mike problem.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      Laziness. Right now it’s the OP’s problem, mostly, so nobody else has any incentive to handle it.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      It is the wonder of the missing stair, as the entire office organizes themselves around accommodating Mike’s nap times, meltdowns, and spontaneous afternoons off while side-eying OP for not getting on board.

      1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

        Clearly they’ve decided getting OP to manage her reactions to Mike is easier then dealing with Mike’s behavior. OP they’ve shown you that they value retaining a problem employee over you. Remember that as you use their benefits and eye your exit strategy.

        1. tessa*

          “Clearly they’ve decided getting OP to manage her reactions to Mike is easier then dealing with Mike’s behavior.”

          I just got out of a situation exactly as you describe, I’ve.

          You nailed it.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            “We can’t ask Mike to change, he’s unreasonable. OP is reasonable, so changing is on her.”

            1. ferrina*

              Yup. Captain Awkward is a great resource for when reasonable people get put in unreasonable situations. I hope the LW reads her work and can gtfo soon!

        2. Hills to Die on*

          Yep – once people have decided who is to managed around then there’s really no fixing that. You are the problem if you try and address it. Just let him sleep and don’t cover for him or make excuses for him. Just shrug and say ‘okay, cool.’ and go about your business. It usually ends up (sooner or later, usually later) that the problem becomes large enough to the managers that they get frustrated. Just let it be between them.

    5. Cat Tree*

      It’s currently easier for management to work around it than to address it. Mike’s coworkers are covering for his work, so these bad managers have zero incentive to spend any effort fixing the problem, whether that means more difficult questions with Mike or hiring and training his replacement. It’s short-sighted because it will affect employee retention long-term. But for now, it’s easier for the managers to just ignore it.

    6. cardigarden*

      I’m pretty sure that my company lists sleeping at work as an offense that can skip the HR process and go straight to termination.

      1. londonedit*

        Yep, in the UK you have to go through a disciplinary process before you can fire someone, unless it’s an incidence of ‘gross misconduct’. That includes the obvious things like violence, being drunk/under the influence of drugs, fraud, stealing, using the company computers to look at porn, etc – but everywhere I’ve worked, it also includes sleeping at work (which comes under ‘dereliction of duty’).

        1. Anat*

          That… is actually pretty scary. Lots of people have sleep issues (apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, just any illness that makes you tired) that make it hard to get through an entire day without ever at least closing one’s eyes for a few minutes. Some companies have nap rooms for this very reason. Are you saying anyone who even accidentally falls asleep for a few minutes is automatically fired?

          1. londonedit*

            I mean, I’m sure if you had a medical condition then no, you wouldn’t be automatically fired for accidentally falling asleep. And in any reasonable company it wouldn’t just be ‘I saw you asleep, YOU’RE FIRED’ – you’d have a meeting with your boss/HR/senior management, you’d have a chance to explain, if there were medical conditions in play then those would be accommodated as far as possible. But falling asleep on the job is definitely on the list of things an employer is entitled to count as gross misconduct, and that means they don’t have to go through the full disciplinary process. Interestingly, having looked up the things that fall under gross misconduct at my current employer, it includes smoking on company premises, which I was surprised by! But there we are.

          2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

            I imagine they would first, like, have a conversation about why they’re falling asleep. That would be their opportunity to say they have a medical issue. But if it’s affecting their work, shouldn’t they proactively bring it up and say they have a medical issue?

          3. cardigarden*

            I suspect where I work those would be things you could seek an accommodation for, so if there’s an accommodation in place, automatic termination would not happen.

          4. tessa*

            I would think a good employee would say something ahead of time about a valid reason for falling asleep during work.

            It’s not reasonable to just fall asleep at work without notifying the powers that be of an external factor that causes it. Otherwise, a person is simply falling asleep at work just because, and that’s unacceptable.

            1. Stevie*

              This might not be the norm for most cases, but it is possible that it’s an undiagnosed issue. Hopefully management would be willing to sit down and discuss the situation with the employee before automatically firing them.

              I have fallen asleep at the office once, and it was immediately after the only time my boss ever chewed me out inappropriately (involving an f-bomb). I did later get told I was “borderline” narcoleptic by a doctor, but I didn’t have any sort of accommodations on file at the time.

          5. Darra*

            It’s completely untrue. Anyone can be dismissed for any reason (except “automatically unfair” reasons like discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, sexuality, etc) in the first two years of employment in the UK (except in NI where it’s the first year iirc). And after two years, following a disciplinary procedure is encouraged but not mandatory.

          6. Wintermute*

            If you’re on your break or at lunch then they couldn’t but yes if you’re supposed to be on the clock and you’re asleep you can be fired on the spot in basically any country on earth, even those with strong worker protections. They don’t extend to covering gross incompetence.

        2. Aphra*

          Not strictly true. Many large employers will have written processes and procedures but what is gross misconduct will only ever be included with the caveat that no list can be definitive. There’s nothing stopping any employer terminating someone’s employment at any time, for any reason not in contravention of legal protection (race, disability etc) and there’s no law laying down any process that has to be followed. If (and it’s a big ‘if’) the employer has a written policy and process, then they would need to demonstrate that they have followed that process and not missed any steps but those steps are not enshrined in law. An employer only has to have a ‘reasonable belief’ that any misconduct (including gross miscsconduct) has taken place. Employers don’t, other than in limited circumstances, have to have proof beyond reasonable doubt. Employers are not qualified to investigate nor judge to that degree.

          There’s good practice guidance published by ACAS (Arbitration and Conciliation Service who can be involved in mediation between employers and employees but only where a group of employees are involved, they don’t deal with individual cases) but it is merely that; guidance.

          For employers without a written policy/process, all that is required in law is that they follow a ‘fair’ process. What is ‘fair’ isn’t specified because what would be fair for a massive multinational company employing tens of thousands would not likely be fair for a self employed plumber who has one staff member.

          Employers in the UK have traditionally been risk averse when it comes to dismissing employees but recent data from Employment Tribunals shows an increase in the number of cases actually reaching the hearing stage, with transcripts showing employers taking a harder line in fighting their case. Even successful claimants aren’t likely to get the compensation payments many believe are awarded. Most often all they’ll get would be payment for unused annual leave or any wage under payment.

          My advice to any UK employee? Join a union. It’s like an insurance policy; you hope you’ll never need to claim and the premiums seem like wasted money – until you need to claim.

        3. allathian*

          Yes. We do have nap rooms, so people who are tired are expected to take care of the problem off the clock. But I did have to tell my then-manager about my pregnancy long before I actually wanted to do so because she found me asleep at my desk one day.

          But it would be unfortunate to get fired for falling asleep at work because you have an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

          Thank goodness for WFH, if I sleep especially poorly I often take a longer lunch break so I can eat, take a nap, and then go for a 20-minute walk.

    7. irene adler*

      Maybe OP needs to report to management the Mike seems ill -whenever he sees Mike is asleep.

      As in: “Come right away! He must be ill!! Maybe someone should call an ambulance!”

        1. Eat My Squirrel*

          I wouldn’t. OP was in a meeting with management where he said he would “try” not to fall asleep at work. And they were apparently ok with that. They don’t care and continuing to point it out will only get OP in trouble.

      1. Kella*

        Getting involved in the illness side of things is not a good idea. It’s possible Mike *is* ill and has an official medical accommodation. If that’s the case, suggesting an ambulance would look like a wild overreaction. Management already know that Mike is sleeping at work. For some reason they’re okay with that.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Which makes me wonder if he has an accommodation in place for the sleeping that the LW doesn’t know about. It is the only reason I can come up with why he was comfortable saying he’d try not to sleep and management was OK with it. The rest of the behavior, though……

      2. Lance*

        It sounds like it came up quite directly during the meeting, so management already knows… and just don’t care.

    8. knitcrazybooknut*

      At a past job, an employee was fired for falling asleep at his desk. He filed for unemployment, and received it because our company didn’t have anything in the employee handbook that actually said, “you can’t fall asleep at your desk.”

      I am not kidding. We had to add a paragraph stating that.

      1. nobadcats*

        We had to add a para stipulating that employees could not view porn on their company-issued machines, nor charge porn on the company card that they watched in their hotel rooms.

    9. CommanderBanana*

      I had a coworker (fed) who routinely slept through the afternoons at his desk. His was also the front-facing desk in our office suite and was theoretically the office manager. Dealing with him was just too difficult so the directors left him alone. We ended up very short-staffed for a few weeks and he was asked to do some work and in response he filed an EEO complaint.

    10. Maybe so*

      I had a coworker who fell asleep at her desk periodically. She was… eccentric, so I admit I just thought of it as one of her quirks. But later, when we had a friendly, personal conversation, she confided that she had been on a number of difficult medications after a serious accident a couple years previously that led to sleep issues. So who knows, it could be medical.

      1. Umiel12*

        I had a co-worker who would wrap up in a blanket, prop her feet up, and take a nap at her desk. She did that one time when I was left in charge, and so I felt I had to wake her up. She didn’t care for having her nap interrupted, but she grudgingly went back to work.

        I had another co-worker who was higher up than I was, and I had lots of workgroup meetings with him. He would frequently fall asleep in the meetings, but as a group we let him sleep because we got more done when he wasn’t participating.

        1. Wisteria*

          “I was left in charge, and so I felt I had to wake her up.”

          Just curious, why? It’s not great for people to sleep at work, but was it for the general principle of you’re in charge so you are going to wake her up or was there an actual impact to you of her sleeping?

          1. Umiel12*

            It’s very much against the rules to sleep on the job where I work. If I had just let her sleep, I would have been subject to disciplinary action. Honestly, your question really perplexes me. I’ve never worked anywhere in which it isn’t a serious offense to sleep on the job, so it really surprises me that anyone wouldn’t automatically understand.

        2. Chapeau*

          I once had a boss who would doze off in the middle of a conversation with me. It was well known around the office, as he did it with everyone. I can’t really say we were afraid of him, but we were definitely afraid to wake him up. He lived very close to the office, and he would often come in early, early, early morning or late, late, late night when he was having trouble sleeping and work. He would often leave piles of work or random notes on our desks, so we knew he’d been there.
          His assistant used to make noise by dropping a book outside his door when someone had been in his office too long. Late one Friday afternoon he fell asleep in my office, and I had to resort to texting a coworker in an office down the hall to call my office phone to wake him up. I was afraid I’d be stuck there listening to him snore.
          Just about everyone in our office developed the skill to let whatever we were saying trail off when he dozed off and then start back up right where we left off when he started to stir.
          But we also kind of hazed all the new employees by not warning them in advance. Although I was in one memorable interview when he dozed off on one poor interviewee, who was clearly disconcerted. I finally mouthed “just keep going” at them and we carried on as if boss was a very noisy fly on the wall. They did take the job, and were forewarned about one of the quirkier aspects of it.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I feel like the sleeping at the desk, in the absence of other behaviors, is the smallest issue. If he was delightful, but took the occasional snooze, LW would have never written the original letter.

    11. Vito*

      I worked third shift at a resort hotel a number of years ago with a guy in an electric wheelchair who would fall asleep all the time. sometimes co-workers and I would decorate his wheelchair with balloons and streamers and other things. One morning I found a trainer and trainee in the back office and asked if they wanted to go and wake up sleeping UGLY. He always claimed that he was NOT sleeping. He did have medication that caused the sleeping. He was a person who no customers wanted to deal with. He would pick up day shifts in the theme parks to make extra money (while sleeping during his night job). They finally terminated him long after I left.

  3. JustMyImagination*

    I’m sorry for the way this has worked out. When Mike gets in a screaming match with a customer and storms off, can you take over and really emphasize “please complete this survey about your experience so we can make improvements in our service.” It might prompt a few customers to fill it out and get issues with Mike raised that way.

      1. Alexander Graham Yell*

        It’s a great idea UNLESS there is a numerical ranking system involved that only applies to the person who completes the call, which could work against the OP. In that case, OP might need to coach clients a little more to make sure their combined score and comments are effective for what OP needs them for.

    1. Melicious*

      Came here to say this. Tell customers it won’t change unless they fill out surveys to alert management.

    2. Meghan*

      I think this is the way to get management to realize Mike is an issue. They clearly dont care about you, but maybe if patients begin to say something then change will occur.

  4. Falling Diphthong*

    I’m staying at this job because it has amazing benefits (like, really good!) and I have a few health issues I had been neglecting, so I’m going to get all the treatment I can and maximize the employee and health benefits. I know I want to leave, though, so I have started writing mini articles.

    OP, this is so much the right thing to do. The way a past commenter phrased it was choosing to frame sticking with a difficult job as a choice that you made–you would continue with this until you had rebuilt your savings, or had dealt with a health thing, or some other attainable goal. Rather than framing it as the only job you could possibly do and the only solutions thus lying in other people changing. Giving yourself an attainable goal you want to knock off first,and doing things to pave your way to a new better job, are the two right moves.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, this is good strategy IF the OP is sure it’s worth it. (For me, it would get old pretty fast.) Another thing to do, if possible, would be to identify any professional develop activities or coursework that the employer is willing to pay for and use those to develop her skills.

      Getting a bad employer to pay for professional training that gives you a route to a better job is very, very satisfying.

    2. Very Social*

      Yes, this! I’m rooting for you, OP! I hope you’ll come back and update us in a year or two when you have a great new job.

  5. Princess Deviant*

    This isn’t just a Mike problem but a management problem. Glad you’ve got a plan, OP. Hope you can get yourself out of there soon.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Honestly I think it qualifies as a management problem that Mike is the visible symptoms of. Nothing meaningful will change until management has a reason to make it change (which probably won’t happen until OP is no longer there to pick up all of the Mike slack).

      OP – set that plan, use the benefits to your advantage, and sail off to the sunset knowing this will one day no longer be your circus or monkeys.

    2. ferrina*


      For the record “typing loudly” isn’t even close to the same level as “regularly falls asleep” or “alienates customers”. Typing loudly isn’t a performance issue and is generally one of those accepted parts of working with other people (unless you are working on a loud keyboard or deliberately making noise, which it definitely seems like isn’t the case). The fact that Mike thought that was an acceptable grievance strikes me as deeply defensive and the action of someone who knows that they are in the wrong, so they are lashing out to get first strike. That management was okay with that is awful.

  6. NoCanDosville*

    Many customers will either leave and never come back without saying or put up with it for fear of losing necessary services.

    Relying on customer complaints isn’t enough. I’m so sorry OP; you and everyone you serve deserves better.

    1. Trawna*

      As a customer or patient, I’ll take the time to complain if a situation looks fixable. An organization that has a staffer who yells (at all; at anyone) and isn’t escorted out right then and there, isn’t worth the bother.

    2. Random Bystander*

      Exactly–the OP works in the medical field, and it is not at all outside the realm of possibility that a patient/customer is upset about observed behavior but simply “does not have the spoons available” to do a formal complaint/fill out a survey with more detail than circling #s. Which is to say that I agree, relying on getting customer complaints is not adequate.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And if it’s a smaller or more rural area unfortunately their practice may be the only option available without leaving the area. I’m in a fairly large city, and there’s one service that is yearly where I’m just stuck with their crud – because the only other place that offers the service doesn’t take my insurance.

        I complained the first time (nothing changed) – now I just grin and bear it by reminding myself that I only have to deal with this place’s nonsense once a year.

    3. I Wore Pants Today*

      I agree with this take, or LW is really good at cleaning up Mike’s messes. Think of it this way, as a consumer, would you write a review like this? “Mike is the world’s worst llama groomer. He screams at my llama, and one time he was sleeping when I came to pick up Sir Spits-a-Lot. I’d go someplace else if I could. But LW saves the day every time and she keeps me going back to Llama Emporium.”

      No probably not, I’d give Llama Emporium 3 stars and no review.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        “Sir Spits-a-Lot” is the BEST name for a llama. Turn out the lights; internet has reached its peak for the day.

  7. Laure001*

    They are just underestimating all the issues because they don’t want the trouble to get rid of Mike and hiring a replacement. Good luck to you, OP, drown him in a pool of ironic amiability, and enjoy all the advantages of your job!

    1. Ama*

      Yup, I was given the “you don’t even say Good Morning to me” comment when the person who gave it to me knew full well I was drowning in an unsustainable workload and being gaslit by management and most of my coworkers about how much work I was actually doing (literally provided actual numbers showing how much more time I was spending on a certain task, only to be told that a coworker flat out said “she’s not doing that much” even though she flat out refused to cover that task when I was out because it took up so much of her time). Really brought home that they cared less about me being happy than that I appeared to be happy so they could pretend there wasn’t a problem.

      OP, like you I started working on a plan to boost my credentials and get out — and when I did they had to hire 2 full time and one part time person to replace me. I suspect once you are no longer the buffer between the customers and Mike your boss will find out how much of a problem he really is.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yeah, they seriously deserve to have Mike unbuffered, too. I feel bad for the customers when OP goes, but that’s not OP’s problem – it’s management’s. And they deserve to have to face what they’ve enabled.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          And honestly it will be a problem that management created for themselves by not managing the issues earlier when they were first notified about them.

  8. Essentially Cheesy*

    >Mike continues to be late, continues to be rude to customers, he fell asleep at work again, and yes, the bathroom was so bad that I couldn’t use it one day.<

    Those things still seem to be not acceptable in a 'normal' office setting. So I completely understand your frustration, OP.

    However it also seems that Mike is hitting your sore spots, like too much. Is there any way you can become more tolerant of him in general? Like – not pay so much attention to him? I have had coworkers that have truly irritated me and they ended up leaving one way or another. Dealing with them took a lot of work, deep breathing and yes, even anxiety medication (I wish I was kidding on that one). I am not saying you're being too sensitive or unreasonable – I just want to suggest that maybe there are different ways for you to deal with this, for your own peace of mind or sanity? Seems like it's going to be an ongoing issue. (I had a horrible boss for almost 15 years that acted similarly. I really get it.)

    1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      Yeah, I was going to suggest this also. LW, you are obviously conscientious and it’s understandable that Mike drives you bonkers, but a lot of what he’s doing can be treated as not your circus, not your monkeys. Having those kinds of boundaries is a helpful life skill to develop. In Buddhist circles, people who make us ragey are jokingly called boddhisatvas (teachers) because they give us an opportunity to practice nonattachment.

    2. Jellyfish*

      Yes, I had the same thought while reading. Mike doesn’t care to improve, management doesn’t care to see him change, and coworkers just want the tension to disappear.
      It’s time to learn how to care less about Mike. Address with the things that directly affect you*, but with customers, phone slamming, and sleeping – that’s not your problem to fix. You can’t care more about his job performance than he and your bosses do, so for your own sanity, figure out how to stop.

      *There’s more professional ways to handle this, but I’d be very tempted to plaster on a huge smile and tell him in the perkiest, bubbliest manner that he left the bathroom a catastrophe and he needs to clean up after himself. He won’t, but what do you have to lose by directly calling out his issues when they’re an immediate problem for you?

      1. Artemesia*

        Start not allowing patients to request other practitioners — they have to use Mike. Then see if they start registering complaints. This never changes if the pain is felt by the OP and not management. And in the meantime become the anthropologists amused by the predictable odd behavior of the baboon troop. Let his antics just confirm your expectations and amuse you. Don’t pick up his slack if you can possibly avoid it. ‘I can’t do X because I have ABC on my plate to get through today.’ Wish I could but I can’t.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Is it Alison or Captain Awkward who recommends pretending you’re an anthropologist simply observing the behaviour?

    4. nelliebelle1197*

      And I concerned about the fact that “Lana” did not stick by LW and is saying the issue is LW. And the patient surveys are not supporting her position either. I am wondering if this job is such the wrong fit for her that she is missing her own issues. The story is just not adding up for me.

      1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

        Eh, I just interpreted it as Lana deciding she’s not invested in rocking the boat/digging up whatever body Mike knows the location of. Lana may very well have adapted to the missing stair and doesn’t want to support OP in going after a fix that isn’t likely to happen.

  9. Falling Diphthong*

    I usually react to requests that I fill out a survey with mild annoyance as I dismiss the offer. I reacted the same way to the manager’s claim that if you have surveys you know all about what customers are thinking.

    Basically I will only do a survey if it’s a rare request, time commitment given upfront, from a company with which I have an ongoing positive relationship. I would not believe that Mike’s screaming meltdown in mid-office witnessed by his coworkers was obviously not enough to address the issue, but if I answered a survey (which might not even give me an appropriate spot to describe the outburst) then by great gollies management would be all over it. If I wanted to stay (e.g. this office is much closer to my home than any alternative) but I could work around Mike by refusing to deal with him, I might do that. But at that point I’m sure as heck not filling out a survey as a favor to the business.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I wonder if it is possible to get into the survey and see if there is any place for customers that would be willing to put Mike’s nonsense to do so. A friend once worked someplace that had the survey altered so that they could continue to gloss over the issues they were having with one employee.

      Unknown why they chose that route instead of just dealing with the missing stair…..

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Sorry – autocorrect changed it “see if there is any place for customers that would be willing to OUT Mike’s nonsense.”

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Depends on the survey for me. If they make it time invasive or I have to jump through a hoop to do it like log in, fill in personal info, or answer 20 questions, I won’t do it. If the service rep emails or texts me a unique link and I just give them a number of stars and maybe a spot to make an open-ended comment, I 90% of the time will do it. But I also hate that some employers treat anything less than 5/5 stars, or lack of survey, as a reason to ding a good employee. I’ve seen that a lot in field-service industries like a tow truck driver or home repair person.

      For OPs office, I bet their survey is part of the problem…either no one is filling it out (knows it’s there?) or there isn’t a way to anonymously leave open-ended comments.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Just thought of a third possibility “the customers are stuck with only this place as a service option, and don’t want to risk antagonizing Mike and making an already bad interaction worse.”

      2. quill*

        This. When you seek feedback, getting 10% participation is pretty high! People don’t like to do extra work, especially when they’re paying for a service already.

        (10% is a benchmark based on some math I did about engagement with social media and fanfic at some point: if you’re getting read v. liked statistics, 10% likes or retweets or whatever vs. 90% marked as read with no further interaction is not actually a sign that no one likes your work: it’s a sign that 90% of the hits were from people who do not interact.)

    3. Call center employee*

      I totally get your point of view. Sadly having positive surveys are really important for call center employees. Like, any survey that is 80% or less is automatically a 0, and 90-100 is 100%. And you need 90% to make stats. So, 1 customer who is angry at the company, and says you were awesome? still a 0. Only 5 people fill out the survey that month? You’re at 80%.
      And this type of issue is common in service industries that do surveys. (not so much the ones on receipts. But like “you interacted with out team” emails)

    4. marvin the paranoid android*

      I honestly think that Chad just doesn’t want to deal with Mike and will continue to move the goalposts around what it would take to inspire him to act. The surveys sound like they’re just a convenient fig leaf here.

  10. CheesePlease*

    Honestly I think it’s very frustrating and poor management from Chad to expect you to resolve your “issues” with Mike to improve your reviews / raise. (but did not expect better from him). A logical, sane, competent manager (clearly not Chad) would realize there is interpersonal conflict affecting the whole office (Lana wants to leave! You are clearly stressed) and do something more than have a very long meeting where people just aired their grievances. I’m sorry nobody is really helping you.

    1. Lyngend (Canada)*

      Bad management. Had multiple managers treat a bad employee as an interpersonal issue.
      By the time I left, I was getting conflicting orders from my manager, assistant manager and their boss.
      Which resulted in like 5 hours of work needing to be done in a 2 hour time frame. And, the advice given “get your co-worker to help more” who has their own work needed to be done during that time. So wasn’t available help.
      When I left I had 12-16 hours of work to do each day. But since it was a no overtime company. They got only the work done the paid me to do. But I was extremely burnt out when I left. (and because of thamy ability to get work done had dropped significantly)

    2. Elsie*

      I’m sorry too, OP! This letter made me angry on your behalf that your managers are treating you this way. You said you want to leave, please start applying for other jobs as soon as you can. It will make such a big difference to be in an environment where you are treated well and have good managers and co-workers. I’ve also had some bad work situations that I honestly thought I could handle for a while but when I finally left, I realized it was affecting me so much more than I thought it was. Hope you find an amazing position at a much better workplace- best wishes to you!

  11. Rinn*

    I wonder if you are like me, a highly sensitive personality? We feel and see things in a different way. You may feel that he is slamming phones and being rude to customers but others may not see it because you are absorbing it in a different way.
    I have learned to ask myself “is this me feeling this differently or is this really a big deal?” My advice-but your tongue, smile, say good morning and completely fake it until others see what you see. I often can see the red flags in new coworkers almost immediately and then I need to wait months for my boss and colleagues to see what I have seen for a long time. You want to avoid being the bad guy in this situation. Be the bigger person and eventually everyone will see Mike for who he really is.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah I’m of a couple minds. “I was there and I don’t think he yelled at you” does give me some “mayyyybe you’re overreacting” vibes, but “I can’t promise not to fall asleep at work” is so beyond that I’m not sure there are any reliable narrators here (not saying the OP is lying just saying we rarely see situations that make us angry objectively and there is no sane person in the mix to bounce reality checks off of).

      So I think OP may very well be at BEC stage with Mike, and that’s making their reactions worse. But there’s a good reason OP has gotten to that stage. It’s hard to retreat back to tolerating someone once you’re that sick of someone.

      1. Petty Betty*

        I don’t even work with Mike and I’m BEC with him just based on the descriptions. Were I a customer, I would be making complaints and looking at moving clinics/facilities just to ensure I never have to deal with him again, and that’s as a patient/customer.

        1. Umiel12*

          One, I had to look up BEC on Urban Dictionary, and I literally LOLed. My dogs are looking at me as though I’m crazy, but I can totally relate to the term.
          Two, one of the reasons I can relate is that I have been the very sensitive person in the past. It wasn’t so much that the person I was frustrated with wasn’t actually doing inappropriate things, it was just that it annoyed me way more than it did anyone else. A lot of people seem to have a high tolerance for that kind of nonsense, and I had to learn to calm my response before people would take my concerns seriously. I can’t help but wonder if OP is in the same boat.

      2. yala*

        I don’t think OP is necessarily overreacting, but I’ve also had people claim I was yelling when I thought I had my volume under control (I tend to get loud without meaning to. It’s not even necessarily a mood thing). So it’s possible Mike was just speaking forcefully or something, but y’know what? It didn’t matter that I didn’t think I was yelling. I have to make the conscious effort to modulate my voice when speaking to coworkers. I’m not always successful (medication helps), but I still try, because, y’know. Who likes to be in trouble?

        But also, Mike still sounds like a jerk to me for everything else. Especially the “good morning” thing. If OP was his supervisor or superior, maybe it might be worth getting bent up about. But OP’s not.

        1. nonegiven*

          My mom says I talk too loud. I’m just used to talking loud enough that my husband can hear me and failing.

          1. yala*

            Ugh, my mom does this too. Like, will interrupt me to shush me when I’m not actually being all that loud. And like, we can be outside in the garden. Or we can be in a noisy subway station.

            I love my mom, but she picks at everything from the way I talk to the way I hold a bottle of water.

      3. LittleMarshmallow*

        This one is so hard… I really want to side with OP because with the sleeping thing alone sounds awful. That said, I have a coworker currently that absolutely does not know how to choose her battles and reads everything as an attack on her (she responds with defensiveness and other behaviors that just spiral the situation). Her and I are both female in a male dominated field so I would love to take her side and do often let her vent to me (and probably shouldn’t because I think it reinforces her behavior in her head), but when it comes down to her trying to take other peoples “Ill-intentions” to management I would not be able to back her view of situations I’ve seen because from my perspective she does read malice into 90% of her conversations with people and people she’s decided she doesn’t like will literally never be able to win with her. Some of the people she labels as difficult are truly difficult (I don’t like them either) but she takes her interactions with them to an unprofessional level where every little perceived slight is a direct attack on her instead of learning to work with everyone (and really most of the slights are just incompetence… not malice). All that to say… I guess I’d be Lana in this situation…

        I sincerely wish OP positive resolution to this issue so that they can truly enjoy their job with great benefits!

    2. Sequoia*

      While I agree that some of us do perceiving things as more intense than they actually are, I’ve had this “you are just sensitive thing” used to convince me that other people’s bad behavior was my problem and that there is something wrong with me.

      I do agree with the second part of your comment though. Almost every rage inducing, incompetent, etc co-worker I’ve had eventually either was fired or managed out. There are a couple of exceptions at my current job, and I’ve just had to accept that management at this job believes their behavior is okay. Then I ask myself if I can find another job where the standards of behavior are different. The answer is almost always no.

    3. Kella*

      I don’t think this is a likely explanation because OP says, “I have at least one customer a day who would prefer not to work with him.” They just aren’t making formal complaints about him. So, it’s not just OP reacting this way to Mike.

      1. Cmdr Shepard*

        I think this might be one of those everyone is a little bit wrong/right situation.

        Lana is maybe the closest thing we have to a 3rd party observer. Lana has observed the tension between OP and Mike, and Lana wants it gone. So it really does not seem like it would be in Lana’s self interest to downplay the bad aspects of Mike.

        I think it is certainly possible/plausible that while Mike did talk to OP about not putting notes in the file Mike didn’t actually yell at OP. OP already does not like Mike so she took it as him yelling. I have been in tons of meetings where a higher up talks to someone and says “J. Smith, you need to do x,y, and z I have been waiting on this for 2 weeks now.” afterwards J. Smith will say that was rough “I got yelled at” and I am thinking boss didn’t yell at you they just told you that you needed to do certain things in a normal voice.

        The fact that OP says that they thought Lana was an ally, while they don’t say this they seem to imply they don’t think of Lana as an ally anymore because Lana did not back up OP’s version of events rubs me the wrong way, like OP thinks allies have to agree with you 100% even if you are in the wrong.

        With that being said I do think Mike is a problem and is not in the clear. Some of OP’s concerns are legitimate and some I think are BEC type concerns.

        1. Andie Begins*

          I don’t know, it seems very much in Lana’s self interest to disagree with the OP if Lana has picked up that Mike isn’t going anywhere, he’s petty and retaliatory to attempts to hold him accountable, and Chad isn’t getting rid of him – Lana made the same decision as OP (I would rather stay in this position than leave) and extricated herself from the situation in such a way as to preserve her livelihood.

          It sucks for the OP not to have backup on this stuff and it feels bad and gaslight-y – it is, and I 100% agree. But we can’t all fight every battle every time and there’s a nonzero chance that Lana just figured out she needed to put up and shut up on a quicker timeline than OP did.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          What Andie said, and also maybe Mike is focusing his negative on OP instead of Lana, so Lana isn’t willing to proverbially poke the bear by siding with OP. We’ve heard lots of messed up coping strategies in toxic places, maybe this is Lana’s (being the I agree with everybody mouse).

  12. TiredAmoeba*

    OP, whe I retrieve my jaw from the floor at how out of it your boss and grandboss are, I would like to commend you for being able to stick out this job.

  13. yala*

    ” One of his complaints is that I ask other people about their weekends and always seem happy to see them, and I don’t do the same for Mike. … I committed to cheerfully saying “Good Morning” first to Mike since that was a big complaint to him.”

    Man, why is this ALWAYS a thing?? Or is it? I dunno. But I’ve DEFINITELY had that comment from coworkers who I had tensions with. But the thing is–I don’t say “Good Morning” because I rarely got a pleasant response. More than once, a coworker who brought that up as an issue has looked me dead in the eyes after I’ve said “Good Morning” as we passed each other and just kept walking.

    It’s like…I know you don’t like me, on a *personal* level. So I’d rather just be as unobtrusive as possible?

    So many times they set the tone, and then complain when you pull back and try to minimize interactions because there’s at least a 50/50% chance that even a non-work-related interaction (eg: coffee chat, etc) will result in a Problem.

    1. kittycontractor (new job new username!)*

      I think it’s more that she does say it to everyone else, but not to him, so it may be the more exclusion of him being deliberate rather than never sating it at all.

      1. Nanani*

        I think it’s a “perform attention and cheer for me waaaah” entitlement issue, personally.

      2. yala*

        I get that, but also like…what if everyone else is also pleasant to OP and says good morning, etc? Or at least doesn’t yell at them, etc.

        It sounds like he’s setting the tone for their interactions. Maybe OP used to say good morning and stopped after Mike made it clear how much he disliked them.

        I do get feeling crummy from being excluded, and I’ve definitely seen instances where both parties felt the other one was excluding them because of miscommunications. But if they’re coworkers on the same level and Mike wants to feel included in the social small talk, well… did he ever try saying good morning to OP?

    2. Bongofury*

      UGH. I have a coworker who complains ALL THE TIME that another 3rd coworker of ours doesn’t say Good Morning every day. She even wrote it on her “peer review” which is just another example of peer reviews being worthless and harmful.
      Some people aren’t naturally cheerful! Just let them be! It’s not effecting anything anyone does, people are allowed to have their headphones in and work without forced social interaction!

      1. BlueSwimmer*

        I don’t know the OP’s gender, but being told to say “good morning” cheerfully to placate a grouchy older man screamed sexist/gendered/age-ist treatment to me.

        It would be one thing to be denied a raise or disciplined for not being pleasant to customers (ahem.. like Mike) or not saying a corporate-directed greeting to a customer, but policing social interactions and tone as not being cheerful enough from one employee when another behaves badly to co-workers and customers really raises my hackles.

        1. Eat My Squirrel*

          Yeah this got me too. Management thinks it is so important for OP to Cheerfully say good morning Every. Single. Day. that this is now a requirement of their job, but it’s ok if Mike yells at customers?

        2. Lyn*

          I have a very good friend who went through a nightmare at work a few years back (TOTALLY not her in the wrong) and she indeed was watched in her social interactions with her co-workers and derided for not being cheerful enough.

    3. Lady Knittington*

      I had somebody make the same complaint about me to my manager. I started to say good morning and she blanked me. Wasn’t about saying hello, was absolutely about a petty power grab.


      But if you don’t greet these people cheerfully, they never have the chance to give you the cut direct! How could you deprive them of such a pleasure?

      /sarcasm, in case that wasn’t clear

  14. Jean*

    It’s insane that you and Mike not liking each other is being treated as a performance issue that YOU need to resolve to advance and get raises. Your workplace sucks unbelievably badly. Use the heck out of your benefits for as long as you can and then get out of there, to someplace where antisocial a-holes aren’t coddled and rewarded for their (literal) shit.

    1. Nanani*


      The key point is that -LW- is the one being told to “resolve it” and bend over backwards for Mike.
      That’s not ok, that’s not fair, and LW deserves better.

  15. Purple Cat*

    Holy bees!
    It’s such a head in the sand approach for management to say she “reads the patient surveys that people fill out, and if Mike was as bad as I claim, then she would know it by now”
    Umm, I almost NEVER fill out satisfaction surveys of any kind and if I dislike an employee that I need to have close contact with, I’m just going to go elsewhere. I won’t advertise it though, we’re not in an airport and need to announce our departure.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Aaaahh yes, the old “I didn’t personally see it happen therefore it didn’t happen.”

    2. Shirley Keeldar*

      Also, if I were a customer/patient/client and found an employee asleep at his desk, I wouldn’t make a big deal of it on a survey. I’d assume that a) it was a one-time thing, maybe health related; and b) they’d be mortified when they woke up. Because that’s how it would be for me. I’d have no way of knowing it was a common occurence. Coworkers are in a much better position to evaluate that sort of thing than customers.

  16. Shiny_Suit*

    I’m generally all for firing below-average white guys, but in this case the managers don’t really have much to go on:
    -A colleague who was asked to corroborate LW’s complaint had a different recollection of the event
    -The established mechanism to evaluate customer issues doesn’t seem to indicate any serious issues
    -Very likely, other employees besides LW are also doing peer reviews of Mike that are also not indicating serious issues

    This guy is definitely annoying and not great at his job, but it seems like it would be tough to can him based on the available data.

    1. Fiddlesticks*

      “I’m generally all for firing below-average white guys”

      I hope this was sort of a…joke?…otherwise it’s pretty uncool to advocate firing people on the basis of race or color. SMH…

      1. Ariaflame*

        I suspect it’s a nod to the ‘they would not have got the job in the first place if they weren’t one’, because systematic racism and sexism is a thing.
        But poor performance and abuse of clients/customers/patients is absolutely grounds for at minimum a PIP.

      2. Shiny_Suit*

        I’m inclined to give far more grace to people who are facing the headwinds of centuries of patriarchal/racist treachery.

        But some guy who has was born with every demographic advantage and still can’t do their job at “C-” level at least? Nah, get somebody else in there and let them try.

        1. Jess*

          I’m inclined to give grace without the basis of race or sex. Apparently that is too hard. Where does it even mention race? I don’t know why you are trying to force race in to the discussion when it wasn’t even mentioned.

    2. EPLawyer*

      Sorry but I got someone who can’t even commit to not sleeping on the job and seems to blow off the job to take the afternoon off, I have to take a closer look at that person. Even if its a reasonable accomodation for a medical conditoin you have to consider the effect on others. Are they taking on a larger load for this person for an indefinite period of time? What am I doing to make it easier on them, instead of dumping the problem on them to solve?

    3. Elder Millennial*

      He is regularly late and leaves early. That’s an objective complaint that is easy to verify.

    4. Maggie*

      What races do you advocate keeping on below average employees? Lol the comments on this site sometimes

      1. Jess*


        I know right? I’ve seen some real winners here. Especially with the ones targeting men. Bonus points when the comments targeting men solely on the basis of gender and the thread gets locked and no one can say anything.

    5. Heather*

      Seconded. People keep emphasizing that he sleeps at the job, but since OP said in the first letter that he has sleep apnea that might actually be acknowledged as an accommodation. Then, from management’s point of view it really just does look like an interpersonal conflict. Mike’s version of this story is probably that OP tries to freeze him out by talking to everyone else and that she’s always picking on him for what he thinks is reasonable behaviour like eating at his desk. Management has asked around and not heard definitive consensus one way or another, and then set a meeting to air everything out. Could have been handled worse IMO.

      1. Dragon*

        My state DMV agency had a customer-facing employee with a sleep disorder, who slept on the job half the time. Her colleagues didn’t trust the accuracy of anything she did when she was awake. But because she did have a medical condition, the agency felt its hands were tied.

    6. J.B.*

      The bosses had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR meeting where on the one hand they dismissed shouting, sleeping and walking off the job and on the other talked at a woman for not asking about dude’s weekend. These are not reasonable people.

  17. I should really pick a name*

    Look for other jobs with great benefits.
    There’s no reason to jump ship before you find one, but please start looking.

    1. thebeaglehaslanded*

      I came here to say that exact thing. There are other jobs out there with great benefits AND effective leadership, too! Use the benefits, but get thee to a job board and post a resume.

  18. Nanani*

    You should really get out nevertheless.
    Keep looking for a job that doesn’t gaslight you about your colleagues AND doesn’t expect you to perform cheer (literally emotional labour 101) while also allowing another person to SLEEP AT THEIR DESK???

    Your situation is not ok, it’s not fair, and you deserve better.

  19. Bookworm*

    :/ I’m sorry that it has gone this way, OP. Thanks for the update and hope maybe there are other jobs that could have similar benefits? In any case, I wish you the best.

  20. Meow*

    I think it’s worth mentioning that there are people who don’t necessarily see someone who is angry all the time as being unprofessional, they see it as more of a personality quirk. Especially people who have worked in offices upwards of twenty years – from the stories I’ve heard from my parents and older coworkers, it wasn’t entirely uncommon for tense meetings to devolve into screaming matches, and then everyone laughed it off the next day.

    Anger and raised voices bother me a lot, and I think in the modern day office most people recognize it as unacceptable behavior, but it’s been normalized for a lot of people too, and it’s hard for them to understand what the big deal is. It was hard for me to accept that some people can roll their eyes and walk away from behavior that feels abusive to me.

    1. irene adler*

      Yep! We have a production manager who is … moody (I’m being nice here!). We all walk on eggshells around him.

      Never know when he’s gonna blow up at you, or go behind your back and set things up so you look bad, or just make things difficult when you must work with him (surly, uncooperative, ignores requests/deadlines then turns around and says-in front of management- “why didn’t you just ask me? I would have been happy to carry out your request.”).
      All complaints about his abusive behavior are brushed off by management.

    2. aebhel*

      I mean… I’m not personally bothered by yelling and rude behavior in the way that a lot of people are (generally thick-skinned + grew up in a family totally lacking in verbal filters), but I can still recognize it as unprofessional and inappropriate for the workplace.

  21. RuralGirl*

    If I were in a meeting with an employee and they said they couldn’t promise not to fall asleep at work, I would be incredibly concerned. The fact that these situations are turned onto the employee who is whistleblowing is asinine. I’m sorry, OP. Your boss and other colleagues don’t deserve you as a coworker and I hope you find a job that can support your health and happiness both.

    1. nelliebelle1197*

      I am thinking there is an ADA accommodation there that LW does not and should not know about.

  22. CatCat*

    Glad you’re going to get what you need from this loony place in terms of benefits and are working on an exit strategy to get out. This will obviously not improve.

    If you can, don’t pick up Mike’s slack when he flounces off the retail floor or refuses to see a patient. I know this will be hard because customers/patients will not be served. Since you are working on improving your health, take full advantage of your sick leave and vacation leave at this time. Don’t worry about Mike doing Mike things at those times. Let Chad and Lacey deal with it since they think he is not a problem employee.

    UGH! I’m sorry you are in this situation, but you are so smart to take what you can from the benefits at this point and then GTFO.

  23. Just Me*

    Oh god. I had a coworker like this at OldJob (rude, slamming things, sulking when he felt like people were ignoring him, refusing to work with clients he didn’t like, etc.). He was fired by his supervisor after I showed that he had done something illegal at work (nothing exciting, just mishandling of confidential documents) and then the CEO hired him back. To work with me. In the same office. With him knowing I had raised the alarm. 10/10 manager and I felt like we were being gaslighted.

    Sometimes when you hate a coworker you can fall into the trap of case building, where every single thing they do gets added to that List of Things You Hate, so it’s worth evaluating if that’s the case. If they’re so over-the-top bad and the company doesn’t see it as an issue, that’s a sign that you should start making plans to leave…which is kind of what it sounds like should happen soon.

    Actually, sort of funny anecdote I just remembered about my terrible coworker, which my old supervisor brought up not too long ago. The company was one where they typically get you a cake if your birthday falls on a workday. One year, Terrible Coworker very unexpectedly planned a two and a half week vacation to go to Carnival, with his birthday falling right in the middle of the vacation. He went to the manager’s office to ask when his office birthday party was, and then threw a tantrum when she said they hadn’t planned to get him a cake because he was going to be gone for the week leading up to and the week after his birthday. This was a 40-something father of two who was treating himself to a vacation to go drink and carouse with women at Carnival while his ex-wife watched their kids. He basically bullied the manager into buying him cupcakes.

  24. Cafe au Lait*

    It looks like it’s time to start playing “Bad Job Bingo!” Write down twenty four of the most annoying things which occur every week. Fill out a bingo board, and check off whenever each event happens. Randomly shout “BINGO!” when you fill out a line. Buy yourself a treat; food, exercise related, hobby specific, whatever floats your fancy.

    Fighting ridiculousness with ridiculousness helps keep you sane.

    1. Cheesesticks*

      You can google online bingo card generators. I worked with someone similar and did the same thing.

    2. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

      This is what I was going to suggest. Works well for annoying relatives as well.

  25. somanyquestions*

    These are the type of weak managers that let bullies run their teams. It’s not going to get better. They’re always going to let the one that screams loudest win, because they don’t want to deal with it.

    I’m glad you’re looking for another job, LW. Good luck. And I agree with people who are saying try to be as zen as possible and ignore him as you’re planning your escape. You can’t make him change and you don’t want to let him take up your emotional bandwidth. He’s not worth your energy.

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      I came here to say exactly this. For whatever reason, management doesn’t want to address anything having to do with Mike. They will hang any Mike-related issues on the LW for “not being nice enough to Mike.” I doesn’t matter why this is. What matters is that the LW gets what’s needed out of this job and find a new position.

      Best of luck to LW.

  26. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    Our grandboss said that she reads the patient surveys that people fill out, and if Mike was as bad as I claim, then she would know it by now.

    Ughhhh. The fact this guy is sleeping at work doesn’t bother your grandboss? OP, I am so sorry. If you have at LEAST one customer per day who would prefer not to work with this guy, I would suggest keeping a record of how many customers say this so you have actual numbers to produce. And good luck with taking care of yourself and promoting yourself on LinkedIn.

    1. somanyquestions*

      I never trust surveys after seeing confidentiality being completely ignored (after being promised) at my job. I wouldn’t want to say “this guy was scary & weird” if I thought he might know, might get pushback, and had access to my medical records.

  27. QuickerBooks*

    Ugh. I am so sorry this is happening to you OP.

    I see red whenever I hear, “I’ll try but I can’t guarantee it” as a response to basic and simple requests for decent behavior. It always means, “No, I’m not even going to try.”

    We had a system in our office where we had a subway card that was free for anybody to use. It was kept by the door and you could just take it on a first-come, first-served basis. Fergus had a habit of taking the card and just keeping it for weeks. He was asked to please return it every day so that other people could have a chance to use it. His response was, “I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee I’ll remember.” Arrrrghhh!

    1. Beebee*

      That’s so annoying! It’s very “I will not be responsible for how my actions affect others”. Super annoying.

    2. Molly the cat*

      And if you’re genuinely not confident in your ability to fix the thing, you have to say something like “I want to do that, but I’m concerned about whether I’ll be able to follow through. Can I talk through potential blockers and my plan to fix things with you?”, not just “I guess I’ll ~tryyyyyyyyyyyyy”

    3. Artemesia*

      The managers response should have been ‘well then Fergus, we need you to not use the card since it is provided for everyone to use and you can’t commit to not monopolizing it. Hand it here. ‘

  28. Lorelai*

    OP, I envision a year from now you will be writing in to AAM with an update that things got worse before they got better. I’m sorry that you got cornered like that. But read the writing on the wall. Use the benefits and then get out of Dodge.

  29. Sequoia*

    I’ve been in a meeting before where an HR person said “if Fergus was as bad as y’all say employee surveys would reflect that and they don’t.” Luckily I knew that the HR person was a reasonable human being, didn’t like Fergus either, and was actually asking all of us who were upset to speak up. We hadn’t felt safe speaking up before then, but once we were asked to we did. All of us. Loudly. And things changed quickly after that.

    Since your management is okay with people sleeping at work I’m not sure I would trust them. But is there a chance that they think they’ve given you a tool to get rid of this guy?

    This definitely feels like a work place culture where not rocking the boat is seen as more important than actually being professional and getting work done.

    1. Becky S.*

      OMG, Sequoia, your last sentence – I worked at a place like that. One of the program van drivers hit another van (parked) then drove away, so… left the scene of an accident….. and wasn’t fired. Those of us who made a fuss were ignored. I was fairly new then, and like my job so I stayed, but I saw that over and over. ‘Don’t make waves’.

    2. nelliebelle1197*

      I said this above but again, Mike has sleep apnea per LW and he may have accommodations that are none of LW’s business.

  30. A Simple Narwhal*

    Woof, that’s a bit of a bummer of an update. I’m sorry management failed OP so hard, I hope they can get out of there soon!

    I also like the suggestion of encouraging customers who refuse to work with Mike to respond to surveys or at least submit their feedback somewhere. Or just not being available to cover for Mike when people won’t work with him – if the problem is getting solved, management won’t care that it’s happening at your expense, so you need to return the problem to them instead of resolving it yourself.

  31. Critical Rolls*

    The sleeping at work thing should be insurmountable by itself. But is anyone getting a strong whiff of sexism off expecting the woman in this situation to A) be less “sensitive”, B) be nicer to the aggressive dude, C) produce hard evidence because she’s apparently not independently credible, and D) generally be fully responsible for resolving the dude’s bad behavior, or at least shut up about it, if she wants to have a future there?

  32. JelloStapler*

    Talk about a missing staircase. They don’t care that he falls asleep at his desk and leaves mid-day but care enough about his petty complaints about you to spend 2.5 hours on it?

  33. BBB*

    I’m petty so I wouldn’t start greeting Mike, I’d stop greeting everyone (lookin at you, Lana).

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Or go to greeting everyone with the same good morning/good afternoon and essentially no other social greasing. Save all the social chit-chat for with the clients as you are helping them out.

    2. Cmdr Shepard*

      Why are you looking at Lana?

      Was Lana supposed to lie and say she did think Mike yelled if what she observed was not yelling just because Lana and OP are/were friends/allies?

      I certainly think Mike is a jerk, but he might be a jerk who didn’t actually yell at OP in the instance they mentioned. OP might have just perceived it as yelling because she does not like Mike and was being criticized. I can’t tell you how many times I have had some coworkers complain about being “yelled” at and I think to myself were we in two different meetings in alternate dimensions, no one yelled at anyone in that meeting. What some coworkers perceive as “yelling” being called out on their mistakes.

  34. KimberlyR*

    I am also staying at a job I have issues with, for Reasons, so I get this. But it sucks for the LW that *no one* is supporting them. I feel like they’re appeasing Mike at the expense of the LW and I hope they can move on as soon as it is feasible for them to do so.

  35. Ann O'Nemity*

    Am I reading this right?!

    OP to mgmt: I have some legitimate concerns about Mike’s performance and its effect on the team, including (…)
    Mike: OP doesn’t say good morning to me.
    Mgmt: OP, you must be the problem here and we’re going to lower your performance evaluation because of it.

    This is bananas!

    1. Office Lobster DJ*

      OP: Mike is aggressive and patients are refusing to work with him.
      Mike: ….yeah, well, sometimes OP types too loud.

  36. Sunflower*

    If it’s legal, can you discreetly record him when he’s rude to customers?
    But obviously, they already decided you’re the problem and Mike is untouchable, so the only option is urge customers to tell the truth on surveys.

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      This is an interesting idea. If one-party recording is legal in your state, maybe you could record when you think Mike is being rude — but if there’s no confidential data involved, run it by a trusted friend instead, to see if they perceive it as rude?

      Just spitballing. No idea if this would work or be helpful…

      1. Hlao-roo*

        One thing to be careful of (besides making sure you’re in a one-party consent state for recording) is: the OP needs to be one of the parties. If the interaction is only between Mike and a customer, then the OP is not a party in the conversation and cannot legally record it.

  37. Beebee*

    Ugh. Mike’s issues with you are “not being friendly enough” and needing to micromanage the way you speak instead of taking responsibility for being a bad coworker? I feel like so much of the negative feedback women already get is around our way of speaking and voices that it strikes a very annoying nerve.

  38. George Fayne*

    At the medical practice where I work, we have an “Alert” system that is used to flag patient charts. One of the ways we use this flag is to document if either a patient refuses to schedule with a certain provider, or conversely if a provider refuses to see a certain patient. This information is able to be pulled for reporting purposes. I wonder if tracking those who refuse to work with Mike in this way might be helpful. Instead of having to complete a survey, after a patient expresses that they won’t work with Mike all that has to happen is a quick “Would you like me to note on your account/chart that you would prefer not to work with Mike again?” and you’re done. If upper management cares they can call those patients to see why so many wanted those alerts put in.

    I would not suggest just hauling off and doing this on your own, maybe broach it with a manager asking if there is a way to track patient specific notes in the system to help provide the best care. And obviously only put in those kind of notes if the patients ask for/okay it with you.

    In regards to the general situation, I’m sorry that you find yourself the target of his retaliation. It feels like an attempt to regain control in a situation where he was losing some (especially the “Good Morning” thing, which is ridiculous). I had a co-worker like that once – I asked him once to please take a step back as he was breathing on my neck and making me feel VERY claustrophobic, he responded by loudly shouting at anyone he ever saw standing within 10 feet of me that they needed to move because I am VeRy ClAuStRoPhOBiC, among other ways he would pick at and needle me the entire rest of the time I worked there. Because of the ONE time I didn’t just grin and bear it. Because I pushed back (incredibly politely, since I was worried about sounding too harsh) and he didn’t like that. Because I prevented him for doing exactly what he wanted to do by enforcing my right to my own space.

    I hope you are able to find another place to work that checks all the boxes for you and also has co-workers and management have created a better culture for you to thrive in.

  39. higeredadmin*

    Picking up on small details here, but as a manager I have had both a) someone very respected in the department in my office in tears because one person didn’t say hello to her in when they came in in the morning; and b) an exceptionally loud typer. For a) I spoke with the other staff member, who said that he didn’t say hello because his colleague always looked so busy and he didn’t want to disturb her because she must be bothered all the time sitting right next to the door. I told him to do me a favor and just say hello every am! As for b) you can request a more quiet keyboard and/or put a silicone or other soft mat underneath the keyboard to dull the noise. The loud typing really can be a thing, but it can also be fixed. And I agree with the commentariat on this one – clearly Mike is not going anywhere (and what is his motivation to leave – I’m thinking zero if he can nap at work), so the choice is now yours.

    1. Risha*

      Since you’re a manager, I do have a genuine question for you. I’m really curious about this….

      Why did you tell the employee to say hello to the complainer? If he was hired to be doing a job, unless his job is to greet coworkers, I’m confused on why he was obligated to make other adults feel good. As long as he does the job, stays polite/professional to coworkers, and don’t do anything illegal/unethical, I don’t know why he would have to say hello to an adult. Coworkers aren’t friends and none of my coworkers have to say hello to me to make me feel good. I only care if they are causing me extra work. I’m wondering why this complainer wasn’t told to knock it off and no one is obligated to make her feel good, or told if it bothers her that much she can say hello to him first. If my manager coached me about saying hello, I would tell her that as well.

      Of course, it’s better for coworkers to say good morning/hello/good night to each other, but why would someone be obligated to do that? Is it affecting their work?

      1. Cmdr Shepard*

        Not OP, but as Alison has mentioned one aspect of most jobs is to reasonably get along with coworkers. Asking someone to say hello to me seems like such a small ask that it is not unreasonable. I think good morning/night is such a small social lubricant, that is should generally be understood to be required. If “higeredadmin” had asked that person to say hello and spend the first 20 minutes chatting or hanging out.

        Sure you can work in an office that never says hello/goodbye or jokes at all and get the work done, but generally it is a nicer atmosphere to get work done when coworkers are nice to each other.

        1. nelliebelle1197*

          Allison has also said that people who force others in greeting them by either complaining to higher ups or retaliating are ridiculous. No decent manager is going to force an employee to display cheerfulness and fake friendliness when he or she does not want to do such a thing. Work is not your personal life. Employees have no obligation to greet each other in some proscribed as long as they are professional, courteous, and appropriately friendly. Mandating a greeting from everyone when a huge percentage of the population finds such things awkward or unnecessary rather defeats the purpose of the greeting in the first place.

    2. nelliebelle1197*

      As a manager, I am fairly appalled that you would force a report to say hello when he does not want to say it because someone complained. It’s basically kicking a management issue off an another report and does not solve the problem – you have an employee who is petty enough to complain about another for something harmless and ridiculous. A good employee would not do that and frankly it looks like not only avoidance but favoritism for you to force Other Guy to go out of his way to say hello. You have put him in a terrible position.

  40. Lizabeth*

    Karma will happen to Mike. Count on it! However, it may happen outside of your vision…but that kept me going in old jobs with types like Mike. And yes, I heard about them later after I left…

  41. Observer*

    Apparently Lana (who I thought was an ally) said that the tension between us was making her uncomfortable and she wanted to leave.

    So, it is YOUR fault that someone wants to leave? Give me a break!

    Our grandboss said that she reads the patient surveys that people fill out, and if Mike was as bad as I claim, then she would know it by now.

    Are you documenting every case where someone tells you that they don’t want to work with him? If so, please see if the patient will sign it. And ask GB is she really thinks it’s ok for that many people to say that they don’t want to work with him- even if they don’t fill out the patient survey honestly because they are afraid he’s going to see it.

    And, start looking for a new job with really good benefits. This is an insane workplace.

  42. Former Young Lady*

    “Types too loud” and “doesn’t greet me cheerfully every morning and ask how my weekend was” vs. “throws temper tantrums at customers, naps on the job, and walks off his shifts without explanation.” My lord.

    This workplace is a toxic, sexist cesspool. You called out a missing stair and, rather than repair it, they built a little worship altar around it with candles. Now they want their other employees to be the burnt offerings.

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, OP. I hope you can get whatever utility you need out of the benefits. I wish you improved health and a job where you can work with functioning adults. You deserve both.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      THIS. The “issues” Mike brought up and the ones OP brought up are in no way comparable. But management chose to treat them as if they were. Not great.

  43. Lacey*

    Well that sound wretched. The benefits may be great, but you probably want to start job searching now so you can find a different job with great benefits.

  44. Risha*

    OP, I’m angry at your update. I remember your first letter and was hoping Mike would be written up/coached. I’ve been in your position at a prior job–one coworker was crap and the other coworker didn’t back me up to management even though she told me privately she had the same issues. I looked like a trouble making liar.

    I understand you can’t quit right now due to personal issues/great benefits, but hopefully these problems will improve so you can get out of there. This is only my opinion, but no good benefits is worth working for a place like that with coworkers who act like the way they do. It will affect your mental health and now that Lana didn’t back you up, it’s like you have no “ally” against Mike.

    Also, you aren’t obligated to ask anyone how their weekend is. You’re not there to make friends, and if you feel safe doing so, tell that to your boss as well if he ever mentions that again. When I was in that situation, I stopped being friendly with all of them. I was polite and professional. But I stopped asking them about anything that wasn’t work related. I came in, said good morning without smiling, then at the end of the day said good night without any smiling. If they asked me how my vacation or weekend went, I would just say “fine, thanks” without any further comments. You don’t have to do this of course, but I hope you feel like you can be distantly cordial with both Lana and Mike if you choose to.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I’m very curious about whether Chad gave an accurate reporting of what Lana said. It’s quite possible that he did, but I’d also consider talking to Lana about it.

  45. Eether, Either*

    Wow….Sleeping at work is an instant fireable offense where I work. Glad you are looking!!

    1. nelliebelle1197*

      Unless he has a medical accommodation which no one involved in this can know. If he has a sleep issue and an accommodation, then it’s obvious why he was not fired.

  46. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    This sounds like a shitshow. I’m not convinced that what Chad told OP about what Lana said is accurate. It very well could be, but I’d treat it as an open question.

    The only bright side is that you have very useful information about your management. I.e., that they are perfectly OK with what’s going on OR decided to make this into a he-said, she-said where both of you are wrong rather than observing things there for a bit/secret shopping/ etc. to figure out what’s actually going on. I mean, they seem to be taking his complaint about OP typing too loudly and Mike disappearing during the day with the same level of seriousness. That is… not how I would handle it.

    In light of that, can you disengage emotionally from all the nonsense a bit? Like, the place is dysfunctional, but it’s not your problem to solve. It’s not on you to convince your management that Mike sucks and is causing problems. The situation sounds super unfair (and I am a person who is very attuned to “fairness”), but there’s really not much you can do to make it fair.

    I am very much NOT suggesting you let Mike shout at you or treat you badly. Just that you come in, have your fake happy chit chat, do your assigned tasks, and worry no more about fixing things. This isn’t so feasible if his behaviour is causing problems for your work (e.g., you’re having to pick up tasks) and management takes issue at what you’re able to accomplish. But if that’s not an issue, just mentally roll your eyes at the situation and try to be amused at the nonsense going on.

    1. Florida Fan 15*

      This is where I’m at — disengage.

      These are not reasonable people who are going to handle the problem. But that doesn’t need OP needs to handle it, either. OP, his work, his interactions with customers, his feelings are all his problem. Just do your job, ignore Mike as much as humanly possible, and let the chips fall. And don’t worry about being friendly or fake-friendly. You don’t have to be friends with your coworkers, you only have to be polite and professional.

  47. Amanda*

    Ah I feel your pain so much. I had a direct report in a previous role who consistently fell asleep at his desk. He claimed it was due to mental health issues he wasn’t comfortable talking to me (a younger female) about. But would discuss them with my boss. He then posted on Facebook (where he had previously friended me) about the fact that a close friend had committed suicide a year ago. Sad, yes. Needs consideration, yes. Falling asleep regularly at your desk, still not really acceptable! He then said he was triggered by my attempts to manage him because the reason his friend had committed suicide was partially due to bullying at work. My boss (a good guy) explicitly asked him if he was trying to imply he was being bullied, which he quickly backtracked on but it was clear he was trying to suggest I was at fault for asking him to meet basic expectations (and yes I did try to offer him mental health support that out workplace provides) but I still needed him to be awake. And be professional (he fell asleep in a meeting with external stakeholders!!).

  48. Serenity Now; Firefly Class*

    OP here:

    It’s definitely a Chad and GrandBoss Stacy issue. The true dysfunction wasn’t revealed until recently. There are 13 different offices. Apparently, one person at a different station is even ruder than Mike, has made co-workers cry, threw a piece of equipment at a co-worker, shut a door in a patient’s face to force them out of the office, and has other staff members texting Chad to come and smooth things over. And this problem employee has been like this for 22 months. 22! And she is still employed. Both Chad and GrandBoss know about the multiple complaints about this person from both co-workers and patients, and she is still employed. Bad behavior has no consequence at this job.

    Mike is out this week and Lana was sharing with me stories of past coworkers. Mike is not bad at all compared to what Lana had to put up with for the past 14 years. So it must be relatively tame for her.

    Yes, there was another service incident where Mike was talking to an elderly woman. Her daughter confronted Mike and said, “You’re very rude and you don’t need to be. Shouldn’t you be helping us?” I didn’t get her name, and I really don’t want to be the Mike Police.

    A different day, a woman walked in asking for help. Mike said something snotty to her. She said, “Why are you talking to me like this? I’m not putting up with this!” Mike then looked at me, made some deprecating joke and laughed. I kept a poker face and just lightly raised my eyebrows, without saying anything. The woman heard Mike laugh, and came back in and confronted him! “I ask for help, you won’t give it, and you laugh at me? What is wrong with you?” And then she left again. Again, I didn’t get her name, and I’m sure Mike thinks it’s everyone else’s fault.

    I have neglected my health (my divorce process was 3 years and $158,000), and I was at a long overdue appointment with a specialist. The care I got from this new specialty provider made me recognize two things: 1) I need to stay at this job until my health issues are more resolved, because of the caliber of care and the fees for this treatment and 2) I don’t have to pick up Mike’s slack. If Chad doesn’t care enough to do anything about Mike, why should I care?

    But here’s the icing on this sh*t sandwich:
    Lana had submitted 28 different vacation days through the end of the year, and had them ALL denied, so she is now taking classes in data security. She is hoping to be certified in the next six months, and plans to leave both the company and the specific job. If it is just Mike and me, it will be bad. The only positive about Lana leaving is that I will get a ton of overtime, hopefully enough to pay off lingering credit card debt from the divorce.

    To above posters: Yes, I admit, I don’t like Mike. Do I not like him personally? Yes. Do I not like him as a co-worker? Also, yes. And I am embarrassed that our company thinks his behavior is acceptable. If I were a customer encountering Mike, I would never come back, but we offer a special premium product at a great price, so in a way, we have a captive market.

  49. Serenity Now; Firefly Class*

    OP here again:

    Mike had a crush on the married co-worker who held this position before me. He tried to kiss her on her last day at work, and she rebuffed him. So he looks over at my desk, and just resents me for being me, and taking FormerCoworker’s spot.

    Our job is non-union, but when a different supervisor tried to fire an employee who was rude and abrasive, that employee claimed FMLA. Mike apparently had a depressive episode right after FormerCoworker left, so Chad and GrandBoss Stacy may feel like they have to tiptoe around him, or have him be out on mental health leave.

  50. Mac*

    OP, I’m sorry this was such a disheartening outcome. I think you’re absolutely right to try and focus your energy on milking your current situation for what it’s worth, while looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.
    To that end, I do think it’s worth trying to reframe some of the feedback you got as useful in its own right. Avoiding the appearance of cliquey-ness IS a useful professional skill, as is typing (efficiently, if not quietly– that part cracked me up!) So separate out that wheat from all the chaff and use it to up your game even more for you eventual transition to somewhere that really values you, where you never have to put up with this guy’s, uh, nonsense again. ☺️

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