(Terrible) Advice From a (Completely Uninformed) Expert

Dear, Questions for Quinton,

I am having difficulty with a coworker who seems incapable of empathy.  I’ve missed a few days at work due to a family crisis and upon my return, the coworker, I’ll call her “Sam the Sea Monster of Horrid Person Bay,” slams a stack of printed emails onto my desk and howls at me, “your work load is too much for me to cover!”

I was stunned.  I was mourning the loss of a relative and Sam the Sea Monster of Horrid Person Bay took the time to print every email she was cc’d on during my time away just to prove a point.  Yes, my work load is too much for one person to take on in conjunction with their own (that’s why there are two of us!).

How can I show my coworker they are being incredibly too mean and need to be empathetic in this trying time?

Thank you for your insight,

Hurt in Huron.

Dear, Hurt in Huron,

First up; coming back from an extended time away from the office requires one thing upon return.  Re-establish dominance.  Start by making yourself bigger than you really are, followed with direct, intimidating eye contact.  If Sam the Sea Monster of Horrid Person Bay still doesn’t respect your position, claim her desk space as your own.

Claiming territory is the most difficult aspect of any workplace, what with having to create your branding iron from scratch and all.  Observing the time honored tradition of designing, forging and using one’s own brand is key to proper office politics.  I suggest your brand feature a capital letter H in a fancy serif script.  When people see that H scorched into cubicle walls, water coolers, fax machines, whatever, they will know that you are not to be messed with.

Once you have established dominance again, empathy toward your plight comes naturally as your inferiors try to impress you with their compassion and caring.  Accept this as the closest thing you’ll get to emotional attachment at work.

Keep your position by arranging regular train rides for you and your team through scenic areas.  People love that stuff.

Keep up the good work, Hurt in Huron.  You’re going to be fine.

Sincerely,

Questions for Quinton.

 

Dictated by not read.

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