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Infuriated by a coworker...but stood up for myself

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:angry: Hi all. I need to vent for a moment. I'm going to share with you an email exchange I had with one of the leading members of research team that I belong to. I've changed the name to protect the guilty. :)

From me to the research group this morning:

Hi All, I'm unable to make it to today's research meeting.

Here's my update: I have not yet heard back from the IRB regarding my submission earlier this Summer for my study using the checklist to monitor therapist's clinical improvement (or lack thereof). I will be assisting soandso during inservice/preservice training next week. The following week is the opening of the school year, and hopefully, the beggining of my multiple baseline.



Reply from Joe Schmo

That's not great, Nina,

especially since we re-sdcheduled it to accommodate

the people who are to be collecting data.


My Reply to Joe Schmo

Joe, It is not my intention to inconvenience the group. I have consitently been present, consistently met deadlines set by myself and/or the group.

I know it's not "great" that I'm not there, and I am not skipping the meeting to lay around in the sunshine or go shopping. As you may or may not know, I have a set of sometimes debilitating health problems (Dysautonmia, secondary to a genetic collagen defect called Ehlers-Danols type III; if you want to read more, go to my personal website: http://missmightymouse.com ) which have been poorly controlled for the past few years despite help from my numerous "specialists." Most days, I'm able to ignore the pain, exhaustion and nausea and get myself to work or school. Today, however, it is not safe for me to drive as my blood pressure is too low and I'm prone to losing conciousness. My verbal agreement with my cardiologist is that as long as I listen to my body and do not get behind the wheel on days like today, he will not pull my driver's license.

I have pushed myself to get to nearly every meeting, including the ones where other members failed to make deadlines, present their material, and/or were chronicly late or absent, so you may better undrestand why I'm feeling a bit irked at the moment and am ranting. I would ask for you to be a bit more understanding as I will never skip a meeting for any other reason than my health or a job conflict such as a due process hearing.

I welcome any phone calls from those with questions about recording data on the clincal integrity checklist, although after seven iterations and reviews by all members of the team, I am confident that the operational definitions of the desired clinical behaviors are clear.

========End of my email Ranting=====

I have to tell you all that I dragged myself to at least 5 meetings where one of the other members didn't have any of his paperwork completed, and or gave lame excuses for why he didn't have it, and several times tried to pawn off his work on the rest of us. The same Joe Shmo has yet to reprimand this person for failing to meet deadlines and wasting our groups' time. I'm so mad right now--I know most of you cannot possibly know the background politics involved here, but suffice it to say that I do not appreciate the reprimand when my work is expemplary.

I do feel a bit better for having stood up for myself--but I wouldn't be suprised if my email reply gets me kicked off the committee. Such is life. I'd rather stand up for what is right and take the consequences than swallow it and pretend like it didn't happen.

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to joe -

you are most definitely a schmo

to nina-

you are most definitely mighty. although it doesn't take away the cruddy situation, i say you get major props for your reaction. i am SO impressed. way to go for standing up for yourself, in an a way that wasn't laden with emotion but with the facts.

and you didn't just not show up....you told folks you wouldn't be there & provided an update...what more can they want??? (well....probably shouldn't go there, but...)

when working i would get so furious by a supervisor who went nuts about my being a bit lengthy on my lunch hour b/c of a doctor's appt - that i had cleared - when others frequently loafed around the office, showed up hungover, and the like. ggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrr.

i really hope that there aren't negative ramifications for you but am so glad you put your foot down.

go you.

and of course i hope you're feeling better soon,


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He SHOULD be very understanding, my goodness.

I have run into problems with e-mail communication at work--I have to say. This has nothing to do with POTS, but sometimes tone is not obvious, AND people are prone to express feelings they wouldn't if they were face to face or thought about what they were saying before they press "send". I am guilty of that.

Hope you are feeling better--didn't you say you have a stomach bug. That always makes my symptoms worse.


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Thanks everyone.... :angry: at least my blood pressure is now out of the toilet from being so aggravated. :)

The thing about this is, it's not even part of my job--it a volunteer spot on a university committee. It's almost an hour drive from my home, and 40 minutes from my office. We meet every two weeks, and I have to arrange my work and personal schedule around these meetings. Additionally, the work I do for the research group is in addition to my job, so I usually end up staying up late at home working on items.

What really stinks now is that this was someone I was thinking of asking to be on my dissertation committee later this year. We'll see if he sends an apology, or not, which will then solidify my decision to ask/not ask.

Edited by MightyMouse
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I'm sorry to hear this person upset you. It can be so difficult trying to maintain while dealing with chronic health issues as well, we all know too well. Some people just don't understand the extra effort it takes just to accomplish the same things that alot of people just take for granted.

Is this guy your boss? If so, I would recommend filling out paperwork through your employers human resource and employee health department to protect you from any complications or firing for missed time due to your ADA recongized physical disability. If you haven't already done so that is. When they hear that you are aware of your rights under the ADA they usually take notice and back off. Other than that you do not need to explain any physical problems to this guy unless you want to of course. I understand the need to educate the employers or coworkers but sometimes these type individuals will turn that against you in the long run. Just a word of advice because I've seen it happen and it made things very difficult for the person.

As you well know alot of 'norms' who have never experienced so much as a cold do not understand illness anyway, let alone a complicated chronic ailment such as we all experience and might look at these type of things as weakness not understanding. Unless this person has someone in the family thats ill of course they just don't get it. When this type thing has happened to me I just explain that due to health reasons I will not be attending. So let them get frustrated, as long as I was doing my job to the best of my ability (which was usually more than alot of the people around me) I didn't care what they thought and don't let this person make you feel guilty. Especially when your health demands attention. Of course, to really make him happy you could have just gone in anyway and then fainted across his lap and then he would have needed to call 911...just to get the point accross.

Pat yourself on the back and take the well needed break and you know what they say about peoples' opinions.....

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Oh, and I should add that I'm on vacation this week... and spent the past three days in my house with a gi infection that is finally starting to back off.

No, he's not my boss, but he is one of my Ph.D. advisors, and so ticking him off can have a high stakes consequence for m. I've been thinking of filing the ADA paperwork with the university to protect myself.


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He sent an apology email, but honestly, I don't think it was all that sincere. What do you think??


I'm sorry I reacted inconsiderately to your initial message --

Was rather irked, myself, having displaced some other pressing things

so as to attend the meeting.

We DO need to stay in close communication,

especially over the next two or three weeks,

to be as coordinated as possible at the beginning of the project.

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Nina, I don't see any sincerity in his apology email to you. If at all possible, I would avoid having him on your dissertation commitee if you can do without him. Sounds like the email was strictly to smooth things over a bit, superficially, without much caring about how you are feeling. He could have added that he hoped you would soon feel much better...I am not trying to raise your low BP with my analysis! I think you know very well how to handle this guy. Good luck, you will be fine, there is no doubt in my mind about that, but it's still a nuisance to have to deal with him and the whole situation. I think you are doing way too much, if this is a voluntary position. Take care of yourself!


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Guest Julia59


I'm sorry you had to deal with such disrespect by one of your fellow co-workers. It is down right upsetting, and a good rattle to the nerves when that happens.

I am glad to hear he apologized---------as he should--------- :)

Julie :0)

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It's amazing to me that co-workers who are just slackers are not addressed but that someone who has to take a day off due to illness AND is up front about it AND who also manages to complete and submit their materials AND who makes sure everyone else is briefed and prepared to continue without them is put on notice. My husband has experienced the same thing and I always want him to say something like "...I apologize for missing the meeting but even with all my problems I still manage to be more productive than most of you...". Somehow I don't think that would be well received. I do think it is easier for others to point to someone's illness (even though unfairly) than it is to address productivity issues of team members.

I'm glad you can't be bullied. Continue to keep that promise to your cardiologist - listening to your body will keep you safe (maybe you can counsel my husband on keeping his own version of that promise).

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