Difficult co-worker - need advice

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by EllenComstock, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. EllenComstock

    EllenComstock New Member


    I have a situation at work that I need some advice on. I work at a college and work half-time in two offices. In my one job I work in one of the academic buildings on campus so I work for quite a few professors. One of the professors I get along with okay, but I know he can be a difficult person as others have told me problems they have had with him.

    As most of you know and have experienced yourselves, those of us with fibromyalgia are super sensitive to things like sounds and lights. Well, this professor likes to walk around and suddenly clap his hands loudly several times. Sometimes he come up behind me and done this. I can't hardly stand the sound. Today I finally said something to him about this, but tried to say it in a nice way. He said that he has to clap his hands and that it's a nervous thing he has to do. Without going into details, I just told him I have a condition that makes me extra sensitive to sound. He said that he has learned not to worry about or care about what other people think. Then he walked out of the office.

    I don't want to make a big deal of this, but I feel he was rude and nasty. Should I go into more details about my health condition to him? I really don't want to do that. I have kept this secret at work except for my co-workers that I am close to. Or maybe just tolerate it since I am not working with him all the time and I don't want to call attention to my health problems or cause any other problems at work. Still, it is so annoying.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Peace7

    Peace7 New Member

    He may have a condition of his own such as OCD or Tourette's Syndrome. However, his attitude stinks.

    I would inform him that if he does this behind your back again, It will be considered harassment and you will inform the university authorities. All universities have policies on sexual harassment and so forth. This would be included.

    He may feel he must clap his hands but he can do it in his own office or outside, anywhere but in your office.

    I too have the hypersensitivity. I would be tempted to "lose" what ever work he wanted done.

  3. LeLeHpr

    LeLeHpr New Member

    I have a friend who has worked with me over three years and she makes fun of our condition...Always saying things like..What is wrong now? I want to turn around and say - YOU!!! HEHE
  4. Katlover

    Katlover New Member

    I work at an educational facility too - a technical college. I'm an admin. secretary in the President's/Public Relations office so I can understand the "pecking order" of clerical staff vs. professors/administrative staff. I agree with Anne. Even if he does have Tourettes he should understand that loud noises and being jarred from the jumping that happens when one hears loud noises cannot be tolerated. I wouldn't give him too much info about your problems with FMS - someone like that could possibly use it against you. Plus he has already stated that he doesn't care what people think so he sure doesn't care if someone has a medical problem.
    What you need to do is exactly what Anne said. Tell him in a somewhat polite but extreme direct way that that behavior cannot go on and that you are formally letting him know that if it continues that you are going to file a grievance with the appropriate person(s) at the facility.
    Good luck! Stand up for yourself. I've learned the hard way. If you don't stand up, then folks will walk all over you!
  5. griswoldgirl

    griswoldgirl New Member

    I know what you mean. I have days when my sons laugh goes right through me because he is so loud.

    If he does it again behind you, ask nicely again for him not to do it around you. If he does it again perhaps it is time to go to his boss. He sounds like a pain in the a** and just wants to get your goat. Maybe if you can act like it does not bother you for a week or so even though you are dying inside he won't do it anymore. Grownups, especailly men(sorry) are like kids. He may continue to do it because it gets him attention-if he gets no attention from you he may stop. Just like kids--leave the negative behavior alone long enough it stops.

    wish i had better advice for you. Hang in there

  6. herekitty

    herekitty New Member

    My first thought was also Tourette's, or some other neurological disease. When he says he HAS to clap, he may mean it. I know three men who have Tourette's, and they all have particular physical "tics" that they can not control. One of them has to put one of his hands in his pocket, even if he is holding something. On bad days, he just leaves his hand in there. Another of them is brain damaged from the drugs he has had to take all his life just to control his movements enough to function. These guys have been teased, ridiculed, stared at, and given extra drug tests all their lives. Please try to find out if he has some nervous disorder - one of your other co-workers may know. If he does, he is probably no more anxious to discuss his medical condition than you are. If he is just being an inconsiderate pin-head, then you will need to grin and bear it, or complain to the higher ups - either formally or informally. I hope you can get it resolved without too much more unpleasantness.
    Kitty =^..^=
  7. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    I agree - you should not tell him you have FMS. It doesn't matter if you do or not - him clapping his hands is bothersome no matter what. Even if you didn't have FMS it would be annoying. Just tell him to do it somewhere else. Document each time you tell him this. Maybe after 3 times you can tell his boss. If his boss doesn't do anything, go to Human Resources. There is no reason why he should do this to you - even if he thinks it's funny, it's NOT. And DO NOT tell them you have FMS. That is not the issue. His behavior is! Please let us know what happens.

    Annette2 GOOD LUCK!!!! :)
  8. EllenComstock

    EllenComstock New Member

    Hi, Everyone:

    Just wanted to thank everyone who answered my post and for your advice. I loved the one about the flying stapler or cup of coffee. It really made me laugh and I needed that! As for the tourette's syndrome or OCD, I wouldn't have thought of that. However, I don't think that is the problem. After I posted this topic, he came back into the office again this time not clapping his hands. Anyway, he said, "See, I'm not clapping my hands even though I want to." I then told him that I appreciated that. I made him think I get migraines even though I don't get headaches often with FM. I know this doesn't do much for our cause, but as some of you agreed, we have to be careful about discussing health issues at work. Anyway, hopefully he won't continue doing this.

    Thanks for everything-you people are really wonderful!