Temper-Temper, Temp


Office rivalry

Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.

Hi Tim,

I’m a 24 year-old woman and paralegal, laid off last year and took a temp job in January for a firm that recently lost a long-term employee. Another temp lady and I are in the running for this permanent position with great benefits, perks and lots of career potential. She and I started off friendly enough, but then she started making sarcastic remarks to me in front of others, joking about my performance and alluding to the fact that she would certainly win the fight for this position. Now, she has begun showing up a half-hour earlier than we usually do so she can grab a few minutes with one of the partners. She flirts so hard with any male in authority it is uncomfortable to watch. When we work together on a project she takes more credit than she deserves, and she has begun making sarcastic comments to me as she passes my desk, all related to her impending victory over me. I called her out on it once and she spat back at me that we could “take it outside” whenever I’m ready. I’m not even sure she was joking. Over the past week, the jokes have become declarations that she is going to beat me up.

Even though I’m very laid back and easy-going, I’m ready to confront her and tell her to back off. Would that make her worse? I don’t want to involve HR and be labelled a complainer.

- Tempered Temp

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