I work hard, do a good job, and get a lot of compliments from customers and from my supervisor. My problem is my co-worker. He has more education than I do and is constantly criticizing my work, saying that I’m not as qualified as he is. He has outright told my supervisor – and anyone else who will listen – that I should never have been hired since I don’t have a college degree like he does. I say, if a degree isn’t in my job description, I shouldn’t be criticized for not having one. I’m really fed up with his put-downs and I’m afraid one of these days I’m going to say something I’ll regret. What can I do?
A.It doesn’t take an advanced degree in psychology to see that your co-worker has low self-esteem and is trying to make himself feel better by putting down others – you, in this case. I believe that when people “act out”, as he is doing, it’s usually because they’re trying to meet some internal need. What this guy seems to need is recognition and respect. So why not humor him? Give him what he wants, but on your terms rather than at your expense. Ask him about his college career. What was his field of study? Why did he choose that field? How long did it take to get that degree he’s so proud of? Let him tell you how much it’s worth to him. My bet is he’ll let up on you if he feels you respect him. And if he doesn’t, ignore him! You know what you’re worth. Your opinion of yourself and the opinions of your customers and your supervisor are the only ones that matter.