Dear Matt: I Want To Leave My Job Because of A Coworker

Cleveland problems handled by one Cleveland sociologist!

October 28, 2020
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Dear Matt,

It seems like most people want to leave their job over a boss, or due to pay/benefits. But for me, it’s my colleague. She is notoriously lazy, egotistical, and makes everything about herself. On top of that, she’s not even great at her job! 

Lately, she’s been extremely critical and rude about a joint project we are doing. She manages to push all the work on my plate and does the bare minimum and still complains about the project’s overall quality. I’m a bit at a breaking point! 

I’m on good terms with my boss and love most of my other colleagues, but I feel like I’m at a breaking point. 

She’s been responsible for many people quitting at my company. I’m not sure if management sees that she’s the common denominator. What can I do? 

-Stuck Sally


Dear Stuck Sally,

You’re right: usually, people leave jobs because of bosses, opportunities, or the pay/benefit scale. However, your situation is not alone! 

According to, communication, management, and workplace environment are the top three reasons why people leave their job. And your issues are connected to all three (she’s been rude in her communication, management is not stepping up, she’s creating a hostile environment, and has caused people to leave their jobs).

I think EVERYONE should be constantly looking through job boards. And Sally, you should be glued to them! Look for new opportunities. You might leave your job because you found a new and better job! 

Minimize your interactions with your terrible colleague. You can maintain a civil relationship, but you don’t need to be happy hour buddies with her. If she says something truly terrible, put the ball in your court. “I’m sorry you feel ‘x’, maybe if you do ‘y’ and I did ‘z’, the outcome would be better.” This type of verbiage makes it clear that it is not purely your fault.

If you feel like your manager is receptive, please inform him. Don’t speak for other people, don’t react emotionally. Simply state that your colleague is making things difficult and is quick to cut you down but not add to the project itself.

I hope I gave you some ideas to run with!