Coworker is a user

So Your Coworker Takes Advantage of People. Here's what to do.


You’ve seen them do it dozens of times: Turn on the charm whenever they want something, then treat people as though they don’t exist once they have what they need from them. Unlike a healthy team environment where most people pitch in to help each other, the User believes in a different kind of give-and-take relationship – you give and they take.

You can’t ignore a user coworker

If you don’t learn how to deal with these people, you may find yourself becoming resentful and unhappy at work. You can’t rely on bosses to fix it, because there’s a very good chance they’re not seeing the User’s behavior in the same way you are.  You also shouldn’t ignore it, because it’s not going to just go away. The good news is that, while you won’t be able to change Users’ personalities, you can usually change their behavior when they are around you. Here are a few things you can try:

Quid Pro Quo

Every time they ask you to do something, strike a quid-pro-quo agreement before you do it. In other words, have them commit to something firm in return in advance. For example:

User: “Hey, you are so amazing the way you put those proposals together. Could I get you to help me with one of mine?”

You: “Sure, if you’ll cover off my calls so I can take Friday afternoon off…”

Make A Joke Of It

When they turn on the charm, then begin to ask your help, look right into their eyes, give them a big smile and light-heartedly point out what they’re doing. For example:

“You’re only being nice to me because you want something!” or, “You want something, don’t you? You are so shallow!”

Just Say No

Play along with them, until they pop the question, then just smile and say “no.” If they ask why you won’t help him, be direct, eg: “Fred, if I thought for a second that you would help me out in return some day, I’d say yes. But that certainly has never happened before.”

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