No matter the profession, maintaining a healthy working relationship with one’s colleagues is essential.
Even if you will never become friends with these people outside of work, remaining cordial and professional will always ensure that work will get done efficiently and on time.
Putting yourself at odds with a colleague might not only affect your own personal work, but the entire workplace.
Redditor aita_meeting_message was growing increasingly frustrated by one of their colleagues constantly messaging them.
In spite of the fact that the original poster (OP) told this colleague to stop doing this multiple times.
Having finally had enough, the OP unleashed their frustrations to this colleague in writing, using some strongly worded language to say the least.
Wondering if they had gone too far, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole”, where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for swearing at a coworker for contacting me while on ‘Do Not Disturb’?”
The OP explained how after their colleague would not stop pestering them at work, they had finally had enough.
“I have a coworker who comes to me for assistance.”
“However, when I’m on ‘Do Not Disturb’ in Teams, he will send me multiple emails or call me on my phone.”
“It’s never anything important, just minor stuff that could wait until my meeting(s) are over.”
“I’ve talked to him three or four times, telling him that he needs to either wait, or if he must email me it has to stop at one and I’ll reply to him when I can.”
“He’s sent emails every few minutes asking for an answer.”
“If I decline his call, he’ll call right back.”
“He’s been talked to by management about this.”
“Last week, I sent him a terse email when he emailed me several times during an important meeting.”
“‘I’ve told you I’ll get back to you when I can’.”
“‘If I’m on Do Not Disturb, that doesn’t mean “unless your name is Joe”‘.”
“‘This is the last time I’ll be polite’.”
“Finally, he emailed me again on Monday.”
“So, I replied with something along the lines of ‘Do you know how to f*cking read?'”
“‘Have you listened to a goddamn thing I’ve said?'”
“‘Do not disturb means leave me the f*ck alone’.”
“‘We’ve had polite conversations about this, but I’m going to be more blunt: F*CK. OFF’.”
“‘You’re actively hindering my work’.”
“He’s not trying to bait me, he’s just thinks that he should be able to get an answer right away from a person.”
“He and a few coworkers claim I was an a**hole and out of line for swearing at him and being ‘demeaning’.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Neither the OP nor their colleague looked particularly good to the Reddit community, who generally believed they were both at fault, and “Everyone Sucks Here”.
Everyone agreed that while the OP was justified in their frustrations, they still didn’t handle it appropriately, and should have taken the issue up with management, not in a profanity-ridden email.
“Your correct course of action should have been to CC his manager on one of the multiple emails you get from him, explaining that you’ve asked him to stop calling you on your phone and sending you multiple emails demanding an answer when you’re in meetings.”
“If you cuss out your coworkers, expect a call from HR or a talking to yourself about professional conduct in the workplace.”
“A**hole + A**hole = 2 A**holes, not one a-hole and one guy in the right when it comes to a professional setting.”- DisastrousProblem631
“That can get you in trouble with HR for harassment.”
“Don’t let the real a**hole (your coworker) off the hook by stooping to his level.”
“You, your boss, and your coworker need a come-to Jesus meeting.”
“Your coworker is an AH, too. Going with ESH.”
“Don’t put sh*t like that in writing (email, teams, whatever).”
“That can get YOU in trouble.”- KronkLaSworda
“‘A colleague is annoying, so, rather than take it to their supervisor, I started swearing at them and sent them an incredibly aggressive email.'”
“Both of you are in the wrong, here.”
“He’s guilty of not being patient, but you’re being abusive and hostile over a comparatively petty annoyance; your response is wildly disproportionate to the offense.”
“If he’s sending you multiple emails when you’re on DND, take it to his supervisor and let them deal with it.”
“That’s literally their job.”
“Now you’ve just made yourself look like an aggressive AH and potentially created more problems for yourself.”
“It might have been satisfying to blow up at him, but it wasn’t helpful and could very easily bite you in the a**.”- Samael13
“There needs to be a ‘Justified AH’ option.”
“That dude sucks.”
“You were 100% an AH, but I don’t blame you.”
“You took every reasonable measure you could, but that dude clearly counts on people being reasonable so he can abuse them.”
“ESH, but I can’t blame you.”- Nosdarb
“Your co-worker is impatient and childish, and you handled it poorly.”
“You both need to grow up.”- Larock
“Like… NTA because you’re not an a**hole, but YTA, you’re The Dumba**.”
“You cannot talk like that to people you work with.”
“Just, full stop.”
“Under no circumstances.”
“I personally am in favor of screaming at people who can’t take a hint, but odds are good you are going to get fired for this.”
“And the fact you think this response is REMOTELY acceptable shows either you have an extremely poor understanding of work etiquette or are in such a toxic environment that it has warped you.”
“You can be mean, and you can be harsh, you can tell him because he cannot stop harassing you that you have blocked him from all means of communication.”
“But no, you cannot SWEAR at your coworkers, IN WRITING.”- Lily_May
“Your coworker sounds like a nightmare, honestly.”
“YTA because you responded in a way that turned an inconvenience into a hostile work environment.”
“What are you doing checking your emails during a meeting anyway?”
“That’s on you.”
“If you’re annoyed by the notification sound, then turn off your notifications.”
“You can prevent calls by taking your landline off the hook or setting up DND on your mobile phone.”- BarnacledSeaWitch
“You can add a rule to Outlook to add a 5-minute delay on outgoing email.”
“Realize you forgot something?”
“Add it before you send.”
“Realize you told a coworker to justifiably f**k off but want to take it back… you have five minutes to take it back. :)”- CakeForBreakfast08
“You never respond like that, no matter how tempting.”
“Just keep a record of everything and go to their manager, your manager, or HR if you have to.”
“As it stands now, you are the more likely person to get fired.”- mytorontosaurus
“One of my friends had an auto-reply email that he sent to all of his co-workers each time they emailed him about something.”
“It basically went something along the lines of:”
“‘Thank you for emailing me’.”
“I respond to emails in the order that I receive them and will NOT be able to get back to you immediately’.”
“‘Normally I take about an hour.'”
“‘If it is URGENT and I’m not in a meeting, I am just down the hall.'”
“‘Please note that if you email me repeatedly unless it is about different issues, I will add 1 hour for each email onto your wait time about your inquiry’.”
“‘So as an example, if you email me eight times, forget getting a response on the same business day.”
“Using profanity when talking to a co-worker, in WRITING, has created a paper trail and may have opened you to disciplinary action.”
“It is unlikely that it would result in immediate termination given that your coworker antagonized you, but you may get written up.”
“IANAL, YMMV, and all those other related acronyms.”- Kagato_NZ
“However, while he will get talked to about being patient, you might be in a lot of trouble for verbally abusing and swearing at him.”
“Life lesson- never send emails while angry.”
“In the future, ignore the emails and turn off your ringer.”- oldclam
“You sent him an email with language that’s not acceptable for work.”
“That’s not okay.”
“You could easily be fired for that.”
“If it were in person, you’d have some leg to stand on cause you’d be able to claim you were overwhelmed, and it was in the moment.”
“But an email is thought out, and you have time to realize what you’re doing.”
“Your coworker sucks, though, and HR and your managers need to be doing more.”
“They are failing you.”- SailorSpyro
It seems like both the OP and their colleague could benefit from some reflection on their behavior.
The OP is correct in maintaining that their colleague’s behavior cannot continue the way it is and must come to an end.
However frustrating that behavior is, however, the OP shouldn’t have sent that email and instead taken it up with their supervisor, who could have handled it more appropriately.
The way things went down, it wouldn’t be surprising if the jobs of both the OP and their colleague are now in jeopardy.
Remember, you can always save those emails to drafts and think about them before sending.