“I’m sorry, but steel manufacturing is not really my specialty. Let alone in Uzbekistan. On top of that. I have three deadlines by the end of the week, which I’m not going to make anyway.”
And with that, I thought the question was solved. Until I opened my e-mail box.
A mail marked with a red urgent flag and subject - 'Iron production Uzbekistan' – was staring at me. He copied not only my boss, but also his superior in the mail.
My colleague sits opposite me, and I could do nothing but look at him in shock for this unbelievably rude deed.
He acted like he didn’t feel my eyes burning in his face. But he must, or he is the kind of sociopath that does not sympathise with other people. Could be. There are more than enough of his kind working in my office. And the sad thing is, they are the ones that make it to the top.
I’m trying to get him to look at me, but he remains cool and is still looking at his screen pretending to work hard.
He says, "Bless you."
I stay quiet.
I cough again.
He nods, but his eyes stay fixed at his screen.
What to do next? How do I deal with this issue? Ignore him? Or confront him? I try the latter.
‘"Oh, you send me an e-mail.’ I act like I haven’t read the mail yet.
"Yes, I have."
"You can always talk to me, you know. What is it about?"
"You can read it."
"Ah yes. OK. Hmm. OK. Hmm. I thought I explained I was quite busy. And why have you cc-ed our bosses?"
"Yes, I know. But I thought if I send it to these people as well, they might take some work away from you. To relieve you of some work."
I’m baffled. He actually thinks he is doing me a favour? Is he serious? No, he is not, he just wants the job to be done and is prepared to leave victims in the process.
"Oh. OK, thank you," I reply passive-aggressively, while writing a reply to his e-mail.
Dear X: I didn’t know you were working on Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything on this matter. Since you probably will gain a lot of expertise on this subject, I could use your help on a memo I’m writing for colleague M, which is on retail in Uzbekistan, and I’m quite struggling with it. Let me know when you have time to help me with this project.
I look at my screen.
In the corner of my eye I see him looking in shock at his screen.
My eyes remain fixed on the memo I’m writing.
I feel his eyes burning. But I don’t move a muscle.