At my previous job, I worked closely with a coworker—we planned together, supported each other professionally and emotionally, and generally had a great yin-yang relationship going. I never felt like either of us was doing more work than the other because our strengths complemented each other and we wanted to do less work overall by conquering and dividing.

At my new job, I’m looking for That Person. I have a coworker with whom I work closely, but she is in her first year in the profession, whereas I have several years experience at this point, which means that she is often just trying to keep her head above water.

I get that—I remember my first year and how damn hard it was—but it’s exhausting to be on the receiving end of it without any support. She comes in to complain about what her students did, or about how she screws up, or to ask questions about what to do in a given situation. All of this I’m happy to help with, but I get nothing in return.

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If I need to complain about something, she always makes it about her and her complaints. When I ask for feedback on a document or mutually beneficial assignment, I either don’t get it or just get a token “looks good”. If she’s talking about a problem she had, one that I’ve gone through and have dealt with before, she’ll often ignore the suggestions I give on how to handle it (because it definitely requires more work, but I know it will help). I try not to overstep with that because I know sometimes people just want to vent, but jfc, I can only handle listening to the same issue all the time.

And so today, she asks a question about something we’re both doing, and instead of a simple yes/no, I give a brief explanation as to what I’m doing. In return, I get a snippy “A simple no would have been fine. I was going to do the same thing. It’s been a rough morning.”

Like, fuck. 1) If you knew what you wanted to do, why ask me? 2) You asked me for input and then complained about how I responded. 3) Do no take your shit out on me. We all have rough mornings and I do too much Emotional Labor in this relationship.

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And so I dump all my feelings here instead because this is a new relationship and I’m still trying to figure out how to say all the above in a way that will improve our professional relationship instead of harming it. I do work closely with her, and I want to make sure we stay on good turns...but I am currently exhausted and emotionally drained.

ETA: All these complaints are job-related. I was able to get personal, emotional support from my previous colleague (because we built up to it over years), but I don’t ask it or expect it from my new coworker. She complains about work-stuff to me but doesn’t support me when I need to do the same.