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Getting the Silent Treatment? Be Proactive

By Lily Garcia
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:00 AM

I'm new in my department and came in with no experience. My co-worker was supposed to train me. She started training me, but then just stopped talking to me. I can't figure out what the problem is? We talked before and she said that I need to be more proactive -- so I did that. I started asking more questions and calling and finding more people that could help me. My co-worker, however, still does not talk to me. I have talked to the senior person numerous times to no avail. She still hasn't changed her behavior.

I am the fifth person to take this position. My predecessors either quit or applied for other positions that became available. There are none available for me to apply to right now.

Any suggestions as to what I can do?

Start by telling your supervisor that you are still getting nowhere in your training program as a result of your co-worker's failure to communicate effectively. Explain that your ability to do your job has been limited by the lack of training. Do not assume that your supervisor will immediately understand the urgency of your situation. Be very specific by providing details and concrete examples of projects that you've been unable to complete. You want to be as transparent as possible about the impact your co-worker's behavior is having on your performance.

In addition, do not forget to mention the steps you have taken to seek alternative training resources. Request his feedback on your approach and his support in establishing more formal mentoring relationships with other members of your department.

I don't know why your co-worker has decided not to talk to you, so I can't predict if and how soon she will change her behavior. In the meantime, continue to be proactive and set-up a solid back-up plan that allows you to get the job done.

Join Lily Garcia on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. ET for How to Deal Live.

Lily Garcia has offered employment law and human resources advice to companies of all sizes for 10 years. To submit a question, e-mail hradvice@washingtonpost.com. We reserve the right to edit submitted questions for length and clarity and cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered. The information contained in this column is not intended to be legal advice.

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