Someone at work is trying to make me look stupid.

There’s a junior manager in my company who’s very ambitious and aggressive, and she often disagrees with me–only publicly–in a very condescending tone that implies that I’m an idiot. I think she’s trying to make me look bad on purpose, like she considers me her main competition. I’ve been trying not to react, but she’s really pissing me off. What do I do?

Keep doing what you’re doing. Ignore her. When she talks to you like you’re an idiot, respond to her as you would to a normal person who’s not trying to sabotage you and steal your job and cause your children to go hungry. So when she’s like, “WHAT? You think we should send out a POSTCARD? WHAT ABOUT TWITTER, YOU DUMB OLD-PERSON MORON?,” you just say, “Yes, I do, and here’s why,” and then you explain why. After that it’s not up to you how people respond to you or to her; it’s just up to you to not lose your cool one bit. Don’t talk behind her back, don’t go into your office and draw pictures of her and then violently feed them through the paper shredder, don’t whisper mean little things about her VPL and then when she asks what you said be like, What? I didn’t say anything…

People who behave like that most often come across as people who aren’t team players, and her disagreeable nature could end up being her downfall. Or, she could totally sprint ahead of you on the corporate ladder and be your boss one day. All you can do is control your own career by doing the best job you can, being respectful of your co-workers, standing up for your ideas–not yourself, just your ideas–when you’re confident that they’re good ones, and refusing to participate in her nonsense.

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