I think it is pretty standard in life to be blamed for things that are not your fault. Besides showing how classy the person doing the blaming is, it can cause a lot of animosity and problems in a workplace. I work with one (or two) or these deflectors currently.
My co-worker, Shelby*, is a real piece of work (which is funny, because she doesn’t do any work). When I first was introduced to her, I could barely see the floor in her desk area. Piles and piles of papers and case folders in no order at all. Evidence items piled haphazardly on her desk. It was like something out of a horror movie, like no one would be able to find the body buried underneath all the crap she had. What made it worse is that she looked to me for helping her make sense of all these half finished items (which she also retained no notes on…so super helpful). For a very organized person, like myself, this was truly dreadful. Her mess would always find itself slowly seeping into my workspace (horrifically located right next to hers).
Regardless, I plastered on my fake smile and did my best to help her. I developed a plan where I took most of her half-finished work and ran a quick report for her to send out. Here I am, busting my ass for her but not complaining. Seriously, anything to help clean up the floor. (For a little perspective just how gross her work area was? More than one cockroach (who could have climbed the World Expo Observatory Towers as seen in Men in Black) was seen scurrying around her area and SHE DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE.)
Now, Shelby does not get along with anyone else here at the lab. Drama is her drug and she quite often cries. Someone is always doing something to make her look bad. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I doubt anyone cared enough to try and make her look bad…she does that on her own.) I thought (stupidly) that there was no way Shelby would throw me into oncoming traffic as a way to deflect blame off of herself. I mean, how could she? I was HELPING her. I was the one doing the reports that helped her weekly stats. I was wrong.
Innocent ‘ol me is at home one afternoon after a full day in the lab when my phone rings. Mr. Arrogant-Knows-Nothing-Bluster-Boss with horrific breath calls to ream me out for hindering the progress in the lab. Turns out Shelby told Mr. Stupid that I was the reason why her number of completed cases was low; that somehow I am using all her resources. After Mr. Angry Toddler tuckered himself out yelling and cursing at me, I explained the work I had been doing and he was placated. When I saw Shelby the next day, her behavior was the same – wanting to chat it up about nothing important and tried to hand me more work of hers to finish. I declined to assist from that day onwards and just stuck to my own case load. I do not deserve to be yelled at for the fact that she is making personal calls all day and trying to look busy while I finish all of the work she is taking credit for. Nope. Think again.
Time trudged along like molasses in January. One ridiculous meeting at a time where nothing is discussed and passive aggressive emails are sent out afterwards. I managed to fly under the radar until I had to ask Shelby about a piece of evidence she signed for that was not in the case folder.
I report the evidence as missing to Mr. Fuck Wit who then asks why I need to tell him (he can’t be serious…). He says he will leave it up to us. Well, Shelby has the nerve to say that it is on me since I now have the case folder (even thought she handed it to me). She also called me after hours to say there is going to be an investigation and since I am a contractor, it will fall on me and not her (a government employee). I don’t respond well to threats…especially threats that are unfounded and put my professional reputation into question. I had to write a memorandum formally stating my position. Wouldn’t you know that after that, Shelby magically found the missing piece of evidence taped to an unauthorized case processing form she created. Great. Just great. I loved her apology…it went exactly like this: “Hey, sorry I guess”. So sincere, touching, and heartfelt.
I would have liked to say that this was the last time Shelby tried to pin her incompetence on me, but, alas, it was not. Third time is a charm (even if it is absurd).
I get a call from a case agent asking for reports to be resent for a child exploitation case. I recalled this case was something Shelby handed me in my first month in the lab saying she couldn’t get data from the external hard drives. I successfully completed the reports for those devices but when I went on our server to copy the reports to re-send the agent, I happened to see that Shelby had in fact done multiple data extractions from the drives 5 months before I started. She even named the forensic images with her initial. Wouldn’t you know…SOMEHOW (in Shelby’s fantasy world) I apparently time traveled and created these images with her initials to frame her. Uhm…I’m not Dr. Strange (although wouldn’t that be cool?!). This turned into a three month process where I had to continually defend myself to Mr. Fucktard in Charge to show that the information for this case has to come from the original examiner. We had to figure out what Shelby did (because of course she had no notes). This case was going to court and I was not going to put my neck on the line for Shelby’s negligence.
Believe it or not, Mr. Entitled, did understand where I was coming from…even if Shelby tried to claim I was responsible for all of her mishandling of evidence.
To Shelby I say: Splish, Splash. Your opinion is trash.