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a woman in the workplace

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The mafia mentality. You probably never thought to say someone has it, but now that you hear it, you could probably instantly name a few people who prescribe to it. You likely have coworkers with whom you feel uncomfortable sharing personal information, worrying they may use it against you. You likely have coworkers who seem like they always have something up their sleeve, and what you see is not what you get. You know how, with some people, you can feel they are being totally transparent and honest? Yeah, well, you know you have coworkers who aren’t like that and ultimately, you just don’t feel you can trust them. Interactions with them leave you feeling icky. These are probably your coworkers with mafia mentality. Here are the signs.


She does favors you don’t ask

She’ll do you a favor for which you didn’t ask. She really seems intent on having you thank her, and having you acknowledge what she’s done for you. Sometimes, you’ll even insist she not do the favor, but she charges on and does it anyways.


The favors are uncomfortably big

Often, this coworker does favors for you that are a bit too much. They leave you feeling uncomfortable. You feel as if you’re now in tremendous debt to this person. Perhaps you arrived late to work due to a personal issue, and this coworker made up a lie for you to the boss.


She recalls those favors when she needs something

There is good reason this person left you feeling in debt to her—she wants you to feel that way. When she wants something from you, she’ll reference the nice things she’s done for you.


She forms alliances

You’ve seen this coworker form alliances with other coworkers. They decide to have each other’s backs, and to also take down a common enemy. It’s not a healthy way to help each other in the workplace.


She flexes on people

Every so often, this coworker will just flex on someone, to show her power. She’ll ask someone to do a rather demeaning task, all because she can, as a way of establishing her place in the power dynamic.


She’ll send a message

Sometimes this coworker will also send a message to someone who is after something she wants. She may “accidentally” spill on that person’s laptop or “accidentally” send an embarrassing email about that person to the whole company, promising it wasn’t intentional. It’s her way of saying, “This is what can happen if you don’t back off.”


She makes power moves on new employees

This coworker will make power moves over new employees. She works hard to establish right away that new employees should respect her, esteem her, and kiss up to her if they want things to go well there.


People stay out of her way

A lot of people mention just staying out of this person’s way. But they’re even afraid to say something truly nasty about her for fear it could get back to her, and she’d retaliate.


She uses manipulative language

“We gotta stick together” and “You and me, we have each other’s back, right?” It would feel rude saying, “No” but, also, you want to say, “Um…I think I have…the company’s back?”


They offer protection for your secrecy

In sly ways, this co-worker has said that she’ll cover up any of your mistakes and she’ll even help you get what you want at the company if you cover up some of her indescrepencies and bad doings.


They offer advocacy for your alliance

She’s offered to promote you, spread good words about you, and give you hookups whenever she can if you promise to do the same for her. That’s not really an adult or ethical way to do things. We should decide to help someone on a case-by-case basis, and only promote them if they’re the right person for the job.


They charm the whole office

This person will occasionally charm the whole office by doing something like getting lunch for everyone or buying a new espresso machine for the break room.


They’ve burned a lot of bridges

This individual has a lot of relationships about which she will not speak. They ended by her doing things she’s not proud of and would show her true colors. Her professional past is secret and sketchy.


They always seem to be hiding something

When you talk to this person, you always get the feeling that you’re only touching the surface of what’s really going on. They’re hiding a lot, and just gathering information for some grand plan.


They make your skin crawl

You don’t feel good after talking to this co-worker. You feel like you did business with a snake. You would not feel proud to say you were friends.

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