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Are you being sabotaged at work?

By Rachel Farrell,
If you think you're being sabotaged at work, check with someone you trust to make sure you're not being paranoid.
If you think you're being sabotaged at work, check with someone you trust to make sure you're not being paranoid.
  • If you think you're being sabotaged, you probably are
  • Befriend your saboteur for strategic purposes and put yourself in his shoes
  • Ask for a meeting with this person and find out what's really driving the sabotage

( -- There are many ways to self-sabotage at work. By not asking for a higher salary after a job offer, forgetting to put your contact information on your résumé, or not following up after an interview, you automatically shoot yourself in the foot.

But what about other forms of sabotage at work? What if your boss or co-workers are sabotaging you? Are you being paranoid -- or are you really being sabotaged?

"There really are paranoid people in the world, but most of the time if someone feels they're being sabotaged, they are," says Vivian Scott, author of "Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies." "There are lots of characters at work and some of those characters think the only chance of getting to the top -- or getting noticed -- is by trampling over you."

So what do you do if your boss or co-worker is making you look bad? Do nothing? Tell someone?

Scott says you should befriend this person for strategic purposes and maybe at some point you may actually be friends with him. She suggests making an appointment to talk with the person. And before you meet, put yourself in his shoes.

"Remember, he's not against you, he's simply for himself. Knowing that, brainstorm a few values you might appeal to. For instance, he may be seeking recognition, or he's concerned about his own job, or he doesn't think the rest of the team respects him," she says. "Start by saying you've noticed a few incidents that have made you feel that he has a concern with you and your ability to get the job done and you'd like to check in with him to see if that's the case."

But, Scott says to approach this as an opportunity to learn more about your saboteur -- not as a chance to blast him with your "guns a-blazin'!"

"Appeal to whatever value you think is driving his behavior. Work together to resolve the differences to get what you both want," she says.

There may be instances, however, when you really are just being paranoid. There could be other things going on in your life that are making you feel insecure and it's manifesting itself at work.

"Some employees like to know everything about everything and if they don't, they feel there's a conspiracy going on," she says.

"Businesses often keep new or critical information pretty guarded until they're ready to share or until it's fully developed. That can make someone outside of the inner circle feel there's a plot going on to get rid of them, seriously change their job description or some other equally despicable act."

If you feel like you're being sabotaged at work, here are five ways to deal with it:

1. Check with someone you trust to make sure you're not being paranoid.

2. Figure out what might be driving the other person's behavior.

3. Ask for a meeting with the person.

4. Brainstorm how you can help her achieve her goals and meet your needs.

5. Don't let her poor behavior influence your own professionalism.

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