I'm having ongoing conflicts with a coworker. She doesn't think I'm doing my job properly (even though she doesn't know how to do my job) and she's constantly correcting the way I'm doing things because it's not the way she would do it. She gets angry and unreasonable if there's a mistake. She's always asking me if I'm doing something when it doesn't pertain to her in any way.

When there is a legitimate error with something, she over-explains the situation and repeats herself and then gets angry that "I'm not listening to her" when I've figured out the problem and begin to work on it while she's still talking. The last time a situation like this arose, she blew it out of proportion.

She got two calls from people who said they didn't get their welcome letters for joining our organization, and she assumed that meant I didn't send them. There is evidence to show I did, but she won't listen to me when I try to explain it to her. She always cuts me off when I try to speak, then she says I don't listen to her. As a result, she doesn't know the explanation for why things happened or were done a certain way and believes mistakes are being made all the time.

I've been going with the flow and trying to let things go, but then she went to my boss about my "mistakes" earlier this week. I spent an hour talking to my boss about it, and thankfully, she DOES listen to explanations and realizes my coworker is wrong. Today, my coworker is giving me the cold shoulder, and I'm completely okay with that.

I only work with three other people (including my boss), so when there are conflicts, it changes the atmosphere. Is there anything I can do magically or spiritually to make myself feel more peaceful at work and redirect my coworker's hostilities in another direction?"

Co-Worker in Columbia

Good Witch responds:

We spend a huge percentage of our time at the office, and if workday stress is ratcheted up by tense relationships with coworkers, the experience can be miserable. For some reason, your coworker has decided to vent her frustrations on you. Deflecting her aggressive, negative energy magically is a good move, but first make sure you’re covering all of your mundane bases.

Keep lines of communication with your boss open and positive so you have support. Document work you’ve completed so you can demonstrate that you’ve done it if necessary, and consider documenting your processes, too, so you can show that you know them if necessary. Keep a log of your run-ins with your coworker so you can show it to HR if you need to. (Hopefully you never will.) And, if you can stomach it, think about taking her out to lunch and asking her politely, but directly, what the hell is up. Sometimes when you get people outside of the work environment, they relax a little bit, and you might be able to do some problem solving over Olive Garden never-ending breadsticks that you can’t do over the Xerox machine. Here are some spiritual/magical ideas to enhance the non-magical ones:

  • Each day when you come into the office, find a quiet spot and do a five-minute mindfulness exercise. There are a lot of great ones online. These help bring you into the moment and prepare you to face your day. It’s easier to take the high road in tense situations when you have your act together.

  • Follow up your mindfulness exercise by grounding and centering, then visualize your protective shields. If you haven’t done the work to build those yet, do it at home, and work on it at home for a few minutes every day until you’re comfortable with putting up and taking down your shields.

  • Create a personalized ritual to Mercury, and do it on a Mercury planetary hour. In the ritual, ask to keep communication between you and your coworkers clear and constructive, and charge a piece of fluorite or fluorite jewelry with Mercury energy. Put the fluorite on your desk or in your pocket or wear it. Repeat the ritual when necessary to keep the intent strong and the fluorite charged.

  • If you have a desk and cubicle, put some energy-deflecting stuff in your space, and try to find some articles or a book on office feng shui. Mirrors are great both for deflecting energy and also for seeing if your coworkers are coming up behind you if your space is set up so your back is to the entrance. (We use bicycle rear-view mirrors for this in our office!) There are several kinds of crystals and stones that can help repel or dispel energies. Do a little research and find some stones that seem to work for you. “Lucky” bamboo seems to help diffuse energy, as do—don’t laugh—fish bowls (with a goldfish) or terrariums.

  • If you can find a few minutes in the office when you can be alone, mix some salt in water, bless it in the name of a deity you work with frequently, and use it to draw protective sigils on your chair, desk, computer, and anywhere else in your workspace that seems reasonable.

  • Create and wear a protective talisman. You can also create a talisman to enhance positive communication.

  • Create a quickie, one-sentence spell you can use in the moment to repel negative energy in the workplace. Say it to yourself if your coworker ambushes you with one of her attacks and you’re not able to deflect it in any other way. The tried-and-true playground retort, “I'm rubber, you’re glue, your words bounce off me and stick to you” is a bit childish, but it captures the gist of this kind of spell. Create a similar statement that’s a little more grown up, and repeat to yourself as necessary.

  • If possible, take your breaks outside. Walk around for a few minutes outside your building. Breathe some fresh(er) air. Look at a tree. Remember you’re a child of earth and starry heaven, and this too shall pass.

Good Witch

Bad Witch sez:

Imagine me reaching for a stubby glass of good Scotch because I am calming my jangled nerves after reading your letter.

Coworker, I wish I knew a couple of things about this situation. I wish I knew if you two were at the same level as co-workers (which is implied by your note) or if this heinous bitch has some sort of office-power over you. Since I don’t know the answer to that, I am going to go with your intimation that you are really co-workers and have equal status in the office. (I’d also like to know if she has some sort of seniority at this place. And both your astrological signs.)

In either case, you simply can’t ignore this behavior. Obviously. Ask Heinous out for coffee after work and put it on the table—you got a problem with me, lady? Give up the passive-aggressive act and find out why she’s behaving this way. Do you look like her mom? Behave like her ex? Are you triggering her with your constant interruptions and mistakes thereby forcing her to drink a lot of headache-producing cheap vodka every evening?

Find out. Go be peaceful at your ashram or hot yoga class. Work is for work. If you get no satisfaction from face timing it with Heinous, talk to your boss. Then start job-hunting. I pity the other people in this office, including your seemingly weak-willed boss. As for the co-worker — deal with her. Or get out. Life is way too short to put up with this crap.

—Bad Witch