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Stress Commuting Transfers Automobiles

I have to drive with a coworker for 3 hours each day, 15 hours a week. I have been forced to hear all about her dysfunctional/abusive childhood. So as an adult, she is 54 years old, she is, well, dysfunctional. She twists the truth, and will embellish a story to the point of lying. Help! I am worn out having to listen to her. I have applied for three other jobs, asked at work to be transferred and have run out of patience. Now she is focusing her drama at me. I made the mistake of mentioning that her eating onions and garlic daily, (she claims it is "healthy and her thing") makes my nose run because the odor is so strong, and she became offended and said that garlic and onions do not make her breath smell bad and that I must have a auto immune disorder along with severe allergies in order to even smell it. And now she is threatening to go to my boss and tell him about my "dysfunction". I am stunned by her outrageous response. How can I deal with this type of personality? The stress of dealing with her is distracting me when I'm not even at work.

When driving with a particular coworker is driving you mad, you need to make a change. On the one hand, you’ve already taken some appropriate steps by applying for other positions and jobs. However, since this has not generated any opportunities, the next step is to end the daily dose of three tortuous hours before they take a major toll on your health.

Are you certain that there are no other carpoolers, public transit options, or vanpool services that you could use? Also, rather than merely applying for other jobs or asking to be transferred, you should step up the process and approach these opportunities with high levels of drive, persistence, and assertiveness.

If you truly love this job, and there’s absolutely no other way to get to and from work other than by an onion and garlic conveyance that makes your nose run, perhaps moving closer to work is worth considering. Three hours a day in a car is a huge chunk of your life to spend with any commuter, let alone this one. And by the way, if she tells your manager about your reaction to the smell of garlic and onions in her car, who’s actually going to look a little sick?

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