I decided to listen to the voice of reason and just ignore the Friend request. Clicking it felt good. Maybe not as good as telling her off, but I also realize that saying my piece wouldn't make me feel any better.
One reader e-mailed with a (kind) suggestion that I should forgive this woman. Let me share a little backstory to explain why this person makes me so angry.
11 years ago she sat next to me at my first law firm. She was a few weeks my senior, and we struggled together to learn the ropes. It wasn't a good firm to work as a paralegal, and I soon moved on. Several months after I landed at my last firm, another position opened up. I knew that she was miserable at the first firm, so I used my influence to get her the job.
Within a few weeks of taking the job, she started talking about me behind my back. I didn't find out about it for some time. I suspected someone was poisoning the well, but I didn't know who or why. I almost lost my job because one of the name partners (whom my co-worker worked for) wanted me out. Her lies about my performance cost me my bonus and a good portion of my sanity. Unless you've lived through the trauma of living on the brink, never knowing if the next call to a partner's office would mean getting the sack -- well, you can't imagine what that does to your head.
How do I know my coworker was behind it? Because one day the office manager called me into her office and closed the door. (I almost passed out.) She told me that I couldn't trust this coworker. I said that we had known each other for many years and that I was certain she was trustworthy. My manager told me she admired my loyalty, but then put a file in front of me that had been compiled by the name partner. In it were 20 to 30 e-mails from my coworker. All of them blaming me for something that, in truth, had been her doing. Or had just been made up.
One e-mail string -- at a time when money was tight at the firm -- specifically suggested the firm fire me to save money. When the partner replied back that he had floated her suggestion, but that the other partners had objected because I was the most profitable paralegal at the firm, she intimated that I was only profitable because I padded my billable hours. He suggested in return that she keep an eye out for proof of that because partners couldn't ignore "criminal activity".
I'm so lucky my managers and the partner I worked for were so supportive. They saved my life.
I can't tell you how this affected me. I'm never going to get over this betrayal. But I'm going to put it away for a while.