can you refuse to work with an unpleasant coworker?

A reader writes:

My department just underwent a massive restructuring and my boss is trying to sell me on a new position that would be doing more of what he knows I want to do. However, the new role would mean working more closely with a manager I absolutely cannot stand.  He is rude and dismissive and treats me (and many others) like I’m something he wiped off his shoe. 

It would make sense for me to take the position, since it is more of what I want to do than what I do now. But how do I say, “I know I said I want to do this, just as long as it’s not with this guy”?  Is there a proper way to say that I don’t work well with someone?  The two managers have worked together in the past at a different company and I can’t imagine, based on their personalities, that they are best buddies.  But my manager has never said anything bad about him and I don’t want to badmouth another manager.  Nor do I want to work on fixing our working relationship, I just want to avoid him altogether.

You can read my answer to this question at the Intuit QuickBase blog today.

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