General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Irresponsible coworker

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June24:
I am dealing with a frustrating person at work. We have a person in the office whose job responsibilities include task X (which takes no more than 5-10 minutes). Whenever I ask him to perform this task, he takes several days to do it. My ability to do my work depends on his timely completion of task X.  I have to remind him several times before he actually gets it done. He is not that busy - I see him constantly surfing the internet and eating in front of his computer at times other than lunch. Once he completes the task, he often gets it wrong. To try to correct the problem, I have started emailing him all my requests in addition to asking verbally. He still manages to get it wrong. This is baffling to me because I never ask for more than 5 simple items at a time. This is clerical work that an untrained person could do, so it's a matter of carelessness rather than lack of skill. I would love to do task X myself, but he is the only one who is licensed to do this by the boss.

Finally, when he orders tests he doesn't follow up on them till they are complete. I asked him three times this week to follow up on a particular test that was delayed. He never did that, and he eventually just gave me the order number, and I had to call the company. They wanted information that I don't have access to, so it fell back to him anyways. It's really his job to check on orders if they are not fulfilled in a timely manner. His behavior wastes my time and causes delays that impact my work in a negative way. I am also losing my patience with him. He constantly loses things, and I then have to waste my time looking for them because I need them to do my work. He is also constantly late completing tasks that the boss has asked him to do. I need these tasks done by a certain time, but for some reason he constantly assumes that it's ok for him to do them whenever. The boss doesn't care, as I end up staying late to get my work done, and it doesn't affect her.

I have tried copying the boss on email communications regarding some of these issues, and how the delay would impact the work that I am paid to do. The boss just replied asking the other employee to sort it out. So she apparently does not care much about this issue. How should I proceed? Getting this person to perform simple tasks has become a nuisance, and the boss doesn't seem to care. It seems that I am the only one aggravated by this. What should I do?

ETA: I really want to meet with the boss one on one to discuss all my issues with this person. But I'm not sure if this will be productive, since the boss doesn't seem to care about anything as long as it doesn't directly affect her. She seems to want to not ruffle feathers, and has a "sort it out yourselves" attitude.

GSNW:
Stop staying late.  As you said, the boss doesn't view it as an issue since it doesn't imoact her in a negative way.  You shouldn't have to stay late because someone else is incompetent.  A few things:

Email requests to co worker.  "Lazypants, I need xyz. In order to move forward with my portion, I need this back for you by 4pm." 

Let boss know that you won't be covering Lazypants - politely, in email for records.

Boss,
I need to let you know that x task was not completed today because Lazypants failed to get y support task accomplished.  In the past I have stayed late to cover this lapse, but that is not possible at this time.

Will she care if your work falls apart?  I imagine tht this would affect her at SOME juncture.  If you have to send these repeated emails, you can follow up with, "I'd like to meet with you, I have some ideas on improving our team's productivity."  Come armed with solutions that involve specific deadlines.

June24:

--- Quote from: GSNW on February 06, 2013, 01:22:13 AM ---Stop staying late.  As you said, the boss doesn't view it as an issue since it doesn't imoact her in a negative way.  You shouldn't have to stay late because someone else is incompetent.  A few things:

Email requests to co worker.  "Lazypants, I need xyz. In order to move forward with my portion, I need this back for you by 4pm." 

Let boss know that you won't be covering Lazypants - politely, in email for records.

Boss,
I need to let you know that x task was not completed today because Lazypants failed to get y support task accomplished.  In the past I have stayed late to cover this lapse, but that is not possible at this time.

Will she care if your work falls apart?  I imagine tht this would affect her at SOME juncture.  If you have to send these repeated emails, you can follow up with, "I'd like to meet with you, I have some ideas on improving our team's productivity."  Come armed with solutions that involve specific deadlines.

--- End quote ---

I feel really awful leaving when there's work to be done. In the instance that I mentioned, that would have resulted in the loss of a week's worth of work that other people had done leading up to my part of the project. It would also results in a loss of several thousand dollars worth of materials. This boss doesn't seem to care about this, but I do. If a project fails due to coworker's irresponsibility, the boss is totally calm and just asks us to start over. I have a stake in this project getting done in a timely manner; coworker does not. Apparently boss doesn't really care to figure out whose fault it is when mistakes happen that cause a project to fail. He places the responsibility on both of us, but in a completely non-accusatory manner. She just wants to be left out of it, apparently.

jedikaiti:
Then you need to go over her head.

camlan:
To give your boss the benefit of the doubt, she may not understand the extent of the problem, if you have only copied her on the occasional email. She probably thinks that her email to him to deal with the problem fixed the situation, unless you have gone back to her and pointed out the on-going issues.

So I'd make an effort to get your boss to see the complete extent of the problem. Start BCCing her on every email to the problem co-worker. If you make a phone call to him or talk to him in person, follow up with an email referencing the talk or call, so that Boss can see all your attempts at getting the work done. If she questions you about this, tell her why you are doing it--you feel she doesn't have the whole picture about your issues with this guy's work.

After two weeks or so, ask Boss for a meeting. Bring copies of all the email. Express your frustration. Ask for guidance in getting him to do his work. If Boss doesn't step up to the plate and start working on the issues, (and you need to give her a week or so to do this), then it's time to go over her head.

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