Author Topic: Irresponsible coworker  (Read 5822 times)

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June24

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Irresponsible coworker
« on: February 06, 2013, 12:40:51 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 12:51:11 AM by June24 »

GSNW

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #1 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.

June24

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 01:32:56 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.

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.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 01:35:07 AM by June24 »

jedikaiti

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 01:59:47 AM »
Then you need to go over her head.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

"The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture

camlan

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 07:03:33 AM »
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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


MrTango

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 08:24:57 AM »
Then you need to go over her head.

This.  Keep escalating the issue until it gets dealt with.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 09:09:22 AM »
Also I think in your meeting with the boss you should bring up the financial ramifications of you not being able to do your job properly.  I think she'd get it when her budget is affected

artk2002

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 10:22:10 AM »
1. Document
2. Stop covering for him
3. Make it clear what the impact of him not doing his job is to the people affected
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

bopper

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 10:39:02 AM »
First you tried:

Hey boss, lazypants isn't doing X in a timely manner.

and Boss said: Hey lazypants, do X.

That didn't work.

Document when you asked for X and how long

Now you need to say:
"Boss, we need to find a way for lazypants to do X by 9:30 every day. I have had to wait until 3:00 for him to do it and I cannot start my work until it is done.  I have been staying 2 hours  late to complete my work as if I don't do my work, it 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.
Obviously this is unacceptable for that to happen.  However, it is also unacceptable for me to have to work late every week because lazypants isn't getting X done. Clearl Task X is a bottleneck in the process.  Perhaps  Task X could be scheduled for first thing in the morning and for Lazypants could  email to you and Il when it is done. Another is for someone else to also be licensed for task X.    But I need you to work with him or someone else  to get task X done within an hour of it being requested  because he isn't listening to me and I am not sure he is getting how important this is to the department.


WillyNilly

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 10:56:23 AM »
You need to make the boss care.  So figure out what the boss cares about - clearly not deadlines or your frustrations,  but how about budget?  Or customer satisfaction/ranking? Her own reputation as a manager?  Figure out what the boss cares about and then impress upon her how that is being negatively affected.

MyFamily

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 12:30:02 PM »
I strongly suggest you meet with your boss and afterwards, follow it up with an email detailing what was discussed. 

If she doesn't do anything, well I know that you don't want to harm other employees by making their work useless, but I think you need to do it - you need to let something fail and when the questions are asked why, show them your documentation on how you asked for task X to be completed by Y time, and show how you made multiple requests, in writing.  If you speak to Lazy, then immediately follow-up with an email so you have written documentation.  If you can also request a read receipt, that would be good as well.  And cc your boss on all the emails.  When it all blows up, because there must be someone who cares about the loss of thousands of dollars, you can show the history of the problem you had; and show the history of how this is not a one-time thing and the attempts you made to fix it. 

You are not dealing with just a lazy coworker, but also a bad manager. 

If after that nothing is done, well, maybe it is time to brush up your resume and find a job where they do care about losing thousands of dollars, because this one may not be able to stay open for much longer with that attitude.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

Moray

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 12:42:42 PM »
1. Document
2. Stop covering for him
3. Make it clear what the impact of him not doing his job is to the people affected

Yes. Exactly.

I strongly suggest you meet with your boss and afterwards, follow it up with an email detailing what was discussed. 

If she doesn't do anything, well I know that you don't want to harm other employees by making their work useless, but I think you need to do it - you need to let something fail and when the questions are asked why, show them your documentation on how you asked for task X to be completed by Y time, and show how you made multiple requests, in writing.  If you speak to Lazy, then immediately follow-up with an email so you have written documentation.  If you can also request a read receipt, that would be good as well.  And cc your boss on all the emails.  When it all blows up, because there must be someone who cares about the loss of thousands of dollars, you can show the history of the problem you had; and show the history of how this is not a one-time thing and the attempts you made to fix it. 

You are not dealing with just a lazy coworker, but also a bad manager. 

If after that nothing is done, well, maybe it is time to brush up your resume and find a job where they do care about losing thousands of dollars, because this one may not be able to stay open for much longer with that attitude.

And this. Document, document, document.

Utah

Deetee

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 12:52:47 PM »
Option 1)
Meet with boss.

Have a timeline of this task and when you asked, when you followed up, when you followed up again and when it was completed.
 Spend the next two weeks or so getting this data if you don't have it already.

Then meet with the boss and say. This task takes co-worker 10-15 minutes. However, I need to spend over an hour reminding him and following and not being able to proceed because he won't do it. I also stayed late on (name actual dates) because he failed to get a 15 minute task done.

Then ask that you be get the training and licenesing to take over the task for yourself as you spend much more time trying to get coworker to do the task than it would take for you to complete it.

Option 2

Ask coworker to do task and give him a deadline of an hour (or whatever is reasonable) then after the hour passes,  follow up on him ever 15 minutes until he  does it. (Record this). It's a total pain but you want to make it more difficult and unpleasant for him to not do his job and so he will do his job because it is easier than dealing with you.

For this one you may find it helpful to go to boss and ask for a meeting with the three of you to set out reasonable expectations. Get coworker to agree in frontof boss that he can do the task within an hour.

Option 3)

Go over boss's head (But do not do this until you tried 1 and 2 and have tonnes of documentation.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 03:02:26 PM »
Since it is a task that doesn't take long, can you pull up a chair and sit by him until the task is done?
”Cow-irker,, I can't proceed until you do X Task, so I will just sit here until you do it. Don't mind me! I will just file my nails while I am waiting”

Amara

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Re: Irresponsible coworker
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 03:16:29 PM »
You know, I would stop going out of my way to "help" this co-worker or my boss. And I certainly wouldn't stay late to finish/clean up the project. Your boss obviously isn't going to do anything until it hits her in the face. However, to protect my "face" I would make sure to document every single thing connected with the problem (and boss's non-reaction is one of them). As long as you continue as you are no one has any incentive to change.