I'll admit, the topic headline is a little bit strong - even if I wish this eventually happens . However, I am sure you have all been in this situation before. What is the best thing to do when you have a co-worker who blatantly does not carry their weight, and their decision not to do the work could lead to you getting all the trouble?
I work in tv/radio production and our schedules/specific assignments change every so often. For the past couple of months, I work the "middle" of the day shift - one person works an "early" and another a "late" shift. We are all the same position, it involves working on either a complicated show assignment and/or smaller assignments that we are all assigned. The start of my shift always involves completing a certain show assignment before continuing with the rest of my duties. The problem is, I often have to do more than this. Why? The "early" person has the worst work ethic and attitude I have ever dealt with.
TYPICAL EPISODE: I walk into work and get going on the first show assignment, as I always do. This assignment usually takes about two hours due to the many steps it requires. Within the first 30 minutes of my shift, the "early" person asks if I have completed the show assignment - she wants to throw some of her work onto me so she can leave her shift well before her shift actually ends. Every day, I explain that my assignment takes about two hours and our supervisor is just filling me on specifics for the assignment around that time too. About an hour later, she says she has a "meeting" or some other alibi and needs to leave early. Because I am not her superior, I can't make her stay. I usually say, "I can use a little help with the smaller assignments that are under your name, I want to make sure my show assignment is completed properly." At this point, she usually leaves anyway. Sometimes, she'll work on the one easiest small assignment - even if it's one I told her I've already worked on. Predictably, I usually have to complete her smaller assignments in addition to my own work. The one time I asked about this, she became agitated and said, "You're supposed to do x number of things for this show! (completely false, but whatever)." Oh, and did I mention I sometimes am asked to correct her work because she, "clearly did not bother to read the notes."
Fortunately, I have never missed a spot in a show while doing my work and her unfinished work. Part of this, not to come off as arrogant, is because I do a good job and keep tabs on what still needs to be completed. At the same time, we have had some close calls. A few days ago, I called one of my supervisors to explain my concern because we nearly missed a deadline - an absolute no-no. The "early" person's poor work ethic - and forcing others to do her work - harms the show. Not only that, but if something goes wrong, it's going to come down on me even though it's her assignment. I also mentioned how this happens every single day. My supervisor fully agreed with me and said he will have a talk with her.
I know this talk happened because the "early" person did not say a single word to me the next day - not even a "hi" (supervisor never mentioned me either, so I presume she guessed). With a different supervisor working with us that day (we have several; not the same person each day), she left early AGAIN - and did not tell me she left a lot of her work incomplete! Luckily, I do not trust her or her work, so I keep tabs on what still needs to be done. Her sabotage plan backfired; I was able to get everything done on time.
I have heard similar stories from other co-workers who work with her on other days. Sometimes, she takes repeated sick days when she is not actually sick. Or she'll say she is going for a workout during her shift. She does not get it. Going forward, what works in my favor is that I have the "silent majority" on my side. Other co-workers in our group have begin coming to me asking what to do about this; it seems they consider me a "leader" of our group (again, we are all the same rank so I can't enforce anything). Supervisors have recently begun noticing the "early" person's trend, but I don't know how aware they are of everything that goes on.
My question is, what's the best thing to do? I can't do nothing, because this will burn me at some point.
It's a tough situation but you've got to do exactly what you did - make your supervisor aware that there is a problem. And when it happens. If the day after you know she had a conversation she left a pile of uncompleted projects and didn't communicate this to anyone, he needed to know that. That day. And your other co-workers noticing the same issues need to do the same thing. Because you're right, eventually something will get left undone and you don't want that falling on you. You need a trail of every project this girl has slacked off, dumped off and weaseled out of. If that means you give your boss a daily report of what she left undone, what she screwed up and when she left, then that's what you do. If nobody is monitoring her activities, it sounds like they ought to be. Hopefully she will pick up the slack or pick up her last paycheck soon.
Sometimes, she takes repeated sick days when she is not actually sick.
Isn't that what sick days are for?
Since it is apparent that you can't possibly ignore the tasks that get passed onto you from her, I would probably do nothing else. Your coworkers realize what is going on and so do your supervisors. I'm sure that they have an idea as to the extent as well. If you constantly complain, that will give you a bad reputation. You can't control what she does so do nothing and let her hang herself. It might take some time but you will keep your reputation intact. Assuming that you want to have a future there, you can do more harm than good if you create additional problems.
Well, sure. However, you don't call at the last possible moment saying that you are "sick" and then, say, show up at the company gym for a workout since everyone is right there. That's throwing it in everyone's face. Additionally, people have to make up the work that she is skipping out on.
Lofunzo wrote:Since it is apparent that you can't possibly ignore the tasks that get passed onto you from her, I would probably do nothing else. Your coworkers realize what is going on and so do your supervisors. I'm sure that they have an idea as to the extent as well. If you constantly complain, that will give you a bad reputation. You can't control what she does so do nothing and let her hang herself. It might take some time but you will keep your reputation intact. Assuming that you want to have a future there, you can do more harm than good if you create additional problems.
My co-workers are becoming aware of it, but like me, can't actually do anything about it (besides alert a supervisor). My supervisors have surprisingly not been quite as aware about it. Only now are they trying to look into it. As it currently stands, me and my co-workers know the specifics; the supervisors only know that this "early" person is doing - or not doing - something. However, you are correct as well. If we chirp too much, yes we look bad. Letting her hang herself would be beneficial. It's just a matter of opening the blinds.
Fantasy GM wrote:My co-workers are becoming aware of it, but like me, can't actually do anything about it (besides alert a supervisor). My supervisors have surprisingly not been quite as aware about it. Only now are they trying to look into it. As it currently stands, me and my co-workers know the specifics; the supervisors only know that this "early" person is doing - or not doing - something. However, you are correct as well. If we chirp too much, yes we look bad. Letting her hang herself would be beneficial. It's just a matter of opening the blinds.
That's really tough. As long as your managers and colleagues are aware of her slacking, you wouldn't have to say anything else or have to follow up on a complaint. However, such oversight is commonplace for many companies. This tends to be a problem in business environments in which people routinely answer to more than one supervisor.
You might just have to sit tight for now. I don't speak for most managers, but many don't want to make the rash decision of firing someone for not doing the work (except for blatant negligence of course and abusing sick days doesn't necessarily constitute that). If they see what she's doing seems habitual, then one or a few should give her a talking to.
I'd say just get on with it. Keep up and do well with your assignments and keep management informed of anything that does affect the work. Just make sure when you do have a complaint, keep it focused on the work such that it doesn't make you come off as needlessly defensive.
At my job our company has a policy that can be found on the intranet. In the policy it shows what steps need to happen in order for a person to be fired (unless it's especially egregious). If your company has a policy, you may want to review it so that you know how it all works.
FWIW, I work for the top two guys in my organization, and they severely discredit anonymous-type complaints. So if you are going to take action, you probably shouldn't do it that way.
Since there is a group of employees that feel this way, is there any chance of you all working together on this?
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” --Henry David Thoreau
Sticky Spice wrote:Since there is a group of employees that feel this way, is there any chance of you all working together on this?
I doubt it - chances are they won't speak up. People try too hard to be the "hero" when they should be trying to complete the work in the best way possible. It's an ego thing.
As for the situation, it looks like things are getting better. My supervisor must have really gotten the message across to her recently. The first day I worked with her this week, she stayed the entire time and did all of her work. Today (the 2nd day), with the particular supervisor in, she stayed her entire shift and nearly did all of her work. She was about halfway into her "You're supposed to do a percentage of work for (certain assignment she is supposed to do all of the work for because I am working on my initial daily show assignment)" rant before abruptly changing her tune and saying everything was fine.
Basically, things are gradually getting better. The question is whether this will be consistent or not.
In the end this is all probably a good thing for you. It may be more work and a bit more stressful, but no one ever got anywhere by just doing their job. This is a great way to get noticed as someone that is willing to go above and beyond their responsibilities for the good of the project.