Thursday, September 18, 2014

Co-Worker's Refusal To Work Puts Big Burden On Others

Dear Tazi:

I work in a small office that handles customer relations for a mid-sized company. I enjoy my job; but some days I get stressed and need to slow down, just like any other job. Overall I am very happy to have a job, and very blessed to work for such a great company. So why am I writing to you? My new co-worker is driving me crazy.

“Jeff” does not lift a finger to do anything – ever. He sits at his desk all day playing video games through his portable console or through his iPhone, so the company cannot trace his usage. Customers and clients will come into our office to speak with us and he will not even look up from his desk to greet them, so the onus falls on me to assist them. If I am with someone else, Jeff makes them wait until I am available. Since we do not file daily activity reports, Jeff’s lack of work activity has gone unnoticed by those in charge.

It has been two months since Jeff started working with me, and I am stressed to the breaking point. I would love to report him to Human Resources, but at the same time I wouldn’t feel right reporting a co-worker for poor work performance. Besides that, I recently discovered that Jeff is the nephew – through marriage – of the company owner; the owner’s wife’s twin sister is Jeff’s Mom, which means to fire Jeff would mean trouble at home for the owner. Right now, my work level has doubled but my salary has stayed the same; Jeff, who does nothing, collects a paycheck each week, and I am finding my resentment building to a dangerous level. I am afraid I am going to explode any day now. What should I do, Tazi?

Ready To Go Postal

Dear Ready To Go Postal:

I suggest that you talk to your Human Resources department before you say or do something that you will regret. You do not need to rat out Jeff in order to do this; just keep a record of your work and bring it with you, to back up your words when you tell HR that you are overwhelmed with work and could use some extra help. When HR mentions that you have Jeff to assist you, simply respond that you are uncertain of his work-load, but are pretty certain that it is lighter than yours. Being a new employee, HR probably has a review of his work already scheduled. He will be required to show his contributions to the company and how he fits into the office.

I realize you are in a tough position, so if you are not comfortable approaching HR about Jeff’s employment in your office you could approach them about yours. If there is another department with an opening that interests you, apply for a transfer. Once you are out of your small office Jeff will be the only one left to do the job – at which point he will have to shape up or ship out.

I also realize that the family connection Jeff has to the company owner makes it difficult to bring his deficient work-ethic to the attention of those in charge, but the fact that he is acting as he is shows a lack of respect for the family member who gave him a chance at gainful employment. You give your company’s owner far too little credit. Should he – or one of his managers – choose to fire Jeff his defense is Jeff’s poor attitude and the disrespect shown to one who tried to assist him. I have a feeling that Jeff’s lack of work ethic is well known to Jeff’s mother.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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