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Frustrated over co-worker

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Question: I have a co-worker who does very little work and is constantly on the phone (personal calls). When this co-worker took medical leave, I did both my job AND the co-worker’s job, with extra time left over.

The owners are aware of this and have commented that they need to do something with this person but, to this day (it’s been two years), they have done nothing. The owners’ answer is to just add more work to my job, which I feel is unfair since this other person just does nothing.

I think I have intimidated this co-worker, because we no longer have the friendly relationship we had before the medical leave.

How do I keep from getting so frustrated?

HELP!  -- Anonymous


Don't volunteer anymore to take on all the extra responsibilities without negotiating with them ahead of time for extra pay, comp time, etc. Since you said you did both jobs and still had time left over it sounds like they should let one of you go unless your business is cyclical and they need 2 full-time positions during heavier workload periods. My guess is that you may have indicated that you were able to easily take care of both your jobs in her absence, thereby making her feel less valued. It maybe hard to restore the relationship especially since you have some resent towards her for being a slacker. This is a management problem and it sounds like they are not willing to step up to the plate yet and do something about her.

Although I agree with the 1st comment, in dealing with this situation before, your options are to deal with it or choose to find another job. As you said, the owner's are aware of the situation and choose to do nothing. You can continue to gripe to them and risk them getting rid of you for you being a nag all the time. Not a good option and I am sure not what you want to hear, but sounds like you have done and shown them all you can. Signed....been there, done that! I choose to find a new job!

I've had a similar situation and finally resigned myself to the fact that "it was what it was". She worked for an executive at the same level as my boss. While I'm working, she's surfing the net, reading magazines, going shopping (!), etc. Her boss didn't require much of her so her skills weren't where they should have been. I occasionally had to do things for her boss because she didn't know how. I finally realized that I could do nothing to change it and just tried to ignore it. Not the best solution but I don't think there is one. You say something about it and you're whining or being judgmental so what do you do besides deal with it or look for another job? I liked my job too much to do that. My boss and I eventually moved to another area of the company so thankfully, I don't have her around anymore to make my blood boil!

Nothing has happened in 2 years, and probably nothing will. They have a reason for keeping her and giving you the extra work. If you continue to complain about your situation, your bosses will look upon you as a whiner and a nag.You either must "suck it up"or look for another job where you will get pay equal to your experience and responsibilities.

If looking for another position is not an option at this time, I recommend you document everything you do and any additional responsibilites you take on. I know it is hard, but keep a positive attitude because complaining too much makes you look bad. Since she seems to be on her gaurd, use this to your advantage. If she sees that the owners are relying on you heavly, maybe she will start worrying that her job may be in jeopardy and start taking her responsibilities more seriously. Come performance review time, make sure you let the owners know that you are maintaining your professonalism in handling the increasingly stressful working enviornment caused by the lack of parity of responsibilities. This should benefit you compensation wise as well. Maybe your actions will trigger the owners to either address this person's performance or replace her.

When I talk to other admins I find that everyone either is working with or worked with someone who just does nothing. In my office, all the execs and their admins are on one floor. I work for a really big company and each exec provides his/her own guidelines for his own assistant. Its a little frustrating I know but what can you do? I agree with documenting everything and then at your review mention the "great and wonderful" things you've done that weren't your job. Whatever you do, don't complain about it. They already know she's a slacker, they obviously are content with working around her. They know they can count on you, so if the opportunity for a promotion comes up they'll probably consider you. We can control what other people do and things are alot easier on us if we recongize that and move on. As for mending your relationship with her, I doubt that's possible. A co-worker of mine had a similar problem with her back-up, she finally gave up. The other admin resented her for what she knew how to do. Be cordial to her and don't allow her attitude toward you change how you treat her.

Don't worry most of the time a worker like this will hang their ownself if given enough rope. I worked with someone who left on three maternity leaves in four years and I had to fill in for her while she was out. I guess either she could no longer afford child care or they just got plain sick of her doing NOTHING but she finally left the company. The only advise I can give is that if it is stressing you out too badly there are other jobs. Like I always say "I was looking for a job when I found this one".

It's really not fair to you. You must first realize that it's not the only place in the entire world to work. Maybe it's time to start considering other opportunities. Maybe it's time to tell the owners "Look, I can't afford the luxury of working here anymore."

Good luck!

One good thing about this relationship is that YOU are also being noticed. Your manager is noticing very important things about you; you are a team player, hard worker, and dedicated to the smooth functioning of the business. I am confident that you are looked upon in good light and this is good for your role at this company. What the other employee does should not bother you and will eventually be dealt with. You never know what goes on behind closed doors, managers will be working twards something that staff as no idea about. If this other employee is hindering your work environment or picking up the slack is overly stressful I would bring that to their attention instead of what that employee doesn't do. Maybe a different approach will work. Good Luck

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