You are here:

Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers/co-worker should retire or let go

Advertisement


Question
I work in a small office. One of my co-workers is full retirement age & is able to collect full social security and full salary, with no  plans to retire. In the last three years this co-worker spends more time online, cell phone and tablet and less time on work and office related duties, takes 2 hour lunches and has no courtesy or cooperation with other co=workers. More and more  of the workload falls on myself and other co-workers. I spend alot of time on other tasks not related to my workload because of this. During one confrontation I had with this co-worker about the lack of being a team player in the office I was advised that he/she will do the amount of work they choose and if our boss doesn't like it, let the boss fire him/her, will collect unemployment.   There is a lot of resentment and stress. I have worked at my office for over 15 years and really don't want to find another job. My co-workers and I have spoken with our boss about this, but although the boss acknowledges his awareness of the situation, the boss procrastinates. Other than looking for a new job, any suggestions on how to handle? Thank you for your advice.

Answer
Emma,

Sorry to be the one to say this, but if you are counting on this person changing before you will be happy, you will likely be sorely disappointed. Your happiness or satisfaction shouldn't be determined by whether or not all the work in the office is being shared equally among all of the workers.  The frustration that you are having is that you are thinking, "Look at all the EXTRA work that I do, and this other guy does nothing. It's unfair that I have to work harder than him." Anytime you fall into the mental state of comparing your situation to a coworker, it will always lead to disappointment. I'll give you an example.  Let's say your boss came in tomorrow morning and increased your salary to one million dollars per year.  I suspect that you would be ecstatic. Eventually, you'd increase your standard of living dramatically. Then one day, you find out that one of your coworkers got a raise and is now making one and a half million per year.  Originally, you were very, very happy, but now, you start to wonder why she got the big bump in salary and you didn't. You see, no matter how good you have it, there is always who makes more money, does less work, relies on coworkers more, etc., so if you are comparing your salary, your workload, or your work effort with them in order to be happy you will always be disappointed.

With that being said, you have spoken with the boss, and the boss is aware of the problem. The coworker is taking advantage of you and your coworkers because you let him. You might try something as simple as prioritizing your work first before taking on other tasks. When someone asks you for help, be very nice and say that you'd be happy to do that, but then give the person a list of your current tasks that will will have priority, tell the person how long those tasks will take you, and then give a true estimate of when you might be able to get to the extra work and finish it.  this way, you are setting the expectations for when you will be able to accomplish the extra work. If you regularly have to work extra hours or stay late to finish work that should have been done by others, then it is fair to go to the boss and ask for a raise to compensate you for the extra time. However, if you are not actually staying later but just doing more work in the same hours that you were normally working, then we are back at paragraph one (sorry).

I totally understand how frustrating it is to have someone who is not pulling his weight and burdening others, but there are always going to be people who work hard and those who take shortcuts. Don't fall into the trap of taking shortcuts yourself, but instead, just continue to work hard, serve your company, and you will be one of the people who are respected by your peers.

God luck, and keep in mind that his time there is temporary.  Don't let him get you down.

Doug Staneart

Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Doug Staneart

Expertise

Doug Staneart can answer questions about gaining cooperation from, motivating, and influencing coworkers and employers. He is also an expert on how to avoid and resolve conflicts as well as other issues dealing with long term business relationships.

Experience


Doug Staneart has been a speaker and trainer for over ten years specializing in public speaking, leadership training, and team building. Doug is CEO of The Leader?s Institute® (Team Building Events) based in Dallas and author of the books 40 Ways to Influence People and Fearless Presentations. He has accumulated over 2700 hours of classroom coaching and training with over 400 of the Fortune 500.

Education/Credentials
BA Business Management

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.