Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Shirking Responsibility Commitments Favoritism Manipulation Missing Managers

We are a small company, and I have a co-worker who is always late, frequently uses her cell phone and ipod when the owners are not here, and does not want to do special projects. We report to the same owners, and since she does not finish work on time, I end up doing all the reports. The owners are not aware of what she has been doing, and she is a relative of one of the owner’s close friends. Should I tell the owners what is going on?

It is never pleasant to have a co-worker who slacks off and then expects others to pick up the slack. Although she is a problem, part of the problem is that you have been doing her work. There has been no reason for her to change.

Your next step depends on your relationship with the owners. If it is open and communicative, you should meet with them, describe your co-worker’s problematic behaviors, and ask for their help.

If your relationship with the owners is more distant, you could create problems for yourself by complaining about this co-worker, especially since she has a special connection to one of them. In this scenario, you should finish all of your work before handling any of your co-worker’s responsibilities. When one of her projects falls through the cracks, you will have an opportunity to let the owners know what has been happening, and you can do so in the context of being a hard-worker rather than a complainer. The owners’ next action will help you determine your next action.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!