Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sticky Situations at Work

One of my big goals for 2008 is obtaining a promotion. But some times its hard to do that when you're caught in sticky situations with a boss or co-worker.

One of my biggest problems at work and is with a co-worker who's a major slacker. This man is not my boss but he is in a position of higher rank and authority than I am. We both report back to the same boss.

I've tried to figure out a way around this situation and talk to my boss in generalities about this issue when I first got put on the same team with "slacker" more than a year ago. I did not feel I was stepping outside of my bounds since my boss asked for my feed back since several other team members were giving unfavorable reviews of "slacker" and he wanted to know if they were true. Plus until this situation arouse I've always had a really good relationship with this boss and have worked on several other projects for him. When I tired to address this issue before I could really express my concerns I was informed that one of my job responsibilities was to make both my boss and "slacker" look good to the brass in our company, which I agree with to an extent. Talk about having to suck a sour egg! But I've come to accept this situation that I'm in and realized it was only for a short time (if you call just a hair over a year a short time) and that by doing both my job and "slacker's" I would be gaining valuable experience. However, every couple of months I get mad, real mad, about the situation and it starts to eat me up inside. I start thinking about the tons of extra hours I put in each week to do both of our jobs, I think about the social activities at work I'm missing because I'm trying to keep up with everything and keep the project afloat and I start resenting the situation. Don't get me wrong I like to work hard and I get enormous satisfaction from a job well done, but everyone needs to pull their own weight, especially on a team. I keep reminding myself that its only for a short duration and it will get better but sometimes its hard, and I know my usually cheery work personality suffers because of my frustration with this problem.

It's wildly accepted and the standard that a person in my boss's place wouldn't do any of the grunt work, he's job is to manage people like "slacker" and me, maintain the relationship with the clients, and relay information from top management to "slacker" and me, but "slacker" on the other hand is fully in a position that he's supposed to be in the trenches and know the project and contribute to the project, in fact its expected and really his only responsibility. Instead "slacker" wants to pretend he's about two levels higher and I'm responsible for all of the work and he just needs to sign off and/or distribute my work, so instead of contributing "slacker" spends all day working on his high school alumni website. (As a side note "slacker", myself and the rest of the team are located in a different office and city from the boss and the boss only comes and visits about once a month to check up on us).

(Additional side notes "Slacker" is only one position above where I am on the career ladder. The side story about how "slacker" came to work for our company about a year ago is that "slacker" was "laid off" without a severance package from his previous two employees -- I don't know about you but to me that sounds like the man was fired, not contributing enough to his other companies since he was always first to be laid off, or he keeps choosing the wrong companies. Personally I'm going with option 1 or 2, either way they don't bode well for "slacker".)

Well anyway, I think you get the problem with "slacker" and can probably read between the lines to see my frustration, especially today -- it was one of those mad days that it really gets to me.

Well I stumbled across this article called Eight Sticky Boss Situations at and one of the eight was "While your boss kicks back in her office making personal calls, you're doing both your job and hers. When the time comes to present projects to senior management, your boss takes credit for your hard work." And thought this might apply to my problem with "slacker", except I really believe that the boss knows this is the situation and accepts it because the work is getting done and done correctly (thanks to me) and he doesn't want to rock the boat. This is very typical of his personality, it took one other slacker loosing almost 2million for the company for him to take action and go through the chain of command to reprimand and ultimately fire the other slacker.

So while this might not completely resolve my problem I only have 3 more months of this and at least it gives me hope and a strategy try to deal with the problem. Do you all have problems like this? How did you handle it?

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