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Workplace Q & A
Co-Worker Does Not Carry His Load
I am Tired of Co-Workers Who Do Not Carry Their Load
Why is it that some people refuse to carry their load at work? You know the type, they can waste more time doing nothing, or they are always going on break or making a phone call. Why do some people get away with goofing off? I am tired of carrying the load and doing the work so that I can get off work at a decent time. What can we do?
     Signed "Bushed in Bushville"
Dear Bushed in Bushville,
It seems that every workplace has at least one employee who fits that same description (they refuse to carry their workload).
First I would ask you, is your perception of this person accurate? Do others share it? There are some people who do move slowly, but they still get their work done. They just don't do it at a breakneck pace.
If this person truly is not getting the job done, how is it affecting you? If you must do his or her work, why must you do it? In other words, if this person's failure to get the job done causes others to be inconvenienced or impacted, it should be addressed.
The reason people get away with the kind of behavior that you have described is because they can and have. As long as there is a payoff for negative behavior, it will continue. When the rewards are no longer present or the pain is too great, then, and only then, will this unacceptable behavior change. So how does that happen?
First, talk to the person in question and let him know how his choices and actions are affecting you… "Joe, I like working with you because you are very pleasant and funny. However, I feel as though I have to do part of your work as well. I feel frustrated because I would like to be able to get through on time so that I can go home to my family. I know that you would like to do that also. We both know that it is important that we have everything ready for the morning shift so that they can start work on time."
Next you tell him what you are asking for him to do. "How about us working together to get everything done."
If Joe continues to goof off, you then need to take it to your supervisor. It is important that you go armed with the facts, not just an accusation that he is not doing his job, but exactly how it is affecting you and your performance.
It is interesting how oblivious we can be to how our choices can impact others in our lives. It is possible that Joe does not have a clue about how you feel. I believe that most people want to be accepted, and they will change their behavior if it affects others. The key is in the approach. Admonishing and criticizing may only cause the behavior to get worse. However, asking for assistance by and through a behavioral change is more likely to get the results you want.
Best wishes, Mary Rau-Foster
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