What do you do if you have a slacker co-worker and the boss either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care?


This week’s What Should I Do? involves a much-too familiar scenario — the office slacker. Here’s the e-mail from a TechRepublic member:

“I have a slacker co-worker who often doesn’t show up to work or says he’ll be in, but later calls to say he won’t. It’s a running joke that our boss does nothing. I was told long ago to adjust, but he leaves things terribly disorganized for me to clean up. I’m always having to cover (per my boss) to my internal clients as to why something was missed or scheduled incorrectly. Since the work has to be done daily, it’s not like I can leave it for him when he shows up. How can I (kindly) say ‘Dude, what’s your damage?'”

I would personally go with “Dude, what’s your damage?” I realize, of course, that since this is a workplace issue, you may have to be a little more tactful. Is this guy friends with the boss? Perhaps he’s his lazy brother-in-law that he feels he must help out. If not (and I’m not advocating those are valid reasons), your boss sounds like someone who is afraid of confrontation. Somehow, someone must let him know that non-action in a case like this is a huge morale buster for the rest of the team. I’d start with a conversation with the boss. If you get nowhere with that, your next alternative maybe a trip to HR. It’s not merely that you have a problem with a co-worker but that the actions of a co-worker are increasing your job duties. And be sure you keep the conversation like this — not a personal insult to the employee but more of an explanation of how his behavior affects your job performance.

Let’s throw this out to the gang. Any suggestions?

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We’ll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.