Between a rock and a hard place

Q. I work with someone whom I dislike intensely because of his work ethics and attitude. I don’t socialize with him and pretty much ignore him unless it is work-related. He is lazy and always finds ways to argue himself out of work or the possibility of having to work any harder than he has to. Others in my office feel the same way, but for some reason he is still here.

We’ve had one serious “altercation.” I emailed both the director of my department and my manager about his lazy work ethics and how he is not a team-player. I offered to resign. My bosses were very sympathetic and apologized for his behavior, but in a round-about way, suggested that I just ignore him.

Now it has happened again. Do I send another email to my bosses or just forget it or resign? I don’t want to be a whiner but this person’s work attitude stinks. How do I deal with someone like this without having my blood pressure hit the roof every time I hear his voice?
K. C., Ellsworth, ME

A. Unfortunately you are between a rock and a hard place. If you stay, you’ll probably have to work with this person. If you leave, you’ll have to find a new job—not a pleasant prospect especially in this economy. Without knowing your bosses’ reasons for not dealing with this individual, it’s difficult to comment on their course of action. As long as they tolerate this person’s behavior, the situation isn’t going to improve. You mention others feel as you do. Enlist their help and, as a group, ask to meet with your bosses. Lay out the particulars and request that they come up with a plan that addresses the situation and assures that if it happens again, there will be consequences. If they don’t respond positively to your group’s request, it’s a clear signal that the situation isn’t going to change. At that point your best option may be to begin a job search. Remember, you don’t have to resign first to explore options of other jobs.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on