Focus on Your Role – not Co-Worker

Q. I have worked for a small pharmaceutical distributor for 8 years. We hired a guy almost 4 years ago in the same job I have. He is 30 minutes to one hour hour late at least two or three times a week, and still gets full pay. He sits at his desk for the majority of the morning & does not start working on his orders until noon, whereas I have all the same distribution work completed by 11 am. I’ve discussed this with my supervisor and office manager and the response I got was the orders were getting done. Help.

A. Seeing co-workers who work with less intensity or ambition than you might work, can be very frustrating, and have a negative impact on employee morale.
Unfortunately, there are as many work styles as there are employees, and recognizing that you are a colleague, not the individual’s manager might make it easier for you to deal with the situation. You can affect your own work style, but it is much more challenging to “encourage” a co-worker to adjust their performance. Managers struggle with these issues regularly, and we don’t know what actions your manager or supervisor may have already taken.
I applaud your attempt to speak with your manager to make sure the situation has been brought to his/her attention and so he/she can find out more about the situation. Now that you have done that, you need to move off that issue, even though the managers’ response was less than what you had hoped for.
It does seem that there is currently not enough work to do, which does not offer great promises for the future. I wonder if there are additional areas of responsibility you have, or are interested in learning more about. You have demonstrated a positive work ethic by maintaining your hours, and commitment to the job. Are there other opportunities for you to contribute to the success of the organization? Arrange a meeting to discuss potential areas with your supervisor. Prepare a list of ideas you have to address current needs you see, or areas you might be able to add value.
Do not discuss your co-workers approach to the job – you have already done that. At this point, the meeting is about you, and the additional skills you have which you would like to use, or the enegy and interest you have in increasing your responsibilities, especially after 8 years on the job. If your supervisor is not supportive of your goals, you need to find out more about why. There may be opportunities in another area of your organization or for another supervisor.

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