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Maybe there isn't anything. You may have to say "feel free to ask me questions" and then back off to let her sink or swim.

If that happens then the boss needs to take the lead in critiquing and/or disciplining her. Right now you may be doing the hard work for him but he should be stepping up to that.

Having been there, done that in one notably scenario in the 1990s, I say that Retrograde's entire post is dead-on. I wish at the time I had all this perspective and advice at the time since my situation did not resolve as well as I liked. Though we were technically co-workers, she was the new hire and I was responsible for training (or "helping") her. We also had two different supervisors, but these two executives were best buddies.

The rest of Retrograde's post rang lots of bells for me.

I see you doing a lot that is essentially to help your co-worker but doubt she appreciates it that way. I don't think it helps the boss by insulating him from the true level of incompetence, it doesn't help your clients in the long run to keep someone in the wrong job by essentially propping them up, and it doesn't help you that you have to worry about what shenanigans will happen when you're on vacation. It also may hurt you if she accuses you of bullying her; one person's "constructive criticism" is another's "being really mean". There are a lot of whiny people in the world.

Maybe the best thing for everybody is you taking a nice long, relaxing vacation and letting it all go to hell in a handbasket (or not)?

My situation with that particular co-worker resulted after a year of working 'with' (in actuality, "for" the new hire) with my immediate supervisor accusing me of trying to harm that co-worker's professional reputation by being catty and not being cooperative and helpful to co-worker and, in fact, trying to do her in when the reality was the complete opposite.

My understanding long after the fact was that when I became less cooperative with the co-worker by doing all of her work for her, she complained to her supervisor who thought her new hire was fabulous and competent (and had been taking credit for all the work I was forced to do for her). Not surprisingly, that co-worker was apparently also trying to damage my reputation. Obviously I was shocked and denied it vehemently. This was after nearly a full year of trying to train this new hire, helping her (then being forced to take over) many of her responsibilities, all while being swamped with my own work. Her supervisor apparently talked to my supervisor believing the co-worker's allegations.

My supervisor only saw a moderate decline in my productivity, while seeing new hire as having a "perky" disposition and socially astute, hobnobbing with the other staff and executives easily. She was socially popular almost in direct proportion to her lack of professional skills and training. During this time, I had tried to bring up issues with the new hire a few times, but my supervisor didn't get and just minimized the problems, saying I had to be more patient. In hindsight, I realized that my male supervisor's subtext was more of a, "girls will be girls" and had probably judged my concerns and stress about the new hire as some sort of female problem.

My supervisor's beliefs and accusations that I was trying to harm that co-worker's reputation resulted in a truce and immediate truce: an agreement that the two of us (co-workers) would no longer have to 'share' responsibilities. And he put me on notice that I would be penalized if I brought her up again.

That co-worker lasted a little more than a year, though there was mutterings behind her back that she would be terminated for at least nine months before. It took my own supervisor about six months after out talk It took almost a year before my supervisor recognized - and finally admitted to me - that the co-worker was no where as competent as they had thought.

Also new hire ended up taking lots of time off work eventually, complaining of illnesses, or other activities (including getting engaged, married, etc.). I was rarely absent from work, even rejected for vacation time (though ideally I was allowed, they made things very difficult for me to take more than a few consecutive days at a time).

The biggest lessons I got from that experience:
- Toot your own horn on a regular basis. The workplace is not the proper setting for humility.
- Beware peacocks in the workplace: don't allow them to overshadow you every chance they get.
- Sexist attitudes remain pervasive.
- Wielding strong social skills and nuances matter more in the workplace than almost anywhere else where I interact with people. Considering that I suspect I have mild Aspergers Syndrome-like attributes, I have to be on the defensive of people who seem to be quite charming and adept.
- If your boss doesn't defend you, you're screwed.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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