I don't respect you, but I can't break up with you
May 23, 2014 7:07 AM Subscribe
Lack of respect is the number-one relationship-killer, right? So what do you do when you work with someone you don't respect on a very small team?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Very long story short: I work in software, I'm on a tiny team with just one other person (who we will call Coworker), and Coworker is absolutely terrible. His code is sloppy, bug-ridden, and unmaintainable. He breaks things all the time because he's too lazy to run the tests we have in place to protect against breakages. He makes big promises about what we can deliver, then utterly fails to follow through. What he does produce works on his machine but nowhere else, and he absolves himself of responsibility to fix it. His estimates are laughably bad -- he once estimated a task would take 10 minutes and then took three weeks to do it. He completely fails at running meetings and communicating with others. He waves his hands and says "it will just work" without understanding the larger design or system constraints.
He's utterly incapable of the simplest of tasks. We've found him waiting for meetings to start in the wrong conference room on the wrong floor when the meeting's location is clearly labeled. I've asked him to delete A B and C but please not D, and he deleted B and D and called it done.
I loathe working with Coworker. Every interaction with him stresses me out. My job is moderately enjoyable without him, but because of his presence, I dread my job -- my happiest work memory is when he was on vacation for two weeks. I've thought about it and discovered that I have absolutely no respect for him, and no capacity to regain any respect for him. I've "flipped the bit" on him -- at this point, he could cure cancer and I still wouldn't respect him.
I realize I sound very judgmental here, and perhaps I am. But Coworker's actions reflect negatively on me; people associate shitty communication and shitty deliverables with me, since our team is so small. I've tried to take the stand of "that's not my piece, Coworker owns that" which just makes me sound like I'm not a team player and I'm throwing him under the bus.
I have no idea how to work with this person. I try to be as fake-cheery and fake-optimistic as possible, but I can't keep that charade up forever. My management is aware that I have a hard time working with Coworker, and has admitted before that Coworker is a hard person to work with in general.
TL;DR: How do you work with someone you don't respect at all?
Throwaway email: email@example.com