How to get my lazy incompetent coworker fired?
November 3, 2013 11:45 AM   Subscribe

How to get my lazy incompetent coworker fired?

I have a lazy incompetent coworker with 6 years of work experience. She started on the same day as me but I have little work experience (same job title).

A lot of forums suggest to cope through this by:
- don't focus on others and mind my own business
- learn to deal with it

Here are my lazy coworker's behavior:
- always arrive at work late and leave super early
- takes long lunch break
- uses her personal cellular phone a lot at work
- uses facebook, personal e-mails, and chat applications throughout the day
- always speak in a foreign language which is rude (primary language in the office is English)
- always tell the manager that she needs more time on projects (then more work goes to the best employees to balance the workload)
- always under perform & clients complain about the lack of work quality
- etc

The company is great and very laid back. There are a couple good/hard working employees who witness the bad things about my lazy coworker. But, the problem is that my manager and sr management isn't doing anything to get this person fired. Instead of punishing the employee for producing bad work quality, there is 'forgiveness' or lesson learned kind of thing in the way.

Another issue is that my manager supports this lazy coworker (giving more time to work on things). Whereas, the work goes to the best employees and we are stressed. Basically, this lazy coworker is wasting 1 headcount and I believe we should fire this person. And hire someone new and hope for the best.

What do you think? Were you in this situation before and how did you deal with a lazy coworker?
posted by Mountain28 to Work & Money (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If management is aware of this problem and doesn't fire her, there's nothing you can do.
posted by Linnee at 11:50 AM on November 3, 2013 [15 favorites]

Do your managers know about how this person's work ethic is affecting your work? If they do, well then, they've made their choice about how to handle it, this is part of the deal when it comes to your job. If they don't, then the best advice I've heard is to package it as a request for assistance: "Hey, I often hear negative feedback from clients about Lisa's work quality; how would you suggest I address it with them?"

But honestly, it sounds like they already know, and they've chosen not to address it. That's a problem there's really no way for you to solve, alas.
posted by KathrynT at 11:50 AM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

The only way this seems to affect you is having extra work given to you.
Mention the workload you can't handle to management, but I wouldn't frame it as being because of this coworker.

If it weren't for that, I'd otherwise say mind your own business. Most of the things you listed above have little or nothing to do with you. Going around trying to get coworkers fired is a good way to make any number of fast enemies in an office environment.
posted by wats at 11:52 AM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

You don't get a co-worker fired. Sorry, but that's not going to help the situation if you spend all your energy on what amounts to revenge fantasies.

Is her "laziness' infringing on your work or your ability to do work? Or is she just annoying and you feel entitled to complain because she gets to leave early and you don't? If she isn't directly involved in your work (a co-manager on a project for example), then you have nothing to say or do. If she directly impacts your work (as a co-manager, for example, NOT as a chatty person who comes to work late), then you can speak to management and ask them for suggestions on how to deal with such difficulties. They should have some strategies to suggest if she is, in fact, costing them money.

Best advice? Stop focusing on her and starting looking at yourself. No one in management likes to be told what to do (fire her!) and no one seems to share your concerns/annoyances, so I suggest dropping this one.
posted by mrfuga0 at 11:52 AM on November 3, 2013 [21 favorites]

If this has been going on for six years and management has no problem with it, there's nothing you can do about it at this point short of the coworker breaking the law and leaving evidence.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:59 AM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Every workplace has one of these.

She has pull and you don't. Trying to get her fired will accomplish nothing but get you into trouble with whomever it is protecting her.
posted by winna at 12:01 PM on November 3, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Out of the 4 questions you've asked here at AskMe, 3 of them have been about unfairness or unhappiness within a work culture, so I think you may not quite have a grasp on how companies and jobs work.

The answer to your question is you can't. And almost without exception, you will work with some variation of the person who does nothing at work. Ever. This person can drive you crazy. Additionally, there are slews of other types of coworkers who can also drive you crazy. The bubbly party planner, the busybody, the closetalker, the know-nothing boss, the idea stealer, the food-from-the-fridge-stealer, the chronic whiner, the sick-and-will-spread-germs-everywhere-because-of-wrongheaded-self-importance-person, the people not acquainted with basic hygiene, the flirts, the idiots. Dear lord, there's almost always someone at work who is going to drive you nuts.

If you let them.

But here's the thing: you can't let these people drive you crazy and you can't get them fired.

You will never get this person fired.

Many of us here will tell you stories about that horrible co-worker with whom we shared office space for years and who could have driven us batshit insane had we let them. We are never able to get these people fired.

You can't get this person fired but you can and I think you should really do some serious thinking about the work culture and your expectations. I think you need to really readjust your thinking. The workplace often can and does suck. People are annoying everywhere. And you have to learn to be okay with this.
posted by kinetic at 12:02 PM on November 3, 2013 [94 favorites]

I looked over your AskMe history and it seems that you have a history of blaming others for your unhappiness at work -- your manager, another co-worker, the structure of the workplace. On preview, what kinetic said. These people are annoying. Things will never be 100% fair to everyone. Some people get ahead when they aren't competent. You need to learn to deal with those issues.
posted by mrfuga0 at 12:04 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

If she is still there and her manager supports her, she is probably doing something right. Maybe she is working smarter, not harder? Perhaps you need to learn to be more productive by learning some of the things she does? Not sure why speaking a foreign language is considered rude by you (maybe you do not understand the language and it makes you feel inadequate/not in control) I think you issue sounds more personal than anything else.

If corporations started firing all inefficient workers, more than fifty percent of the working population would be out of a job.

focus on your own work, let her manager take care of her stuff. it isnt your job to make sure everybody around you works like you do.
posted by ladoo at 12:05 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

If her behavior affects you in X, Y , and Z ways (does it?), then why haven't you talked about it with her directly? Why do you instead feel the urge to tattle to the bosses and hope they punish her?

Life is not fair. You need to learn to solve your own problems.
posted by hush at 12:08 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

What kinetic said. Work is full of people, so it's going to have the same problems any place full of people has.

In the past, I've found that, when I'm happy with the work I'm doing and I feel appreciated, bad coworkers don't really get me down. It's only when I'm feeling frustrated or bored or unappreciated that these folks get under my skin.

If you feel like you're being asked to do more than you have time for, then speak up (how you do so depends on your workplace - in some, it's ok to just say "I have too much to do, we need to take something off my plate;" in other workplaces you have to finesse it a bit more). That's really all you can reasonably do.
posted by lunasol at 12:14 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

None of those problems, except the additional work load, are your problems. She is your managers' problem to solve, and if they don't want to, then that's where it ends. The only thing you can do is deal with the one problem that directly affects you: the workload. And if it's really a problem, you take up with your manager the very specific issue of having too much work and you do not once, not even hinting, say a single thing about this co-worker.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:20 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

- always arrive at work late and leave super early

This is not your problem until it starts to affect you directly by having to take on her workload when she's not around or when it feeds into her general time management problems.

- takes long lunch break

This is not your problem until it starts to affect you directly by having to take on her workload when she's not around or when it feeds into her general time management problems.

- uses her personal cellular phone a lot at work

This is not your problem.

- uses facebook, personal e-mails, and chat applications throughout the day

This is not your problem until it starts to affect you directly by having to take on her workload when she's not around or when it feeds into her general time management problems.

- always speak in a foreign language which is rude (primary language in the office is English)

This is not your problem.

- always tell the manager that she needs more time on projects (then more work goes to the best employees to balance the workload)

This is really the only thing on your list that actually concerns you, and even then only concerns you if you are one of those "best employees" who get stuck with more work because of her bad time management skills.

- always under perform & clients complain about the lack of work quality

This is not your problem, unless you are directly client-facing and constantly having to cover for her or take criticism for her mistakes.


So in light of the above, here is what I would do. Forget all the things where I said "this is not your problem" or "this is not your problem unless..."

If you must complain about her, couch it in ONLY time management and workload terms. I like the suggestion to approach it as asking how to handle the problem, not complaining directly about your coworker.

If none of this stuff is actually falling to you, and her quality issues are not impacting you in any way, I would just leave the whole thing alone. Some people are just like that and it's not really your business.

In general, it's a good thing that most professional grown-up jobs don't fire people for being late or making personal phone calls. If you want to work in that kind of inhuman environment, I'm sure there's a McDonald's somewhere that would love to bring you on board.
posted by Sara C. at 12:28 PM on November 3, 2013 [11 favorites]

Her managers know the level of work she is putting out. For all you know, they are dealing with it, but you're not privy to all of the corrections that they're trying to make.

So keep your head down and do your job. Your coworker is not your problem -- your problem is your manager and the things your manager does to you. She has nothing to do with either of those things, even though it looks like it. If your problem is that your manager is giving you too much work to do, and the quality of your work is suffering because of that, tell him that. If your problem is just that your manager is giving you more work to do, be very careful about whether you want to complain about that.
posted by Etrigan at 12:29 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Trying to get this coworker fired is most likely going to backfire on you, by pointing out to management that you're not a "team player", and that you're more concerned with stirring the pot and getting other people in trouble than you are with getting the work done.
posted by palomar at 12:30 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You're in a situation where you have a problem (terrible co-worker) and everyone gives you basically the same advice about the problem (learn to live with it; try to minimize the effect it has on you) and yet you feel deep in your heart that this is wrong, and you need better, different advice.

Something that can help in this situation, I find, is to spent some time thinking about the *form* of advice you actually want. Like, when you were drafting this question, what did you imagine the 'best answer' would be? Here are some possibilities you could be looking for:

-a sneaky step-by-step plan of corporate espionage, culminating in your co-worker being 'outed' for all of her failures and punished with a dramatic public firing.

-a dramatic 'it's-her-or-me!' speech to management that culminates in them firing her and recognizing what a superior employee you've been all along.

-Figure out how to get promoted really fast and then fire her yourself.

Even if all of these fantasy solutions are improbable, they might give you a clue about the kind of resolution you need. So, in the first example, the real problem is that you're angry with her and you want to punish her and see her suffer. Okay, that's understandable in many ways, but you can recognize that it's neither possible nor advisable to punish everyone who makes you mad. Even if you were in a position to fire this woman, letting someone go shouldn't be a punitive act. So the real issue here is your anger, and you need to figure out how to get it under control.

In the second scenario, what's bothering you is the unfairness of it: she's doing shitty work and you're doing good work, yet you're still in the same position! That sucks, but the real problem is not your co-worker, but management, which hasn't noticed and rewarded you or promoted you in the way you think they should. So, your challenge is to figure out how to get the praise/notice you think you deserve.

In the third, you're not so much mad at your co-worker as you are frustrated with your own lack of power. You don't want to be an employee, you want to be management, and your challenge is figuring out how to get there. (Hint: the answer is not sabotaging the careers of fellow employees).

And so on. People are giving you good advice in this thread, but it's also not the advice you need. That kind of mismatch means you're asking the wrong questions. I'd suggest thinking about re-framing the question so that it reflects how you feel, rather than something you want to achieve. In this case: "my co-worker is making me feel X, and I want to feel Y. How can I best accomplish this?" I think you'll find the advice much more useful to you.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:31 PM on November 3, 2013 [77 favorites]

The second time I had the issue of being assigned the work of a coworker who really should have been able to complete the work themselves in the alloted time, I gathered evidence and requested a meeting with my direct supervisor and her supervisor. The first time could have been a fluke, and I'm one of those people who like to help people out, but when it happened the second time, I sensed an emerging pattern. Evidence gathering was easy since there are only 7 people in our department and we have pretty much identical duties and workloads. I was not, however, trying to get anyone fired, which would be impossible anyway since we're all, thankfully, union workers.

Except for being assigned extra work, I think the rest of your gripes are either things you need to just stop monitoring (I don't pay any attention to what my coworkers do in their cubicles nor do I keep track of when they leave and return) or are just kind of petty, like:

always speak in a foreign language which is rude (primary language in the office is English)

As long as your co-worker is talking to other people who understand the language and is not doing it in an exclusionary way, like during a meeting where not everyone speaks that language, this is not remotely rude. I've found that most people who object to other languages being appropriately spoken in the workplace either think that they're being talked about or have an issue with other cultures. I'm not saying this is you, but this is what I've noticed.
posted by eunoia at 12:35 PM on November 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

A lot of your anecdotes are red herrings. Using a personal cellphone, checking email and Facebook, using chat sites, etc are not all indicators of laziness. I do all of those things and I guarantee you that I am not lazy. You need to let those things go.

Now if her work quality fails to meet her manager's or clients' expectations, then that is another story. But for all you know, her work is being held to a lower standard than yours - maybe she is paid significantly less than you. Maybe she has a medical condition that limits her ability to work. Maybe she has an agreement with her boss. You just don't know.

If her work quality is personally affecting you and your success, then bring THAT up. But don't bring up things that indicate you are miffed because she doesn't work exactly the same way as you do - that just speaks of jealousy and hides the actual issue (if there is one).
posted by joan_holloway at 12:40 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it is great that you care so much about whatever it is you do. I can recall times when I worked with real lazy people and the one time I left a job because the lazy person was affecting my own work. I felt vindicated when, after I left, that person was fired. But, that was an extreme step and I had the security of a job following my resignation.

I do think you would really benefit from building your professional network. That means making friends with your coworkers, and meeting people who do your job in other companies. The opportunity of professional reflection will give you the chance to meet others who take the work as seriously as yourself and (possibly) find the better place to do your work. A great way to start is to invite your coworkers and their families to a karaoke night at a local watering hole. However, follow this role to the maximum of your ability: stick to club soda.
posted by parmanparman at 12:41 PM on November 3, 2013

So is it that *you* are given extra work, OP? If you are given work that cuts into your personal life and requires longer work hours/or cuts down on the quality of work, at the moment your manager tries to hand the work off to you, say something.

For example, if you already have report A, B, and C to do, and they want you to work late to do project D and E from the other coworker, at that moment, state that you already have reports A-C to do, and should you deprioritize one of those so that you can handle D and E? Or if you truly think quality will suffer, state it and ask for an extension of a deadline and why you need it. Usually manager cooperate if they realize they will lose something.

The other thing to do (if you want this) -especially if you are known for finishing work quickly/and with high quality (I'm guessing that is what you are stating, correct?) - then you can use this to your advantage. Ask for the projects that you want. Or ask to learn skill set D and E. But if you are known to be able to handle this extra work, then use it get the skills you want. Build yourself into the person that you want to be for a future job.

Alternatively, if what you are upset about is the time; well, if you have an errand to run, or want to take a longer lunch break one day, then do so. What your question suggests is that your workplace is content provided you do your job.

These are just other things to think about instead of going to war with your coworker(s).
posted by Wolfster at 12:42 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

How to get my lazy incompetent coworker fired?

You don't.

Were you in this situation before and how did you deal with a lazy coworker?

I minded my own business and did my job.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:53 PM on November 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

Amen to everything @pretentious illiterate just said upthread. There's your best answer right there, and it's what I wish I had typed.
posted by hush at 12:57 PM on November 3, 2013

Loads of good advice here -- and you even came in with good advice; 'don't focus on others and mind your own business' and 'learn to deal with it' are exactly right.

I just really want to underscore that I think it is absolutely bizarre to complain about somebody speaking in a different language. I am making the reasonable assumption that she is not addressing you (or anybody else) in a language that you (or the anybody else) don't speak. That is a very weird thing to think of as "rude."

One option would be to aim for self-employment, given the objections to workplace culture. If you did well enough you could end up in a position to fire people. Right now you are not in that position. Which is good because you want somebody to lose their livelihood for fairly petty reasons. You yourself are not a good person to have as a co-worker. And yet you are employed, tolerated and/or befriended, and paid. As it is with this person who, horrors, makes personal calls during the day.
posted by kmennie at 1:00 PM on November 3, 2013 [7 favorites]

As many have already written, I think your perspective on this needs an adjustment. Your goal shouldn't be to get your coworker (or anyone really) fired, it should be improving your own situation, such as an unreasonable workload, or, if you were so inclined and there were things your coworker was truly struggling with (that does not include your perception of her work ethic), you could attempt to mentor her. If work that would normally be hers is being redirected to you, push back either by asking for a further out deadline or requesting help from this coworker and/or other colleagues. It sounds like this coworker is skilled at communicating her needs and will not hesitate to ask for a deadline extension if she feels she needs it. I understand you don't think these extensions are warranted, but if her work product wasn't good, then they wouldn't accommodate her, and she would have been dismissed years ago.

As for dealing with coworkers you don't like, respect, or want around, unless they have done something truly egregious (embezzlement, harassment, screwed up something major, etc), you just have to learn to live with them. Grumble to yourself, vent to non-work friends and family when necessary, but realize that this is something we all must contend with, and unless you are a supervisor, you can't really do anything about it nor should you try. Eyes on your own paper, advocate for yourself, and if she is really that awful, look for a new job, but keep in mind, you'll probably run into similar situations repeatedly in your professional life, especially if you are so focused on someone else's behaviors and flaws.
posted by katemcd at 2:11 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

(I think you and this coworker have been at this job for around two years, even though she has more experience.)

I had a lazy/incompetent coworker. So much so that people still make jokes about him in meetings, including lower management. At one point my job was more or less to go around after him and clean up the work he had done. (This was slightly annoying, but my workload in other areas was reduced to compensate so I had no serious complaint.) It still took several years for them to get around to firing him, and when they did the reasons given were technicalities, even though everyone knew the real reason was "you are lazy and incompetent".

None of his peers had anything to do with getting him fired. All we could do were the things mentioned already in this thread... Request more time and resources when we had to cover his work, and wait it out.
posted by anaelith at 2:25 PM on November 3, 2013

Another issue is that my manager supports this lazy coworker

Stand down! This will not work out in your favor. EVER.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:36 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'll approach this fron a different perspective. A colleague I'll call A got a colleague I'll call B fired.

A had been working at this job for about a year while B had been on the job for about four years. I didn't work closely with either of them but I had never heard complaints B's work. Everyone liked B. B has a chronic illness and A implied that her illness was affecting the quality of her work. A basically put a bug in our director's ear and a few weeks later, B was out.

It's about a year later and out of everyone I work with, only one person likes A. B was pretty popular in our office. I think some people I work with, people I would describe as very nice, are actively hoping A will fail.

I've worked with people I haven't liked before. I've found that the best ways to deal with them are ignoring them as possible and being polite when ignoring isn't an option. When I've tried to wait them out, they lasted longer than I did YMMV.
posted by kat518 at 2:37 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've found that generally, focusing on others performance/rewards at work, though somewhat unavoidable, leads to unhappiness. There will always be people you like working with, and people you dislike working with; people you feel are doing a good job, and people you feel are doing a bad job.

You can't change them, and unless you are managing them yourself, it's not your job to change them. Workplaces are not always 'fair', it's true. But it pays to remember that as an employee you have a very limited perspective - you are only seeing one small facet of all the things that go on in a workplace and just a few of the many factors that comprise someone's performance.

Getting angry at colleagues is inevitable, but acting on it is unprofessional. Rise above it; people will appreciate you.

PS Co-workers are entitled to speak in any language they wish at work, so long as whoever they're speaking to is okay with it; the implication they should only speak english is frankly a little strange and definitely unfair.
posted by smoke at 2:43 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

There was someone I used to work with and she drove me NUTS! She wasn't incompetent, she just bugged me. I found out that she was divorcing her husband and wanted to move to San Francisco to start over. So I offered to help her. I spoke to one of my old managers and extolled her virtues (I'm not so callow as to believe that somebody doesn't have ANY good qualities.) Turns out that he interviewed her and subsequently hired her. She moved and as far as I know, she's happy in her new life.

Find things she's good at and steer her projects to those things. Help her shine. Karma may be a bitch, but it's pretty right on. If you hurt someone, you will suffer for it somehow. If you help someone, then they prosper and you prosper.

It can be Christian "casting your bread upon the water," Jewish "being a mench" or Wiccan, "Rule of Three," or our friend Karma, but no matter what, helping rather than hurting is ALWAYS the way to go. Even if it's the most passive-aggressive thing you can do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:49 PM on November 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

Best answer: You know you really need to look at this from a different angle... You started at the same time and in the same job. You will forever be compared to her and she is setting you up to look like a super star. You're never judged in a vacuum. I don't encourage workplace competition, but that doesn't mean it isn't a competition. If your colleague was as good as she should be considering her experience, you would be struggling to just be a decent performer. Now, you can really shine.

It can be great to have coworkers who challenge and motivate you to be your best. But if I look back at my career, the best opportunities I had were in situations where I was the only one in my office that my boss could really trust to get the job done. If there are 1 or 2 other high performers my chances for advancement shrunk in half. When everyone is great at their job promotions and opportunities become more of a matter of office politics. You have to wait your turn for that promotion instead of skipping to the front of the line.

So don't get annoyed when she rolls into work late. Just remember you were there right on time and everyone saw that. Her tardiness makes your punctuality admirable and hey if you sleep through your alarm every once in a while, there is no need to stress because her lack of diligence makes your occasional mistake slide well under everyone's radar.
posted by whoaali at 3:02 PM on November 3, 2013 [9 favorites]

I agree with all above advice. There is someone like that in every workplace, you just deal with it. If you can come up with concrete ways it's affecting your work then maybe you can talk to management, but otherwise you can't.

The one thing you can do is decide how you feel about the workplace culture and whether you want to stay there long-term. If it's just this one person and they're just annoying but it's not majorly affecting your job, then just stop letting it bother you. If it becomes a systemic thing where a lot of people get away with this behavior and are basically rewarded for it, then you might want to think about finding another job.

I started a job in March and there was one guy (different dept but we had to work together on projects) who was just a lazy jackoff. Did the bare minimum, talked negatively, destroyed morale on his team, didn't train his team at all (he was a manager), was on YouTube all day, etc. He had apparently been a good employee several years prior but had just turned into a slacker, and when I started I couldn't figure out why he was still around. Well guess what, several months after I started he was let go.
posted by radioamy at 5:18 PM on November 3, 2013

When your manager leaves the company apply for their job. If you get the management job you will be the lazy coworker's boss and you may be able to fire her. I don't recommend setting that as your career goal, but that's one way to get her fired.
posted by alms at 5:38 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

This person is wasting the company's time and money, but not *your* time or money. If you get more work, you do it, because you are a person who does your job. What's your goal? If your goal is: Get X fired, that's a crappy goal, because it's unkind, and it does not benefit you. X does a crappy job, management doesn't care. Turn that into Mountain28 does a great job, and management compensates Mountain28. Whatever work you do, find out how the work is measured, both for productivity - amount of work accomplished, and quality of work. Calls answered, tickets closed, bills posted, calls made, emails answered, etc. Spend your time assessing the work flow and finding ways to do the work better. Do not spend time bitching about X - it creates a crummy work environment. Pay attention to what other workers do well, compliment them sincerely, learn from them. Teach people how to do better. Improve your own skills with whatever tools you use. Figure out what skills are needed to do your boss' job, and start learning those skills. If you can show that you are a terrific worker, accomplish a lot of high quality work, improve work processes, and have a great attitude, meet with your boss and ask for a raise. Getting a raise feels way better than getting somebody fired.

One of the skills of a boss is to recognize when an employee is under-performing, and work with them, with training, supervision, encouragement, etc. If the boss held X accountable for putting in 8 hours, for attending to work, etc., X might be a much better employee.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 PM on November 3, 2013

The fact is you only know what you're perceiving in the situation, and there may be factors that you don't, and shouldn't, know about. Maybe she has disability and the behaviors you describe are the accommodations she's worked out with management. Or a million other things.

As everyone else mentioned, the only thing you can control is yourself. If you have too much to do, bring that up with your boss.
posted by colin_l at 12:54 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to add: I'm totally not saying you don't have a right to be frustrated with this person. In a fair, just, rational, and sensible world, she'd probably lose her job.

But that's by no means the world we live in. My mother made me memorize the Serenity Prayer when I was a wee little Monster, and it's stood me in good stead all my life. One has to know what windmills to tilt at, and this is one where my experience has told me that the tilter is usually the one who gets hurt.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:04 AM on November 4, 2013

- always speak in a foreign language which is rude (primary language in the office is English)

You might consider how racist this sounds. Would you seriously fire someone for speaking Spanish had you the opportunity?
posted by oceanjesse at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Im sorry, but the vast majority of things you hate about her don't affect you at all. If she's speaking in a language other than English then she's obviously having that conversation with someone else who's also not speaking English. Yet your problem is obviously just with her.

The next time your colleague leaves early you can try to stop her and tell her that you are not doing her work for her anymore. If she still leaves and your manager gives you the work-load let him know that from now on you have to pick up your mother from physical therapy (or something) every day immediately when your day is done and that you cannot do this extra work any more. If this is a problem for your manager then you should look for another job.

Depending on your office system you can also set it up so that when a client calls saying they have a problem with the work she's done, you can have the receptionist transfer the call directly to the manager or his higher up. Or you can give the clients an email to contact if they have any problems with the work... and make sure that email happens to be your manager's or his boss.
posted by manderin at 2:12 AM on November 5, 2013

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