Why you gotta mess things up?
February 22, 2007 9:17 AM   Subscribe

My coworker screwed up my project when I was on vacation. Is there a way to rectify this without getting her in trouble or causing bad feelings, or should I just let things go?

The project is time sensitive, and among other things, she sat on stuff. We have ongoing projects, so whenever someone is out a coworker will cover, which means this situation will recur. The damage was moderate this time, but it could have been worse.

Posted with a sock, because this is about work.
posted by Tasty Like Your 9V Battery to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What do you mean by "rectify"? If you just want to get the project done, I think you'll have to suck it up and do the work yourself. Maybe ask the coworker if she can help with some of the details, if you trust her to do it right and get it done this time.

I almost feel like you're saying "How can I make her feel bad about messing things up, without getting her in trouble or causing bad feelings." It's pretty much impossible. Just get the thing done.
posted by vytae at 9:26 AM on February 22, 2007

Response by poster: I guess I am asking, how do I get her to not do it again, next time she is responsible for my stuff.
posted by Tasty Like Your 9V Battery at 9:28 AM on February 22, 2007

Get someone else to make sure she's doing what she's supposed to be doing? Get your project assigned to someone else while you're gone? You can't control her from afar, and she probably feels she has enough to do on HER projects, much less yours.
posted by SpecialK at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2007

Response by poster: I swear I am going to stop posting after this, but I think I was not clear: Everyone works on everyone's projects. I work on hers when she is gone. I cannot avoid having her work on mine.
posted by Tasty Like Your 9V Battery at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2007

Make her answer to someone in the office for her work, or stay on her ass from wherever you are. If she flakes on other people's stuff, it's probably worth it to them to watch her for you so you can watch her when they are gone. That's probably a waste of resources, but you don't have much choice if you don't want her to get in trouble.

However, she's not doing her job, which is grounds for getting in trouble. I suppose you could point out to her everything she screwed up and explain that it's no longer acceptable and that next time you're going to have to go to management, but if you do that you have to mean it and you have to follow through.

You can't make her care, if that's what you're actually asking.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2007

Next time, you might have to shift into micromanagement mode, and break the project down in tasks that have to be accomplished by certain dates.

Once you've done this, (as much as it sucks for you since you're on vacation and all), follow up with her via e-mail or phone to check and see if a particular task has been done. Hopefully after the first couple of days she'll get the message and stay on top of things, so you can ease off.
posted by Ostara at 9:48 AM on February 22, 2007

Perhaps you can volunteer to help train her better for next time.
posted by Lockjaw at 9:55 AM on February 22, 2007

Do your very best to fix the project. If this is the first time, and you still think she's valuable, then pull her aside and tell her: "I fixed this, and made it seem as though you didn't screw this up for me, but you did. Please don't do it again."

Otherwise, yeah, let it go. And make sure the record shows that this wasn't screwed up on your watch.
posted by koeselitz at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2007

Have you talked to her about it? Your post sounds like you haven't discussed this with her at all. Assuming this is a peer-peer relationship here, the first thing I would do is sit down with her and say "Hey, this is really screwed up. Can you help me figure out how this happened so it doesn't happen again" and see where it goes from there.

Maybe something happened that while you were out that you aren't aware of? Was she out sick a day, or perhaps were other coworkers out sick, forcing her to prioritize among a huge number of things? Or maybe you'll find out that she wasn't aware of the deadline or was aware of the wrong deadline. Or, maybe she just forgot.

Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice is malice or incompetence.
posted by anastasiav at 10:18 AM on February 22, 2007

Late to the thread, but I'd give her the opportunity to help you fix it, or to take on other tasks while you fix it. She should experience some consequence of her (in)action, or she won't learn. Eventually her job will be in jeopardy.
posted by theora55 at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2007

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