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Ask an Expert WORKPLACE / JAN. 12, 2017
version 4, draft 4

How do I deal with a lazy colleague at work?

tired woman sitting at desk yawning


Recently my boss has hired a new guy to work in my department who is worse than useless. Before this guy came along, I was pretty much alone there, and while I had a lot of responsibility I was happy because I was working independently.

But, now I have this new guy who shouldn’t have got the got the job in the first place, and I am stressed out. He is lazy, slow, has no idea what he is doing and even comes to work smelling of booze sometimes. His work doesn’t involve talking to other people(thankfully), but coming drunk to work is just wrong!

The situation has gotten me worried about my job because I have to stay at the office longer to fix everything he has done wrong. I don’t know what his relationship with my boss is, but I think they have known each other for a long time. What can I do?

Kyriaki says:

I can see how this situation is making you anxious and uncomfortable, but there is nothing you can do other than talking directly to your boss about it. If your boss is a true professional and doesn’t want to jeopardise his relationship with you and the company, he ought to respect you and hear what you have to say. Of course, I can’t tell you whether your boss will react positively or negatively, but at least you will let him know what's going on and he can take the issue from there.

However, you have to be careful because, from what you are telling me, it sounds like your boss and the new guy are probably old friends or related somehow. If this is the case, there is a good chance he already knows about his drinking problem. But, he might not know it is affecting his work because no employer likes having a drunk working for them. Not only could this destroy him financially and create a bad reputation for the company, but it could also adversely affect the normal operation of the business. So, if your boss doesn’t know about it, you could easily find yourself in trouble if you don’t report the issue right away.

Apart from having a chat with your boss, you also need to stop clearing up his mess and discretely warn your colleague about the importance of the situation. You might also be able to improve this situation by helping your colleague become a better at his job. If you are patient enough, you can spend some time teaching him how you work and letting him know the secrets of the job.

Hopefully, this can help you improve the situation at work and you can go back to enjoying your work. Let me know how it goes! In the meantime you can check out the following articles:

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