You are here

O/T Difficult Co-Worker

Lemon65's picture

My boss hired my co-worker about a year ago - it is a small company and we are the only two employees on the Sales Team. Since day one, I have had nothing but issues with this man. My boss expected me to train him, but he never listened to anything that I told him and he became defensive whenever I would give constructive criticism. It actually got to the point where I refused to train him any longer and now I won't even interact with him unless he has a question (luckily, we each have our own clients and don't have to work together).

Yesterday, one of his clients called at the end of the day when I was here by myself closing. I spoke to them for a bit and took down some detailed instructions, which I then passed along to my co-worker. I get here this morning and notice that he has completedly ignored my instructions and what he sent the client was wrong. This has been a pattern with him - I take time out of what I am doing to take down a detailed message or instructions for him and he doesn't read it. I don't know if this is him being lazy, dumb or defiant but it drives me insane!

Against my better judgment, I sent him an e-mail letting him know that he had made a mistake and that I had sent a detailed explanation yesterday. He is out of the office, so he e-mailed back and this was his response:

"Yep made a mistake. I will fix it in the morning. No need to try and belittle me by saying you explained in detail. It's a mistake it happens."

This sent me over the edge! Does anyone have any advice for dealing with someone like this?

ldvilen's picture

I agree it is hard working with more peps nowadays.  I've been in the work-force for years and have seen many changes.  These last several years, I've seen a trend toward militaristic bosses and even more cut-throat tactics from co-workers.  Any so-called company mantra about "taking care of our workers," is usually nothing but lip service.  Raises would make employees 100 times more happy than any BS mantra.  Then, you are put in a work "cube" about the size of a large toy box, given zero privacy, and then are expected to be more than willing to give up your soul just to keep your paycheck.  This is even considering that the economy is now improved and some companies are "desperate" for workers.  But, apparently they are not desperate enough to treat them more like human beings vs. minions.  Anyway. . . .

I'm trying to say: I hear you, but I have tried just keeping my peace, and I have tried speaking my mind to higher ups about negative going ons.  Hate to say, not much has worked for me.  You keep your peace, and you wind up w/ all of that stress from sucking it up.  You say something, and you more or less wind up w/ a target on your back.  You can try looking for a new job, but from what I've seen lately, it could just wind up being SOS.

I actually think Steptalk has helped me with more than just step-life.  I've gotten much better now at just saying NO, and leaving it at that, when I feel my role or needs are being greatly diminished.  I'd even be tempted to tell you to look at your co-worker as one might look at an annoying BM.  Ignore him the best you can; focus on your life/ your work.  Your co-worker is there, he's not going away, but his actions, right or wrong, are really his boss's concerns, unless he is doing something flat-out illegal or in non-compliacne.  The boss will support him as long as he makes most of his clients happy and meets his quota. Just my two cents.

Aniki's picture

Were your detailed instructions were in an email? Were they instructions the client gave you to pass on to him?

Be sure to document EVERYTHING and let him hang himself. YOU gave him the correct detailed instructions. HE chose to not follow them and screwed up. Hopefuly, the clients will begin complaining to the boss and you will have proof that he screwed up on his own.

Fingers crossed that the clients pitches a mini fit before he has time to send a correction...

Lemon65's picture

Thankfully, it is all via e-mail. I ALWAYS e-mail him, I never leave him written messages. That way I can't be held accountable for his inability to follow simple instructions.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Some people are NOT open to constructive criticism or directions from anyone.   

How does this man react when the boss has input for him?  Does he respond more positively to the boss?  

Speaking of the boss, if she/he expected you to "train" this guy did the boss come back to you along the way and ask how it was going?  This would have been your opportunity to identify some of the issues you were having while training him.  Something like, "I am doing my best at explaining our process to "John" but he seems to be reluctant to take my guidance."

As for advice, I'd offer this:  Be professional, be polite but don't do ANYTHING for him anymore.  If one of his clients calls, simply take their name and number as though you were an admin person and just pass it along.  Don't get into details of what the client wants - that's his job.    

After a year, you should get out of the stage of giving him any kind of guidance or constructive criticism.  It's not your job - you aren't the boss.  That's probably why he got snippy with you.  

If he screws up, believe me ... the clients will be reaching out to the boss and let it be known.  Let the coworker learn the hard way - via the school of hard knocks and/or an unemployment line.  

Lemon65's picture

Thanks for your response! He does respond in a more polite manner to our bosses, but I have seen him be defensive with them too. He always has an argument or an excuse. When he was still new, I did raise a few concerns to both bosses. Unfortunately, they never held him accountable so the bad attitude, poor work ethic and mistakes have continued. I stopped giving him constructive criticism or advice a couple of months after he started working here - as soon as he made a habit of ignoring my advice and giving me attitude. It is just frustrating when I take the time to pass along a detailed message or instructions, and he can't even take the time to read it. Believe me, I am done - I will never help him out again.

Survivingstephell's picture

Leave a World's Biggest Asshole trophy on his desk!  I hear trophies are popular with that type.  

still learning's picture

Is there any way that you can pass the client directly onto his voicemail or have them write him a detailed email themselves?  Maybe he has an issue taking directions from a woman.  Who knows why he's an @ss, but he is so do whatever you can to take yourself out of any communication loop involving him.