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  #1  
Old 05-07-2003, 02:43 PM
pee_wee_morris pee_wee_morris is offline
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Co-workers who disappear during the day--WTF?

Question/rant:

If 2 of your co-workers disappeared for 4-5 hours EVERY DAY, leaving you to take care of their work, would you have a problem with it?

Here's my situation...
I work in a downtown area where the buildings are linked by a skyway system with many places to wander off to during the day. There are 4 IT support staff members (including myself) and 4 people filling various management roles. Everyone in the department knows that these two gals are sub-par (to say the least) workers who continually get away with coming and going as they please. Management has addressed the issue with the IT director--who has no spine and will not do anything to address the issue. The IT director even admitted that he "busted" these two gals shopping at 10am, or well before the lunch hour. He did nothing about it. Numerous complaints have been filed by people in the company about the attitudes of these two girls, and lack of support they provide, but nothing has been done about it. They continue to abuse authority, show up hours late, leave hours early, disappear to go shopping, go home and sleep in the middle of the day--basically they have been pushing the limit as to how much shit they can get away with--and it gets worse every week since they get away with it all.

The actions of these two co-workers has caused dissension within the department. During the last round of lay-offs, everyone was shocked to see one of the most competent and hardest workers let go instead of one or both of these gals. The reason given by the IT director was that the person let go was often misunderstood because of their inability to speak English clearly. We were all shocked by this explanation, but it was obvious the director was steering away from confronting the 2 other employees--who happen to be best friends--and he couldn't deal with firing one of them and having the other one cause problems.

Anyway, what do you think? Should I just go about my business and ignore the fact that 2 people are ruining the image of the entire department by their poor work ethic and blatant insubordination? Everyone in the department want to see them fired, but the one person who has the power to take care of the problem refuses to.

How would you feel if you had computer problems while at work and called for tech support, but the support staff person answered their cell phone and gave some half-ass answer just go blow you off for an hour or two as they finish shopping? Feel free to hijack this rant/thread with your own co-worker stories--I need something to compare these goldbrickers to.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2003, 02:54 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Any chance you're using a call-tracking or ticketing system to keep track of how many issues people resolve? Might be some incriminating numbers in there.

Do you know that they're not working hours that you aren't? Maybe they're working evenings or weekends?
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2003, 02:58 PM
pee_wee_morris pee_wee_morris is offline
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They are shopping, meeting friends, going home, etc... during the day. A few of us have seen them leave at about 11am, assuming they're going to lunch, and return at 2-3pm with shopping bags full. During this time, only one person is left to take all incoming support calls. I can't say that every time they leave, they are doing something non-work related--but when they bring their coats and purses, it's pretty obvious.
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2003, 03:08 PM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Don't worry Ethilrist, it's not you

It's not the help desk, it's the Helpless Desk.
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2003, 03:42 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Keep track of how many of the pooled requests you have to take care of in a week or month. Bring the numbers to the BIG BOSS and he can take it from there. If he's going to wuss out and not do anything about it, I suggest taking a long, liquid lunch yourself!!
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2003, 03:55 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Make a couple of appointments (doctor, dentist, phrenologist, whatever) over your lunch hour. Take an extra bit of time getting there and back. When the shit hits the fan for the phones not being covered, trot out your appointment card and say, "well, here's why I wasn't here...", then look expectantly at the other two.
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2003, 04:02 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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I work for a company that does private-sector classification/compensation studies (among other things) and we were once employed to "study a few positions" but really to find grounds to fire a woman who sounds just like your two cow-orkers.

This gal was amazing- she would go into her boss' office to "take a memo" and come out with her blouse half-undone; would consistetly come to work at least 2 hours late claiming car trouble with a coffee cup from Nordstrom in her hand, etc. She was really firmly entrenched and it took an act of God to dislodge her, which we did.

One of her many ways of keeping her job was that she was the boss' father's girlfriend and he was afraid of his dad (who had started the company) and thus afraid of the hussy. We had to have lots of diverse pieces of ammunition- both about her lack of performance and the position itself. We eventually eliminated her position, thus eliminating her. Too bad that's not an option for you.

She obviously knows where somebody's body is buried, so I wish you luck getting rid of her. I hate people like that.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2003, 04:10 PM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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My husband had a coworker exactly like this. We used to speculate that he was working two jobs. He did it every single day. He never got fired, but when layoffs made the rounds, he was outta there.

My husband, on the other hand, got gifts from the business users, including a trip to Las Vegas for the two of us. He ran corporate reports, and one he ran was for a contest for high performing store people. The store managers that won the trip to LV had a chance to try for a new car. The business users gave us the plane tickets, hotel stay at the NYNY hotel, and all the same expenses. Sadly, he's now in a job that's invisible to the business users.
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2003, 04:40 PM
sycorob sycorob is offline
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I had no idea this happened in real life. That sucks, pee_wee.

The worst I've had is coworkers that slack off - we're under extreme deadlines all the time. There's one guy who "always gets his stuff done" but God help you if you have to go in and debug something he coded. Always a mess of poorly thought-out, uncommented, unsafe code.

He knows that management will never have the time to look at what he's done, or the skill to know it's inadequate if they did have the time. But he's always on target on his tasks, so there you go.

Fellow dopers (I'm somewhat new to the job field), is it possible to go over the IT director's head on something like this? Are there sneaky ways to do this?

Basically, I want to hear war stories.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2003, 04:42 PM
Payne N. Diaz Payne N. Diaz is offline
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Both my wife and I have dealt with cow-orkers like this. Hers was when she worked as a respiratory therapist in a busy hospital. The other therapist would disappear for hours, turn off the pager, etc. leaving my wife to cover the whole hospital alone. When they tracked her down, she was sitting naked on an unused hospital bed in a dark room, meditating. I wish I got paid for meditating. Her chicken bosses either didn't believe my wife--the old "she wouldn't do THAT" bullstuff, or were simply too cowardly to confront her. She did finally get fired, though.

Mine was when I worked as a dishwasher. I would come in at 4 pm to find every bustub in the place overflowing, and more stuff stacked on every flat surface. The triple sink in back was mounded over with stuff from breakfast. And the day diswasher had gone home early because "there was nothing to do." Yeah, right--everyone in town came in for lunch at 3 pm, and we won't talk about the breakfast pots & pans in the back sink.
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2003, 06:11 PM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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Two co-worker stories to share here, one evil co-worker, and one I'd like an opinion on...

1) When I was in pharmaceutical research, our company was made up entirely of caucasian, hispanic, and asian workers. Oddly enough, we had never HAD a black candidate apply for a job as far as anyone knew. Then one day, a guy did, and for political reasons, he was hired almost instantly. He claimed to have a BS in Chemistry when he had never even been to college. Before we figured this out, he did thousands of dollars in damage (maybe more) to our research, and it took almost a year to actually get him fired. He was so bad at everything he did that even getting him to wash glassware, he would break things or not get them clean. Sure enough, when they did fire him, it was lawsuit city USA. Ultimately, the company won because he had so blantantly lied during every step of the process and created numerous safety issues independent of his race.

2) Now I work at a defense company and have a different issue. We have a co-worker who is Indian and doesn't speak or write very well in English. His project just lost coverage from the customer. He works hard, but there is no programming task we can stick him on. The only way to keep him employed would be to boot some other programmer and make them do documentation so he could do their job, which hardly seems fair since we would be penalizing the other programmer simply because they "write well". We have the Indian guy doing a lot of menial tasks right now, and other people who are working hard are starting to resent him because he has lots of "free time" as it were, and they don't. As such, he is developing a bad reputation somewhat unjustly and I'm not sure what to do to prevent that as someone in management. Any thoughts?
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2003, 06:12 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Pee-Wee, I apologize for the hijack, but I'm really curious: what city are you in? That skyway system sounds so cool.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2003, 06:35 PM
herman_and_bill herman_and_bill is offline
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Maybe the IT director is getting laid.
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  #14  
Old 05-07-2003, 06:42 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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There are two winners in my office. One disappears daily from about 7-9 (he arrives at 6) He's been seen sleeping in his truck. What really pisses us all off is that he can retire but he's too cheap to do so. He spends most of the day (when he's not sleeping) surfing the net. And on top of that, he's an ignorant, bigoted ass. His very voice makes me cringe... but the sleeping and surfing are absolutely the worst.

The other will leave around 9 and go to the gym or the pool to work out. Then he comes back, has lunch, takes a nap, and leaves about 1:30. I mentioned it to the supervisor (I hate being a snitch, but this is so blatant) but nothing is ever done.

I'll be gone in a year. I can't wait.
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2003, 09:22 PM
lurker anonymous lurker anonymous is offline
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i agree with the sentiments of others here...document the evidence and present it to a higher up. it will never change if you don't. this is the worst kind of theft-the theft of TIME. i hate it. i see it everywhere. when the cashier ignores you and carries on a mutually inclusive conversation with the sacker...sorry for the rant and i am not some dudley do right, i think people have a right to enjoy their jobs and co workers. but i have been in this same situation too many times-including my present job...where people just leave you holding the sack. god, i could go to the BBQ pit on this one. you have my sympathy.
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  #16  
Old 05-08-2003, 12:20 AM
MaryEFoo MaryEFoo is offline
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The supvr that could do something, and won't, is really not doing his job.

Is there good tracking on productivity, any kind of numbers? Does anyone but the supvr total the numbers?


The dentist appointment idea is great, preferable on a day when IT person #4 is on vacation. This needs to be visible to heavyweights other than the director. CYA is advised.


I had a somewhat similar situation, and while I was feeling disgusted with it, my most competent co-worker put in for vacation. So I put in for a couple of days that week too, and, guess what, suddenly there was a brand-new rule that two couldn't be out at the same time.
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  #17  
Old 05-08-2003, 02:54 AM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by herman_and_bill
Maybe the IT director is getting laid.
That was my 1st thought. Since he had a golden chance to lay them off but laid off a good worker instead......

I see this crap all the time. The bosses here are terrified at the thought of firing anyone. I work with a guy who's, on average, 30 minutes late every day, does his job poorly, sleeps for hours on the job, and has made mistakes that has cost the company tens of thousands of dollars as a freakin' temp, and then they hired him on permanent!
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  #18  
Old 05-08-2003, 06:14 AM
slice slice is offline
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I worked with a woman who was constantly out doing "training" and away on "conferences." We'd routinely run into her at the mall when she was supposed to be in, let's say, Montreal.

The best example of this is when she took a week long training class and, on my day off, I went to get my hair cut and found her at the spa, prancing around in a white robe and drinking bottled water.

Of course, our Wussy Boss wouldn't even think about firing her, as she was hittin' the sheets with one of the big bosses.

Can you go to HR? The boss above your boss? Get your documentation and go elsewhere; your current boss isn't going to do a damn thing.

Sorry you're in this situation. Let us know how it turns out.
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  #19  
Old 05-08-2003, 07:34 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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I see people sleeping at their desks, taking 2 hour lunch breaks, chatting on personal calls for hours on end, coming in 15 minutes late and leaving 15 minutes early, etc. and getting paid $60K a year. It's just a few, but it really frosts my shorts that my personal standards won't allow me to do the same thing.

It's damn near impossible to fire these people because we're unionized.
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  #20  
Old 05-08-2003, 08:11 AM
Sengkelat Sengkelat is offline
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Clearly, I need to join a union and sleep with or be related to the majority of management. Then I can read the SDMB all day at work with no worries.

Pee_wee, your situation sounds wretched. My sympathies. Though, just be glad it's your co-workers and not your boss. I've had two bosses who did no work whatsoever, lied to us, and actively endeavored to creat dissension amongst their employees. (For instance, she told an employee of hers at one site that all the employees of hers at the other site were furious at him, when what we'd really said was "He knows his stuff. Can he stay here longer, please?") In one case, we talked to management above his head and a new department was created, with just him in it, and our department got a new boss. In the second case, just about everyone in IT went to management and said "This boss is insane. Either she goes or we quit." When I say "everyone," I mean techs from the offices in england, germany, and both coasts of the US. Management said "Please give us a month." Midway through the month, the boss was escorted out of the building by security and never let back in. We all were very, very happy.

As for co-workers, I notice you say they leave you to do their work. If at all possible, don't! If they go shopping, but their work still gets done, there's no real reason to fire them, is there? If work is assigned, make sure you never touch one of their projects. Let it fail, the bigger the flop the better, with their name all over it.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

Yarster: I'm sad to say, the best thing in your situation is to let the Indian guy go. If there's no programming for him to do, and he is incapable of doing other work, then he's not much of an asset. Unless, of course, you think there's going to be a need for more programmers in the near future. Yeah, I'm a heartless bastard.
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  #21  
Old 05-08-2003, 08:53 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Well, if the Skyway system is Minneapolis and the company happens to be a Minneapolis based Fortune 500, forgetaboutit. Those two were doing the same thing when I was there ten years ago.

I've never understood this. When I was the "victim" of this behavior, I grabbed the data from the call tracking system, posted it outside my cube, with graphs and numbers - oh, and took it into my review with HR when my boss tried to fire me for not doing a good job. I still ended up quitting - and the long luncher-late arriver-early leaver was still employed as of several years ago.

In my experience, doing an end around the manager does you no good except making the manager (or director) feel like you are attacking them - never makes for a pleasant work environment. Sluffing yourself will make you the first on the next round of layoffs list. Start looking for a new job, or just live with what you've got.
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  #22  
Old 05-08-2003, 09:41 AM
/\/\etalhea|) /\/\etalhea|) is offline
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I wonder how many people are replying to this thread, telling you how to deal with people who slack off at work, while they're reading the SDMB at work!

Yes, I'm one of them.
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  #23  
Old 05-08-2003, 09:52 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Me, too. But I am ready to drop my web surfing and answer that next trouble call the second the phone rings. My coworker has the ringer volume on his phone turned up to maximum so he can make sure to wake up if his phone rings.
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  #24  
Old 05-08-2003, 10:36 AM
lovelyluka lovelyluka is offline
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Ok, first of all, my little student assistant job in the computer center here on campus pales in comparison to the jobs and responsibilities other Dopers have to put up with...and fortunately the people here are great and hard workers. I do wonder about the guy who comes in 30 minutes late with McDonald's every morning and plays solitaire on his computer a lot of the time...but when he does have something to do, he busts his rear getting it done. (Likewise I am reading the boards until someone needs me! )

MY complaint, coming from a university student, is that many secretaries here on campus think that lunch is 11-2. The universal standard on campus is 12-1, so students don't plan on being able to reach a department secretary at that hour. But when you rush out of class at 11:45, and found out they were long gone earlier...that's a problem. Or, I'll try to reach a particular faculty member on the phone, but can't get through to them because their department uses the secretary as a switchboard - and they're not there! Most of these on-campus secretaries are salaried just like the faculty, and they really abuse that privilege. Gah...too many experiences with missing secretaries has made me bitter.
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  #25  
Old 05-08-2003, 11:42 AM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yarster
2) Now I work at a defense company and have a different issue. We have a co-worker who is Indian and doesn't speak or write very well in English. His project just lost coverage from the customer. He works hard, but there is no programming task we can stick him on. The only way to keep him employed would be to boot some other programmer and make them do documentation so he could do their job, which hardly seems fair since we would be penalizing the other programmer simply because they "write well". We have the Indian guy doing a lot of menial tasks right now, and other people who are working hard are starting to resent him because he has lots of "free time" as it were, and they don't. As such, he is developing a bad reputation somewhat unjustly and I'm not sure what to do to prevent that as someone in management. Any thoughts?
I have only had small team management experience, but the thing I would try to do is use the Indain guy as a pressure release valve for your other programmers. Provided that the Indian guy is a decent programmer, if he is not then losing him would not be so bad. You should have an idea of the work loads of your other programmers, each weak have the Indian guy help out the most pressurised programmer as a subroutine writer, and code tester. He will gain a good overview of the other projects, and will if he is any good soon gain the respect of the other programmers.
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  #26  
Old 05-08-2003, 11:47 AM
/\/\etalhea|) /\/\etalhea|) is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Attrayant
Me, too. But I am ready to drop my web surfing and answer that next trouble call the second the phone rings. My coworker has the ringer volume on his phone turned up to maximum so he can make sure to wake up if his phone rings.
Geez, this thread makes me feel a lot better about myself.

I tend to be late a lot, but I also work late often and work lots of weekends during peak season. I would never THINK of sleeping at work, although I have fallen asleep momentarily from utter fatigue. I would never plan on sleep. I'm amazed that they don't get caught.

Likewise, I'm not here reading the SDMB unles there's nothing much for me to do, which has lately been the case quite often. We're very seasonal.

When I worked at a dot-com related business that was deserted after the big fall, we often contemplated going to a movie during the day. Never actually did it tho.
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  #27  
Old 05-08-2003, 11:51 AM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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If the IT director won't do anything about it, you need to go over his head. I think Sengkelat's suggestion about getting all your other co-workers together to complain at once (make sure you have documentation, maybe keep track of their comings and goings for a week or so) is a good idea. That way management will know it's not just one disgruntled employee, but an entire department.
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  #28  
Old 05-08-2003, 03:36 PM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dangerosa
Well, if the Skyway system is Minneapolis and the company happens to be a Minneapolis based Fortune 500
Right on count one, wrong on count two.

I'm PeeWee's cow-orker. PW's gone today, and I'm a tad hungover, so I'll make my spin short. There are benefits to having this job, and part of it is goofing off, surfing the SDMB, and playing games. We all do it, and it's no big deal. But the nature of our job is kind of like a fire fighters. When we're called upon, we're expected to do our jobs. PW and I do it. The 2 ladies cannot, since they are out wandering around/shopping/going home for a big old bong hit (I know this happened once). The VP IT is a spineless wimp and a kiss ass. He reports directly to the head honcho, who looks at us with unrecognition when we get on the elevator. Going to him would likely end in nothing or us getting canned. So we're pretty much stuck. Both of us hit Monster etc. on a regular basis, but there just isn't that much out there.

If the thread is still alive tomorrow I'll ad more. Right now my brain feels like monkey poop in a shit fight.
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  #29  
Old 05-08-2003, 06:20 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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you must show them the money. show them the money that the 2 women are costing them. once the big bosses see the money loss things change very, very, quickly.
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  #30  
Old 05-08-2003, 09:34 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Carmen, I've been there. A couple of times. Had that job, had those co-workers, bought the t-shirt, ain't planning any return trips.

I could say something uplifting, like "convince management what is happening and they'll get canned." But I've never seen it work that way - I have watched the "troublemakers" who complain get walked to the door (including, very nearly, myself once). Management isn't missing the fact that these two are shopping their day away. Or maybe I could say something uplifting like "the IT VP will loose his job any day and then there will be a clean slate." More likely, but still unlikely. So hang in. Make the best of what you've got.

(PC Tech type stuff? I'll keep my ear to the ground. B.C. (Before Children) I used to have lots of contacts, I've let them slip, but maybe its time to do some lunches).

Oh, I just noticed a possible angle in PeeWee's post. If people in OTHER departments know this, and you can convince them to make a case - or rather, innuendo - especially if you let the rumor mill get back to your IT VP that everyone knows his staff walks all over him, the VP might fire them - because he won't want to look like a spineless wimp in front of the other VPs. The market is tight right now, they can be replaced in an instant.
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  #31  
Old 05-09-2003, 09:23 AM
pezpunk pezpunk is offline
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If your co-workers are female, perhaps this is where they go to?

WARNING: the link provided directs you to the funniest post EVER!
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  #32  
Old 05-09-2003, 09:49 AM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Dangerosa, that is a damn fine idea. Like any company with a few hundred or more people, we have an effective and well oiled rumor mill. A little feeding and stoking may get the message around.
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