How would you approach this cow-orker situation?

Okay, here’s the story, i’m working for a small (3-man) local Mac reseller/service center, the staff consists of myself (Employee R), Employee N and Employee D…

our business hours are 10 AM-6:30 PM M-F, we’re a casual facility, very laid back, but one of my cow-orkers is abusing that casualness

One of my cow-orkers reliably comes in a half hour, to an hour late every day, and is known for taking 1.5-2.5 hour “lunch breaks”

Employee N and Employee R come in on time (if not a few minutes early) every day, and take working lunches most of the time, sometimes we take a half hour lunch, but never longer than an hour

Employee D has also been known to leave in the middle of the day to “get a haircut”, or go off to buy an updated version of his personal cell phone on company time, sometimes when he goes out to lunch, he comes back with alcohol on his breath…

now normally, this behavior is enough to get anyone fired, but this cow-orker is the boss’s freind, he got chewed out, once, for coming back from lunch drunk, but that was it

neither Employee N or myself want to bring the district manager in on this, as he’s a jerk, and prone to mood swings and has a short temper, the owner has his hands full trying to get us a better retail location, so we don’t want to bother him either

how should we confront cow-orker D with the problems we have with his work ethic (or lack thereof), we have no authority to punish, and he laughs off guilt-tripping

his excuses as to his tardiness and lack of work ethic…

“oh, i live an hour away, and have to deal with Massachusets traffic on 95N”
“this is just my fun job anyway”
(he used to work for a huge company as an advertising exec, but was downsized, he’s obviously not making near what he used to make, so he feels he doesn’t have to take this job as seriously as he should)

i feel that since he accepted the job, he should show up on time, just like everyone else and not abuse lunch breaks or taking off from work for personal stuff like buying a stupid cell phone (which he then plays with for the rest of the day)

it’s irrelavent that he’s making less than he used to, it’s not an excuse to slack off, he accepted the job knowing full well it paid less than the old one, he needs to treat it with the same level of respect and professionalism as his old job, if he didn’t like what this job involved, he didn’t have to take it

ironically, he’s the oldest one here, but has the least work ethic of the three of us, Co-worker N has much more work ethic, and he’s just out of college, if anyone was going to slack off, you’d think it’d be the young guy, right :wink:

so what’s the best diplomatic way to tell Employee D to get with the program?

Sounds like you have neither the carrot nor the stick to accomplish much with the boss’s friend.

The only card I see that you and Employee N can play is the “screw it – we’re both leaving if he’s kept on” card. Is this guy worth losing your job if you have to quit to make a point?

Alternatively – is there a way you and N can just keep boss’s friend
“out of the way”, as it were? Give him the sh!t assignments, make him drive further for his calls, etc.

Thought of another approach … but it really only works for folks who are basically good guys, but seem troubled somehow.

The opposite of ostracizion would be inclusion: you and N work to build a professional friendship with boss’s friend. Then you begin really leaning on him at the workplace – piling on a challenging amount of work and really letting him know that his contributions are necessary.

The idea then is to harvest opportunities to motivate BF through quid pro quo and a sense of obligation: “Hey man, I was glad to take that extra call for you yesterday – don’t mention it. Tell you what, though – I gotta come in an hour late Friday. Can you take a call for me tomorrow morning?”

The idea is that if someone feels needed and involved in a venture, they will be more motivated to perform. If someone feels like they’re not really needed, then slacking off can often the result.

Maybe have everyone leave on lunch at the same time as him and don’t come back until he does? The old “Well, D does it everyday so I didn’t think it would be a problem…” excuse. You guys would likely get in trouble, but it would spotlight the fact that he does it everyday while you’d get in trouble for exhibiting that behavior once. At the very least, it might bring the situation to the boss’ attention. What if all the employees started treating the place like he does?

This may not be the best advice, but it’s the first thing that came to mind.

Boss’s friend, eh? Situations like this are pretty commonplace worldwide - the owner’s son, son-in-law, brother, army buddy…whatever…the owner knows that person is an idiot but for family/personal reasons, keeps them on.

Guess what.

You can’t do squat.

Live with it or quit.

Having been a business owner myself. If this were going on under my nose with out me knowing about it; I’d appreciate a heads up myself. No matter HOW busy I was.

Just make sure you have all your ducks in a row. By that I mean have every indiscretion documented. Don’t just go up to the owner willy-nilly talking about what a lousy employee he is. IF you did that the owner might just think you have it out for him because he’s the boss’ friend.

I’m with DMark, this isn’t exactly GM, this is a 3 person shop. Your boss knows that D is a slacker, comes in late and takes long lunch, right? As long as YOUR workload is manageable and you are not expected to work late or are continually under the gun to cover for D’s shortcomings, just enjoy your job.

If your boss is constantly asking you to take a working lunch, you can mention that much of this work would get done on time if D showed up on time.

You can’t confront coworker D, it will do nothing but raise hard feelings.

You need to let the boss know that coworker D’s lateness has an impact on the others. It’s not just D’s problem, but it’s affecting morale and work ethic for R and N. That may, possibly, cause the boss to realize that he needs to do something more than just tolerate it.

A boss who is a friend of D may think of this as D’s problem, and may not want to confront or deal with it unless it’s affecting D’s work (like coming in drunk.) If the boss can be made to understand that failure to deal with it is affecting the other employees, there may be some hope.

If your conversation about this with the boss doesn’t produce results, you might try discussing this with N – in union there is strength! – and pick a day when both R and N come in late (together – he’s not going to fire both of you), take long lunches, etc. Your argument: D can do it, why can’t we? I’d only try this as a last resort, though.

3 pages. Single spaced. And leave out the petty stuff.

In situations like this, you are best armed with an overwhelming amount of documentation, especially considering that you will likely be going over your bosses head.

I would agree with the thought about documenting every indiscretion, however, I wouldn’t agree that you should just “let it go” or “deal with it”.
No boss is going to want an employee, no matter how chummy they are, who is doing the kind of things that he is doing. It looks poorly for the company, makes the other employees (obviously) bitter and uncomfortable, doesn’t improve the company’s sales record, and puts him at a liability. I would confront the person, with the other coworker of yours. Tell him that he had better clean up his act because you have all of this on record, and while you are willing to give him another chance to be serious about his job, your boss may not be so generous.
Do you (or your other coworker) have any seniority over him? If so, the above method may be a little more sucessful.
Let us know what you decided.


Unless you’re his supervisor, you don’t have a lot of say here. You and N need to see the boss together, let him know how D is affecting your work and how he is treating customers.

Ultimately, though, it is the boss’s call, and if he chooses to put up with it, there’s not a whole lot you can do, except make sure you don’t pick up D’s slack.

You haven’t mentioned salaries at all, but if D is making the same money as every one else for 2 hours less work every day, you and N are getting hosed, and I assume you both know it. If he’s getting paid for the time he’s not there, he’s stealing from the company, and I suggest you document and bring it to the supervisor. If the supervisor doesn’t care, it’s decision-making, resume-polishing time.

I just don’t think you should quit an otherwise good job because someone else is getting a better deal than you. You could leave for greener pastures only to find out the new job sucks eggs.

I don’t believe that making a big stink and resigning is necessarily going to result in the MacTech household being better off. Don’t go down that road if you don’t have to.

This guy’s lack of work ethic is no one’s business but his and his boss’s. The fact that he has a better deal than you is just tough toenails. Everyone negotiates their own deal. If he’s buddy-buddy with the boss, I’m sure he knows he’s not doing the same amount of work as you guys.

Unless it was clearly laid out that he’d do the same amount of work as you two, or unless he’s specifically asking you to do his work, I don’t see an issue here.

So taking 2.5 hour lunch breaks and coming to work drunk is okay because nobody told him specifically not to? I have a hard time buying that. From what MacTech has described, it is a three man job in which nobody is supposed to be picking up the slack from someone who isn’t doing their job.
He doesn’t have to specifically ask either of the two of them to do his job, by virtue of the fact that he is irresponsible and not doing his job and the other two are responsible and not letting the overall success of the company fall because of him, they are more valuable employees and something should be said to the other one.
Honestly, who needs to have it clearly laid out to them that you are to do as much work as the other people you work with? Doesn’t it usually work the other way around, as in “they are doing things that you will not be expected to do”?

Maybe that’s how MacTech should approach the boss - tell him you want to negotiate the same deal that D has - come in late, take long lunches, go for personal appointments in the middle of the day. Your boss’s response should tell you all you need to know about how valuable you are to the company.

And yes, if this is the only fly in the ointment at this job, you might have to just suck it up and try to get past the unfairness of it. There wouldn’t be any coming in early or working through lunch from me in this situation, however. It would be work to rule all the way, baby.

To Echo what Shakes has said (and an interesting moniker for this discussion)

Document, document, document. This is your livelyhood and this person will either leave soon or will need to be confronted by management. Your “help” in being able to provide documentation or even initiate the confrontation by management may save this persons life. That is only a side benefit to you but this person has many symptoms of an alcoholic and not one in the earlier stages.

Well, he was already told not to come to work drunk. Has he done it since? As far as his workload goes, or his long lunches…how do you know what he has worked out with his boss?

Because if that was what he had worked out with his boss, he wouldn’t be “late”. He would have a different schedule. Admittedly I am assuming that because the OP used the term “late”, that meant that he had a scheduled time to arrive at work and repeatedly arrives past the scheduled time. If his lunch breaks last anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours, that is also not a ‘set schedule of his own special lunch time’, but him making up when he wants to leave because he assumes that he is not going to be punished for it. What I would do in that situation is let him know that I, and my coworker, notice his tardiness and we are ready and willing to bring it to our bosses attention yet again if he doesn’t shape up.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to just assume that he has a special situation set up with the boss and therefore you shouldn’t be meddling. If that is the case, then the OP at least should find out why he is being required to do more work than maybe what was in his work description. Maybe he deserves a raise for having to work his share plus half of what the other guy isn’t doing.


I have no idea what agreements D has with the bossman, and it’s none of my business anyway…

it just seems logical that D would have to comply with standard company policy , i.e. show up at 10 AM, leave at 6:30 PM, lunch breaks are specified as 1/2 hr to 1 hr, NOT 1.5 to 2.5 hours

purchasing a personal cellphone or getting a haircut on company time should also be verboten, it’s a rare company that allows employees to conduct personal business on company time, apparently he went to a “fancy” haircut place and had a glass of wine while getting his haircut, he’s shown up to work with alcohol on his breath a few times, sometimes when we order sushi lunch, and he goes to pick it up, he’ll have a glass of sake when picking up the sushi…

one time i went to pick up our sushi orders, and the waitress asked “where’s the sake guy?”
D?, he’s not in today, what do you mean “sake guy?”
“oh, when he comes in to pick up your orders, he typically has a glass of sake, don’t tell him i told you, i don’t want him to get in trouble”
hmm, maybe that explains why it takes him a half hour to get the sushi order
(the sushi place is 5 minutes away by car, 10-15 minute walk, and he drives to the sushi place…)