When you work with a no-load slacker...

When is it acceptable (for want of a better word) to rat out a coworker? When is it petty and when are you being a team player?

Personal example: Some years ago, I worked in an organization that was fairly liberal about allowing us to do overtime since we were understaffed and some lower priority projects tended to be ignored as we put out forest fires. My husband had just gone back to school, so my paycheck was it, and every penny helped. I took every hour the boss would give me - mostly finalizing drawings on CAD.
There was a woman in the office who spent hours on the phone making personal calls, read her “women’s magazines” at her desk, and did work maybe 40% of the time. SHE was authorized OT. I was a peon, and tho it irritated me to no end, I wasn’t her supervisor and I wasn’t going to be a tattletale. However, when I passed her cubicle one evening and saw her doing her INCOME TAXES on OT, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
The next day, I went to the boss and asked: “Would you want to be told if an employee was abusing overtime?” Naturally he said yes and I told him what I’d seen. He commented that he suspected she was abusing the privilege and he thanked me. We never spoke of it again and she never got extra hours again.
I don’t regret what I did, and I’d do it again in a similar situation. Now, years later, I have enough seniority where I am that I’d probably say something to the employee rather than going to the boss, but I was a young newbie and the woman in question had been there about 20 years.
So, was there a better way to handle it? Was I wrong? Where’s the line between being a busybody and looking out for the company’s bottom line?

Does work ethic exist anymore?

Does work ethic exist anymore?

I’ll respond as soon as I go on break.

Good thing I’m paid by the week, not by the hour…

You’re lucky, FCM. It’s been my experience that any employee who “rats out” another employee–no matter how grave the issues involved–is immediately branded as “not a team player” and backlashed out of a job.

I have tried this numerous times with the people in my office and my boss. We are all on the same level (seniority-wise) so going to the boss is the only solution. He ignores it because he doesn’t want to have to deal with it.

There are a couple of employees in my office who watch soap operas on the clock, go walking around the building for exercise on the clock, call friends/kids/spouses on the clock, go shopping in the gift shop (I work in a hospital) on the clock and then everyday write in that they did not receive a meal break so they get paid for an extra thirty minutes. True, it isn’t much when you look at it day to day but these women are getting a free $150 a month for not doing their jobs.

From my perspective here, it does appear that work ethic is all but dead.

I agree, and it’s not just the employees.

I work with a guy (we’ll call him Dave) who is a temp. Now, this temp makes $26.00 an hour and is being considered for a permanent position. He is late every day. EVERY DAY! Usually 20 minutes, but often more than an hour. And he sleeps on the job. I know its graveyard shift, but this guy puts his feet up on the desk, lays head back and goes to sleep for an hour or more.

Several of us have gone to the shift supervisor and to the manager and informed them (after we spoke to Dave, of course). They promised to speak to him. They made excuses for him. Then they made unconvincing threats to him. Not to change his performance, it seems, but to placate US! Now they are considering making him permanate.

Sometimes you have management who simply hates to get rid of anyone. I don’t get it.

lissener -
That was one of my worries before talking to the boss. OTOH, she was stealing from the company as surely as if she carried office equipment out the door. That theft had a direct effect on everyone: the works she WASN’T doing that others had to do, the pay she took without earning, the effect on overall morale (assuming I wasn’t the only one who knew she goofed off)…
If being a “team player” means ignoring dishonesty that affects the bottom line, guess I don’t want to be on that team.

I agree. Not towing the line is not my idea of team spirit. I would have done exactly the same thing, ie: gone directly to the supervisor. Dealing with the employee is not my job. Furhtermore, I probably wouldn’t be able to stay with a company that had that sort of work environment.

I think the terms ‘ratting out’ was invented by a couple of pissant slackers anyway.

I have a very low tolerance for slackers, I work with a couple of people who spend way too much time at work taking care of their own personal business. My supervisor knows this so I don’t have to rat them out. Why they still have jobs baffles me.

I always have this question in threads like this, so I figure I’ll finally ask. What is “too much” personal calls? I work from 8:30 to 5:30 every day. If I want to make ANY calls about appointments, bills, etc, I HAVE to make them from work.

And sometimes, yeah, it’s a lot. In the next two months I (hopefully) will be getting a new apartment. This means calls about moving companies, switching my phone, getting utilities hooked up…where am I supposed to do all that?

Now, I don’t deny some people abuse the privilege, but sometimes there are good reasons for making personal calls at work.

If I was in charge, I’d look at it this way:
medical/financial/school-related/repair or service/child-care calls that can’t be made after work hours - not a prob
social calls/club-related calls/sports-related calls/kids’ extracurricular activities - these things can generally be handled at home in the evening and should not be made as a matter of course.

So, what is too much? Seems to me, if you don’t accomplish what you consider to be a good day’s work or if people can’t reach you for work-related issues because your phone is always busy, that could be a clue. Another thought - how often do you find yourself in that situation? A short-term crisis (someone in the hospital, broken down refrigerator) can’t be compared equally to the weekend soccer coach who spends several hours a day tying up business lines. Kinda hard to be absolute on this question…

Falcon, I may not be the best person to answer because I get (and make) very few calls. I suspect a lot of offices, however, have policies like mine. I believe the official line is no personal calls on company time. But in reality, the organization realizes that some calls are essential, and some calls are best overlooked. Coupla reasons.

One, it’s rotten for morale if they were to try to make everyone account for every second of every day as WORK. Two, they recognize that people do have outside lives, and most people are trying to balance things. If I wanna call and check on how things are going at daycare, that’s gonna give me peace of mind and make me a better employee. Talking to a friend for a few minutes to firm up evening plans will be a nice break from work and give me something to be looking forward to (instead of anxious all afternoon, wondering if our plans will work out). Etc. Three, and this is an extension of two I think, it’s an aceptable tradeoff: Letting these calls happen means the employee can come to work and be available. If you had to take a day off to get your calls made about your move, you wouldn’t be around for anything else. If I stayed home to wait for the doctor to call with test results, I wouldn’t be there to field a request from my boss. She’d MUCH rather have me in the office, distracted for a small portion of the day by calls, than home and out of reach.

How many minutes per day is aceptable, I dunno. I suspect that a day or two of numerous calls, due to your move, is overlookable because it’s a one-time event. If you were doing it every day? Then it’s a problem.

Betcha I’m telling you all the same things you already thought. :slight_smile:

I agree that some phone calls/personal business can only be taken care of during normal work hours (M-F 8:00AM-5:00PM). However, can’t the majority of these calls occur during lunch/break time?

Also, I don’t think this is the sole indication of a slacker. FCM mentioned other things (reading magazines, doing taxes, etc.) that seemed to add up to a total slacking package.

I would just suggest that those who wish to rat out co-workers check a couple of things first. One, is if they themselves are “pure” in such matters. Two, is if their motivations are truly rectifying an injustice, or if they may have some personal scores to settle as well.

As for the fact that companies are tolerating such shenanigens, it apparently has alot to do with the low unemployment rates these days. Companies simply find it hard to find qualified workers these days, and will put up with alot. The comeuppance for these slackers will come when the economy turns sour. They will have picked up bad work habits which will greatly harm their careers.

>> Does work ethic exist anymore?

Do you realize many people posting to this board do so from work?

Yes, but how many of us do it with our boss’s blessing because our jobs are of a watchdog-type nature?
Falcon so far as too many personal calls goes, I would have to say that it depends on whether or not your work is getting done and what kind of work you do. In the case of the women in my office, their job is to answer the phone–they cannot do that while they are talking to their spouses/friends/etc on the phone! Not only are they not able to answer any calls, they are tying up necessary phone lines. Now, if your job is filing and you can file while talking on the phone, the guidelines are going to be different.

IMHO (hey, that’s the first time I’ve used that abbreviation. Sounds like a party occasion) unless they’re abusing overtime, I would keep my mouth shut unless you find yourself in the following situation…

Your co-worker nabs up all the easy work to pad her productivity numbers,leaving you with the more difficult tasks (more likely to happen in a warehouse or factory situation than an office) then hassles you for slacking because you didn’t get as many things done. I’ve been in this situation. It’s easy to grab slack time and still appear to be doing more than your co-workers on paper.

I went to the supervisor and told him what was going on. I told him I didn’t mind doing the more difficult work, because the easy stuff was boring, but when they ran the numbers I wanted it taken into account. He assured me that it would be.

Hey I post from school:)

If it was me I would first go to the boss and see if something can be done. However if that didn’t work I would decide that the company encourages slacking so I should slack too.