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Question
Posted by: Liza | 2017/08/16

Frustration with colleague.

I have a colleague who's been working on the same thing for 2+ weeks. This morning she came to me and told me that our manager said that I must help her out because the deadline to have it done is tomorrow. This in addition to my own work which according to the client is a much higher priority than what she's doing. So I sat with her for 30 minutes going through what she's done this morning. I was horrified. It's a complete and utter mess. Bits and pieces with very little coherence. Not to mention the fact that other colleaugues were only yesterday complaining that they had to explain things to her over and over again and she still continues to do the wrong thing after that. I honestly feel that the work is too complex for her abilities. She's already been moved from another team to our team because she couldn't cope with the demands in the other team. Yet she earns far more than I do and now I'm expected to fix her mess AGAIN (not the first time it's happened). Honestly it will take longer to fix her mess than it would be to start the task from scratch on my own and neither can be done before the deadline tomorrow. She also over-estimates her abilities because she's forever taking on tasks that she struggles with when she should rather be choosing simpler tasks so that she can learn the business and the way we work before trying the harder things that the rest of us experienced staff do. Had to go to a progress meeting before I could submit this. and I'm absolutely LIVID. During the meeting she told everyone that I would be helping her and that the task would be done within the deadline no matter what WE have to do to get it done. So now when it's not done, I'm also going to get blamed. And I couldn't even contradict her in the meeting in front of the clients because it's company policy that things like this gets discussed internally first so that we show the clients a united front. The only discussion that had taken place was her demanding that I help. And neither of our managers have asked me to help her. All I have is her word that they said I should help. This kind of stress is definitely not good for me and it feels like i'm close to a panic attack. Both of my managers know that I'm bipolar and that I don't handle stress well and they take extra precautions to ensure that I never get that stressed out. I honestly feel like I want to just pack up and go home and let her fix her own work and not face anyone.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2017/08/17

Hi Liza,
Do both these projects involve the same client ?  If your description of this silly person's behaviour and work was even half accurate ( not that I'm doubting it at all ) that's point to ridiculously incompetent senior management, for employing her in the first place, for continuing to employ her, for grossly over-paying her, an for failing to have her rigorously trained, if they have some weird reason for wanting to keep her on. 
So, what's her secret ? Whose daughter / daughter-in-law / love child is she ?
Make sure you fully document all her failings and all the extra work she is causing you, and both keep copies and forward it to HR and management. Make sure these issues are fully discussed, and that management know that her incompetence seriously risks their own reputation and success.
But is it normal practice for you to take on extra work from her, simply because she says so ? Couldn't you have approached both the managers as soon as she mentioned this, to be sure they understand how her lack of skills has caused the problem, and asking them both to confirm that they do want you to risk your own work by doing hers, and that you will not be in any way blamed if her failures cause problems despite your efforts to rescue the situation ?
Even now, why cant you approach those managers and ask for their advice and assistance ?

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