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Evelyn_475's avatar

Would YOU do this? A tale of office drama.

Asked by Evelyn_475 (787 points ) September 28th, 2012

Ok, so say you have a job where you serve as a basic assistant for multiple people, X, Y and Z. (so you are always very busy)

You have this co-worker who is supposed to be admin assistant for X, so technically speaking you work under X too, but also with this admin assistant who has been around for a long time:

This admin assistant co-worker is older and doesn’t have as many tech skills as you which means X relies on you even more than the admin assistant, but still cares for the admin assistant so won’t let them go.

This admin assistant:
-Has to be right all the time
-Never does their job and has you do all their work (they pretend they don’t know how to do something or just flat out give you their work)
-Takes about 2 days off a week
– Claims they mark “personal” on their time sheet for all the days they’ve “earned” but keeps it so secret (yes, the person processing the time sheet works in another building. This admin assistant literally has no one checking in on their time sheet)
-Boss X doesn’t care because he truly believes that this person has “earned” all the time off but really has no idea and doesn’t know that I am doing all of his tasks that he gives to my co-worker, the admin assistant.
– By the way- not one single person in the building likes this admin assistant.

How would you handle this type of situation? At first it didn’t bother me so much but after my co-worker totally burned me the other day for taking a personal religious holiday off and acting like they have authority over me, I am angry. I already have other work from my other supervisors and this admin assistant gives me all their work and watches TV on their computer in their office. I am so annoyed.
Would you sneak and look at the co-workers time sheet when they aren’t in the office? Would you do something else to seek revenge or personal gratification of knowing they are full of crap? Would you just turn your head and accept that this is the way of the world?
I find it hard to believe that this person can have so many days coming to them and lacks the skills to complete even the simplest of tasks. Seriously. It is a joke and I end up getting all the work.

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8 Answers

syz's avatar

Sneaking and seeking revenge are not the professional or mature way of dealing with your situation. You need to document any specific performance or behavior infractions, and follow the appropriate chain of command. If your company has an HR department or representative, you need to schedule a meeting and discuss your complaints in a calm, non-accusatory manner. If there is no HR person, then you need to speak to the problem employee’s supervisor.

marinelife's avatar

I would “inadvertantly” leave copies of this person’s time sheets on the boss’ desk. (Perhaps under a work assignment you have just completed that she was supposed to do.)

Shippy's avatar

I think the “key” here is that this assistant has been there a long time. Mr X knows this and so does Ms X. In other words they have an established relationship. The only thing that beats established relationships and history in the work place is to shine. Focus more on the good you are doing, push that into the picture (instead of any negative evidence, which never works).

In the end, bosses or people who are under pressure, rely on good back up. Be that back up. Don’t be shy to make it known how good you are, but of course don’t get arrogant. Make sure also you stay a little later than Ms X and also arrive a little earlier. Use this time to hone who “you” are as person and as an addition to this company. Understand your value too, Keep a little journal charting your successes and achievements there. Keep reminding yourself that when you do leave one day, or get marked for promotion, it is the positive things you brought to this place, not the negative devious things that will be up for discussion.

zenvelo's avatar

Who is your direct supervisor? Who does your review? That’s the person you need to speak to. You need to ask questions like: “I need to have guidance on my priorities : do I complete this task for Ms X (something she should do) or do I focus on this job for Mr D (one of the other executives)??”

And, when she is out of the office, ask for guidance on what you are covering for her, with “I need help with X’s assignment, but she isn’t here, can you help me?” Ask for that every time she is out on a “personal” day.

You need to get it acknowledged what is happening, politely and within company guidelines, you need to talk about the elephant in the room.

But you cannot do this on your own or in a retaliatory manner, because then you are over stepping your bounds and putting yourself in jeopardy. In any direct power struggle between you and her, she will win. You need someone with authority to address the problem.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@zenvelo Nailed it. @Evelyn_475. Point out what Ms X is doing subtly and gracefully, but without getting into a pissing contest with her, which you will lose.

marinelife's avatar

Excellent approach, @zenvelo.

Evelyn_475's avatar

@Zenvelo- great response. I’ve actually been doing just that. And my supervisor knows that she can’t (or wont) do things… that’s when he calls me to do it. And he will tell me, “You know how Jane Doe is hard headed, so I need you to XYZ because you know technology better and you can find a way to get it done.”
The problem is, the person we both report to has compassion for both of us and doesn’t really care who does it as long as the work gets done. I really do think he believes that she has the time off banked up too. There’s no way people- just to give you an example (since I’ve started logging when she is off/ leaves early) just this week alone she was off on Tuesday, left early on Thursday and left after only 3 hours today. In one week? And this happens every week. No ones contract around here allows them to have over a day off a week- paid. I mean lets be real- does anyone have that great of a gig?! It’s ridiculous. She is trying to play me because I am young and she thinks she can. And just to update you all- I did go on her computer but found out that she keeps her time sheet on a separate flash drive that she must carry with her because it is not in her office. Shady.

zenvelo's avatar

@Evelyn_475 I get it. Your supervisor is intimidated by her. Next time your boss asks you to do something “because you know technology better and you can find a way to get it done”, you need to tell him you can’t because Jane has already given you stuff to do because she is out. Or ask which is more important, project a or project b, because you don’t have time for both because you are covering her work.

You are in a tough position, but I need to also ask you: do you feel you are being overworked? Are you otherwise pleased at work? Be careful to not get fixated on her, because if your work deteriorates, it puts your job in jeopardy, not hers.

And it is not right to sneak onto her computer or her office to check her time sheets. That is her personal business, and she and who ever approves her time sheets are the ones who are answerable for them. What you have stated in your latest posting is grounds for your termination, not hers.

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