Frank Sanders is a nationwide syndicated columnist who dispenses his "hillbilly wisdom" to any who will listen. Frank works as a painter and sometimes graveyard landscaper in Beckley WV.
Dear FrankI just joined a great company but I have found one flaw: a co-worker who works no more than 3 hours in an 8-hour workday. He spends time at lunch, shopping, fielding personal phone calls, and chatting with other workers. I have to take up the slack. He has been here for two years and I just don't see how he keeps his job. Should I make waves and complain about his performance, or go with the flow?
Upset in Tacoma, Washington.
I know how you feel there, buddy. As I was reading your letter, it reminded me of a co-worker I used to have named Delray. That "old boy" would work all day with a paintbrush in one hand and a can of beer in the other.
Because I, Delray, and a crew of other guys were digging burial plots back then, we couldn’t figure out why Delray would carry a paintbrush. But as far as the beer goes, he kept us supplied so we didn’t mind that too much. A good, strong beer buzz sure helps the day pass.
There was one time that me and the others got loopy on some of Delray’s "home brew" and came up with the bright idea to play hide-n-seek at the funeral home. One of the guys, Benwood, thought we would never find him hiding in one of the empty coffins in the storage shed. Well, he was right. Needless to say, he passed out and was found the next morning by the funeral director. We were all promptly fired.
But back to my point, is your co-worker a "Delray?" Here’s what I mean: does he have any good qualities that help you with your work?
I mean, he might be funny, easy to get along with, or entertaining. If that’s the case, then count yourself blessed. Would you really want to work all day long with a guy or gal that has the personality of a dishrag? On the other hand, your co-worker may be a negative person. Now negative and lazy, that’s the worst.
That reminds me of another old buddy of mine, Jasper. We were on the same maintenance crew at the hospital. All day long I would have to hear about how he didn’t get the pay raise he wanted, how his wife hated him, and how his back was hurting. And anytime we had a work order, he would have to use the bathroom. He would stay in there for hours and would mysteriously finish when the work was near completion.
Me and one of the guys "fixed his wagon" though. We planted some contraband in his lunchbox and reported him to the hospital administrator. That was the last we saw of ol’ Jasper.
My final thoughts on the matter are: if your co-worker is entertaining, laugh at him. If your co-worker is negative, plant evidence in his desk and get him fired. It’s the only sure way.