Ask A Boss

Insightful and practical workplace advice from career expert Alison Green.

ask a boss

‘I’m Sick of Having to Do My Incompetent Colleague’s Work’

Talk to your manager. It sounds as if he might not realize how frustrated you are or how much it’s affecting your work or your hours.

More From ‘Ask a Boss’

  1. 10 Impressive Questions to Ask in a Job InterviewTo show employers you’re exceptional and to find out if it’s the right job for you.
  2. 43 Gifts for Every Type of EmployeeWhen you’re the boss giving gifts to your team, you can find thoughtful things for each person without playing favorites.
  3. ‘Should I Give My Boss a Holiday Gift?’All your questions about holiday gift-giving at work, answered.
  4. ‘I’m Working Remotely, But My Company Won’t Let Me Move Out of State’When you’re already remote, it’s easy to think, What difference does it make whether I’m working ten miles away or across the country?
  5. ‘My Boss Demands Unrealistic Timelines When Assigning Me Work’At this point she’s learned from experience that if she pushes you, you’ll find a way to get it done.
  6. ‘Should I Put More Effort Into Making Friends at Work?’There’s a really big middle ground between seeking out friendships at work and deliberately avoiding them: just being pleasant and friendly.
  7. ‘How Do I Say No to Administrative Tasks That Aren’t My Responsibility?’Once you start doing them, it can be hard to stop, because you become the person with the track record of doing them well.
  8. ‘My Co-worker Keeps Trying to Undermine Me’It doesn’t take a psychology degree to see that he feels insecure.
  9. ‘My Boss Is Taking One of My Reports. I’m Humiliated.’An individual employee’s feelings generally shouldn’t be big drivers of reporting structures.
  10. ‘My Boss Wants Me Back in the Office Full Time. Can I Push Back?’The more your employer doesn’t want to lose you, and the more willing you are to leave, the stronger the position you’re in for this discussion.
  11. ‘I’ve Been Overworked for Months and My Manager Won’t Help’You need to be less invested in keeping your office running smoothly.
  12. ‘How Much Time Can I Ask For to Consider a Job Offer?’It can be risky to say you’ll need more than a week.
  13. ‘Should I Feel Guilty About Having So Much Downtime at Work?’Ultimately, you’re being paid to produce certain results, and you are. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working.
  14. ‘The New Hires at Work Are Driving Me Up a Wall’Clarifying for yourself what you do and don’t need to act on will help make the situation more bearable.
  15. ‘My Job Offer Was Rescinded After I Asked for More Money’I realize it’s cold comfort right now, but you’re better off not working for a company that’s hostile to employees who advocate for their own worth.
  16. ‘Should I Tell My Boss About Problems at Home?’If your safety is threatened or your work is affected, yes.
  17. ‘Several of My Co-workers Were Fired. Am I Next?’It’s possible your company fires people without warning, but it’s just as possible there were warnings you weren’t privy to.
  18. ‘How Can I Get My Co-worker to Stop Complaining to Me?’You’re justified in putting limits on conversations and people that sap your energy and affect your quality of life.
  19. How to Find a Job Long DistanceThere are ways to improve your chances of getting a response when applying to jobs out of state.
  20. ‘My Boss Wants Me to Do Her Dirty Work’She’s trying to make you take the lead in a difficult situation so she doesn’t have to.
  21. ‘I Don’t Know How to Say ‘No’ at Work’You need to be less emotionally invested in doing a good job.
  22. ‘Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking For a New Job?’Don’t do it!
  23. Was I Wrong To Quit My Job, Or Is It Just Nerves?Even when you have good reasons to quit, it’s nerve-wracking to leave a situation where you’re comfortable.
  24. ‘Can You End a Job Interview Early If You Know It’s Not a Good Fit?’You’re not merely there to be judged, but also to form your own judgments about whether you want this particular position.
  25. ‘I Hate My New Job. Can I Quit Yet?’Before you make any moves, have a straightforward conversation with your boss.
  26. ‘My Boss Is Unreachable When I Need Him’Most managers will assume the way they operate is working fine unless you speak up and explain that it’s not.
  27. ‘I’m Frustrated That My Employees Don’t Want to Return to the Office’Plenty of people don’t yet feel safe returning.
  28. ‘My Manager Sucks, and There’s Nothing I Can Do’Sometimes it’s easier to stop obsessing over a problem when you’ve accepted that it won’t change.
  29. ‘What Do I Do About Work If My Kids Are Sent Home to Quarantine?’Consider enlisting other parents to address this as a group, since you’ll be harder for HR to ignore if the affected party isn’t just one person.
  30. ‘My Co-worker Complains All Day Long, and It’s Making Me Miserable’If you were bothering a colleague, wouldn’t you want to know, even if it meant having a momentarily uncomfortable conversation?
  31. ‘Are Unlimited Vacation Days Really Unlimited?’“Unlimited” includes the unspoken subtext “within reason and as long as your work is getting done.”
  32. How Will the Vaccine Mandate for Employers Work, Exactly?What we know so far, from reporting a workplace that isn’t enforcing the new rules to fielding sketchy medical and religious exemption claims.
  33. ‘My Job Offer Was Rescinded — After I’d Given Notice’It sure does seem like your current manager said something that gave them pause.
  34. ‘How Soon Is Too Soon to Leave a Stopgap Job?’If your concern is that you don’t want to look like a job hopper, a single short-term stay isn’t going to be a problem.
  35. ‘My Co-worker Doesn’t Pull His Weight’You shouldn’t have to cajole a peer into doing his part.
  36. ‘My Boss Doesn’t Want Me to Go Back to the Office’This is pretty clearly about her agenda more than it’s about concern for you.
  37. ‘My Company Isn’t Enforcing Its Vaccine Mandate’And more return-to-office concerns, including an employee whose boss may no longer trust them to WFH.
  38. ‘I Don’t Want to Be Like a Family With My Co-Workers’This expectation isn’t healthy or reasonable, but it’s also not uncommon.
  39. ‘I’m Worried Going Back to the Office Will Mean More Work’And more concerns about the transition to working in person.
  40. ‘Should I Warn My Work Friend That She’s Going to Get Herself Fired?’It would be a kindness to try, but don’t expect to spark a transformation.
  41. ‘I Had a Great Job Interview — Why Haven’t I Heard Back?’It’s really impossible to tell from the outside what might be going on.
  42. How to Gracefully Decline a Job OfferIt’s completely okay for you to reject an employer.
  43. Going Back to Work With Blue Hair, a Rescinded WFH Promise …And other return-to-the-office questions.
  44. ‘Am I the Only One Who Hates Working From Home?’Lots of people feel like you do and can’t stand it.
  45. ‘I’m Afraid I’m Terrible at My New Job’A lot of jobs take around six months to even start feeling comfortable. And that’s just feeling comfortable, not mastering the role.
  46. How Is Returning to the Office Supposed to Work, Exactly?Responding to readers who dread going back, including reuniting with problematic co-workers and having to wear a bra every day.
  47. ‘I’m Scared I’ll Never Be Qualified for a Promotion’Talk to your manager! Part of retaining good people is giving them opportunities to develop their skills.
  48. ‘I Got a Terrible Review on Glassdoor, and I’m Spiraling’The reality is, when you’re a manager, not everyone will like working for you.
  49. ‘Is It My Fault My Co-worker Was a Nightmare?’That she’s gone on to have a successful career doesn’t indicate you were the problem.
  50. ‘My Boss Expects Me to Work 11-Hour Days’Is your boss right that this is what you can expect in your field, or is it just what you can expect when working for her?
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