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Making it Uncomfortable

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
I am in need of advice, and I hope my friends at Cyburbia will help me out.

There is a slacker that I have to work with. This slacker is always on the web, gossiping on the phone, or balancing the checkbook when the boss is out. This slacker is also well-connected with the office assistants. This is an important bit of information: Our office assistants are located in front of the two main entrances, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. The second floor entrance is connected to a parking garage, so that office assistant is able to observe the daily ins-and-outs of every employee. The slacker is friends with this office assistant. Yesterday morning, while the boss was out, Slacker was at a 9.9 rating on the Planner Slacker Scale. Very close to a perfect score. Interestingly, our boss never signed out, so we didn't know when the boss would return, however, just before 11:30 am, an office assistant came running to the Slacker's desk, and whispered, "The boss is coming, the boss is coming!" By 11:35, the boss was in the office, and Slacker was acting like a productive little planner.

As far as I'm concerened, these antics are too much. They are disruptive and unprofessional. So, without telling the boss or the HR department about the specific behaviors of Slacker, what are some evil, devious, and cumulative things I can do to make this Slacker's life uncomfortable? I've already begun some tricks, but I am so busy that I find it hard to maintain them on a regular basis. Any advice would be welcome.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Secretly Video Tape him with a cheap $59 internet camera and an old VCR. Hide these items and then mail the tape to the boss.
 
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5,353
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31
I'm guilty of the same thing and quite proud of it, thank you very much!!! ;)

I try to not concern myself with what my co-workers do. If they choose to slack off, it will eventually come back to hurt them one way or the other.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,759
Points
58
Are they getting their work done? Sometimes, I feel like I've done eight hours of work in four or five hours.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
We have an office slacker around here (I have mentioned her in an earlier thread). We only have 6 full timers in my building, so I often answer phone calls or counter questions. Well I got sick of making up excuses for this lady, so when people call or come to the counter looking for her, I always say something like "I don't know where she is, she left for lunch well over an hour and a half ago, she should be back by now" If a resident complains about her excessive absences or antics, I give them the phone number of the City Administrator and strongly encourage them to call and complain.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
I do all those things... with the boss in or out.

I don't care.

I have work to do, and I do it.

I got home at 9:30 last night.

I'll get home later tonight.

I also took a day off last Friday, then came in to work. Just so I could do it without constant interuption.

Does your slacker do the same?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Dan said:
Are they getting their work done? Sometimes, I feel like I've done eight hours of work in four or five hours.
I was going to say the same thing. If the boss isn't complaining about their production level, whysweat it. Are you really just cranky because you're not in their little clube?
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
I would try to let it go, it's not fair he does this, but at the same time, you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner and if you do so you'll end up on top in the end.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
As long as it doesn't affect your ability to get stuff done...just try to ignore it. Bosses aren't as stupid as we think sometimes - if he's really slacking, the boss will notice it in the quality and quantity of work that is being done. If the slacking is hampering your performance (i.e. you're waiting for stuff from this guy), you can always start the paper trail.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I'll pile on the ignore it band wagon.

Last year, when I was the "boss" I told everyone I did not care what they did all day long as long as the things that needed to be done got done and I received no complaints. The "real boss" is back, he prefers to have everyone look busy and less work actually gets done now with more complaints. Go figure.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
I've had to work with two unbelievable slackers. In both cases, the boss knew, but was in total denial (didn't want to deal with it at all). I didn't say anything until their work habits negatively affected my work, such as having to answer all the phones on County Commission day because the receptionist was yapping with her friends for hours. Then I told the boss in great detail about what I'd seen and let him know everybody else knew what was going on, and morale was plummeting. There was minor disciplinary action against the slacker, but at least after that it was out in the open. One was finally fired (for other reasons) and the other eventually resigned to go torment co-workers in another jusrisdiction.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
How much does a pinhole camera cost? We have acoustic drop-in ceiling tiles, so videotaping Slacker would be a cinch.


El Guapo said:
Secretly Video Tape him with a cheap $59 internet camera and an old VCR. Hide these items and then mail the tape to the boss.
 
Last edited:

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Of course it may be a huge violation of that person's civil rights. Nevermind. And if your lawyer asks it was bturk's idea.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
5,875
Points
30
Just make sure you get your work done. I had a coworker like that, and our boss didn't want to see her faults. Every now and again, I would refer things to her, knowing that she didn't know the answers. The thing is, she's still there, and was promoted as high as she can go. Try not to let it bother you too much.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Yes, yes, we all take care of personal things at work. It's not a question if we're suppossed to do it, but how much and how often. Slacker does it everyday. I never see Slacker get uptight about deadlines. Slacker is always in at 8:05 am and leaves at 4:25 pm. Slacker doesn't do overtime - Slacker is hourly. Slacker keeps track of every single available hour available through vacation, sick, and personal time.

When I walk past Slacker's desk, Slacker always minimizes the computer windows. You see, Slacker is on the other side of my cubicle divider. I can hear everything Slacker does.

Slacker probably spends about 25% of time at work doing actual work. I doubt anyone here at Cyburbia is like that.

Planderella said:
I'm guilty of the same thing and quite proud of it, thank you very much!!!
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
I don't know. I'm assuming Slacker is getting things done. But I do know it's of poor quality. Just adequate. I know if that doesn't bother my boss, then it shouldn't bother me. But I am a member of this team, and in a year or two, I'm sure I will be delegating tasks to Slacker. I certainly don't want Slacker to work on my projects. I work for a private consulting firm, and I want the best quality plans to leave our office. I know Slacker isn't up to the task, and I'm sure the work that Slacker produces pales in comparison to the competition. I could go on and on about the mistakes I've found in the plans that Slacker wrote, but that's another thread all together.

Dan said:
Are they getting their work done? Sometimes, I feel like I've done eight hours of work in four or five hours.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Slacker leaves at 4:25 pm everyday. Sometimes Slacker sticks around until 4:55 pm. Right now Slacker is on the phone with a real estate agent trying to negotiate a price on a house. Our boss is out of the office at a day-long meeting.

Slacker just got off the phone...

Slacker is on the phone again...

Slacker is now making daycare arrangements...


Mastiff said:
I do all those things... with the boss in or out.

I don't care.

I have work to do, and I do it.

I got home at 9:30 last night.

I'll get home later tonight.

I also took a day off last Friday, then came in to work. Just so I could do it without constant interuption.

Does your slacker do the same?
No, not at all. Slacker is on the other side of my cubicle divider. I hear everything that goes on. I'm cranky because I have to hear all the $#!+ that goes on. If Slacker did some work for once, then I'd just hear Slacker's keyboard or the phone calls to other office mates. That would be fine. Those kind of distractions I can live with.

But, since Slacker is on the phone all day, I know more about Slacker's personal life than I could ever care.


bturk said:
Are you really just cranky because you're not in their little clube?
Originally posted by donk
I'll pile on the ignore it band wagon.

I know, I do try to ignore it. But, more often than not, I'm trying too hard to ignore it all, and I find myself paralyzed at my work station. I do have headphones, and I listen to music quite a bit. But that's just nuts - I can't shut out the office all day long.




Mod. note (tranplanner) - posts merged. Please edit previous posts rather than making new ones if you're going to post every minute. Thanks
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
I've got a loud co-worker, I've asked her to be quiet, as I'm trying to get work done. I don't say it in a nasty tone, but it does get the point across when you don't have a door to shut.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
By ignore it I meant, try not to let the other person's actions bother you.

Says I, the compulsive person about certain things in our office.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I can relate. I work too hard to have someone else in the office not carry their load. Nine hours of work every day is about the norm - more on meeting days. It ticks me off when I arrive at 7:30, someone else comes in at 8:30 (we open at 8:00), they leave at 4:30, and I leave after 5:00 (we close at 5:00). On top of that, they left at 12:42 for lunch and it is now 2:02 and they have not returned. I worked through lunch, as usual. Work quality is also an issue. I have tried hints, and outright telling this person that they need to improve, but the results are short-lived. It will work to their disadvantage. When I leave here, the attention will be focused on them and I do believe that they will be forced to leave. This person does not have the qualifications to find another job at comparable pay (been here a long time).
 

plannerkat

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
TexasPlanner said:
I've got a loud co-worker, I've asked her to be quiet, as I'm trying to get work done. I don't say it in a nasty tone, but it does get the point across when you don't have a door to shut.
I have the guy on the other side of the cube wall who insists on using his speakerphone at full volume despite repeated requests from several others to pick up the damn phone. Really annoying...
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
plannerkat said:


I have the guy on the other side of the cube wall who insists on using his speakerphone at full volume despite repeated requests from several others to pick up the damn phone. Really annoying...
I am a firm believer that speaker phones should ONLY be used in situations where more than one person in the room is a part of the conversation. It is just plain RUDE to the person on the other end of the phone to make them have to put up with the poor voice quality. There is someone who will have me on speakerphone almost every time he calls. I deliberately speak as quitly as I can so that he is forced to pick up the phone.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Michael Stumpf said:


I am a firm believer that speaker phones should ONLY be used in situations where more than one person in the room is a part of the conversation. It is just plain RUDE to the person on the other end of the phone to make them have to put up with the poor voice quality. There is someone who will have me on speakerphone almost every time he calls. I deliberately speak as quitly as I can so that he is forced to pick up the phone.
ditto- I hate it when I'm on speaker phone! I also can't stand it when someone picks up the phone is speaker phone and then picks up the phone right after- is it so hard to pick the phone up to begin with?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
TexasPlanner said:


ditto- I hate it when I'm on speaker phone! I also can't stand it when someone picks up the phone is speaker phone and then picks up the phone right after- is it so hard to pick the phone up to begin with?
I never understood that either. Do they just want to show off the fact that they have speaker phone?

I hate it even more when I am on the phone and people stand in my doorway waiting for me to get off the phone so they can talk to me about something. It drives me nuts. I don't like people listening to what I am saying and it causes me to loose concentration. Even worse is when they linger outside of my line of vision as it to make it seem like they went away, only to magically show up at the instant I hang up the phone.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
speaker phones

we have an inspector that shares a work area, and takes every voicemail and call by speaker phone. funny thing is, hes hard of hearing, and talks back to his voicemail, like

"Yeah buddy right F*** you I'm gonna reinspect your footings at 7:30AM. You're at the bottom of my list, pal!"
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
5,875
Points
30
My coworker had a disabled hand, and it was easier to dial using speakerphone, then pick up the receiver.

I always told anyone who called me using speakerphone to pick up the phone because I couldn't hear them very well. I don't like the disadvantage of being on speakerphone.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
A former co-worker cured the speakerphone habit of another guy by having a loud and embarrassing conversation right outside the guy's cube entrance. The poor engineer he was speaker-phoning to heard the whole thing. It was probably the repeated references to what a dickhead someone was that did it.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Thanks everyone. I feel happy that I'm not alone - I see that slackers are everywhere, even in your offices. I've just been frustrated the past two days because the boss has been out and Slacker has increased the bull$#!+. I am not sure what to do, but it seems the prevailing thought is that I have to put up with it. I've been doing that for the past couple of months and I'm getting tired of it. Anyhoo, looks like I'm just gonna have to chill for the time being. In the meantime, does anyone have any workplace ethics books they can recommend? I might as well read up on something productive for the time being. I've read "Who Moved My Cheese?" and that's a load of crap. Yeah, it makes sense, but the tales and situations are obvious. I'm pretty driven, so maybe I need to read a book about workplace diplomacy or how to succeed while ignoring the riff-raff. Any thoughts?
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
Geez, if you start reading workplace ethics books, you're just going to get into a funk, because Slacker doesn't have any workplace ethics. Read something fun like a Calvin and Hobbes book.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Hmmm... that's pretty devious! Great idea! Fortunately, everyone in our office is polite enough not to do the speaker phone thing. If I did that, it would be obvious and would certainly drive the point home.


Zoning Goddess said:
A former co-worker cured the speakerphone habit of another guy by having a loud and embarrassing conversation right outside the guy's cube entrance. The poor engineer he was speaker-phoning to heard the whole thing. It was probably the repeated references to what a dickhead someone was that did it.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Yeah, I guess you're right. I was thinking that I need something to frame my approach to life at the work place. It's easy for me to say that I'm right and Slacker is wrong, however, it's possible that I could be off-base about this whole thing. I'm looking for something that will re-frame my approach so maybe that I don't get all uptight about it. And if I do end up getting uptight, I would have a solid philosophical framework to back-up my charges against Slacker. The way I see it, if I ever have to go to my boss about Slacker, then I will have the ammunition to put the responsibility of Slacker's performance on my bosses shoulders. My boss isn't pro-active when it comes to office issues - he's the prototypical Nice Guy and acts like things will resolve on their own. A "Why stir up the pot?" kind of attitude. Months ago, he and I had a heart-to-heart, and it made me feel better to get my frustrations off my chest. Yet, he never did anything about my complaints.

Zoning Goddess said:
Geez, if you start reading workplace ethics books, you're just going to get into a funk, because Slacker doesn't have any workplace ethics. Read something fun like a Calvin and Hobbes book.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Beaner said:
Thanks everyone. ... In the meantime, does anyone have any workplace ethics books they can recommend? I might as well read up on something productive for the time being.
Oh forget that crap. Read The Art of War. :)

Beaner - I looked back at my earlier response, and I'm glad you weren't more harsh in response. It was tongue i cheek. Seriously, good luck, its not an easy situation.

As a boss, I can tell you one thing, talk to your boss i subtle ways, to start. Talking to HR does NO good. If in time those subtle talks don't alter behaviour (canadian spelling) then talk to him in specifics and document your discussions. Won't hurt. From there, its a judgement call. I don't know your specifics, and at that point, it gets day to day in how to handle it.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Yeah, I thought your response was tongue-in-cheek, but I also thought it had a subtle, "Oh quit yer whining already!" tone to it. I didn't think I was whining, so I decided not to respond to that aspect of your post. Slacker has been slacking for a long time now, and Slacker's behaviors have affected my work performance. I've had enough with Slacker already and I really wanted some tips on how to get back at Slacker. So far, the surveillance camera and speaker phone ideas have been the most productive. I guess I could place a day-old unwrapped fish in Slacker's drawer on the Friday afternoon before I leave for vacation. I just want to get back at Slacker - any ideas? I'm really trying to be mature and professional about this situation, but it's not having any affect. In the millitary, I'm under the impression that slackers are dealt with in a swift and effective manner. Unfortunately, I cannot do that at work.


bturk said:
Beaner - I looked back at my earlier response, and I'm glad you weren't more harsh in response. It was tongue i cheek. Seriously, good luck, its not an easy situation.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
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34
Beaner said:
Slacker has been slacking for a long time now, and Slacker's behaviors have affected my work performance.
There's the key, Beaner. Its one thing if slackers slack and get their work done. Its another if they ruin other peoples performance. There is your grounds to take it up a notch. If not to your boss that's in their clube, then above him. Not to narc, but to advise that behaviour that was accepted cant be. I've been on both ends of that argument, and I can say that I don't beleive your complaint can be over looked in that perspective.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Beaner said:
So far, the surveillance camera and speaker phone ideas have been the most productive. I guess I could place a day-old unwrapped fish in Slacker's drawer on the Friday afternoon before I leave for vacation. I just want to get back at Slacker - any ideas?
Now there's an idea - pranks - and hopefully ones that will point out Slacker's behaviour in a humiliating sort of way!
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
EVIL

1. Pepper spray Q-tiped on car door handles and desk drawer pulls. I love that one. There are always sharks with freaking lasers.

2. Call the INS or FBI and inform on slacker. Put an "I love Osama Diary” and a fake US Passport in the top drawer. Liberally sprinkle 9mm shells and copys of flight manuals throughout the slackers office.

3. Hide Wal-Mart antitheft tags in personal items.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Beaner said:
How much does a pinhole camera cost? We have acoustic drop-in ceiling tiles, so videotaping Slacker would be a cinch.
Not sure a pinhole camera would be the best choice, but to answer your question they are very cheap. Just use an old oatmeal box and punch a pin hole in one side and lay the film in on the inside along the side oposite the hole. ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Between the slacker and the chick who makes fun of fat people at the gym you've got your work cut out for you.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
Could you have someone else start a rumor that management has been monitoring phone calls and emails, in an effort to cut down on wasted time, and that they're about to go after the biggest abuser? That should make slacker sweat a bit.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Zoning Goddess said:
Could you have someone else start a rumor that management has been monitoring phone calls and emails, in an effort to cut down on wasted time, and that they're about to go after the biggest abuser? That should make slacker sweat a bit.
I tried that to curb an employee's personal calls. (and we do get logs of all calls so I know it was happening). Didn't work. I finally started picking up the calls when I saw the caller ID, and say "She's busy right now."
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
our office slacker has been hard to find since our boss is out of town- I think he came in around 9. The only reason he's been showing up more is because his girlfriend told him she was moving to CA to be with some guy-
 
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