Hostess Left to Do the Mostest

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an owner’s relative who slacks off.

I am a hostess and server at a restaurant and have been there for just over one year. About a month ago, one of my co-hostesses realized that if she wants to get off of her shift early, she should go back to the kitchen and servers area. She says “ugh, I want to go home. Maybe if I go back there they’ll see that I’m not doing anything and will send me home.”

And in fact, this has worked for her many times. The problem is that while she is back in the server area trying to get sent home early, I am left doing all the seating, carryout orders, and side work such as rolling silverware and folding kids’ menus. I have had to go back there multiple times and ask her to come help me do our job.

Another issue with this is that she is related to the owner and a few managers of the restaurant. I do not know how to go about mentioning her poor work commitment to people who are her family. I love my job and do not want to leave; I just want her to start pulling her weight in the job when we work together. This has also been bothering some of my other coworkers. What should we do to fix this while avoiding confrontation?

Signed, Left Doing Her Job

Dear Left Doing Her Job:
Advice? You can’t cope with slackers by biting your tongue, for fear of making the owner’s relative dislike you. Other than continuing to allow Ms. Dodge the Job coerce you to do her work, you have several overlapping options:
1.    Confront her privately. Say, “Jane, do you think it is fair to dodge helping with the seating, carryout orders, and side work such as rolling silverware and folding kids’ menus? I would like to go home early just as you do, but we’re supposed to work together on these tasks.” Let her respond and get her to commit to working cooperatively, or try option #2.
2.    Tell her you’d like her to go with you to the manager to get a clear statement of who does what. If she refuses, tell her you will go alone.
3.    Propose  to your manager that you have short weekly meetings to applaud what has gone well that week  and what needs correcting the next. Like a sports team have skull sessions and huddles so that you might work more smoothly. Such meetings might evolve into getting cross-training and to brainstorming about how to make the work more efficient, get better tips and make the work more fun.

Do these suggestions make sense or are you still willing to bite your tongue? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, when and  if you have the courage to assert yourself.