Co-worker Does Not Allow Me To Work

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about sitting idle:

In my department I just have one co-worker and a supervisor. I just joined one month back and my co-worker has been working here for the past three months. But from the first week I came, my co-worker has caused problems for me. He is a little girlish, but that’s not the problem. The problem is he does not allow me to do any work. Whatever work comes, he takes it and does it by himself. If I start doing some work, he will stop me half way by doing something and take over. This is causing a bad impression in the eyes of my superior, as he only sees me sitting idle. I even tried talking to him. But it did not make any difference.I just don’t know what to do. Please help. Thanks.

Signed, Idle

Dear Idle:

I think you have a golden opportunity to shine by showing your leadership, assertiveness, determination, self-control, and cooperative spirit. It is normal that your coworker, who has been employed longer than you, should feel that he knows more about what to do and has more responsibility, but now now it is the time to tell your coworker that “your” work is “your” work, and that you want to complete any and all assignments by yourself (if you are able to) without his involvement and help.

Be nice but firm as you explain that you feel like to you do not have enough work to do, and that you certainly do not want to give him work that you have started for him to complete. Also ask for an equal amount of work that comes into the work place. I would suggest that you explain to your supervisor what you plan to tell your coworker; do it in advance and ask for the supervisor’s support.

Emphasis to your supervisor that you want to be more productive; that you do not feel that you are contributing enough to the welfare of the company. Point out that you want to be cooperative and work with your coworker but you do not want him to continue doing all the work, certainly not the work that you have been assigned. I hope these suggestions will help.

Gerald Allen