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I was given this task that hardly anyone wants to do and is so boring. It is also on a boundary of my expertise. The DB gives some general recommendations when I tell him politely that I am stuck with it. Hiring a contractor is not an option.

I am so frustrated about it that I would happily pay cash to another guy who is good at it, but assigned to more urgent stuff at the moment. At the same time I feel that it may be looked at as something inappropriate. Although I do not see which policy it may violate (gift policy? But it is not a gift. What do you think?

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Is it ok? No. Have you raised your issues with your manager? – Jane S Feb 1 at 3:58
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If the task is boring and nobody wants to do it, can it be automated? – Patricia Shanahan Feb 1 at 4:14
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"Although I do not see which policy it may violate" - Offering a colleague anything (money or otherwise) in order to circumvent your manager's directions is the problematic part. – Brandin Feb 1 at 9:56
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Wow, I want to work in a company where you can actually have a conversation with your DB ^_^ Sounds a lot easier than writing SQL queries. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 1 at 10:47
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When I get a boring task, I look at it as an opportunity to ask "How can I automate my way out of ever doing this again?". Once a solution is automated, the on-going cost is reduced, which is good for the business, and building the solution was fun. It's a win-win, once you put yourself in the right frame of mind. – Brandon Feb 1 at 15:40
up vote 53 down vote accepted

I agree with Viv's answer, but I think it is worth expressing why it is inappropriate.

If you offered money, and your colleague accepted, one of two things would happen. He would do it as part of his work, or in addition.

If he did it as part of his work, you would have paid him to change his priorities from those set by management, a conflict of interest.

If he did it in addition, you would be hiring him as a contractor, without getting permission to pay a contractor and doing all the proper tax and similar paperwork.

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It's also worth noting the "on the boundary of my expertise" line. It's a feature of good management for people to get on-the-job training with things they can't currently do. It also helps avoid "information silos" where only one person can do a job. Trying to skip out on that could cause a problem for your manager. The "boring" part is tricky, because often there are boring things which still have to happen for work to get done. And I'm not sure how something can be "boring" whilst involving learning some new stuff. – Graham Feb 1 at 14:30

It is definitely not OK to offer cash. If you think the other person is suitable for the task, perhaps you can arrange to swap tasks with them, through your manager or whoever assigned the task to you. If all else fails, perhaps the other person would agree to helping you out or offer some guidance with the task?

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It would only be acceptable in a situation where your boss said: "Jay and Jim, I have two tasks here and each task needs to be done by one of you. You figure out between yourselves who does what". And then you would negotiate who does what.

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And you think in that case it would be acceptable if Jay bribes Jim into taking the more uncomfortable task? I'm not that much into this, but THIS sounds for me like having even more potential to backfire. – Zaibis Feb 1 at 10:42
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@Zaibis -paying someone to work is literally the opposite of bribe. – Davor Feb 1 at 12:49
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In this case, paying cash seems no worse than two colleagues bartering like "Hey Jim, I know you're better at X and can do it in half the time as me, if you do this task for me, I'll buy beers next time we go out" (a transaction that I've witnessed more than once, and have even participated in myself). Or sometimes it's bartering tasks to work on: "Jim, if you write X for me, then I'll run the marketing reports for the next month" – Johnny Feb 1 at 17:05

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