For my work I am dependent on a coworker to analyse all the information that's available and condense it down into specific input, which I can then use to start my process. Unfortunately, this coworker isn't doing their part by providing incomplete input.

It feels like they are telling me to complete the input on my own, which I'd like to avoid since it's clearly outside the responsibilities of my role. Is there a way to convey this to the coworker without causing a conflict?

  • 1
    Interesting question, but I think it actually belongs on the workplace site rather than here. So tempting, though.
    – Xanne
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 9:05
  • 'passing the buck' or 'you leave me twisting in the wind'
    – lbf
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 18:49
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on theworkplace.stack.exchange.
    – Xanne
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 22:52
  • @Xanne, I am asking a lingual usage question and yes it is a belongs to a workplace context but isn't a question related to resolving any workplace issue.I am just explaining the context, otherwise it be ill-defined. I don't understand how it still stands to be shifted to workplace.stack.exchange. Are lingual questions pertaining to workplace to be posted in workplace.stack.exchange. Correct me if i am wrong.
    – AMN
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 6:08
  • It sounds like you're asking how to handle a workplace situation, trying to tell someone two different things. Maybe "please do some research on this." A proverb is not, I think, what you're looking for. What's polite depends on the relationship and work situation.
    – Xanne
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 6:24

3 Answers 3


A colloquial/idiomatic way to express this in English, would be "Not my circus, not my monkeys", (which is apparently borrowed from Polish). However, I would strongly advise against using this in a workplace situation. It conveys a degree of contempt for the parties actually responsible.

  • It's not so much contempt for the responsibe parties, but rather drawing a clear line. "This has nothing to do with me". There are professional situations where such a line needs to be drawn, e.g. when a random employee barges into my (senior software developer) office to scream at me that his Windows account is locked (which is something IT Support handles). Quite the specific example, but in such a case it's good to point out that I don't do any tech support whatsoever, and that he shouldn't come to our department for technical support.
    – Flater
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 15:33

"The xyz team owns that responsibility. Is this something you can handle or do you need to delegate it to someone else on your team?"

"It's my understanding based off previous conversations this task is expected to be performed by x role. Rather than do it myself, is this something you can take care of? I can go back to mngt and ask for more clarification on this if necessary."

"I'd like to help out here but I believe xyz team is best suited for doing this research. I don't want to step on anyone's toes so can you take care of this or let me know who should and I'll direct my questions to them?"


I would own all aspects to get the job done. You may not like the answer I'm going to give but here it is.

You are apart of a team, his job/ her job/ their job, shouldn't be in the vocabulary. The thing here is, are we sanctioning incompetence. Does the person in question always do this? If so, maybe we should start getting management involved so that we may put together an improvement plan. Maybe this person had confidence issues and needs a boost? Hard to read between the lines here tbh.

One thing is for sure though, going above and beyond will get you noticed.

Teams do not function singularly, they must work together to achieve a result. Bottom line, doesn't matter who's job it is, it has to get done to get you paid in the end.

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