I just got hired at this university as a lab tech, but my boss wouldn't consider me a new person since I have some experience of the job. At the same time, the department also hired another lab tech, and he's new. Even though he's new, his position description did not describe the position as an entry level position. I was thinking he may just need to be told a few tips and tricks on how to stay active. But the boss was so slow on his training, like make it easy for him for the first few months.

We are working for a university with a semester system, and we are entering the 10th week Monday. There are only five more weeks before we go on to break and Spring semester starts mid-January. Our boss was already thinking about assigning us which lab courses to prepare. I am not going into how skew her assignment is. BUT she mentioned about one elective course to be shared.

My question is how to tell the boss I am not up for the sharing, but can still work together.

Here's what I found and things to consider:

  • two weeks ago, the boss thought this new guy is flaky. not sure if she changed her mind yet.
  • she always say "give him a chance"
  • we have group meetings every week to discuss issue, and as well to help this new guy
  • during one meeting, we talked about waste management. We talked about how the previous incumbent did it, and this new guy did not oppose. Then, the waste are assigned by rooms.
  • after the meeting, this guy did not really do what was said during the meeting. I don't care because the room is assigned to him, which means if he doesn't do it they way we agree on, he still has to do it some other way. I don't mind he has his way of doing things, as long as things get done and would not impact or dump work on others.

Potential problem when sharing:

  • I and this new guy are going to sit down and decide how to do things. he would not oppose to anything and yet very agreeable. Seemed from his reaction during the group meeting.
  • in the end, he starts to do things his way but not think about the impact after an agreement.
  • between the two techs of us, I am the tier 3 while he is the tier 2, if by all means I would have the full responsibility even it was supposed to be shared.

I also want to include how my work pace is different from his into the bargain to make my boss rethink the idea of sharing, because when we prepare for lab courses, being on time to deliver things are important.

I am totally aware that when saying "no" to the boss, I have to back up with reasons, be open-minded, and listens to the boss's idea. Please help me fill in this formula.

  • So you don't want to share assignments because this guy doesn't seem to understand or care about what is agreed when working on other tasks?
    – rath
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 20:20
  • @rath you read it correctly.
    – csu_ist3
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:25
  • @Joe Strazzere I mean "no, sharing is not a good idea, and I don't feel like sharing the responsibilities."
    – csu_ist3
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


The problem you need to convey is already known by the boss in general terms, so just put it in plain words.

"I don't want to be responsible for this chaps performance."

and explain further if need be, but that makes it all plain from the start. Without getting into detail and slinging mud, it implies that you have little faith in him, and want at the least some safeguards to stop any poor performance on his part impacting on your reputation.

Currently your boss is taking an easy option of passing responsibility to you to sort out without giving you any authority to enforce anything. Your colleague has already flouted the boss's instructions, she doesn't want to deal with it, but still wants everything done properly. She doesn't want to be responsible for his performance either, the difference is, she's getting paid to be, you are not.

  • You are quite correct that my boss is taking an easy option. She has other works to do and I always feel upset to bring her the problem. Upon this, I have an urge to ask an extended question. My boss had said, and will say "you are fast" and "you are smart" compliments, and I feel she is seducing me to take her ideas. I had said "no I am not smart" before, but she may not quit this method.
    – csu_ist3
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:34
  • 2
    Don't get sidetracked... sharing the project will either mean substandard product, or you doing most of the work... you lose either way. Your colleague gets a good deal because after you have done all the work they have a share in the result. Your boss wins because they just gave you their problem. You lose. So why would you do it without added incentive?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 5:22

Well, you are working in academia. Often times, this sort of thing comes with the territory.

With that said, it sounds like your main concern is that you will be doing your work and the other lab tech's work, just so you don't look bad. Especially, if you are unable to get the other lab tech to voluntarily follow your lead.

Which is why you ought to tell your boss that you don't mind taking this other lab tech under your wing, just as long as you are "lead" and the other lab tech has to defer to you. This way, you have the blessing of your boss to own the assignment, as well as the authority to dictate your plan to the other lab tech.

As @Kilisi pointed out,

"your boss is taking an easy option of passing responsibility to you".

If your boss feels justified in doing so, you should feel justified asking for the authority to get the job done.

Now, if after that conversation your boss is still not willing to acquiesce, then you have to put it in more blatant terms

Look, you are asking me to share with this new lab tech. I know you have witnessed him being a flake. I understand your willingness to give him a chance, I really do. However, please take my word for it, he's still a flake and not sticking to the plan. I've tried speaking with him, but he is uncooperative and creating more work for me. All I am asking is for you to make it clear to him that I am ultimately responsible for this and that he must defer to me and follow my instructions. Otherwise, you're not setting me up for success."

After that, if my boss kept being irrational and arguing with me. I'd tell her she has "inaccurate thinking" on the matter. Then I would have to decide if I wished to continue working there under that idiot of a boss.

  • thank you for your answer. My boss called for group meeting again, which I did not go with the way you say. But I agree with you, if the group meeting didn't go well, I would've used this to talk to her privately.
    – csu_ist3
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 5:11

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