I recently came back from a long trip at a client's location. This trip took longer than expected. There were many problems and I couldn't figure out if they were caused by my lack of knowledge in this area or software bugs. It turns out that the main issue was a software bug. However, after arriving back home, the customer called to inform us that another issue arose.

While I was away for this project, I missed my wife's birthday. She was very understanding and I coordinated with family to delay it until I returned. Well I've been back for two days and we decided to have her celebration tonight. Now I just heard that my boss wants me to go back on site today, which is very far away. I told him of my plans tonight and that I also have to take my wife to the airport later this week. He agreed to send someone else.

My problem is that I feel guilty pawning this project onto a colleague. I don't want bad blood between us. Should I approach him and apologize?

  • What's the point in a confrontation when you have no leverage. Only confront someone if you have ammo to back it up.
    – Jack
    Jul 16 '19 at 20:12
  • Don't apologize, because it's not your fault that this happened. You have limits, and it's your boss's job to accommodate those limits and organize efforts to meet client demands.
    – AdamO
    Jul 16 '19 at 21:11
  • I think you mean "approach" instead of "confront".
    – filbranden
    Jul 17 '19 at 4:08

My problem is that I feel guilty pawning this project onto a colleague. I don't want bad blood between us. Should I confront him an apologize?

I don't see any compelling reason for you to have to apologize (for what?) with this coworker.

You already delayed an important family event to attend the first time, and managed to postpone it to another date. A new issue arose, but you already had plans. Your boss is actually being supportive here by assigning someone else to take care of the bug.

  • 1
    + to someone who is too just doing their job and gets paid for doing it. Indeed nothing to apologize for.
    – Jonast92
    Jul 17 '19 at 15:08
  • @Jonast92 also a valid point, this coworker's job is also to look out for clients, etc. so it's already part of their responsibilities.
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 17 '19 at 22:45

You don't need to apologize. Mangers move people around between tasks and projects all the time depending on priorities, skills, schedules and other things they need to consider. It's part of the job. You expressed your scheduling concerns to your manager and he resolved the issue in the best way he could. This is not uncommon. It would be no different than if you coworker was assigned to finish the project while you were on a long vacation or something. To you coworker its another task that needs to be done.


As the other answers have stated, you don't have to. If you want to, however, it shouldn't be a problem to do so. I am, however, a bit confused by your use of the word "confront".

If it were me, I would definitely want to have a hand-off meeting with him, in which you go over all of the sorts of things you found before, and I'd start off the meeting offering "my condolences". One could easily substitute "you have my sympathy" instead. I'd be likely to assert that I hadn't intended to blight someone else with the assignment, but I was glad that I'd had the time with my wife.

I would very much want to avoid sounding like I thought I'd made a mistake, because it seems really unlikely that you did. It's also possible that this could work out better for the company overall, because not only does your coworker have a different skill set (I don't know what that is, but your coworker almost certainly has some strengths and weaknesses relative to you), but your coworker also has the ability to collaborate with someone at your company who's had exposure to this. And sometimes, that is super-helpful in dealing with these sorts of issues.

It's kind of like the old radio show Car Talk: sometimes, when one of them didn't know something, the other one did. But other times, they both didn't know, and the magic of brainstorming started. It's difficult to brainstorm with just one person. But it's frequently not considered professional to brainstorm with the customer. In my experience, this attitude seems pretty consistently there regardless of which side of the table I'm on, despite the fact I'm always a fan of brainstorming when there's no clear path forward.

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