I recently started working for a small team. At the same time company hired another person for the same position. We were meant to form two person team, because our competences are complementary. That's what our manager told us.

A couple of weeks later it was clear to me that my coworker's skills are not fit for the role at all. Every task needs to be revisited by me (that's what my manager requested considering my education) and all errors needs to be corrected. Quality of my coworker's work is bad to the point I prefer to do it on my own instead of correcting mistakes. Right now they are doing only small tasks that take way longer than they should. Situation wouldn't be bad, but we are treated as a team and all successes and mistakes are assigned to us as a whole (by the team and manager), not individually, where it would be clear I am overburdened. On top of that, there are a lot of small details in their behavior such as: "stealing" internal communication in a way that it looks like they are committed and hardworking. Their behavior made some of the co-workers to be mean to me - they are thinking we are friends and we are not.

I tried to enforce some task assignment, so both of us would be fully accountable for a part of the job, but manager said they are interested only in effects, not who did it. I tried explicitly stating that I did the whole task, but it's overlooked every time. I can clearly see that the problem is more complex than my coworker's behavior, but their actions exposed what's wrong with the company. Manager themselves stated that team spirit was better before we joined.

I am planning to change industry in a couple of months for other reasons, but I would like to work where I am with a respect to the job I am doing. How can I deal with such situation where I can't really count on my manager, first person I would go when I can't resolve problem on my own? I like the tasks I am assigned, but I would like to be appreciated for them. Also I don't like that someone's behavior is worsening my relations with others.

  • @SZCZERZOKŁY Thanks, one of my friends advised it to me. I see that some people start to see that
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 12:41
  • @Roland Thanks for that! I started to suspect that real problem lies beyond my relation with coworker
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 12:50
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    Curiosity, could you pair on the task to avoid rewriting them?
    – Tom Sawyer
    Dec 9, 2020 at 13:51
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    @SebastienDErrico task is usually correcting gramatical errors in articles, internal documents, etc. In practice pairing up in correcting one document is nonsense, when other party can't see a difference between "you're" and "your". I tried splitting tasks so I did half of articles and the rest was their job, but I got to redo their part, because it wasn't corrected at all.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:41
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    @mxyzplk You're right, I didn't include that in original question, because I tried to stay as anonymous as possible. We had a benefit of having a car to be able to safely travel to work in pandemic. Because of my coworker's actions I needed to return it, because my manager was convinced the car is urgently needed to do a task. While it was plausible, nobody from our team, but me, needed to do so. Moreover previously for such tasks manager lent the car. I am convinced it was malicious, because I planned a personal trip (which was allowed by manager) and it was ruined by that.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:50

3 Answers 3


Keep in mind that fairness isn't the metric for job duties

In other words? Just because it's unfair that your coworker is doing extremely little doesn't actually matter in terms of your responsibilities.

In other words, do what your boss asks of you. Keep your own ticketing, keep your own trail of what all you've accomplished. If you were going to be there for awhile, there are two general possibilities:

  • Your coworker eventually starts pulling their weight.
  • Your coworker is eventually replaced by your manager

I mean, it's likely your boss will eventually be called to task for having a low performing team. And when your boss starts to address it with the two of you, and you've got your tasks-completed list that you've been doing, it'll be obvious that your coworker is the dead weight.

But... you're leaving in 2 months. So don't even worry about it. Just do your job, do what your boss asks of you, and look forward to the new job.

  • 1
    Other answers made me look at this problem in a different perspective, but this one actually looks at it in a pragmatic way. I'll keep track of the tasks I've done until the end. When I leave this workplace any issues won't be my problem anymore and it should be clear if I was biased or in the right all along. It is frustrating when you hit the wall when you don't expect it.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:58

What seems to be the issue here is lack of proper management (and tools). Any sensible project manager will resort to some form of tracking so that by end of the day (figuratively), they can loo into the contributions made by each of the team members. While it's true that most of the cases, it's the overall outcome that matters, however, there are scenarios where the manager should (MUST?) know the individual roles and responsibilities, the weak and strong points, the contribution and shortcomings etc etc, on a per-person basis.

As you also mentioned, your manager refused to listen to your version and address the problems, it's unlikely the're interested in any other advise on proper management - however, should you have the chance, the best way would have been to propose to introduce a work tracker (Like Jira/Trello), where activities can be assigned to individuals and accomplishments can be entered. Over a period of time, the data in the system will make it clear about who did (or did not) what part, and how much of the work was handled by whom.

In current situation, I'd second your decision - find a new job (i.e., manager).

  • There is no such tool used in our 2 person team. I needed to track it on my own and shared with manager and coworker. It shows bias in the work done, but no action was taken. I was also told by manager that I like to have things tracked and in order and my coworker doesn't share this feeling. I don't feel like simple sharing and tracking who did what should be frowned upon. It seems there is nothing to be done to fix my issue, because of lack of will to do so.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 12:59

If you have been told that your skills are complementary then that means your co-worker is expected to do parts of the task that you are not expected to do, and you are expected to do the parts of the task that they are not expected to.

To be clear, 'complementary' in this situation means your job and your co-workers job are not the same. They may be at the same level, under the same boss and on the same team, but you are you are doing two different jobs within the team. Understanding this may well help you understand why there is a conflict here.

If for instance one of you is a designer and the other a coder, I would not expect the designer to code anything other than the bare minimum to get it to look the way it needs to look, with the coder fleshing out the details, back end, and implementing best practice for long term maintainability.

If you are waiting for them to complete their part and then tearing it down and rewriting it, there is probably a communications problem here. It is possible that they are having trouble with the coding aspect, and your help at an earlier stage could make things go much faster.

By working with them rather than being antagonistic towards them, you should be able to help them understand why you prefer things to be done in a certain way and get rid of the large amounts of rework you have to do.

Remember that different people work in different ways, and for any system other than the most trivial, coding is about communication more than it is about bashing out lines of code.

You may also want to check you biases. The fact that you make unnecessary references to both your co-worker and your boss' gender suggests that you may have an issue with working with and for women. It is not always the case, but it may be worth a little self reflection on your attitude to women in the workplace.

  • 1
    I have tried to write the question as genderless as possible, but I couldn't. Gender doesn't matter for me here, since we share the same. As for the rest of your answer, in the question I stated we were hired for the same position and our tasks are similar. I don't see any motivation from coworker to do tasks properly, e.g old content needed to rewritten and errors fixed, but in the end old work was copy pasted stating it's fixed.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 12:38
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    Thanks for making your intent clear @iceslab I've updated your question accordingly.
    – Mark Booth
    Dec 9, 2020 at 13:08
  • @iceslab you tried to but you couldn't? Why couldn't you?
    – Ben Barden
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:19
  • @BenBarden English is my second language. I couldn't make up some sentences without using gendered pronoun, because they sounded gramatically wrong to me. Mark Booth edited my question to fix it.
    – iceslab
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:28
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    @MarkBooth your explanation of complementary is exactly what I intended to use. Our skills are different and we should help each other in delivering one "product".
    – iceslab
    Apr 15, 2021 at 18:39

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