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I happen to be a software engineer with a family, luckily the company owner is a fair and just person who also has a family, but everyone else seems to not have family responsibilities.

We recently let go of a backend guy who did not know what he was doing and got a new one. When I was hired some five months ago, the owner was crystal clear that the company is behind and no one can go on vacation until all deadlines are met.

The new guy, while he seems to know his craft, he likes to start late, work late, party hard on weekends to the point where he ends up with the flu is down for the count on a job he just started.

So I am noticing a pattern creeping up, where the new backend guy wants me to pair up with him late in the day. How do I put a stop to it in a way that does not come off like he cannot do his work because he can't pair up with me or any such nonsense like that?

For example, we currently have an outstanding CORS error, that is purely a backend issue and its a relatively simple one, if we have a backend in a language I was proficient in I would be happy to dive in and solve it because I think its taken long enough and its still not resolved.

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  • 2
    What is his official working hours? Feb 14 at 2:42
  • 5
    Is it your job to "pair" up with him to solve issues? If so, speak with you boss to figure out how to proceed. If it is not your job to pair up with him, then you should decline. Feb 14 at 5:57
  • 5
    Some companies set block hours during which employees must be present. Typically 5 to 6 hours a day. Apart from these hours, employees are free to come and go as they please. Is there a similar definition in your contract? Feb 14 at 9:30
  • "party hard on weekends to the point where he ends up with the flu", yeah, right .. lol
    – Peter M
    Feb 14 at 23:49
  • Oh, lovely CORS errors. Some CORS error cannot be fixed because you're violating security policies by doing weird things. If you're screwing around with transferring things on the FRONTEND (browser) level, then it'll trigger all sorts of CORS problems. Ironically, the solution is to use actual backend transmissions instead of doing weird things with your URLS and sending data via the FRONTEND... TLDR: CORS is not really a backend issue.
    – Nelson
    Feb 15 at 2:47

4 Answers 4

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First, tell him that you have no problem pairing up with him to solve technical issues, and then proceed to explain to him your normal working hours, and your family obligations.


Tell him that you normally work during the company business hours. For example, you start working at 8 AM or 9 AM, and go home at 5 PM.

And, because you have family obligations, you can't stay after 5 PM.

So, if he wants to pair up with you, he should pair up during the normal business hours.

The only exceptions are when there are some super urgent issues that your manager wants both you and him to stay and work late (on some rare occasions).

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    Yep. Use the time that overlaps productively, actively work to divide up work reasonably and to keep each other informed and productive (task management systems help with these), document your code so the other person can understand it without needing much of your time, and outside of some brainstorming sessions you shouldn't need to live in each other's pockets.
    – keshlam
    Feb 14 at 3:47
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It's as simple as saying "19:00 doesn't work for me, however I'm available between 9-17:00". Don't apologize and no need to give any reason. It's factual and to the point.

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Just tell him he has to work normal hours if he wants to pair work. He's the new person, not you. You don't have to accommodate his timeframes.

And, if an issue is in his domain, not yours, then it's his problem to solve, that's what he's paid for. Just say it's outside your field of expertise and for him to let you know if there's anything in your domain you can assist him with.

I'm an engineer, but if there's an issue that requires an electrician, I could probably work it out, but I won't. I'm not an electrician and I have my own tasks to accomplish which I don't expect the electrician to do for me.

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    That has nothing to do with who is the new person. There are normal working times, probably in your contract.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 14 at 7:20
  • I'm not sure the Engineer/Electrician comparison is a valid one. Because where I am, as an engineer I'm not legally allowed to do things that an electrician has to do.
    – Peter M
    Feb 14 at 23:51
  • Not my downvote.
    – Peter M
    Feb 15 at 14:42
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There are already some really strong recommendations in @Job_September_2020's response. I am going to supplement.

Offer that they can of course still email on an issue they need help with after you leave for the day and you will follow up the next day. This is a free concession, and it further shows your good faith that you want to help. You do have to actually follow up on the email the next day, of course.

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  • I'd expect an offer of email support to imply that the email will be read and responded to out of hours. I don't think the OP wants to show this flexibility. Without out of hours support, the offer has little value - it will be expected that the OP will look at work related emails during their normal working hours - so this isn't really much of a concession.
    – simonc
    Feb 15 at 16:40
  • I disagree on the implication, emails are asynchronous by their nature. I would not expect an email to be responded to as quickly as a Slack or teams message as an example. The lack of an actual concession is the point. Daniel is correct to set healthy boundaries with work. I will edit my answer to indicate there is no expectation of same day response. Feb 15 at 16:52

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