I am working as a web developer on a huge project. I was hired to work only on this project with another person. We were both hired with 0 knowledge on the project and we were provided training. The project has been going on for 1 year.

The project leader is leaving us, and that means only me and my co-worker will stay for a while until they hire another project leader.

During this time I have been talking mostly with the project leader.

My co-worker doesn't really seem to care a lot about the project. She keeps chatting on facebook, skype, gmail all the time. She askes me a random question about the project every once in a while, and it is stuff she should already know from training. I had to pick up many times after her tasks because her code was not clean or efficient. I keep explaining her the same things again and again and again. what makes me crazy is the whole typing sounds that she makes, and whenever I have a look at her screen she is on facebook, or skype.

Many times she left early while we were BOTH working on a task leaving me alone on it.

I do not know what to do. I don't really care about her I just care about the project and after the project manager leaves I am afraid what will happen to the project and me.

The last thing I want is my reputation to go bad because of her, as they see as as one team not individually.

  • Is your third paragraph about the project leader or about the other person? Jul 14, 2014 at 11:49
  • Is it possible to split the work so that it is visible what exactly you have done? If so, speak with the new project leader about this. Meanwhile keep a log of your work. Jul 14, 2014 at 12:06
  • I edited the text of the question to make it clear the project lead and the coworker are different people.
    – O. Jones
    Jul 14, 2014 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


If your outgoing project leader is still around, speak to him about this. Ask for personal advice about what to do in this case where you carry the load for both you and this other worker.

It always helps if you state your problem as a company and customer issue as well as a personal issue.

For example, say "I am worried that Betty's poor performance on this project is going to make us late and annoy our users. I'm also worried that personally I am spending time trying to help Betty rather than do my own job. How can I deal with this situation in the best way for our users and our company?"

This project leader surely understands what's going on.Conversations are powerful: your act of asking for advice will help the project leader figure out how to act in your interest.

You could also say to Betty herself, for example, "You left this task only partially complete. How shall we work together to complete it?". For another example, you say "It would be helpful to us meeting our shared deadlines if you stayed away from social media web sites during the working day."

Notice that you're using your shared interest to motivate her. That will work better than saying "your laziness makes more work for me," even if it's true.

If you do speak to her, be aware that she is not going to immediately agree with you. She is going to deny that her work is not completed. She is going to say "It's none of your business that I spend time on Facebook." Do not argue with her when she denies these things. Just let her speak. When she's done, simply say, "I hope you'll think over what I have said. Thanks!"

When you intervene in bad behavior by confronting someone, it takes them a while to absorb your input. Everybody has a time constant. If you walk up to somebody who trusts you and truthfully say "you are wrong," some people will take an hour to agree with you. Some will take a day. Some will take a year. It is helpful to figure out how long the time constant is for each person you work closely with.

  • Great answer ollie. Everone does have a time constant. I also liked the I hope you'll think over what I have said. Thanks!.
    – Steam
    Jul 26, 2014 at 15:32

Document everything you have done. Focus on yourself doing a good job. If you do a good job and she doesn't things will start to get messy for her.

I am not saying you should not help her, you should. But it really pays off to document everything you have done and when you did. If anyone asks why the project isn't finished you can name all of the things you had done to get it done. While if they ask her, she cannot, that is if she really does nothing usefull.

Keep in mind you are not her lead, so don't act like it while your lead is gone. Since there will be a new lead hired externally as you mentioned you don't want your work relationship to go bad with your co-worker. Which may happen if you start bossing her around. Try to interact with her as a co-worker does. Answer her questions, ask your questions and share the status of mutual projects and remain professional.

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