I am 20 and student and I work part-time in a medium-size company.

I don't have very specific job there. I am computer guy there and I do everything that somehow relates to computer there.

I don't have any problem with jobs assigned to me, but when I have to ask someone for his/her co-operation there comes the problem.

For example, one month ago I had to prepare some educational and advertising video clip about our industry for my company and I suggested one of our girls at office to my boss for doing narration on clip and he agreed. I asked her politely to do that. Doesn't work. I told her that I'm gonna be penalized if I don't finish clip in time. Doesn't work. Anytime I ask her to do the narration, she said that I'm tired, I don't have time and things like that. At last I penalized for the delay and then she narrated the clip the next day.

She is not evil and she doesn't have any problems with me. She didn't feel responsible for doing the job therefore she doesn't hurry to do the job quickly at time. That was for one month ago.

This month I am designing mugs for our office for each one of us with company logo at one side and each one's photo and name on the other side. I asked everyone to give me their photo with high quality just today. But I have the feeling that this job is going to be like the clip one and everyone doesn't care about their photo and don't give me photo at all or sending me their photos late or in best situation low quality photos.

Maybe it's because I am the youngest guy there they don't get me serious or maybe because I ask them too politely or etc.

What I am asking is how can I ask my co-workers for something that I am responsible for it?

Edit: Thanks for your answers. The thing everyone tells me is go to your boss and explain to him the situation. But my boss just told me that it's your own job and you should learn how to handle with your co-workers, how to ask people to do something it's important to you, you have to treat everyone the way they co-operate and things like that.

So maybe that's it. I have to learn how to manage negotiating my colleagues.

Edit 2: It worked! I had to prepare the photos until Thursday. But I told everyone you can only give your photos to me on Monday and on Monday night I send two images of flowers to anyone who haven't got me their photos yet and asked them which flower do you like on your mug. :) Tuesday was incredible. Each one of them gave me their high quality photo when I get to office as soon as they saw me.

  • 1
    If someone blocks your work, you should go to the manager (or whoever penalizes you) as soon as you know it. And document it (that you couldn't finish because person X, even after Y times reminding)
    – deviantfan
    Apr 9, 2016 at 18:59
  • How are you being "penalized" and why are you being given unreasonable time lines like this? You've got some excellent answers below but the real suggestion might be to talk to your manager about the broader picture. Explain that the assignment is dependent on other people freeing up time and that the deadline he gave is hard to reach because of that.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 9, 2016 at 22:28

3 Answers 3


You don't have the authority to get your coworkers to change their priorities, so if they don't respond to your request and the work is important, you need to get someone who does have the authority to alter your coworker's priorities for you. If their boss doesn't agree that they should make your request a priority and get it done by the deadline, then you need to explain to whoever gave you the task that you won't be able to get it done as expected and why. This should be done as soon as it seems like there's a problem, so you can work together to come up with a new plan of how to get the task done.

Keep in mind that just because something is your highest priority doesn't make it the highest priority for everyone else. It is good experience to learn how to negotiate deadlines, recognize when you're 'blocked' from being able to progress and adapt to the situation. If you told your friend you would be at their house for dinner at 7 PM, and a tree falls across the road in front of your car, do you just sit there and stare at the tree wishing it would move or do you take another route and call your friend to let them know you will be late?

  • Also, you need to allow for time for them to do the task. Asking for a photo by the end of the day is unrealistic if you don't happen to have one handy. Asking for one by the end of next week might get better results, but there are people who don't like to have their picture taken or don't want it on a mug (I wouldn't even want a mug as I don't drink coffee). You will get resistance from these people. For something like this, if management is requiring it, it is better to bring a camera to work and take the photos yourself. If it isn't required, so the mugs only for those who respond.
    – HLGEM
    Apr 15, 2016 at 17:11
  • @HLGEM That's a good point - you can increase the likelihood that folks will respond to your requests even though you don't have the authority to force them to do something. All the the possible strategies would fill a book (and probably have!). Giving folks plenty of notice before deadlines, asking for help instead of telling them to do a task, and making sure that you have a clear commitment (not a "I'll try to get to it") are a couple of things that might help. Also, mugs can hold M&Ms, pens, flowers, et. al. not just coffee :) Not sure I'd want one with my picture on it though.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 15, 2016 at 17:27

First, don't take it personally. It might be because you're young, but I suspect it's more likely that the task isn't a priority for her manager, so it's not a priority for her. And maybe, in the grand scheme of things, this project isn't as high a priority for the company as the tasks she's been assigned.

Here's my recommendation: When you need someone else's co-operation to accomplish something, first go to them, explain what you need and why you need it. Explain why it's important for the company (or at least why it's important to your boss). Ask if they will be able to do it, and when.

If they say they can't do it, go to your boss and let them know. Not as a complaint, though. Just explain "X said she's unable to help with this, so what's our backup plan?"

Alternatively, if they say they will do it, but after a few reminders it's not getting done, go to your boss. Again not as a complaint. Say something along the lines of "I think X has too much on her plate right now to do this".

After that, one of the following should happen:

  • Your boss will decide it's not that high a priority after all.
  • Your boss will speak to her boss, and they will negotiate the priority of the project so that she finds time to do it.
  • Your boss will suggest someone else to do the task.
  • Your boss will tell you to keep trying to get X to do it, but at least he will be aware of the reason for the delay.

As for the photo, why don't you just ask if you can take a picture of them there and then with your smartphone? Over and done with.


It's best not to involve others in your tasks unless it's absolutely necessary. They don't have much incentive to take time out of their jobs.

In the case of the photo's I'd get the company camera and go around taking photo's rather than putting the onus on staff to give you one each. It's your task, not theirs.

  • I've done it too. I put the camera somewhere in office and told everyone that if they don't have time to find a photo or their photos are low quality i can take a picture of them. They just don't do that as well.
    – Amin Vakil
    Apr 10, 2016 at 6:07
  • @ceyed I suspect that a lot of people just don't want a mug with a photo of themselves on it.
    – Simon B
    Apr 10, 2016 at 21:28
  • @SimonB You're right. They discuss about this with boss and he convinced them. That's not a problem now.
    – Amin Vakil
    Apr 15, 2016 at 16:51

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