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I have been at this job for under a year. There is some very obvious duplication of work responsibility between my colleague and me. The colleague has started to stay away from work a lot.

I am happy to pass on this work to the colleague and move on to interesting projects. I have brought up this duplication with my manager, but he is a bit of a fence-sitter.

Should I be more direct with him? Is there a chance he wants me to actually take up other responsibilities, anticipating that I would be bored with what I am doing? What is the best approach to take here?

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What is the best approach to take here?

Focus on your own work and career. What your colleague is (not) doing is his manager's responsibility, it is not your problem.

You can certainly discuss with your manager about moving on to more interesting projects. Restrict the discussion to your own career, and do not bring up your colleague's work.

You can suggest to your manager that when you move on to another project, you could hand over your work to the colleague. However, it is your manager's call if/when you can move on and who would take over your work.

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You are overthinking this.

Is there a chance that he wants me to actually take up other responsibilities anticipating that I would be bored doing what I am doing?

That would be a stupid move by your manager since he could just ask you directly to take up these other responsibilities.

There are many reasons why the current situation is as it is. Maybe the manager thinks that your workload is higher than it actually is. Maybe they want four eyes instead of two for the job. Maybe there currently is just not enough work to do for you and your co-worker. Who knows?

But it is not your job to do management decisions. More important are the following questions:

  • Is the situation uncomfortable for you? Are there issues with your co-worker (like that he might feel being replaced and thus being hostile towards you)?
  • Are you bored with the work or feeling underchallenged?

If so, have a talk with your manager. But don't try to optimize the work load of your co-worker, even if in best interest.

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The colleague has started to stay away from work a lot.

Why would the manager be interested in passing on more work, or sole responsibility for work, to someone who is noticeably absent from work?

The redundancy might be because the manager is not confident that the person who is away more often will get it done, and it might be an interim step towards eventually cutting ties with that worker.

If you want or need more challenges, certainly express your willingness to your manager, but stay away from the topic of how he/she distributes work. There may be a reason for it, and, really, it will come across as you trying to manage your manager, and questioning how they do their job.... especially if you've already brought up the topic of the duplication.

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