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Dear Smarter Admins

I’m having real trouble with a co-worker. We are supposed to work together on projects, but he is so incompetent and lazy that some days I can’t even look him in the eye!! To avoid dealing with him I’m doing some of his project work as well. I don’t want to quit my job, but I’ve had enough of working with him!!!

– Over it, NSW

Oh boy, it’s hard to enjoy work when you’re not getting along with a workmate, isn’t it?  Sadly, personality clashes like these are part of working life, but don’t fear: there are things you can do to make your life easier!

The first thing you need to do is really think about the “WHY”. Why is this person irritating? You think they are lazy and incompetent, but is there more to it? Are they making you look bad? Are you frustrated because they don’t work work as hard or as well as you? If incompetence is the issue, perhaps you could help out by offering to give some tips on how to complete task XYZ.

I know that you’re finding it easier to do more work to avoiding talking to him, but what good is it actually achieving? It is stopping you from getting to your other tasks and putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. It’s also not very fair for you to be doing their work for them. How are they going to learn and improve if you’re not giving them the opportunity?

Have you spoken to your boss about the problem? Ask if you can sit with your boss privately, even for 10 minutes, to talk about how you’re feeling. It’s crucial to explain how you feel  in this situation; don’t go into the meeting ready to reel off all the problems you’re having. A good boss will listen to you and do what they can to help you out. Just be careful not to come across as someone with sour grapes.

The best advise I can give you is this: be understanding. I’m not saying that you should forgive and forget the situation, but by showing some compassion, you will start to feel better right away. Start small by smiling when you make eye contact and saying good morning while waiting for your coffee order. You’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll feel by letting go of the angst.

Good luck, hopefully your situation at work improves soon!

Ask Smarter Admins is an advice column for readers. Do you need some advice or tips on how to work smarter, not harder? Is something getting you down at work? Contact Smarter Admins and we’ll happily help you out. Confidentiality is promised!

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