I Cannot Do It

I’ve so far been blessed with a lot of great colleagues and team mates in all the jobs I’ve had since graduation. Granted, there were (a very small number of) people I would rather not work with, but it’s not their fault. It just boils down to a mismatch of our characters and/or working styles.

Recently, while having lunch with an ex-colleague, P, who used to be a contract staff at a previous company, she told me about this instance when she overheard her team mate declining a job saying, “This kind of job is for contract staff.” Despite my friend being the contract staff, her job scope was in fact exactly the same as full-time members, yet she was belittled that way. Some two years ago when another former colleague, Z, whom I worked with on a separate project thanked me for helping her despite us being in different teams, I went, “It’s not a big deal. I’ve got lots of time and it’s not very difficult.” But she responded, “Some people in the same situation as you would turn it down because they think it’s not their responsibility or that it’s beneath them.” After hearing from P, I finally understood what Z was talking about.

At my current company, there’s this girl, Y, who’s been assigned to help with preparing our online sales orders. But whenever an order comes in, Y has this default response that is, “I can’t do it because I’m busy.” As I didn’t understand her work load, I could only give her the benefit of the doubt. But as time went on, I noticed a certain pattern to her response. If I said something were to go out by Thursday, she would say, “I’m busy today till Wednesday and I’ll be off on Thursday.” Or “I’m busy today till Thursday and I’ll be off on Friday.” Regardless, as a business, I cannot make customers wait because someone in our company is “busy.” Since no one else understood how the entire system works, I had to jump in to assign parts of work that others can do or if no one was around, I had to do it myself.

Once, when the company president saw me working on the machine, he asked me why Y wasn’t doing it. I said she’s busy and he went, “No, she’s not.” So the president went to look at Y’s work schedule and it was pretty empty. He said he would speak with her. Despite that, things didn’t change much. I had thought as long as I manage resources and rope in other members based on their skills when required, it wouldn’t matter as long as Y eventually helps in one way or another, but after a year, it’s getting tiring listening to “I cannot do it,” especially when I only work there 3 days a week and can’t always be around to handle her nonsense.

I worry for Y because she’s only 20, and if this is the way she is going to approach work, I’m not sure what the future holds for her.

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