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Careers - Q&A

Co-worker slacking on the job

QA colleague and I manage different teams in the same program, but his group never does its share of the work. While I have implemented new procedures to increase efficiency and reduce cost, he allows his staff to goof off and miss deadlines. I told him about my concerns, but he just ignored me. When I complained to our supervisor, he defended my co-worker. I've gone two more levels up the management chain, but no one seems interested in improving the situation. What do I do now?

ASince escalation through three levels of management has produced no results, either your presentation was ineffective or this organizational culture is a bad fit for you. To sort this out, think about how you described the problem. If you primarily complained about your co-worker's shortcomings, this may have sounded like a personal vendetta. But if you presented a logical argument for change based on business goals, perhaps management simply does not share your work ethic. In that case, start using your planning skills to engineer a job search, because you will never be appreciated in this organization.

Who wants to work for free?

QI had an interview with a media company that is launching a new website. After the interview they said they were going to send me a "series of exercises." One was to write a pretty involved strategy memo for the website. The other was to take their mockup and provide a list of everything I would suggest posting for one day. Both of these items would take an enormous amount of time/effort and also provide them with free consulting. I spent two hours writing the strategy memo, but in the end, I sent them back the memo and an abbreviated list of links. It's a company I would like to work for in the future and totally blowing them off seemed like a bad idea but how much worse was sending in only half of what they asked for? I didn't exactly spell out that I was only doing half the assignment.

AI think that the approach you took was fine. It is fair for the company to ask you for a sample of your work, which you provided. It is quite another thing for them to expect you to design their new site. As long as what you offered was helpful and illustrative of what you could do for them as an employee, then you have completed the assignment in my book.

Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers