One of my teammates is a slacker. I'm tired of carrying his weight.
What can I say or do?
I'll never forget the time Dickie had to fire his pedicurist for
inattention and neglect. We were being recognized on International
Women's Day in the thrice-named, fictitious Eastern European country
where I was born. As we processed down the aisle of the newly repatriated
11th-century cathedral where the ceremony took place, Dickie went
"clickie-clickie" all the way to the altar, paw-nails
reverberating for seven seconds. It was as if Pravda's Cold
War typing pool were taking up the struggle all around us.
moments of desperation consume precious emotional energy that is
better spent ensuring your own feet are headed in the right direction.
Thank goodness I had sensibly worn rubber-soled platform sandals,
as we must have walked nearly a mile that day.
boss is on to it. If you've chosen jobs carefully, you're working
for people whose powers of observation are at least as keen as your
own. So keep the focus on you, you, you - on doing your own job
as best you can. Keep telling yourself and others that life is fair,
and whether it's true or not, you'll at least feel better. Who knows,
maybe you'll become a role model.
mirror? Be sure you're not guilty of whatever is bothering you
most. My analyst suggested that it was an obsession with the early
work of Lucille Ball that caused my fear that if my colorist wasn't
careful, I would one day be rendered in black and white. Better
red than anything else.
have Stuff. Is it something you said or did? Is it something
about the project? Something at home? A lost cause, like trying
to get my Best Boy to accessorize properly? Has your coworker not
yet found the path toward his dream? The answer is at the same time
none of your business and the key to figuring out whether and how
to encourage him to change. So you may have to guess instead of
asking - then use trial and error.
turn to lead. If your team can't make its mark without everyone's
contribution, then here's your chance to become the role model you
wish you had. Nothing is more contagious than a healthy passion
for ideas. Bubble over with genuine enthusiasm. In team meetings,
ask everyone to say how they think the project is going. Your ne'er-do-well
may have a good idea that hasn't been heard, or may disagree with
the approach the team is taking, or may even fantasize about being
the leader himself. How many pouty, petulant, pretty actors do I
know who would really rather direct? Work with me, baby, you want
to say to him. Your day will come.
bad for him. It takes a lot of creative energy to be lazy, really,
because you have to think constantly about new ways to pout or new
people to type chat messages to. ("Clickie-clickie" goes
the keyboard on the other side of the cubicle wall, but it's not
work at all!) Most slackers would turn to fountains of kinetic energy
if they could only get in touch with their inner fabulousness. Use
psychology. Study your lethargic coworker to find a fabulous trait
or contribution, then compliment him for it in front of his boss.
It might work.
work just looks easy. Some people's jobs defy busy-ness. If
you're closing on a dozen film scripts a year, you're not going
to remain fastened to your headset like some Internet advertising
salesperson working a thirty-dollar CPM. When I take a three-hour
lunch with a studio executive in an outdoor cafe on Santa Monica
Boulevard underneath those adorable heat lamps that look like glowing
white palm trees, we're both working very hard, despite what
our feet may be doing under the table.
you escalate, do it tactfully. Naturally it is not a corporate
faux pas to go over the head of a coworker who is again snoring
instead of, say, studying the dizzying dials in the safety room
of a nuclear reactor. If you decide to talk to your coworker, or
your coworker's boss, do it considerately and tactfully. Keep conflicts
behind closed doors and voices low. Focus on facts, not feelings;
put dignity ahead of blame. And of course, never put anything in
writing that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the Weekly