Moody Monday: How I (try to) deal with slacker coworkers?

I have a friend at work, let’s call her Heather, who, like me, works hard but struggles with mental health issues. She’s quite a bit younger than me and sometimes I see her as a younger version of myself. One thing she does that I used to do, and that I try hard not to do anymore, is compare herself to other coworkers… especailly slacker coworkers. Yeah, I know, we all do it to a certain extent but it can go way too far.

The problem? Heather gets very upset with the slackers at work… actually at times I’ve seen her get quite livid. I understand this and used to do the same thing… and admittedly still do on occasion. It feels completely unfair to work hard and do a good job when there are people around you who are slacking off. The unfairness of it can be understandably upsetting.

How I (try to) deal with slacker coworkers? Practical Magic meme

Personal work ethic matters – When it comes to someone’s personal work ethic, in the most general sense, there seems to be two kinds of people.

  • Some people take pride in doing a job well done. They strive to be the best they can be because they are personally motivated to do so. It makes them feel good about themselves. Doing a poor job just wouldn’t do.
    • People like this tend to hail from families who instilled these values into them. My own parents always worked hard and by their actions always made it clear that if you were going to do something then you should give it your best effort. Doing a half-assed job didn’t even cross their mind as an option. I also know for certain that these traits were handed down to them from my grandparents.
  • Then there are people who seem to do the bare minimum. Without a manager looking over their shoulder they would most likely do absolutely nothing. They feel no responsibility to their company, customers and, worst of all, their fellow coworkers who usually end up having to work harder to make up for their shortfalls.

So which one are you? I know I fall into the personally motivated category and so does my friend Heather.

How I (try to) deal with slacker coworkers? Tom Hanks League of their Own meme

Pay makes a big difference. Equality in the work place is a great thing, however, there have been some detrimental side effects. Many companies now have an equal pay structure. This means that everyone who works the same job at the same level will make the same rate of pay. This seems like a great idea until you get to the part where job performance then has zero impact. I used to pride myself in getting performance raises in every job I’ve ever held. Not so these days and this can be frustrating for anyone who strives to do their best at work.

As a friend of mine once said: “People who work hard are treated the same and paid the same as people who do the bare minimum so what’s the motivation to work any harder?”

For Heather, the unfairness of this often affects her mood and how she interacts with other coworkers in drastic ways. She can come across as rude, unfriendly and sometimes downright mean. I can’t fault her because I used to be the exact same way. What I didn’t realize is how much of a negative effect this had on my own outward behavior.

It usually has no impact on the slackers because they just don’t care enough.

How I (try to) deal with slacker coworkers? Clerks meme

What I, and Heather, must do!

Comparing ourselves to other people on the job isn’t always a bad thing. For competitive people it can motivate us to do better. However, letting it have a negative effect on our mood and behavior is a big mistake.

Here’s what I try to do intead:

  • Take pride in doing my job to the best of my ability.
  • Work hard for myself and my own self-worth and no one else’s. It’s not selfishness, it’s self-esteem.
  • Try to dwell on my slacker coworkers as little as possible. Instead, I focus on the non-slackers. Amazingly, the slackers are really few and far between but they can take up so much precious energy!
  • Get along with everyone I possibly can, even the slackers. I don’t hold animosity. In most cases they aren’t bad people–they merely have a different work ethic. Plus, being hostile toward them usually doesn’t hurt them one bit. It’s only me who feels the hurt.
  • It’s not my job to judge the performance of other people and it’s certainly not my job to shepherd the slackers. I offer my help to other coworkers if need be. If I see people doing something flat out wrong I try to talk with them about it although I’ve noticed that slackers tend to get pretty defensive and sometimes downright irate if anyone says a word to them about their job performance.
  • Do not succumb to pressure to work beyond my ability. Most companies these days will try to get more work out of less people. I don’t let this pressure me. I’m not going to kill myself. I get what I can done and don’t worry about what didn’t get done. That’s the company’s responsibility, not mine.
  • Most slackers eventually get weeded out in one way or another. It may seem to take longer these days because of ethics and equality laws, which unfortunately can protect both the good workers and the bad workers. These days such people will usually quit before getting fired when the animosity of their coworkers becomes too much to bare.

If you are of the personally motivated kind be proud of your own personal ethic. Be proud of who you are and what you can achieve. Have confidence in your ability. Stand up for yourself and do not let anyone walk all over you…. especially the slackers.

All the best and have a great Moody Monday, JoAnn.

How I (try to) deal with slacker coworkers? Office Space meme

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19 comments

  1. Awesome tips, JoAnn. You and Heather remind me a lot of myself when I was young. I too was brought up to do the best job possible. During my twenties, I too would often get angry when I’d see slackers on the job and be pretty brutal to them at times because I’d feel a sense of injustice. At the same time, the slackers would give me a hard time because I made them look bad. It went back and forth. I’m happy to say that I lasted a lot longer than they did because, after being given several chances to “shape up.” The supervisors would often get tired of them loafing around and send them to the door. When I got older, however, I just let them do what they do. It was a lot less stressful. Thank you for this wonderful post! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great tips JoAnn and I can relate to this post, as many will will, no doubt. As I Manager on mental health wards it would drive me mad to see agency/bank staff lazing around and clicking their teeth if a patient asked them for something, say a cup of tea…… I’d have to go and talk to them, suggesting they get up off their lazy backsides or leave the ward, never to return! That worked 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg this is so relatable! Also, mental health issues tend to make us more irritable and I have noticed that I often lose my calm at the smallest of provocations. Not to mention anger issues can be a real trouble unless properly managed and taken care of. Thanks for sharing this post with us, makes me feel less of a bad person and more capable of controlling my behavior. 💜😓

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Can’t a company get rid of slackers? I thought in America it is custom to measure productivity (time taking?), and showing publicly how people are doing (which I think is wrong, by the way). I would think that people can be warned off, if they don’t actually work and then be dismissed after several warnings and no improvement.

    On the other hand … one never knows what is going on in the life of these slackers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These days there has to be several coachings and write-ups over time and they have to give the person extra training and time to improve. Then when it does come time to get fired they can say they were unfairly fired or that they were discriminated against. Employment laws were put in place for a good reason but the bad employees can take full advantage of them too. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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