Working Versus Shirking

I wanted to write about this topic because all of us will experience this fate on one of our jobs.

It’s not ever a good idea to be lazy as a coworker.

Doing the bare minimum. Or not doing anything at all.

I’ve worked with individuals who don’t do their fair share of the work. Not only that they don’t do any work. They even try to pass off their work for you to do.

Wait a minute. You shouldn’t be doing your coworker’s job.

It’s a double bind: if you’re perceived as being a hard worker more and more work will be dumped on you.

In Betting on You Laurie Ruettimann talks about this dilemma in detail. I reviewed her book here. You can click on the Book Reviews category to read this review.

Ruettimann tells readers how to be a “slacker” in a good way on the job. So that the pressure you’re experiencing doesn’t steal your energy and sanity.

In an ordinary work day all of us should have the free time to take 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon as a break and breather.

Sadly, a lot of coworkers treat the full seven hours of the day as a “break” to do nothing.

This can be demoralizing. You can be tempted to join them in serenading the water cooler every 10 minutes. Or scrolling your Facebook account instead of doing any numbers crunching.

I say: as hard as it is to work with lazy coworkers refrain from ratting them out to your boss about their behavior. You’re not the schoolyard monitor for a fourth-grade class. You and your coworkers are adults.

For women especially [and particularly at law firms for female attorneys] we can work twice as hard thinking we have to prove ourselves. We’ll get twice as far even though we’re better than the men.

What is the solution when dealing with the not-acceptable kind of slacker behavior in the workplace?

I say: do your job and be great at what you do. Be different. Refrain from being tempted to do the work your coworkers fail to do.

The fact is that not everyone who gets a promotion will be the best qualified. As multiple women who experienced sexism as female attorneys in law firms have attested.

The remedy is to do your due diligence. Research the company you’re interviewing at. Go on GlassDoor to scope out employers. Arm yourself with the typical salary, working conditions, and other criteria.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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