DEAR ABBY: My co-worker, "Kay," has the world's worst work ethic. She chats on the phone and e-mails her friends, plays games online, reads the paper, balances her checkbook all day long on company time.
Our office manager encourages us to work independently, so no one looks over our shoulders. My problem is I need Kay's daily reports and summaries before I can complete my projects. Every week I give her a list of deadlines but she disregards them. (She's too busy playing online solitaire.) When a deadline is missed, it becomes my fault, even though Kay is the cause.
I tried talking the problem over with our manager (without trashing Kay). Unfortunately, he didn't get the message and nothing has changed.
Coming to work used to make me happy. Now it fills me with dread because every day is a fight for survival. I am overwhelmed and swamped trying to overcompensate for my irresponsible co-worker. I'm tired of working my tail off while she messes around. Please help me resolve this in the most professional way possible. -- STRESSED-OUT IN OHIO
DEAR STRESSED-OUT: Talk to your manager again, and this time be direct. It's time to stop protecting the guilty. Your future with the company may depend on it.
Keep your manager current on the status of your work. This way, he will understand in advance that you're not being given the data you need to complete your task -- and it will provide some much-needed insight to management.