DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a co-worker who is really annoying. She talks on the phone to her friends whenever our boss is not around, which means she is often late completing her work. Because we work together, this often affects me. I can't get some of my work done until she finishes hers.
I'm not quite sure why she thinks it's OK to be so lackadaisical at work. She has only been here for about two months. If I were her boss, she would not pass that probationary period. I'm tempted to say something to my boss about her, but I don't want to be a tattletale. I doubt if I say something to her that it will make a difference. What should I do? -- Step Up or Step Out, New Orleans
DEAR STEP UP OR STEP OUT: I can hear your frustration through your letter. Take a moment and step back. What do you need from this co-worker in order to be able to do your job? If you can clearly articulate that, then you should be able to talk to her. Invite her to chat with you one day off premises -- perhaps during lunch. Tell her that you are concerned that you have been having difficulty getting your work done on time because the things she is supposed to do have been coming to you late. Ask her if she needs support in organizing her time.
You might also point out that you know that your company has a probationary period -- because you were on probation when you first started -- and you are concerned for her that if she does not tighten up her work, she may be in trouble. If she does not attempt to improve after that, you should go to your boss, not as a tattletale, but more as an advocate for yourself. Let your boss know that you are worried about your ability to get your work done in a timely manner because of the new employee's poor habits.