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Has He Tried Just Asking For A Raise?

, , , , | Working | November 23, 2021

[Coworker] is always “busy” on the phone, rushing around, and staying late. He never has time to talk, and I always feel bad when I finish on time and leave him behind.

[Coworker] has a car accident and ends up bedridden. He is adamant that he wants to work from home, but the company won’t allow it. They insist that he stays home and recovers; he gets paid sick leave so he should use it.

Manager: “You are aware that [Coworker] is off sick?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: “Could you keep an eye on his inbox, field some of his emails?”

Me: “I guess. I mean, I don’t know what he even does.”

Manager: “I’ll authorize all overtime [Coworker] would normally do. Anything you don’t know, just ask me.”

Me: “Yeah, okay. That sounds fair.”

He also hands me [Coworker]’s phone, which is a cheap move, but I take it.

A few days later:

Manager: “How are you getting on with covering for [Coworker]?”

Me: “Fine.”

Manager: “You haven’t asked me anything. I just wanted to be sure you weren’t struggling.”

Me: “No, err, I’ve had one email so far, which was nothing, and two phone calls; both were about work I normally do and give to [Coworker].”

Manager: “Oh, okay, that’s… great, then, I guess.”

A few more weeks pass with the same story.

Manager: “[Coworker] isn’t going to be back for a while longer. Could you take a look at his report? I don’t expect you to do it. If you could just figure out who needs to help you, that would be great.”

I thumb through it. It is a massive document with all sorts of information; half of it seems totally irrelevant. It takes me a few hours, but I go back to my manager.

Manager: “How did you get on? Can you work out who you need help from?”

Me: “Huh? Oh, no. I updated it. Should be good to send.”

Manager: “How on earth? This takes [Coworker] weeks to do.”

Me: “Oh, no, it’s all information that exists on the system. Drag, drop, copy, paste. Was there anything else you needed me to look into?”

Manager: “No, that was everything on my list.”

Me: “Great, I will let you know if anything comes through via email.”

For the next month, most of the contact I get is asking for updates and information other people on the team already create and would be sending anyway. I pass them onto the right person who can give them answers straight away rather me having to figure it out from [Coworker]’s notes and databases.

[Coworker] eventually comes back and frantically wants to know what issues have happened.

Me: “Nothing has gone wrong. It’s been fine.”

Coworker: “What about [Customer]? He is always chasing for figures and hates to wait.”

Me: “[Coworker #2] has those numbers and can get them at a moment’s notice. I passed him to [Coworker #2].”

Coworker: “What about [Supplier]? Did you remember to send them the report?”

Me: “The report I have to send to you anyway? Yeah, I remembered.”

Coworker: “What about emergencies, shortages, issues?”

Me: “There haven’t been any. We’ve been fine. Don’t stress; I’ve told everyone that they need to let us know earlier so it’s not been such a big deal.”

[Coworker] clearly wasn’t happy that I had managed so well without him. Without being busy for no reason, he was able to finish on time. But it wasn’t long before he was trying to take back the reports he didn’t need to send, becoming the middleman again to justify his many long hours.

Eventually, the customers weren’t happy going back to the delays and waiting for [Coworker], so they made an official request to change it back.

[Coworker] eventually got moved to a different project where he was managed a little bit more and had an eye kept on him. I heard he was very lucky not to be disciplined. He claimed overtime frequently even when the company was struggling to pay its suppliers, so I don’t feel too bad about accidentally catching him out.