AIBU to be Bothered by Incompetent Fellow Employee

(75 Posts)
ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 20:18:38

Name-changed in case identifying details on past threads.

I'm in a Senior position at work. A year ago, a document controller was taken on who is supposed to file documents and do some admin for my role and some others. I must admit being quite surprised when she was taken on, as I knew her slightly as she is the girlfriend of a guy I know, who is friends with a colleague at work. The reason I was surprised she was taken on is that it is a 25k per annum role and she had no relevant experience and no qualifications, not even a single standard grade. She is 24.

Anyway, she is a nice girl and seemed keen so I cast aside my doubts and worked with her. The job isn't really very difficult but it does require some accuracy as otherwise documents I have completed go missing if filed or saved wrongly. And that is what has happened again and again. I have spoken to her about it and showed her what to do so many times she now pretty obviously resents me and looks pissed off when I come to talk to her. She has no consistency in saving documents in the required format with the standard title, hence it appears that I have not completed and signed them off when I have done. My colleague has the same experience, and she says she just does all her own document control and sends off her documents, but it is time consuming to do so, and it begs the question what this woman is doing all day.

Not only that but she has basic literacy problems. Her spelling is terrible, her grammar and syntax don't make much sense and she cannot produce the most simplest of written reports in any kind of respectable form, so I have to rewrite them for her. Again, I have gone over several times, in as clear and sympathetic a way as I can, her mistakes, and provided her with a template and so on. Again, the same mistakes over and over again.

I have raised the issue twice with the big boss but he simply refers me to the colleague who appointed her, who quite clearly doesn't care and just wants me to put up with her "because she is a nice girl" and "she'll get the hang of it in the end".

Its actually causing me stress, because I have to stay late or go in at weekends to check the documents I've had signed off are filed/sent off. And morally, with so much unemployment, I can't see how she deserves this job. I risk coming across as bitter or having a particular issue with her if I press it further I think. Any ideas? Should I look for a new job myself, because its getting to me a bit.

redexpat Sun 21-Jul-13 20:42:36

I have no idea how to resolve it but I wanted to say that it sounds really annoying and you have my sympathy. Surely she has a yearly appraisal? (sp?) Could you put your concerns to the person who carries this out rather than the person who gave her the job? Who is her line manager? It must be possible to put her on some kind of plan which wil be regularly evaluated. Perhaps get hold of the HR policies and have a read. Also start keeping a diary of the overtime that you are doing, and the mistakes she is making. And I absolutely agree that people who can't do their jobs shouldn't keep them. Incompetance drives me mad.

Has all this not been flagged up in her appraisals?

You need to take it up with her line manager. This is a service they are suplying to you and you are not getting what you are paying for.

YANBU to be bothered. Can you talk to her line manager? I think you ought to officially complain - to her line manager, or yours, every time she f**ks up, specially if it is causing you extra work. You risk being seen as unkind, but in the long run someone has to take the hard line and point out that she is frankly useless. There must be some kind of appraisal policy in place? Can she be put on some kind of policy to force her to shape up or risk getting the sack?

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 20:54:56

She had her annual appraisal 6 weeks ago and it was very general, suggestive of areas where "improvements" could be made, but tbh it was a box ticking exercise. I've raised it with her line manager twice, he just defers to the guy who appointed her (her boyfriend's friend) who isn't interested.

I must admit I don't really get it. I've spoken to HR, they just refer me to her line manager. AMumInScotland you are right, I do risk coming across as unkind or possibly a bitch if I push it too much. If you knew the industry I am in, it would make more sense. This sort of thing does go on, and worse.

If she has been there for a year and is still not doing the job properly I question whether she will ever "get the hang of it". I'd log every instance of mistakes being made, and also every instance of times you have spoken with her to explain the system.

I'd also bring this up in my own appraisal, detailing the errors and the time it cost me to put things right, including the staying late and going in at weekends.

As someone who had a job for a year and spectacularly failed to get the hang of it id have to agree. Difference is it. Almost drove me to a breakdown.

BridgetBidet Sun 21-Jul-13 21:04:33

How come you know so much about her appraisal?

V good question

Her line manager has to take responsibility for things like her appraisals, and bringing up issues that other staff are having with her. Tough if he didn't appoint her, he gets to deal with the situation now she is his member of staff!

I think you just have to raise it each time it happens - with your own line manager if hers won't tak any responsibility for the situation. You certainly shouldn't be having to wate your own work time, or go in specially, to check that she has done it.

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 21:14:59

* Bridget How come you know so much about her appraisal*

Her line manager told the colleague he defers responsibility to go over it with me!

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 21-Jul-13 21:25:27

You've been nice about but it's not your job to deal with this. You need to raise it formally with your boss

Could you get a new job easily enough?

RenterNomad Sun 21-Jul-13 21:27:23

Good idea from.*AMum*: does your line manager outrank this woman's line manager? And what about the LM of your similarly- inconvenienced colleague?

BridgetBidet Sun 21-Jul-13 21:28:02

I think what you need to do is speak to your line manager. But not in the sense of criticizing her or saying she has to go. Instead talk to your manager about how you are having to do your own document control and that this is involving you working extra hours. Ask if you could have admin support from elsewhere or if you could have your workload altered to allow you more time to do your document control.

I don't think you can really complain about her too much because you will be calling into question the judgement of the line managers and they will not like that. You're not her supervisor so as far as you know she might be doing other work that they're happy with.

I think the most constructive way to deal with it. I think you are in danger of overstepping the mark otherwise.

josephinebruce Sun 21-Jul-13 21:33:31

As a public sector worker....I can't believe she is being paid 25K pa to do admin work!!!!!! Our administrators are on half that.

Sorry, she does sound annoying though.

Shakey1500 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:33:36

I am so tempted to ask if it's the same industry as I'm in because it is freakishly similar to issues I have at present!

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 21:35:45

We share the same line manager.

I might try talking to a different line manager, in a different, but related department, but I get the impression no-one wants to get involved. Its like she's made of Teflon! That's what I mean when I say I don't get it. Its so obvious she is incompetent, everything she produces is full of blatant and rudimentary spelling and grammatical mistakes to the extent that parts are impossible to understand. I guess she must do something that's useful to the company somewhere but I'm honestly not sure what it is as she doesn't actually have that much to do. Perhaps they think she will improve. I actually get the impression they don't care. tbh they are right because me and my colleague correct her mistakes anyway without additional cost to the company.

That aside, it is a good job. Its an excellent salary, its an easy going (!) environment, and I pretty much get left to my own devices, as long as I do my work. Its just this issue that stresses me. Also, its an open plan office and its noisy, and "Miss" is at the forefront of that. She seems awfully popular as a person with the managers and line managers, and people talk about her great personality.

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 21:38:48

OK, its the oil and gas industry.

ilovesooty Sun 21-Jul-13 21:40:35

As a public sector worker....I can't believe she is being paid 25K pa to do admin work!!!!!! Our administrators are on half that

As a worker in the voluntary sector, I concur.

As a senior worker with a co ordination role even I don't get that. It's nearly as much as our project leaders get.

It must be very frustrating to deal with.

josephinebruce Sun 21-Jul-13 21:45:01

Then maybe you should stop doing her work, just do your own and see how long it takes them to notice :-)

I did that when someone in my office was taking the piss.

It's amazing how quickly the other senior managers took notice when they didn't get corrected minutes etc.

Of course the person who was taking the piss no longer speaks to me and has bitched about me to absolutely everyone in the office.....:-(

Stop doing her work. Tell your line manager that's the way it is and it's up to him to make this work, because you are not going to spend your time correcting her mistakes any more. Make it his problem instead of yours - that's the only way you will get him to care.

ihearsounds Sun 21-Jul-13 21:59:29

We had a colleague that we were constantly doing her job for, plus our own. We tried to be nice to her and constantly show her, nicely the correct way to do things. This went of for about a year. Every day, the same mistakes. It was frustrating... She repaid our kindness of not reporting her every time and letting her get on with it, by reporting us for picking on her. Kid you not. Shocked doesn't even cover how we felt.

Because we were doing her work, and constantly showing her the right way, it was harder for us to proof that actually she was incompetent, and should not be employed by us.

After she reported us, we stopped helping her. In hindsight we shouldn't have been as nice as we was, because once we stopped helping it became apparent that actually she was a lot worse than what we thought.

Finally management realised for themselves that our environment was not for this person and sacked her.

Moral of the story. Stop doing her work. You do your work, you hand it to her however you do this. You keep record that you handed her the complete work and let her fuck up on her own. Once her mistakes cost the company money, they will take notice of her and deal with her accordingly.

StuntGirl Sun 21-Jul-13 22:02:49

I agree, stop fixing her work. Unfortunately sometimes companies are shite and will put up with terrible employees for unfathomable reasons. I am currently dealing with this too, its incredibly draining and hard work!

BelleJolie Sun 21-Jul-13 22:09:46

Stop doing her work, as others have said. Also take steps to ensure you have evidence proving that you asked her to do specific tasks (e.g. Follow everything up by email). That way, hopefully her incompetency will be noticed without any chance of it being able to be deflected on to you.

Finola1step Sun 21-Jul-13 22:10:22

Stop doing her work. Make dated notes of when issues arise which directly affect your work. Formally raise the issue with your HR (but purely in terms of the impact it is having on your workload). I strongly suspect that you are going to have to go down the greivance route - not against her but against your line manager for not taking action which has adversely affected your role. Keep lots of notes.

You could look into constructive dismissal laws. I'm not an HR expert, but having your complaints ignored is a ground for claiming constructive dismissal. If you told HR/ your line manager that you feel forced to find another job and believe you are being constructively dismissed it may spur them into action?! Not sure if you would have needed to raise your complaints more than twice though (so you would need to check this before raising it).

However, (From my experience in the public sector) without the issues with her work being identified in her supervisions and appraisal your company would struggle to uphold an initial disciplinary around capability. From there it is some time, and lots of opportunities for improvement, before someone can be dismissed for issues with their capability to do their job; but it may be that your colleague performs her job better if she is given more training/support to improve?

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Jul-13 22:17:22

Could you double up on the filing so that you keep yourself a copy and leave her to do her own job badly? Arrgh don't know why I suggested that. It's ridiculous. You need to call her on it every time and make sure you're not alone when you do it. If she looks resentful you need to say, "Surely you understand why I'm annoyed by this? Do you realise the implications of something being misfiled?" And wait for an answer.

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 22:45:52

ihearsounds I have a gut feeling that she has moaned about me. Theres a sort of silence now when I approach her and the colleague who appointed her when they are talking together. Which is often. Its highly unprofessional. I know for a fact that there were several experienced document controllers who applied for her position and interviewed, and its clearly a case of work colleague doing a favour for her boyfriend. It just makes me so uncomfortable.

I really did try to get on with her but I think she is jealous of my seniority, but it feels awkward because I knew her slightly socially before she was appointed and it feels awkward. We don't meet up outside work any more and I've lost touch with her boyfriend. She seems to have little respect for what I, or other senior colleagues say to her, and little concept of responsibility or attention to detail. She is, I've come to realise, a spoilt brat, and while she can be friendly at first, there is a whole load of attitude that comes along with that.

I hear what you are all saying with regards to stopping doing her work but (a) I can do it and I like to do a complete job, I get satisfaction out of it and my other colleague does the same and just keeps her head down and a smooth ship running (b) the way things work in this company I wouldn't be surprised if it somehow ended up that I was held responsible for documents not going through and (c) I keep thinking someone else must spot her incompetency and do something about it!

I just find the whole scenario totally bizarre ie someone getting their friend to get their girlfriend a job she isn't qualified for, and the friend actually doing it. Its getting to me, I know it is. It just seems so unfair to those people who could have actually done the job and probably needed it!

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 22:47:57

Sleepingdragon the industry is small and insular in this city, and I don't want my career "sullied" by anything like constructive dismissal, nor do I want to earn a reputation as someone who is difficult to work with and who has problems with fellow employees! I think I risk coming across as a bit of a bitch.

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Jul-13 22:57:59

Well then you have to tread carefully.

Next time she messes up, ask her immediate line manager for a meeting with her. Ask your colleague to be there too.

You need to say (and be backed up) that this just isn't working. Tell him how often this problem is occurring and remind him of the consequences of her doing her job badly. Say that you have often had to cover up for her and this is a waste of the company's money.

Tell him you want the meeting minuted.

Do you think she's incapable of doing it properly or is just not paying attention to detail?

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Jul-13 22:59:22

Reading your posts again, you definitely need to speak to the boss and tell him/her in no uncertain terms what's happening. You have back up with your colleague, don't you?

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 23:21:39

ImperialBleather Tell him you want the meeting minuted

That is a very good idea.

Do you think she's incapable of doing it properly or is just not paying attention to detail?

Shes not capable. She simply doesn't have the requisite level of literacy. Her lack of attention to detail/lack of respect for seniority/advice is more of a symptom of her lack of competence than the cause of it I think.

And yes, I'm pretty sure my colleague will back me up. We have discussed it. English is (my colleague's) third language, and her written English is just about perfect!

I also have another colleague who may back us both up too. She was involved in the interview process for the job and has told me, off the record, that she was astonished at the appointment.

Feeling rather proactive now!

DoJo Sun 21-Jul-13 23:29:01

Is there any way you could make this a pain for someone who needs to pull their finger out? I once had a similar issue and every time I had to do extra work for someone I would e-mail them the details of what I had done and copy in their manager, all in the spirit of professional courtesy and continuous improvement. That way everything would get done the way you want it, but her manager will get a n accurate picture of how bad things are and be inconvenienced by the slew of e-mails, and you will have a record that you have tried to rectify the issue in case you ever need it - a three pronged attack.

Pigsmummy Sun 21-Jul-13 23:30:05


ImperialBlether Sun 21-Jul-13 23:31:36

You could tell HR and announce at the meeting that they will be having a copy of the minutes.

Maybe her boss (her boyfriend's friend?) should be looking to HR to allocate her a different job, where there isn't a reliance on attention to detail. I can understand how a whole system can be useless if things aren't done properly and if someone doesn't have the literacy skills.

Just to make you feel better:

I remember temping a long time ago in a solicitor's office. They were still using typewriters. Not sure whether you're old enough to remember carbon paper, but when multiple copies were made you had to use a rubber or white-out to delete the error on each sheet and then retype. You can imagine the problems this could incur. Anyway, in this office, all of this was ignored by the typists. They used to type the wrong address, use Tippex on the top copy and then retype it. Consequently, nobody had any idea when they read the carbon copy who it was sent to. Best of all, though, was the fact they used to file everything under "M" for Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc. There was literally nothing in any other part of the filing cabinet.

Perhaps there's a vacancy there for her??

ThreeTroikas Sun 21-Jul-13 23:41:40

Best of all, though, was the fact they used to file everything under "M" for Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc. There was literally nothing in any other part of the filing cabinet

Brilliant! Shes not quite that bad! She just saves files in random places when she can't find the correct file, and makes up titles of her own for documents which can be a tad obscure. eg the surname of the user as opposed to the date of the document, but misspelling the user's surname as well!

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Jul-13 23:54:50

She's been to the same school as that other lot, though! For god's sake, how difficult can it be to name files properly? She could even have it stuck on her computer to remind her.

You need to do something. It's too frustrating and there's the risk it will impact on your own professionalism. Go in tomorrow, determined to sort it out!

RedHelenB Mon 22-Jul-13 07:21:45

If the bosses want her then I think it could be you out of a job if you're not careful! let the resentment go - yes it's not fair but that's private industry for you! She doesn't defer to your seniority because it means jack s* to her, she'll keeo her job regardless. Could you apply for a job elsewhere?

KhaosandKalamity Mon 22-Jul-13 07:27:00

I had one of these, when I tried to explain that Facebook was not appropriate when there was a pile of work waiting to be done the response I got was, I shit you not, "That's just not the way I work." Eventually I left because I could not handle fixing her mistakes and she took over my role, which was a more complicated version of what she was failing at already. Definitely stop fixing her work or mark all mistakes and send them back to be redone.

nkf Mon 22-Jul-13 07:28:03

Can you keep batting the work back? Ask her to refile? Ask her to retype? At the moment, you are covering for her and it's making you stressed.

ZenGardener Mon 22-Jul-13 07:40:21

She sounds bloody awful but other people must be affected too. I think you should step back though as I know someone who went through something similar and got accused of harassment/bullying. She probably tells people that you are jealous of her. She will eventually screw up involving someone senior and the shit will hit the fan until then I'd keep my head down and leave her to it. It's not the way it should be though.

Chottie Mon 22-Jul-13 08:18:34

Huge sympathies from me too....... I've been in a similar situation and it is so hard. Either people have an eye for attention to detail or they don't. I really don't think it can be taught.

I don't think you should cover for her as then you have no evidence of her not doing her job and also it is stressful. I would advise treading very softly, you do not want to come over as a hard nosed b*tch who is picking on poor little so-and-so. Make sure everything you say to her is professional and objective. I would mark the mistakes and send them back in a supportive, helping her to do her job kind of way

RichPetunia Mon 22-Jul-13 11:16:22

Sounds to me like the pharmaceutical industry - Contract Research Organisation?

RenterNomad Mon 22-Jul-13 11:33:59

If it is O/G industry, you need the paperwork to be perfect, whether you are fixing prices or reporting, as it is VERY price sensitive, and inaccuracy has big cost implications, as well as regulatory ones. Does your company really want clear and widespread computer evidence of "corrections" (done non- contemporaneously) to your paperwork? Imagine how that will look in the newspapers! Rope in your regulatody compliance people, if your HR lot are so incompetent and complacent! Even if your company is innocent, the constant corrections to her files could look really bad, and your complaints could save them. They need to thank you, not treat you like an annoying bitch!

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 12:15:31

I can't believe people are saying that the OP should change jobs as a result of this incompetent woman.

OP, I think you do need to report every single error. If you do her work for her, then you've no case later as the correct work will be there and she will say she's done it.

Re-training is probably the best suggestion you could make to her boss.

Pubicfoothair Mon 22-Jul-13 12:25:23

I knew this was oil and gas. Is she quite pretty? Office eye candy??

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 12:31:25

The OP's said: "Also, its an open plan office and its noisy, and "Miss" is at the forefront of that. She seems awfully popular as a person with the managers and line managers, and people talk about her great personality."

ThreeTroikas Mon 22-Jul-13 12:39:43

That's why I don't get it. No, I wouldn't say she is pretty. Perhaps I'm missing something, as I'm a heterosexual female, but she looks very ordinary to me, perhaps a little plain. She acts quite silly and jokes a lot with the male employees. I was surprised when she got together with her boyfriend long before she joined the company, as his last girlfriend was very stunning and intelligent and nice, but she seems to have the ability to get men to run around after her by acting like a spoilt brat.

I'm battling with myself as to whether I want to work with a company where work like this is valued. But it is kind of par for the course for the industry.

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 12:51:42

Don't talk yourself out of a job! Look at the colleagues you respect; that's why you're there.

It's down to this one guy who interviewed her, isn't it? This is why there's a problem. Does she actually work for the men who run around after her? Are they really redoing all her work?

limitedperiodonly Mon 22-Jul-13 12:59:19

they used to file everything under "M" for Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc.

I worked with someone who used to file things under T for The.

We had files for The Queen, The Pope etc. Once you knew that you knew where to look hmm

No one was allowed to touch her filing system and she was indulged in her incompetence and shitty attitude to colleagues - that would be the women in the office - too.

Sorry for the diversion OP. I don't have much to add beyond other people's suggestions of reporting every error and the minuted meeting.

You will look like a bitch unfortunately but it's absolutely not your fault.

schobe Mon 22-Jul-13 13:07:06

I would set myself a time, eg 1 month, where I would stay late to check all the documents she had filed/sent off for me. Then on a daily or weekly basis I would send her a complete list of the errors with dates etc.

I would consider copying her line manager into the emails but at first I would perhaps just send them to her.

But then you have a paper trail.

At the end of the month/2 months or whatever, I would ask for a meeting with her and/or her line manager and go through everything giving her targets, e.g. fewer than 50 errors a week or whatever.

If nothing improves over a period of time, eg 3 months or 6 months I would explain formally to her, her LM and your own LM that you are going to do all your file management yourself from now on (point out that your colleague already does this). You have a massive paper trail to say why. It's worth logging the time all the checking up is taking you, literally minute by minute. Then you can point out that you would actually save time doing it yourself.

Then I would (a) note to your superiors that this woman now has no actual work to do and (b) try to negotiate some workload alterations owing to your new increased workload.

The main thing is PAPER TRAIL. Keep everything professional and polite but I would avoid matey behaviour with her. You also have to try and stop letting it get to you (though this is hard, I've been there). The world is sadly full of piss-takers.

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 13:08:55

Exactly what schobe says.

justmyview Mon 22-Jul-13 13:38:27

I remember an ex of mine went on a brilliant course called "You get the behaviour you reward". I often think about it

If you reward good behaviour, you get more (so far, so obvious)

However, the point of the course was that, in your case if you reward her poor quality work by correcting it for her, then she'll continue, as she has no incentive to improve. Find a way to make her poor work become her problem (eg ask her to find a document she's saved - if it takes all day because she didn't file it properly & this holds her back, then she has an incentive to make more effort to do it properly.) I fear that by correcting her work (which is understandable) you are in fact enabling her poor performance

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 13:40:18

Yes, that's a really good idea. She's got to understand the consequences of not doing her job properly.

ImperialBlether Mon 22-Jul-13 13:41:26

Or you could ask your boss and her boss to look up a file which you know was mislabelled, then they can see how frustrating it is.

TheCraicDealer Mon 22-Jul-13 13:56:37

I third schobe. I'd also be tempted to keep a selection of her reports and correspondence on file ready to show him, reminding him that, "this is what our clients see, this is the quality of the work we're charging a fee for".

LondonMan Mon 22-Jul-13 14:32:47

If these are computerised documents, as opposed to paper or scanned documents, I wonder if there might be an IT solution so the relevant ones can be found quickly by searching on keywords, rather than because they've been filed in the right place.

ThreeTroikas Mon 22-Jul-13 14:49:17

Searching on keywords isn't an IT solution, unless you write a programme specific to the job for it. Its just another way of searching for something which isn't where it should be. And believe me, searching on keywords is something I have had to do many, many times to find the obscure place she has saved a document. Additionally some of the documents refer to other documents by their saved title, hence they need to be saved in the saved title format for other users and for future reference.

The incompetence goes well beyond not saving documents correctly, and encompasses not filling in information sheets correctly and full of spelling errors and failing to send correct attachments to third party users. I doubt archiving is being done but what concerns me most is that insurance related documentation is not being done correctly.

Part of her job duties is to produce a fortnightly report on a particular matter, and it is always full of spelling mistakes and strange abbreviations, missing full stops and commas and an absence of apostrophes. Its hard to explain just how bad her level of literacy is. Theres a fundamental lack of understanding of the basics there.

josephinebruce Mon 22-Jul-13 15:52:24

I think she has a fundamental lack of understanding of what is expected in the workplace - probably due to the fact that this job was arranged for her by friends of her boyfriend. What is she going to do if that relationship fails and they no longer "look after her"?

We have a really annoying administrator who does fuck all but check her FB status and upload photos of herself onto it ALL fucking day....and yet one of our senior managers thinks the sun shines out of her backside and even gave her a promotion because of work she supposedly did on a project. I say supposedly - her entire contribution was to ask me for help - which is why I'm particularly pissed with her (though it's my own fault - I should have told her to bugger off, but didn't know she would get a promotion out of it lol).

And, of course, in the public service we never fire anyone....

specialsubject Mon 22-Jul-13 17:40:25

there's always one - usually the one having sex with the boss. (in whatever combination of genders) As she appears not to be, I can only assume that the boss doesn't want to upset the person she does have sex with.

lots of good ideas on here - you need to stop doing her work and drop her right in it by making clear in a paper/email trail what you ARE doing to pick up after her.

with luck something will get done, but don't bank on it given how incompetent most managers are. The best you can realistically hope for is to stop having to do unpaid overtime doing her job.

WilsonFrickett Mon 22-Jul-13 17:50:44

Well the report is easy - just let it go, don't amend it. For the other matters, schobe's advice is good.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Mon 22-Jul-13 18:07:29

I agree that a paper trail is needed. I would also CC the line manager in.

Every time you can't find a file, email her and ask where it is, saying something like "I can't find X''s file. It should be in Y folder with Z file name, like I've shown you. Please ensure it is there by xxxx time. If you need me to go over correct procedure again, please let me know."

Every time she sends you a document with errors, reply and say that there are X number of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Please correct by xxxx time.

If you end up redoing it, email saying "I've had to spend 45mins correcting the SPaG in this document. Please make sure you thoroughly proof read these as they go to third party clients."

If you do spend time with her going over things, again email afterwards with "I hope you found it useful tonight when we went over X, Y and Z. Please let me know if you want further clarification in the future."

Good luck! I've suffered colleagues like this. You need to protect yourself too. I've found that when pulled up on their work they try to blame "lack of support". This doesn't stand up when I point out the countless hours I've spent with them, advice given which has been ignored etc., but would have been much harder to prove without a paper trail.

ZenGardener Tue 23-Jul-13 04:38:43

I disagree with Phat. I think you have to disengage from trying to mentor her as that obviously isn't working. If you can't find a file send her a quick, friendly email along the lines of:


I was looking for the x file but couldn't find it. Would you be able to pull it for me? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it.

Cc to your Line Manager every time. He will know that you are not being a bitch.

If a document doesn't directly affect you just leave it. See if you can ask your Line Manager to proof read things for her.

If you proof read something for her email her back the original and corrected version. Again don't make a big deal out of it but keep cc-ing the Line Manager. If it is paper documents, photocopy and leave a copy for the Line Manager.

Don't say anything just keep directing everything his way. He will have to deal with it eventually.

KnittedC Tue 23-Jul-13 05:50:04

How is it that you're so senior as for her to be jealous of it, and have the same line manager as her? Have I missed something?

"Part of her job duties is to produce a fortnightly report on a particular matter, and it is always full of spelling mistakes and strange abbreviations, missing full stops and commas and an absence of apostrophes. Its hard to explain just how bad her level of literacy is. Theres a fundamental lack of understanding of the basics there."

Well who does that go to? Is it your responsibility? If yes, then you have a responsibility to manage her poor performance, whether you're her line manager or not. If no, let it go where it's going without you correcting it.

Nishky Tue 23-Jul-13 07:41:46

I tried to read the thread but can't get over the use of 'most simplest' when complaining about someone else's grammar in the OP

RenterNomad Tue 23-Jul-13 10:45:34

Do you have a relationship with any of the third party clients which would enable you to prompt one of them to complain about receiving an illiterate pile of shit when you are on holiday (i.e. when Madam Incompetent is not proofread)?

cumfy Tue 23-Jul-13 13:44:56

Don't rewrite her reports!

Copy your colleague and don't let her touch your reports, save them yourself.

Email management weekly indicating the continuing scale and nature of the problem.

Do they really want all these reports going missing/untraceable ??

Seriously it will only take 2-3 people doing this before the penny drops somewhere.

justmyview Tue 23-Jul-13 15:00:02

The reports - where are they going to? If they're internal memos, then does it really matter if they're littered with mistakes? Of course they look terrible, but if they can still be understood, maybe you need to pick your battles and let it go

If she is preparing documents to go out to clients, or other departments (ie where it does matter if they contain mistakes), whose responsibility is it to check them? Just you, or other people too? Could you engineer to be away at meetings so your line manager has to be the one to check them in your absence and then he can see for himself how bad they are

Unfortunately, many line managers are fairly spineless. Maybe your manager is content to sit back and do nothing, because he knows he can rely on you to sort out the problem on a day-to-day basis & the work still gets done

quietbatperson Tue 23-Jul-13 18:42:30

You mentioned it's like she's coated in Teflon - what I want to know is, who is she sleeping with to get protection like that?

sudointellectual Tue 23-Jul-13 19:04:29

You must get a paper trail, and get email evidence of her stupidity - something easy to follow and clear to people not immersed in the minutiae of your role.

This happened to me with a junior coder. I had to rewrite everything they did - everything! - and I (naively) thought this would be evidenced in the diffs. But HR managers can't read code/ understand anything technical and so couldn't follow the evidence. I ended up leaving and the junior got promoted (briefly, until it all went to predictable hell as they never wrote a line of functional code grin).

I was okay and actually got a much better job, but on reflection I should never have colluded for a second in their incompetence. HR grasped the problem as soon as I left and they were no longer cushioned from the realities.

whois Tue 23-Jul-13 20:35:28

Paper trail paper trail paper trail. Be polite and professional. Don't say "I can't find document x" say "document x doesn't seem to be in file y".

whois Tue 23-Jul-13 20:36:05

Oh, try and have all your meetings with her attended by someone else and minuted.

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