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Visceral Dislike - WWYD

(31 Posts)
MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 19:46:38

Posting this in AIBU as I'm completely prepared to be told I am BU and need to get the fuck over myself:

I'm an IT consultant and the senior (and only woman, which may or may not matter) in my team -- minus my boss, obviously, but he doesn't do the exact same job, so I'm kind of on my own there.

A couple of the guys have recently resigned and we've replaced them. New guy #2 is great. I knew I wanted to have him the moment I conducted the phone interview and he's exceeded all my expectations so far.

New guy #1 (I'll call him Fred) is doing my head in! I had a bad feeling about him from the very start but was overruled re. the hiring decision due to his supposed qualifications and the fact that we needed to fill the vacancy immediately.

Fred's technically on the same seniority level as myself, but working with him feels rather like babysitting a toddler. That man simply refuses to think a coherent thought unaided. Or so I hope. The scarier alternative is that he may simply be incapable of doing so:

- He can't remember stuff that I know from skimming a document and he's had a 4 hour seminar about.

- He doesn't grasp relationships between things or any level of abstraction at all. If I spend 20 minutes explaining the relationship of A to B to him, I'll then spend another 20 repeating myself about C to D - even though these are completely analogous.

- Can't structure whichever thoughts he does have, which tends to result in messy, illegible documents that I then spend several hours reviewing and eventually correcting myself.

- Doesn't really seem to display any curiosity about anything at all. Never takes the initiative to find stuff out by himself. Doesn't actually seem to grasp that this is expected of him.

- Takes two days to write four pages about three of which are useless. Most of us can do that in two hours without the useless part.

And to top it off: he's socially awkward to the extreme. Talking about his wish to get promoted to the client awkward (never going to happen at this rate). Telling me I'm too thing and would be sexier if I exercised awkward. Informing senior manager of his attempts to impregnate his wife over working lunch awkward. (Wrongly) correcting my English even though I am English and he's working on his Cambridge First awkward. I have mild ASD and I'm better at this shit than he is FFS!

My problem is: I've started to feel a skin crawling, visceral kind of aversion towards the guy by now. And it's made worse by the fact that he can't seem to write a sentence in a report without walking over to my desk and asking whether he ought to be using single or double quotes.

I've spoken to my boss about the performance issues. What I can't exactly tell him is that I just want to be far, far away from the guy. Preferably on opposite sides of the planet.

I know this latter part is my issue and I need to deal with it. But he's making my skin crawl. WWYD?

MellowAutumn Wed 17-Dec-14 19:52:09

Find a legitimate way of 'managing' him out

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 19:58:57

I fantasise about that, "Mellow*. Not happening. I get the impression that my boss's boss tends towards my view of the situation but my direct superior does not. And big boss defers to little boss where his team is concerned.

I'm the guys' de facto supervisor as far as operational things go. But they don't technically work for me.

Goodwordguide Wed 17-Dec-14 20:05:07

Is he on his probationary period? In my experience, given the issues you've mentioned, you're unlikely to be able to change his behaviour to any significant extent so I would try and get rid as soon as possible.

Otherwise, make sure you have very clear objectives set so you can show how and where he is underperforming.

Personal dislike you will have to try and squash I'm afraid, to keep it professional.

noddingoff Wed 17-Dec-14 20:05:25

If he's that bad, maybe:
- his qualifications are totally bogus or mickey mouse rubbish or acquired by cheating or;
- he's got early - onset Alzheimer's (can start as young as your 30s)

PurplePidjingThroughTheSnow Wed 17-Dec-14 20:07:40

Stop covering for him by correcting his work - he was hired over your head, make it the person who made that decision's responsibility to sort out his fuck ups.

anothernumberone Wed 17-Dec-14 20:08:26

Hmmmm I think I would leave him to fall on his sword if he is that awful. I have been in that situation although the person was at the same level as I was. I was just dependent on him feeding me work so I could progress. He was so useless it was shocking but it does not take long for it to be stopped. This guy was fired within 3 months.

anothernumberone Wed 17-Dec-14 20:11:10

*If he's that bad, maybe:
- his qualifications are totally bogus or mickey mouse rubbish or acquired by cheating*

Not necessarily the guy I was talking about had a relevant phd. He just was not in any way capable of consultancy work he may have been more suited to research thank god I never had to find out

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 20:13:11

I like the 'stop making up for his shortcomings' bit. This is something I can actually make work realistically.

In all fairness: the part where he told our managing director about how he was scheduling his attempts to get his wife pregnant was bloody hilarious and made my day! grin

HamPortCourt Wed 17-Dec-14 20:15:52

Can you speak to your manager and explain how you feel? Ask if someone else can mentor/manage himas he is doing your head in?

Maybe if someone else had the pleasure it wouldn't just be you saying he is a problem.

grocklebox Wed 17-Dec-14 20:15:55

You have to stop helping him. IF you are doing half his work then no-one is going to notice how crap he is. You need to let him sink on his own, cut yourself off from him entirely. You are always too busy.

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 20:17:14

I reckon my guy ticks more along those lines another. He sounds capable when talking about the ins and outs of his favourite programming language. He's just absolutely useless at conceptual work. Unfortunately for him, our job involves nothing of the former and lots of the latter.

And, no, he's not in his probationary period. He's new to the project but has been with the firm for a while. Though he's been on the bench most of that time - which is often a bad sign with IT consultants. We're so short on staff that they'd normally staff anyone marginally capable for any role.

Tobyjugg Wed 17-Dec-14 20:24:57

Sideways transfer?

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 20:36:00

Me or him?

I'm not really an option - ressource of vital importance supposedly. Let's hope a crashing plane doesn't fall on my head anytime soon!

Him? Going to happen sooner or later. I'm working on the sooner part.

I don't actually wish my co-worker ill. Having mild ASD myself I can absolutely relate to his awkwardness issues (though I can't relate to him not making an active effort to address them). I also admire that he's made it this far in spite of his particular background.

^^ there's me doing my best to be generous.

Bulbasaur Wed 17-Dec-14 20:42:46

I'm with PP's. Leave him to his own devices.

If you can't read his stuff hand it back and ask him to type it up.

I'm a big fan of letting people learn from their own mistakes. I've had bosses that did the "my way or highway" attitude, so I'd do what they wanted even though I knew it was the wrong way and watched them take a knock. I will help you help yourself as much as I possibly can, but I won't spoon feed or do work for them.

I remember an intern that was really awkward who thought it would be funny to talk about having movie theater sex. Not even in an obnoxious "bro" way, it was just awkward all around. He had more problems, but I didn't like hanging out with him. I just avoided him when I could.

KnackeredMerrily Wed 17-Dec-14 21:17:39

My DH had a similar member of staff (in a similar company, with a bench etc)

He micro managed him, spent hours detailing work, providing outlines and deadlines and still he was hopeless.

Eventually the facts stood for themselves and this guy became one of legend because he didn't get transferred to a shit project, he was actually fired. Unheard of for the company.

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 22:11:06

This guy became one of legend because he didn't get transferred to a shit project, he was actually fired. Unheard of for the company.

Unheard of at any tech consulting firm I am aware of. Where I work they threaten people with waterboarding porn tapes starring Nigel Farrage not being promoted next round - and people actually seem to think that's a scary prospect! grin

Goodwordguide Wed 17-Dec-14 22:13:31

And escalate or flag this clearly, in an email not verbally - some people just won't have the skills no matter how much you performance manage them so you need to make your managers aware there's an issue and that you've flagged it.

lessonsintightropes Wed 17-Dec-14 22:24:22

I feel your pain OP. I work in an entirely different industry and made (for myself, not by someone else) a similar error and it took painfully four months to manage the individual out. No matter how I tried to break it down, the individual didn't see their inability to work with concepts. It's a capability rather than a disciplinary issue though (can't do, rather than won't do) so I tried as hard as possible to be kind and decent about giving detailed feedback and to help the individual look at options which might work better for them - but the inability to reflect and take feedback on board and act on it made me very irritated. In the end they left whilst I was on holiday when on probation and left a lengthy exit interview about my managment style. The upshot of it was a short discussion about the failure to pick up the candidate's issues in the recruitment process, and how we'd get the work done in the short and medium term once they'd exited the business. Everyone is a lot happier and more productive now they've gone (and I'm no longer managing the fall out from their conduct and incompetence). Hope you manage to get rid soon. Can you try and influence big boss?

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 22:30:41

Been there, done that Goodword.

I've actually sent my reviewer's copy of his latest magnum opus including the last three iterations of my comments to my own boss today, along with the request for him to address this with the co-worker in question as I've been over the document multiple times in the last week and have written a point-by-point list of what it needs to contain in which order and granularity and it's still crap!

My current strategy is to try and outsource his issues up the chain of command whenever possible in the hope that it'll exasperate my boss as much as it does me.

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 22:38:53

lessons big boss is an option, yes. We've worked together ever since I joined and I regard him as a friend and a mentor. He's also got the immensely useful trait of not being able to cope with idiocy. Natural advantage right there!

I also really like and respect my immediate supervisor, though, so I'd prefer to get him on my side rather than going over his head.

If I can't sortthis out by mid-January I'll have to consider other routes, though: We're getting a graduate trainee then and I'll have to invest some time in someone who legitimately needs instruction and guidance rather than someone who ought to be able to get his own shit done.

lessonsintightropes Wed 17-Dec-14 22:43:09

It's really tricky but I think you are being highly professional actually - if you'd focused on the way the individual talked to people or blew their nose, that would be personal, this is not. It's a performance issue and therefore must be addressed for everyone's sake - not least yours! Have you tried taking intermediate boss for coffee and explaining that this is causing major clogs in getting work done, and to say that in your opinion things really need to change? I'd try that first (and give it time to work) but keep big boss in reserve. Keep going, you're doing great.

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 17-Dec-14 23:01:27

Lessons learned so far: when staffing for your own team, always go with your gut! If others don't like what your gut is feeling present them with its contents until they relent.

I'm not normally a gut-feeling type of person at all, but I can honestly say I've never hired or staffed someone who 'felt' right and they turned out not to be at least decent. I've only once been really positively surprised by someone I didn't want to take on from the get go. She was the one brilliant exception in a series ranging from just about adequate to still haunting my nightmares and those of everyone else who had the misfortune of having to work with them.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 17-Dec-14 23:20:10

Yes always go wth your gut!

To address this, keep it about his work standard, and let him sink or swim alone. Be like Karen and Nick on the Apprentice, asking those difficult questions innocently. And make sure you cover your back. at all times.

I had one like this, recruited by my manager. I pointed out from day 1 that he had made a huge error. I finally lost it after a few weeks and asked my boss if he had chased up the references personally, he called the referee and he laughed down the phone at my boss when he told him who he had hired. Then the guy harassed my staff at the christmas do to which i tore a strip off them both, and the same day he found out he had forged his expenses so he finally got rid of him.

lessonsintightropes Wed 17-Dec-14 23:23:52

Gut rarely if ever lies in terms of whether you can work with the person; whether the person could do the same job under different circumstances/with a different team is a separate question, and one I massively kicked myself over before managing out the person I referred to above. My worry in this situation is always whether I could have managed or worked with them differently - I tried really hard, and think that the OP has also wrestled with this question. But you have to work with the situation you have. And it sounds like both you and the OP had v legitimate concerns!

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