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Addition by subtraction (pain the butt coworkers)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by wedgewood, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    There's a woman on our desk that's a total pain the ass. She's self-absorbed, combative and lazy. And she's easily the biggest whiner I've ever met in my life.
    Alright, to be fair, from time to time, she writes fantastic headlines. She isn't stupid.
    And, if she really puts her mind to it, she can do her job well. But mostly she's a pain in the ass.
    It's her constant complaining that bothers me most. And I'm not the only one.
    She doesn't want to work there and she's made that abundantly clear. Night after fucking night.
    She talks as though the paper is holding her back. She said she's applied for jobs on the metro desk, (since she is, of course, an award-winning reporter from back in the day) but they won't take her. Age discrimination, she insists. Bullshit, I think to myself. Your attitude sucks, why would metro want you?
    I've told her to look for another job. But her reply is the standard 'I've sent out 40 resumes and haven't gotten a single response.'
    My immediate supervisors (and plenty of other people for that matter) don't want her there. They would love nothing more than for her to submit her two weeks notice so they could bring in someone else. Someone eager and happy to have that job.
    But they've been told in no uncertain terms, that if they want her gone, that's it ... no replacement.
    To them, it's kind of a tough predicament. The last thing our copy desk chief wants is to have a position frozen out. The job is hard enough and we need all the people we can get. I see her side of it ... waiting it out until she quits.
    But things have really been coming to a boil lately.
    Tonight was more of the same. She whined like hell about a headline spec. And it was an near impossible spec. But instead of being diplomatic, going to the designer and saying 'Look, I can't say what needs to be said in this point size. Can we do something about it?' she just whined. And whined some more.
    Then she tells the slot guy that she's giving up and tells him to rewrite it since 'you guys rewrite all of my headlines anyway.'
    He tells her to give it another shot and she pushes through a 1A hed that's 180 degrees wrong. The night editor sees it on the page, confronts her and a nice little dust up ensues.
    But that's all it ever is. Little dust ups.
    She was told during her evaluation to get her shit together. Be a team player, stop with all the negativity. But, if anything, her attitude has gotten progressively worse.
    I don't mean to be a dick, and I don't like to see anyone lose their jobs, but I think everyone would be happier if the paper just cut her loose.
    Thankfully, I'm not in this position. Just curious what you guys would do.
  2. If I'm not her or her boss I wouldn't do anything but sit back and watch the drama. What else can you do?
  3. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Get comfortable, grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the show. If she's going to be a toolbox, it's her problem, not yours.
  4. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    Oh, I don't plan on doing anything except watching the drama unfold. I'm waiting anxiously for the fit to hit the shan. I guess what I'm asking is what would you do in a supervisory position.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Transfer her to take prep calls.. that'll learn her
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Send her out to cover youth swimming. Those kids work hard too.
  7. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    The people up the chain are the true assholes here.

    We're in a "hiring freeze" officially, too -- but that hasn't stopped one edict from being issued by our EE. Just because we can't officially hire someone doesn't mean he won't fire a morale-killing asshole, then risk getting his ass in a sling by replacing her.

    Hiring freezes can create an atmosphere where these sorts of douchebags can hold a place hostage if you don't get some back-up further up the ladder.
  8. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    As a supervisor, that's a tough call. Firing somebody is way harder than it looks, even before you start to wind in issues about age and gender. You have to be able to document a pattern of measurable lack of performance over a long period of time, or gross insubordination. You can't fire somebody just for being a pain in the ass, especially if she's productive. (That's why the interview and reference-check process is so important -- the best way to not have a pain in the ass in your shop is to not hire them.)

    And if you've already been told the position is going to be frozen when she leaves, that's a tough spot. In most cases, you'd rather have her level of production than no production at all.

    If she was told during her review to stop with the negativity -- and backed up in the written part with examples -- there'll be a basis for some sort of job action before the next review. If she's on a "Performance Improvement Plan" (ugh), she'll be coming up for a "review" well before her review time. If things haven't changed, or if they're worse, progressive discipline can start.

    The problem with a situation like this might end up being that she's going to run off all the good people before she leaves.

    I wish the supervisor the best of luck in this situation. He/she is going to need it.
  9. We have the same problem here only with a reporter.
    She writes two stories a week, takes a half-dozen smoke breaks - on the days she's kind enough to come in - flat-out fails to turn her regularly weekly assignments, comes in late, leaves early and takes off in the middle of the day without anybody having any idea where she went, and she spends most of the morning talking on the phone (long distance) to her daughter or husband.

    Our EE has made threats, but we all know nothing is going to happen, because our paper is in a huge $$ hole this year and he's been told we are in a hiring freeze. If we lose her two stories a week,that's more of a workload for anyone.

    It sucks, but what are you gonna do?

    Good luck.
    Remember there is a reason why 'work' is called 'work.'

    Assholes and slackoffs are, sadly, usually come with the job.
  10. This is when employees need to take the situation into their own hands.

    Stuff a bunch of soap in a pillow case and then beat the crap out of her when she goes out for her next smoke break.

    Tell her to step it up or the next beating won't be so kind.
  11. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest


    Not the best idea.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  12. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Maybe what might work is to reassign her to do stories - she was the greatest reporter, after all - and see how things work out on the desk.

    This could serve two purposes.

    1. It could show the department that you can put the paper out without her. It will stretch the abilities of the remaining staff. It will probably give everyone else somewhat of a rest. You will be able to see if you can live without her.

    2. It will put her on notice that nobody is indispensible. It might give her a change of pace and maybe she wouldn't be so whiny.
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