Difficult co-workers are a part of life. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a co-worker making life difficult at the office. Some of these factors could be underperforming on their job duties, missing deadlines, snitching on co-workers, showing up late, starting rumors in the office, eating other people’s food in the break room, etc. The trouble began for our friend, “Jack,” when he had a difficult co-worker assigned as his assistant.
Jack worked in sales for his company and every member of the sales staff was assigned an assistant to get their sales leads and schedule appointments. An important aspect of Jack’s job was training, which is where things immediately got off on the wrong foot with his new assistant, “Tyler.” Tyler was new to the company; however, he had on-the-job experience from owning his own business. Although he had previous experience generating sales leads and scheduling appointments, Tyler still needed to learn about the sales software that the company used in order to seamlessly transition into his new position.
However, Tyler rejected Jack’s training and said, ‘I’m a former business owner and know how to do the job, I don’t need no help.’
What a hostile way for Tyler to start out as Jack’s assistant. I’m sure that Tyler felt qualified for the position but openly rejecting training is a power move. Just because you know one software system doesn’t mean you know all of them. I wonder if Tyler being a former business owner meant that things quite didn’t work out how he planned. Maybe it was a result of stubbornness. Just a shot in the dark. Also, if someone ever says the phrase, ‘I don’t need no help,’ to you, they most definitely do need help.
Unfortunately for Jack, his new assistant rejecting training was only the beginning of the troubles he would have with Tyler.
It turned out that Tyler really could have benefitted from letting Jack train him. That was most apparent when the appointments that Tyler scheduled had an eighty percent no-show rate. The volume of no-shows was absolute insanity compared to the usual thirty percent no-show rate that Jack was used to. When Jack brought up the high no-show rate to Tyler, he was met with defensiveness from Tyler who bickered that the volume of no-shows wasn’t his fault.
That was frustrating enough, but things became really difficult for Jack when Tyler insisted on creating his own lead cards and tracking system. The lead cards and tracking system were nowhere near as good as the ones already in place at the company and resulted in even more appointments falling through. On top of that, half of the contact details that Tyler provided for Jack didn’t even work.
That sounds absolutely infuriating for Jack. Not only did Tyler reject any and all training, but his contributions to the sales process have nearly destroyed Jack’s sales. No wonder Tyler didn’t think he needed training, he never intended to use any of it. Normally, I think he should get a pass on adjusting to his new position but he has been nothing but stubborn since the very beginning. Hopefully, Tyler realizes that he is doing more harm than good and decides to follow the sales process that is already in place.
What really got on Jack’s nerves was that Tyler would constantly suck up to his manager. Jack completely saw through the facade and knew that Tyler was just trying to get in good with his manager so he could continue getting away with his incompetence. As if sucking up to the manager wasn’t bad enough, Tyler talked to the manager about all of the great things he was doing in his position. Jack begged to differ, but Tyler’s tactics somehow worked on the manager. His manager was in love with Tyler and prevented Jack from firing him despite all of his wrongdoing.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Jack was ten minutes late to work one day and Tyler reported him to his manager for being late.
At Jack’s company, employees didn’t clock in or out. He would often come in early or leave late most days, so coming into work ten minutes late one day shouldn’t have been a big deal. What turned into a big deal was the habit that Tyler formed of ratting out Jack to his manager any time he did something that wasn’t technically above board with the company guidelines.
At that point, Jack decided to stop giving Tyler a pass on his awful production. He requested to do a review of Tyler’s sales leads. The review consisted of Jack and Tyler meeting to go through his sales leads and discuss what had worked on sales calls, what didn’t work, and how Tyler’s performance as an assistant could improve.
I personally would have stopped giving Tyler any slack after he implemented his own lead card and tracking system, but good for Jack for being so patient. The review of the sales leads is long overdue. Having an eighty percent no-show rate is extraordinary and I wouldn’t be shocked if it has something to do with Tyler’s attitude. There is just no chance that the same Tyler could be charming people into sales appointments.
They made it three leads into the review before Tyler grew irate and said the leads belonged to him, not Jack. After Jack urged Tyler to continue the review, Tyler called his manager to complain about Jack’s behavior. When his manager called Jack to see what was going on, Jack snapped and told him that he needed to give him the authority to fire Tyler otherwise he was going to force his hand.
The manager responded by saying that Jack needed to find a way to work with Tyler.
I understand that managing employees can be difficult and getting a fully accurate story from both sides of a conflict can be even more difficult. However, there is no way that Tyler shouldn’t be fired based on what Jack has shared in this story alone. Tyler is an absolute disaster of a co-worker. A lot of people get by on being incompetent because they are nice, so their co-workers see it as endearing as long as it doesn’t personally affect them. Tyler, on the other hand, is incompetent and an absolute night about it.
Jack decided to look into a little-known policy that his company had.
Jack soon discovered his company had a policy that stated any employee with three ethics complaints within six months resulted in the employee automatically being fired. This rarely happened because the customer had to access a specific page on the website to file an ethics complaint. The page being difficult to find resulted in very few ethics complaints being filed.
Jack decided to pull up Tyler’s leads and start dialing.
Jack called all of the leads and end up getting nine different people who said they didn’t opt into being given sales calls. It immediately clicked for Jack why the no-show rate had been so much higher when Tyler started as his assistant. A good portion of his sales leads actually didn’t even opt into anything.
Jack responded to the nine people and said, “Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that. We actually have an ethics complaints page for such a situation. Would you like me to forward you the link so you can file a complaint? It would really help us ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
After that, all Jack had to do was wait for Tyler to get what was coming for him.
“Oh, That’s Really Unfortunate”
No wonder Tyler was so apprehensive during the review of his sales leads. He had been opting people in to meet with Jack without even having their permission. That was brilliant thinking from Jack to send them directly to the ethics complaint page. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands when your incompetent assistant befriends your manager.
Within forty-eight hours, Tyler received five ethics complaints. Of course, nothing was ever his fault but Tyler couldn’t even argue with the ethics complaints submitted through the company website. Tyler was finally getting put in his place and no defensiveness could prevent it.
Jack’s manager called him three days later and said, “It’s really strange that we’ve got a slew of complaints against your assistant. Did you have any part in this?”
Jack responded, “Well, you see, my assistant refused to conduct a lead review with me, so I called all their leads for them. Occasionally, the lead claimed they didn’t intend on providing their information for sales calls so I simply sent them to the link to file a complaint.”
His manager said, “Yeah, well, now I’m forced to fire your assistant.”
Jack grinned and said, “Oh, that’s really unfortunate. I’m sorry to hear that.”
Jack was, in fact, not sorry to hear that.
His manager admitted, “Well, I guess you won this one.”
That is really odd phrasing for a manager. He made it sound as if Jack won the lottery for not having an incompetent assistant. Not only did the manager not listen to Jack’s complaints about Tyler but he made it sound as if Jack was the winner for not having a co-worker that actively takes away from his job performance. Maybe Jack’s next vendetta will be against his manager.
Jack responded, “Not a problem. I’ll go ahead and post the new job ad.”
Thankfully, Jack’s next assistant was significantly better than Tyler.
Thoughts From The Author
From the very start, Tyler sounded like the worst assistant that Jack could have possibly had. With his arrogance, I’m not even sure how Tyler got hired. I feel like providing bogus sales leads is pretty frowned upon when that is your one job, but Tyler still found a way to be more concerned with Jack showing up to work on time than with his actual job performance. Maybe being a first-class prick is a sign that he should pursue a career where he has to interact with fewer people.
I can’t get over how the manager just let Tyler’s performance slide. I understand that he buddied up with the manager, but that really shouldn’t have given Tyler a pass to implement his own lead cards and tracking system that, from the sound of it, absolutely sucked. It seemed like the manager might have been as stubborn as Tyler when it came to getting rid of incompetent employees. Maybe Jack should take his talents elsewhere if the manager sticks him with another awful assistant and literally forces Jack into getting them fired so he can do his job.
I’m glad that Jack could tell something was up when he tried to do the lead review with Tyler. Tyler was obviously stubborn but getting full-on defensive when Jack wanted to do something that sounded pretty standard was a massive red flag. I think Jack handled Tyler extremely, well given just how difficult he was as an assistant. It’s very honorable that Jack didn’t quit on the spot when he realized that his new assistant who was actively taking away from his sales performance developed a bond with his manager. That was a recipe for disaster, but Jack found his way around it and I applaud him for it.