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 Post subject: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:15 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 114
I'm having a problem with a coworker - let's call her "Lazy."

Lazy comes in late, takes long lunches (we get 60 minutes - she takes 90 minutes), and leaves about 30 minutes early ever day. While we're salaried, we're supposed to be at our desks at certain hours, and she's not there. (This also means that she's blatantly lying on her timeshseet - and our bonuses are tied, in part, to the hours that we work.)

Lazy also spends a lot of her downtime planning her wedding and playing computer games, both of which are frowned upon. Our boss is three states away, btw, and while we have a supervisor, he almost never stops by our area of the office.

Her laziness does impact me. Let's say that we're basketweavers, and that we need to inspect each other's baskets to make sure everything is assembled properly. Because she doesn't work the hours she's supposed to work, and because she'd rather plan her wedding than assemble baskets, her work is really sloppy. Like, really sloppy. It takes me a lot longer to look over her baskets because of the sloppiness.

Lazy has been doing this since her second week here, and she's been here over two years. I notified our mutual boss of Lazy's work schedule early on, but the boss made it clear that he doesn't want me to do anything about this.

I feel so frustrated. I work hard, I take stuff home to work on things, and I stay late. I feel that my efforts don't really matter - why should I work hard if someone else can just skate by and get the same rewards? I'm looking for a new job, btw. Until that happens, does anyone have any advice? This situation STINKS.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:15 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:31 pm
Posts: 405
Stop working late. Don't take stuff home with you. You dont have to become like Lazy, but clearly you are underappreciated and there is no point in putting in extra work. Get there on time, leave on time, work hard while you are there, but thats it.

Your co-worker will never change, and if the boss doesnt care that Lazy is, well, lazy, then (s)he will never be fired.

Its good that you are looking for a new job, I would too in those circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:21 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 114
Thank you for the response!

I will definitely stop going "above and beyond." It's not worth it - my boss doesn't seem to care that Lazy is doing whatever she wants, so it shouldn't matter about my work, either.

It's too bad, as I really like this job and the people, but if the boss thinks my efforts aren't worthwhile, then I'll take my talents elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:55 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1780
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Blueberry Scone wrote:
Why should I work hard if someone else can just skate by and get the same rewards?


That's an excellent question, and not just for your specific situation.

I don't really have an answer, except to say, "Welcome to 21st century America!" Get used to it. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:03 pm 
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Try working with a hypochondriac! We have a guy who is gone at least 1 day a week and usually 2 or 3 because he is sick or his wife or kids are and he has to take care of them. When he is here he spends a great deal of time complaining about how the recession has made the state cut back on services that he took advantage of. (We have excellent health coverage among other benefits!)

He has long since run out of sick and vacation time. He is one of the only people I have ever worked with in my entire career that I would have fired. But for various bureaucratic reasons we are unable to do anything about him. Everyone suffers because he does not get his work done and others much constantly wait until he is back for various reasons.

Yes, it should not be that way. Someone should get rid of him. But thanks to a lot of well-meaning worker protection laws, we're stuck. We were close to getting rid of him about a year ago and he figured it out and filed for FMLA and short term disability (he was denied the disability after several months because he could not demonstrate any actual measureable symptoms!) Now the organization is afraid he will sue if he is fired.

My point is, you'll always have deadbeats around like the loser you work with. You'll go nuts if you let it bother you too much. Just work hard yourself and try to avoid biting your tongue too much.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:56 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 114
Thank you all so much! It's such a frustrating situation, but when I leave (and I plan to leave, soon!), I think they'll really see Lazy's incompetence.

Anyone need a free-lancer? ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:18 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
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Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Don't want to be nicky-picky ... but it doesn't sound like you have a problem with your coworker. You instead have a problem with your employer not enforcing reasonable standards (or the perception of it ... your coworker could be paid much less than you).

Researchers are finding fairness and religion and other seemingly modern social/behavioral aspects evolutionary traits. In other words, groups where the people's brains tended to believe in these concepts had a better chance of surviving and passing on those traits. However, consuming instead of saving is also an evolutionary trait very well suited for our tooth-and-claw days. You have the option of overriding those thoughts for your own optimal situation.

So the real question is what is the optimal financial scenario for you. Forget about your coworker. In fact, consider all your coworkers robots. They are simply part of the factory machinery that put things in your work basket. If a machine put together those widgets for you to then inspect for QA, would you be happy in your job and your compensation for it? Could you decrease your work effort and still get the same pay? How likely is it for you to find better paying work at the same hours?

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:13 am 
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MossySF wrote:
Researchers are finding fairness and religion and other seemingly modern social/behavioral aspects evolutionary traits. In other words, groups where the people's brains tended to believe in these concepts had a better chance of surviving and passing on those traits.


That sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me. Our intelligence and ability to think rationally is believed to be our primary evolutionary advantage. Religion is the antithesis of rational thought. Believing things without evidence and proof is not a characteristic of intelligence. It is believed that religion evolved to explain things in the environment that early man had no other way to explain. Blaming the wind on an imaginary being rather than differences in atmospheric pressure would have no survival benefit. I can see how practicing basic astronomy to develop a calendar would have a benefit, and that was originally tied to religion, but then saying religion had a survival benefit is ridiculous. Why not justs say practicing astronomy had a survival benefit?


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
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Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
DoingHomework wrote:
That sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me. Our intelligence and ability to think rationally is believed to be our primary evolutionary advantage. Religion is the antithesis of rational thought. Believing things without evidence and proof is not a characteristic of intelligence. It is believed that religion evolved to explain things in the environment that early man had no other way to explain. Blaming the wind on an imaginary being rather than differences in atmospheric pressure would have no survival benefit. I can see how practicing basic astronomy to develop a calendar would have a benefit, and that was originally tied to religion, but then saying religion had a survival benefit is ridiculous. Why not justs say practicing astronomy had a survival benefit?


Getting way off topic but it's a very interesting topic so I'll respond.

Think the prisoners' dilemma and other scenarios like that. Individuals tend make decisions that maximize their own welfare. But when in a group setting, sometimes the individual decision can be detrimental to the group survival. And when your group is killed off, the fact that you got an extra dollar/egg/berry during that moment you maximized your own welfare is irrelevant. There are evolutionary forces acting not only on the individual but also on the group.

Let's ignore all the details about religion and just focus on the most important one -- there are invisible beings all around watching us and judging us. Researchers are finding that when people believe somebody or something are watching them, people tend to cheat less. In one experiment, 3 groups of kids were tested. Those who were told a magic fairy was watching them acted just as if an adult was in the room watching them -- while the last group (neither adults nor fairies watching) cheated far more. So what religion likely did in our ancient past was to motivate individuals to engage in better group survival behavior.

The concept of thoughts and behaviors being inheritable sound strange but don't underestimate the complexities of the brain. An ancestor in our past with some gene that caused his brain to fire off pleasurable sensations when he/she interacted with others in certain ways would have been more proned to continue to do those interactions. And if those types of interactions contributed to group survival, it would then have been more likely for those characteristics to be passed on. You might say it's not the religion itself but the tendency for brain have pleasurable sensations in the presence of religion that may be genetic.

And as for evolutionary advantage, ants kick our ass. The weight of all the ants in this world is greater than the weight of all humans. They were on this earth hundreds of millions of years before us and will be here hundreds of millions after. Exactly how much is our intelligence an advantage on this time scale?

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:54 am 
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MossySF wrote:
Think the prisoners' dilemma and other scenarios like that. Individuals tend make decisions that maximize their own welfare. But when in a group setting, sometimes the individual decision can be detrimental to the group survival. And when your group is killed off, the fact that you got an extra dollar/egg/berry during that moment you maximized your own welfare is irrelevant. There are evolutionary forces acting not only on the individual but also on the group.

I would agree that group survival has almost certainly played a role in human evolution. We believe, for example, the the Neaderthal species may have been outcompeted into extinction by H.sapiens because of factors related to group management. But we also have evidence of religious type behavior by Neanderthals so it is not the practice of"religion" that confers an advantage.

MossySF wrote:
Let's ignore all the details about religion and just focus on the most important one -- there are invisible beings all around watching us and judging us. Researchers are finding that when people believe somebody or something are watching them, people tend to cheat less. In one experiment, 3 groups of kids were tested. Those who were told a magic fairy was watching them acted just as if an adult was in the room watching them -- while the last group (neither adults nor fairies watching) cheated far more. So what religion likely did in our ancient past was to motivate individuals to engage in better group survival behavior.

Don't change subject because you can't support your claim. You originally said that there is evidence that religion confers an evolutionary benefit. I don't think there is any good evidence for that. It would be the kind of thing that is virtually impossible to defend. I'm sure there are claims like that by religious people seeking some scientific justification for their beliefs. But I can't imagine he experiment that would test that claim with scientific rigor.

Now, we do know that social justice and concepts of guilt exist in the animal kingdom and in our closest relatives. Anyone who has owned a pet dog or cat has undoubtedly seen guilt, fairness, and social justice concerns. Ever come home to trash scattered around the house and a dog that is making himself scarce? Ever try having two dogs and giving one a treat in front of the other? Chimpanzees will hunt down and kill a member of their group that commits a serious offense but also help feed injured members of their group. And these things are beginning to be tested using scientific methods. But this has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Even if a religion preaches the same principals, you are following a logical fallacy to then say that religion has anything to do with it.

Let's take guilt for example. Guilt might have evolved to make individuals behave in a way that is conducive to group survival. Let's say it is true that guilt confers an evolutionary advantage. If a religion then makes guilt a major tenet and uses it to control congregants (as several major religions do), that does not mean that religion is offers the advantage. It's like saying compounds in red wine are healthy and therefor being catholic and taking communion every Sunday is an evolutionary advantage. It simply does not follow logically from the evidence.

MossySF wrote:
The concept of thoughts and behaviors being inheritable sound strange but don't underestimate the complexities of the brain. An ancestor in our past with some gene that caused his brain to fire off pleasurable sensations when he/she interacted with others in certain ways would have been more proned to continue to do those interactions. And if those types of interactions contributed to group survival, it would then have been more likely for those characteristics to be passed on. You might say it's not the religion itself but the tendency for brain have pleasurable sensations in the presence of religion that may be genetic.


You are right that thoughts and behaviors do seem to be somehow stored in our genetic code in a way that we do not currently understand. The implications of that are extremely interesting but so far our understanding is so rudimentary that almost any discussion about it is speculative. And think about butterfly migrations. Large groups of monarch butterflies migrate down to central mexico...but the migration occurs over several generations. Understanding how the butterflies know both the route and their particular generation's part in it is completely baffling.

MossySF wrote:
And as for evolutionary advantage, ants kick our ass. The weight of all the ants in this world is greater than the weight of all humans. They were on this earth hundreds of millions of years before us and will be here hundreds of millions after. Exactly how much is our intelligence an advantage on this time scale?


How intelligent are we? I have to go to work every day, Go out and buy and then prepare my food,etc. My cats just lay there and have everything done for them. So who is smarter?


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:19 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1627
Location: Seattle, WA
Even if religion is a competitive advantage, it doesn't necessarily follow that we are "hard wired" to have/be susceptible to religious beliefs. Religion can survive in a group as information (a.k.a. a meme). One group with religion as part of their group beliefs/information/etc could outcompete another group of genetically similar humans without religion.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:28 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
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Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
DoingHomework wrote:
Don't change subject because you can't support your claim. You originally said that there is evidence that religion confers an evolutionary benefit.


And I posted an example of that evidence. (Google "religious belief evolutionary adaptation" and you will find many links ... some easier to read, some harder.) Evidence does not mean 100% conclusive case closed. You can have evidence in a court case and still have a defendant ruled innocent.

Or are you thinking because I focused on "all-seeing judging supernatural being" ... that's changing the subject? 50,000 years ago when such group pressures and interactions were larger forces for species survival, I would assume we're not talking about today's modern interpretation of religion. Instead, religion in that context would be a far more baser version. If a gene exists where the brain fires off enjoyable synapses when those first acolytes told their tales, it's not that far off to imagine today's complex religions piggybacking off the same reactions.

And let me clarify this a bit more. What is be explored is the "belief in religions", not whether religions are true. Totally separate things .. after all, many people in this world believe things that are not true (e.g. Obama is a muslim) but you can still quantify how many people believe in that.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:24 am 
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MossySF wrote:
And I posted an example of that evidence. (Google "religious belief evolutionary adaptation" and you will find many links ... some easier to read, some harder.) Evidence does not mean 100% conclusive case closed. You can have evidence in a court case and still have a defendant ruled innocent.


I googled that phrase and found very little relevant to what you are saying. I trust that it is there but most of the results had to do with how religion interferes which biology students accepting the fact of evolution or that kind of thing. I'd be happy to read a more direct link.

MossySF wrote:
Instead, religion in that context would be a far more baser version.

We might even call it science. Observing the position of the stars when the weather starts to warm and it is safe to plant used to be called astrology. It was part of religion. Then Kepler came along and said "Wait...we can model this.." and astronomy was born. No one understood how the diversity of creatures on earth came about so they said an invisible man created them - then came Darwin.

Nearly every religion tells people to believe without proof or rational thought. Once an explanation becomes available for something it gradually has to be dropped from the religion. Owing to the scientific revolution modern religions are reduced to more esoteric beliefs that have not yet been addressed by science. Evolution is a scientific fact, though there might be details to be understood. Not so long ago religions needed us to be alone in the universe so that we are special and unique - a god that made millions of planets just doesn't seem like he is focusing on us. We now know of hundreds of extrasolar planets and find more almost every day. They are common. We have not found life yet but we will very soon - and the news will shock every religion even more than test tube babies or Ventnor's creating life in the lab did. Leaders will minimize the importance of these discoveries but thinking people are and will become increasingly aware that religion is not necessary to understand the world.

MossySF wrote:
And let me clarify this a bit more. What is be explored is the "belief in religions", not whether religions are true. Totally separate things .. after all, many people in this world believe things that are not true (e.g. Obama is a muslim) but you can still quantify how many people believe in that.


I am not religious but also not anti-religion. But I do get annoyed when people try to amplify the importance of their own religion. Religion has been immensely powerful in the evolution of western society. It might have played a role in human evolution. I would accept that if there were evidence. I just have not seen any strong evidence. And I would be very skeptical of any presented because that kind of thing is very hard to measure.

I believe religions exist. My evidence is the cars packed into church parking lots every Sunday, widespread bigotry by almost every faith against other faiths, and millions of murders throughout history in the name of religion. But I do not believe in supernatural beings. If I were a caveman and did not understand what caused the wind, why locusts destroyed plants every few years and I starved, or how some people knew when winter was ending and it was safe to plant, I may have been religious. But I now know that there are far simpler explanations for the world than making up stories about invisible beings.

If you or anyone else wants to be religious then that is your choice. But to say that suspending rational thought and believing in myths made human evolution possible is and incredible claim that would require incredible evidence.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:00 pm 

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Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
DoingHomework wrote:
But to say that suspending rational thought and believing in myths made human evolution possible is and incredible claim that would require incredible evidence.


Are you reading too much into my replies? Because at no time did I say what you are saying I said.

Do you first need me to post a disclaimer that I am uncaring atheist (which I am)? Then you'd re-read my words and fill in a different context?

Belief in religion (possibly/probably) being an evolutionary trait does not mean it made human evolution possible. It means some researchers are exploring the brain's tendency to have these thoughts (sometimes even in declared atheists), have done research studies in existing humans and are trying to model a possible evolutionary adaptation in our past. Humans can certain have evolved without it (and did for much of our history) -- if there was a different pressure point/climate/event 100K years ago, we might be 98% atheists on this planet but we would still be human.

Here are 2 readable links on the religion + sociobiology subject:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129528196
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/04/magazine/04evolution.t.html

Back to my original reply ... sociobiology has been exploring the concepts of religion/fairplay/consumption/etc as being evolutionary adaptations. If they are, then our brains are thinking "buy this now" or "goddamn lazy coworker" or "where the heck is that almighty work diety" as almost half-instinct. But just like you can fight the consumption urge, you can fight these other thoughts also. Hence, my suggestion to consider every human being in the office nothing but fleshy robots to switch off the primordial brain.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem with coworker
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:10 pm 
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MossySF wrote:
Are you reading too much into my replies?...uncaring atheist...


Perhaps I have misunderstood. I will read the linked articles with interest.

I don't really care if you are an atheist or an ayatollah. I was commenting on what I thought your point was, that humans evolved because they were religious.

As for your original point that viewing coworkers as fleshy robots, I think that is fine. But it depends on your job. If your role is primarily a "processor" where you perform the work of a stage in a process then you need to be able to depend on the previous flesh robot to do their part. If many robots are feeding you then you might notice that one gives less than the others and start having some thoughts about justice and fairness.

But if your job is part of a team where everyone does pretty much the same thing it can be very demoralizing very fast when one member does not pull their weight. It becomes very personal. And I think most (though not all) people take personal injustice a lot more serious than injustice against others.


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