A reader writes:
I have an issue with an overly dependent coworker who does not give credit. We are both fresh out of college but I’ve been working a bit longer than him. I had already proven myself in the group and have been given awards by my bosses and managers for the work I’ve done.
My coworker frequently asks me for help; He has an official mentor, but doesn’t go to him for help. I spend a lot of time (hours a day during and after work) teaching him, giving him ideas, guiding him, listening to his concerns, etc. He was getting praised for “his” (my) ideas; mentor was getting praised for “his” (my) guidance. Sometimes he would get credit for contributing to my work, when in reality, he played absolutely zero part in it (he would respond to people by saying thanks). I spoke to him about the dependency, and he still goes up to me with questions. I spoke to him about the credit, and he says it’s not his problem to correct.
I would like my boss and manager to be at least aware of the situation, but is telling them unprofessional? I don’t want to make my coworker look bad. Any ideas?
Why are you continuing to spend time helping this guy? He’s behaving without integrity and when directly confronted about it, he told you it’s not his problem. He’s a jerk. Why are you continuing to play along?
Frankly, I don’t think you should be spending hours a day during work helping even the most gracious coworker; presumably you have your own work you should be doing during that time.
The next time he approaches you, tell him that you need to focus on your own work, which is true. And no, I don’t think you should say anything to your manager. Simply stop enabling his behavior and let him rise or fall on his own merits; they’ll figure it out soon enough.