The Bad Assistant: When To Switch, When to Fire

When to Fire a Bad Assistant | CorporetteWhat should you do when you’re stuck with a bad assistant, secretary or subordinate — and your assistant doesn’t assist? When is just time to switch assistants, or even fire the person? Reader K wonders:

We are a small (12 people) conservative professional investment firm serving high net worth clients. I recently moved from front office to portfolio assistant. The young woman who replaced me thinks she is doing a great job even though she was told by management that she needs to work on skills. She says she has a photographic memory and doesn’t take notes on anything I try to explain. I prepared “how to'” notes for her, but have had to print them for her repeatedly. She makes “to do” lists but rarely does items on the list. When I try to explain something, she has gotten up and walked off or continues to stare at computer screen. Her history shows that she is constantly on the Internet. I was told to monitor these things, but feel uncomfortable. I am working an extra 15 hours a week trying to do my new job and picking up slack on hers. Needless to say, I am stressed. Management is aware of issues, but not that I am really stressed out over this. How should I handle this?

Wow — I’m sorry, K, that sounds like it really stinks. You say she’s been warned; you say management is already aware of these issues. That all leads me to the following advice:

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Poll – You’ve Kept Your Job, But How to Handle Your Colleagues Who Didn’t?

Layoff Etiquette: You're OK But Your Coworker Got Laid Off | CorporetteWe live in scary times. Every day there are thousands of people laid off, from law firms and banks and every company imaginable. The Wall Street Journal tells us that young women are more vulnerable to layoffs. If you’re slightly lucky, your company is ‘fessing up to the fact that the layoffs are economy based, and not performance-based firings. If you’re VERY lucky (or perhaps indispensable to your company) you’ve survived the layoffs and cuts — for now, at least. Our question today is one we’ve never even had to consider before — what is the appropriate way to deal with the colleagues who didn’t survive this round of cuts? (And by colleagues, we mean someone who never rose to the level of “friend” with you — you never hung out with them on a one-on-one basis, but you were friendly with them in the office and would acknowledge them with a happy wave if you saw them across the room at a public event, but not necessarily go over to say hi.) They may be the “walking dead” — allowed to keep their jobs for 3 months, ostensibly, to look for another job — or they may already be out the door but still coming to social events with other co-workers, like baby showers — but in both cases you’re still seeing these people. How do you handle? What do you say?

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