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Annie’s Mailbox: Act as mentor to young coworker

Mon., March 18, 2013

DEAR ANNIE: I am 55 years old and have worked at my job for 25 years. A couple of years ago, the company hired a 26-year-old guy. I have been patient, but I am reaching the end of my rope.

“Justin” cannot remember what was said the minute he hangs up the telephone. He doesn’t pay attention to what he is doing. He lies all the time, and we all know it. He takes on no new responsibilities, which drives the rest of us crazy. He just does his work and then plays on the Internet. It seems that he’s simply along for the ride.

Justin is married, and if his wife has even an iota of an issue, he falls apart, texting her every three minutes. I have asked him to do some tasks, thinking that he’d catch on, but he’s not grabbing the carrot. He makes the same mistakes over and over, and mind you, he deals with other people’s money. We don’t think he cares one bit about anyone except himself.

I cannot think of a way to address this without being hurtful. Justin does not take criticism well and sulks when confronted. Even the boss is afraid to speak to Justin, because he’ll fall apart. What can we do? – Wish He’d Look for Another Job

Dear Wish: If the boss is unwilling to deal with Justin, knowing that he isn’t competent, there’s not much you can do. Criticism will not be helpful. Instead, please try to mentor Justin. Teach him, carefully and consistently, even though it requires constant repetition. Even 3-year-olds can learn, given enough instruction and practice. It’s certainly better than banging your head against the wall in frustration.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.


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