It’s a wonderful feeling to find a place of work where you can enjoy what you’re doing and feel like what you’re doing has value.
But it’s terrible when a difficult coworker hinders those positive vibes, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor randome_5682984 was fed up with one of her coworkers who seemed to use her children as an excuse to not work as hard as the rest of her coworkers.
But when this coworker attempted to turn to her to change her workload, the Original Poster (OP) refused to do what she wanted.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to help a coworker?”
The OP was comfortable with her work situation.
“I (28 Female) am single, don’t have kids, and live alone. I also do not work OT (overtime) or do anything beyond my work. Also, I am not in the US.”
“First, let me explain what my work is like: so we are an internal auditing company. I work in the logistics auditing division. What that means is that when a company hires us (mostly to see how good their policies are), we shadow their workers, to see where efficiency can be increased. sometimes that means working the night shift, delivery, warehouse, manufacturing… etc.”
“We are very lucky that we have an awesome manager and team leader. Once we divide the tasks, you can do them whenever, as long as your report is handed in when it should be. Work from home, from the office, at 3 am, less than 40hours… It doesn’t matter.”
But she felt one of her coworkers was doing a nice job of ruining the vibe.
“For the 6 years, I have been on this team, another female coworker (30s) has been doing her absolute best to work the least amount possible.”
“First, she is either always pregnant and not ‘able’ to shadow anyone but the office workers, she is on maternity leave (4 months), on her yearly vacation (a month), or conveniently sick when it is time for some heavy-duty work (she sends in a doctor’s notice, and we have unlimited PTO as long as you have a doctor’s notice).”
“And when she is in the office, she is dumping her work on the others. She uses her kids as an excuse all the time.”
“Well, usually, the other team members pick up her slack, but I refuse to do so.”
The OP pushed back against her coworker’s behavior.
“This time, we are auditing a larger company, so all hands on deck. And for the first time ever, she is neither pregnant nor on maternity leave, and she just got back from her yearly leave.”
“The company we are auditing is in another city, so the members who will have to go will stay there for 3 weeks. This time, it is my turn to stay in the office (well, my home, to be honest) and do the data organization and analysis.”
“She asked me to switch with her. Apparently, she can’t leave her 5 kids alone with her husband.”
“I said no.”
“She tried to guilt trip me by saying that what she would have to pay for child care is more than what she would get paid for the whole month, and that I don’t have any responsibilities like her.”
“I told her, ‘Well, they are not my kids, so I don’t see how that is my problem.'”
“Now she is pouting like a kid, and some coworkers are saying that I don’t know how hard-working moms have it, and that I should be more compassionate.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some totally understood why the OP was so frustrated.
“At the end of the day, she’s a parent and it’s her responsibility to take care of them. NTA.” – queit-birb
“If I ever doubted my husband’s ability to parent, I would have left. She’s only enabling his behavior. Thankfully, my husband is a great dad.”
“He’s actually the stay-at-home parent and he’s really good at it. I did it for 4 years, and now he’s doing it, and he takes a lot of pride in raising our kids.”
“I credit his dad for raising him this way. When we first had our son, his dad was very direct that his biggest regrets were not taking more time with his kids. He did take them to work with him and they went on monthly trips but he’s right, it’s never enough.”
“I feel very fortunate to have found someone who matches my values and goals. That’s what OP’s coworker should have done. Too many people settle or worse, they find out what their partner is really like after they have kids. It’s sad.” – SheepherderWild3578
“To be fair, she commented that the pay wouldn’t cover the child care costs, not that he couldn’t parent. If they work separate hours to balance child care and there is suddenly a need for care while she’s gone, I can understand the scramble.”
“BUT it’s in her job description to travel periodically, and it’s unreasonable to expect she can always find someone else to do it. They should have considered this problem sooner.” – Apprehensive-Jelly42
“Hard NTA. My older sister is an auditor in the petrochemical industry, she is the main breadwinner, works similar to the job OP described, and she has a husband and 3 kids, and manages her job just fine.”
“Your colleague is unfit for the job if she can’t manage her home life and work life in tandem. This job requires travel and unsocial hours, that’s just how it is.” – Mikacakes
“If she is unable or unwilling to participate in one of the biggest aspects of her job, why is she working there? Other employees shouldn’t have to keep pulling her weight.”
“I’m fully supportive of working mothers, but she needs to find a job that better suits her needs. She’s getting all the benefits while doing half the work.” – Allkindsofpieces
“I have four kids and no family that can help me and my husband. So I don’t get jobs that require any extensive travel. NTA. Things ARE hard for working moms, but in this case, it’s hard because she’s made bad decisions.” – MizStazya
“Seems like the co-worker does not give 100% when she is actually in the office and takes a lot of PTO (even though it is authorized). OP does state that she does the least amount of work possible.”
“OP does not state that the co-worker would help out other employees with projects or to catch up on deadlines, etc. If this would be the situation, it would be fair to help her out, but not the case.”
“In my opinion, OP is NTA. You’ve got to give a little (whether intentional or not) to get a little in return.” – Antoinette_theRed
“Why did the OP not like her? Because she always tried to get her work done by other people, because she tries to switch with other people ALL THE TIME. It is obvious that it is not the first time.”
“The truth is that even if you have children, it does not mean that you can become the third wheel in the company. From what I see, she started to act very unprofessionally. Maybe it is just because of a long time off, but she really needs to learn how to be a better white-collar worker.”
“Being a mother (even of 5) does not give you any privileges. I am not the OP, but if I were, I would definitely say NO to her, just because she has to learn how to set her priorities rightly.” – godsavemefrommyself
But others thought it sounded like the coworker was taking off time she was entitled to.
“NTA for the specific situation, but you seem very annoyed about her taking time off she is entitled to. Being pregnant or taking her yearly vacation time doesn’t count as working the least amount possible.”
“You’re allowed to take that time off and shouldn’t feel pressured to put your family life on hold to work 24/7 for a company that doesn’t care about you.”
“The bigger issue here is that the company should have better coverage so you don’t feel like you have to work harder to cover for her, and shouldn’t be putting her in that situation if she’s unable to cope with it. That doesn’t mean it’s up to you specifically to resolve that though, it’s for management.”
“But why should she work those times, OP? She’s entitled to take the leave, there’s no ‘should’ here. The fact that her leave coincides with busy periods isn’t really relevant. If she can take that leave whenever she wants to, then she’s entitled to do so and it’s not her fault that means you pick up the strain.”
“As I said in this particular scenario NTA, but I don’t think her taking time off she’s entitled to is relevant at all.” – AccordingTelevision6
“Being on maternity leave, or taking vacation time that she is entitled to, does not make her a slacker, and these should not be counted against her.”
“The rest is fair, though. I think that if she was a good worker otherwise, then she could be cut a little slack. However, trying to foist her work upon others when she is at work is a shitty thing to do, and I wouldn’t be inclined to do her any favors as a colleague, either.”
“I do understand how difficult it would be as a parent to leave your young children for several weeks, but if she feels she’s not able to, then she needs to find a different job where travel isn’t required or expected.” – ArianaIncomplete
“NTA, but the way you talk about her having leave that she is entitled to (maternity leave, vacation, sick leave) is concerning. It sounds like there’s nothing illegal or morally wrong about the time she’s taking off, and it is irrelevant to your point.”
“However, you shouldn’t feel obligated to make her life better by sacrificing your own time. You deserve to enjoy the perks that your job provides as well.”
“And just a note about the husband being left alone with the kids: 3 weeks is a loooong time to be responsible for kids with no help, especially if you are used to having support, and especially when they’re all little and needy. Hug the single parents in your life because holy s**t.” – notmeretricious
The subReddit definitely thought there was something imbalanced happening in the workplace with this particular coworker, but they were a little torn on what the specific issue was.
On the one hand, she was entitled to that time off, even if it was frustrating to fellow coworkers to see her actually using it.
But on the other hand, if she was doing little to help pull projects together when she was on the clock, like her coworkers would have to when she was away, that would be sure to create resentment.