I work at the tech support desk for a financial services company and having trouble dealing with a (relatively) new hire who at best doesn't seem to be picking up the job and is oblivious to it, and at worst totally underestimated their job duties and workload and deceived their way into what they thought would be an easy job.
This person was hired at a second-level support position ostensibly because of prior experience in the IT industry as a ".NET Developer", but the more time I spend trying to work with them, the more it seems that they oversold their expertise and experience. What's more alarming is that they seem utterly incapable of the teamwork necessary for what we do (which is primarily tech administration/support), and seem to be totally oblivious to the consequences their actions have on the rest of the team.
Despite multiple attempts to directly coach this person on this subject, they do not seem to be learning and instead of taking responsibility and learning, they retreat into anxious excuses.
For about 8 months, I've been trying to give this person the benefit of the doubt (since I know that development work, if that's what they really did, can be very different than day to day troubleshooting and dealing directly with users, and I empathize that there's a lot to learn). However, this person seems to be the IT archetype of someone who perpetually repeats their first year in the field. (There are others on my support team who ostensibly have many years of experience and also fit that description, but that's a separate topic...)
Personally, I'm very happy with where I'm at since I enjoy hacking on things to make them automated and can manage customer service pretty well, in addition getting some great on the job training with sysadmin work.
However, this person continues to be a drag on my productivity, despite me telling them directly at least twice that they need to take more responsibility/ownership for the work that they do, and try to recognize when their actions are a drag on the team. For them, good intentions seem to be more important than the actual results.
I have been (rightly) scolded before by one of our sysadmins not doing enough work for myself to solve problems and relying on someone else to solve my problems, so I can empathize with this person's fear of asking for the wrong kind of help. However, they are in this exact situation that I was in before (and I told them exactly that), but they have not been able to learn from it.
Some examples of their behavior:
I had prepared a bag of miscellaneous cables/supplies to take with me to a site visit that was an hour's drive away, but this person decided they would take the entire bag supplies with them for a less time-sensitive task at an office that's a 10 minute walk. My trip had been on our department calendar for at least a week, but this person showed zero cognizance how how much their actions (and relying on my prep work to cover their lack of planning) ruined my plans for that day.
Not knowing basic roles in our department (in this case that only full domain admins can reset an AD administrator password)
- Asked me if we are able to do a certain thing for an end user, and when I said that we are not, rather than trying to think through who would do it they simply played the guessing game.
- A typical workload for us at any time is between 15-20 tickets or so at a time (including day to day issues and projects), but I frequently hear them sigh multiple times a day and say "oh god" under their breath, despite not realizng that they have a very light load compared with others.
- Asking me how to disable an Outlook plugin, while I was managing a flood of user tickets from a major system outage, not even bothering to Google it first.
Being an introvert and someone who likes to teach and help, I take part of the blame for not being more direct with this person while these things happened and being too helpful instead of letting them learn, but at this point I'm not sure what's the best course of action. They do have a (somewhat superficial) technical interest in solving issues, but seems incapable of applying themselves in an organized way to be effective at the job. When they re-encounter a task they've been shown how to do multiple times, they have no recollection of doing so (I'm not expecting total mastery, but just asking that they have a general recollection of the basics).
I'm at a point where after giving this person many opporunities and being as polite as possible, I now realize that I've been covering for them and doing far more harm than good.
Here are the options I'm looking at, and their downsides:
- Start being curt and replying with "You should know this", "Look it up", "I'm busy" - I'm most inclined to do this, but know that based on them being anxious that they will likely just shut down and stop them from asking questions altogether
- Write detailed instructions and delegate a task to them (that requires planning/organization) as a test, but risk having more work fixing their mess later.
- Play dumb with them, document mistakes and refusal to learn from them and hope that my supervisor will eventually have cause for discipline (not likely since for better or worse, upper management tends to be deferential, at least for the time being)
Fortunately my direct superior sees this exact behavior for what it is, and is extremely supportive of what I deal with, but we're both unsure of how to deal with the situation, given their anxious personality. My boss has been beginning to rely on option 1, but this person hasn't gotten the message from that either.
I know this is a classic problem for anyone that works in tech, what is the best way for me to salvage them?