I present to you, an email to a coworker that I am on the verge of sending:
Guess what I did today? I went onto the company’s intranet site and researched whom you report to. It turns out you are not totally unaccountable around here, as your recent actions might otherwise suggest.
I am now in possession of your boss’s email address… good ol’ Jim.Swathmore@wscb.com. Rest assured, I honestly don’t want to use this information. However, if the situation warrants, I am prepared to cc him on future emails between us, potentially with the high-importance exclamation flag in use as well.
I see that I have your attention now. As you may recall, I emailed you last week, requesting the expense budget from your department. I even reminded you of this two days ago by the vending machines.
Both times, you told me you were on top of it.
Of course, this was a lie. In reality, you’ve spent the last week procrastinating and hoping that this whole project would blow over and you’d escape doing any work whatsoever.
For the record, I’m not angry. Honestly, I respect the way you’ve handled things thus far. I would have played the situation in the exact same way.
In fact, when my boss first broached the subject of the company-wide expense study, I went incommunicado for a few weeks myself. I diligently spent my time at work crafting ways to extricate myself from the project altogether. While I ended up wasting several days doing this, I viewed it as a worthwhile investment in non-productivity.
When he finally asked me about my progress, I told my boss I had prepared a “feasibility analysis” on what it would take to get the project done. In actuality, the “feasibility analysis” was just a term I made up for a list of excuses to not do the project at all. I’ll spare you the details of my PowerPoint presentation and go right to the conclusion: The expense project he assigned was totally not worth doing.
Of course, my boss saw it differently. Normally, when I apply that level of professional effort to not doing work it pays off handsomely. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this time, as my boss made it clear that this expense analysis must get done. And this is where fate has thrust us together. You, Larry, are the logjam that is stonewalling all progress on this project.
For the record, I would prefer that you don’t send me anything, and continue to ignore these emails. In doing so, you will be sparing us both the hassle of actually doing our jobs, while at the same time positioning yourself to take all the blame when this project ultimately fails. However, please understand that these emails will persist, as I need to establish a paper trail of effort on my part to effectively make you the scapegoat.
So Larry, we’re at the point of no return. I need to make one last attempt at getting you to do your job. And unfortunately, my only remaining option is the underhanded maneuver of cc’ing of your boss on an email outlining your incompetence and apathy. While I’m sure your boss is generally aware of your ineptness, I’m more than happy to provide a second opinion in affirmation. I realize it is the smarmiest move in inter-office relations, but I’m prepared to do it.
It’s your call.
One other thing, if you do decide to crunch some numbers, don’t do too good of a job on this. Seriously, let’s not run the risk of this report being too useful. I’ll sabotage it a little on my end too. The last thing either of us needs is for management to decide that this report should be updated every quarter or something.
Thanks for your time. I await your reply,