by teresalaynebennett

photo of 20-something guy with feet on desk playing with a yo-yo

A yo-yo-ing slacker doing what he does best.

Do you make a habit in your personal or business life of giving people a second chance? Good for you. Giving second chances makes the world a better place. And who of us isn’t in desperate need of a second chance now and then? Okay, a whole lot of nows and thens.

But you know too much of a good thing is too much, don’t you? In a spirit of tenacious good will, do you routinely offer second chances? How about 22nd chances? So how’s that working out for you?

I feel your pain: it hasn’t worked out well for me either. Now that I’m well past the last unfortunate episode that first prompted this rant, I’ve tried to edit this post so that it has a modicum of civility. You may disagree when we’re done. If so, post a tactful comment.

Here’s the
pay-attention point
right upfront.

Never knowingly ask people to do things who’ve proved repeatedly to be people who don’t follow through. When we persist in well-meaning 22nd chances, we “make work” for ourselves – and others. More often than not, that work has to be done at the last minute, in seat-of-the-pants style with disappointing outcomes. That’s because slackers typically wait till the last minute to ‘fess up that they haven’t done what you asked. The more slacker-ly among them don’t even tell you before they jump ship: they just go AWOL and leave you high and dry. They turn what could’ve been an easily doable project into a rip-off-the-Band-Aid kind of project. 

How do you recognize slackers
(so that you can spare
yourself and others
unnecessarily stressful and shoddy work)?

Ah, let me count the ways. And I’ll bet you can, too. Why not add a comment with your favorite slacker characteristic to supplement my deceptively short list of telltale slacker traits?

  • a never-ending supply of ridiculously flimsy excuses
  • the all-about-me misperception that their lives are busier than anyone else’s
  • ample time in which to complete projects AND ample excuses for not completing them – all predicated upon what happened “this morning,” “yesterday” or “this week”

Don’t feel guilty
for bypassing slackers.

Yes, you are depriving them of the work in question, with all its rewards, learning and earning potential, and benefits, but they marginalized themselves first. You’re merely assessing their past history of outstanding slacker performance. Therefore, they are depriving themselves.

No one’s paying you to make foolish decisions. Putting a habitual slacker in charge of anything which involves your own job (your ability to make a living) and work reputation (your ability to keep the job to make a living) is foolish. Putting the slothful in charge of anything important to your organization usually goes beyond foolish; it can be downright dangerous.

If your organization is a volunteer organization, it’s even more critical that you avoid foolish decisions involving slackers. You can ill afford to make work for your good-hearted volunteers: they might jump ship one by one – or worse – mutiny all ‘round. That’s a situation you can easily avoid; leave the slackers to their yo-yos while you and your team of worker-bee volunteers “get ‘er done.”

Disclaimer Time

Lest there be some misunderstanding, LET ME BE CLEAR: this is not a blog post about forgiveness. It’s a post about people who rarely, if ever, do what they promise to do for the good of the order. Continuing to give people tasks who routinely don’t complete those tasks is one thing. Continuing to forgive people who hurt you is something else.

Jesus commands us to practice perpetual, unending forgiveness – an attitude of the heart. You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find anything in the Bible that commands us to act foolishly, oh say, like relying on known slackers over and over and over. In fact, Proverbs is filled with all sorts of admonitions against such foolish behavior: check it out.

©2015, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “If you support slackers and goof-offs, don't be surprised when your actual WORKERS quit!” –

I wish I’d said this. It’s soooo very spot on!