A Reader Writes:
I and another co-worker were given 3 months to complete a big project. I had worked with her in the past and we always managed to divide up the work equally and efficiently between us. This time is different. After the first 4 weeks, she has contributed incomplete or incorrect parts of the project, as well as not being that responsive. When I asked her for an explanation, she confided in me that she will give notice in a month because she has another position lined up, but that I should not tell our boss. This puts me in a bind. There is no way I can complete the project myself and my reputation is threatened. If I ask my boss to get me a new project partner, I will have to tell her why and divulge information I was asked not to.
Your situation is somewhat better than a project partner who does not tell you that they plan on leaving, they just stop helping you without explanation, a fairly common situation. Doing the right thing here is clear: Your obligation is to your organization who pays your salary to complete projects to run a business. Your co-worker has the same obligation that must be fulfilled through her very last day of employment at the company. Say to her: “I wish you a lot of success at your new company next month, but I need your help because I will continue working here and want this project to succeed. If you can’t turn around the deliverables I need in the next week or so, you will need to go to our boss and remove yourself from the project so our boss can find another partner for me. If you can’t do that I will need to go to our boss to ask for ways to salvage the project.”