You can say no when your manager proposes that you collaborate with someone you consider incompetent. Just say no ”politely. That s what I did when, as a consultant at an apparel company, my manager asked me to work with the worst programmer in the office. (I had asked to be paired with a different, and talented, colleague.) I told my boss (respectfully) that I would rather work alone, even though the project would take longer that way. Eventually, my chosen partner was allowed to work with me part-time . Even if that hadn t happened , I knew it was better to work alone than to work with someone I couldn t depend on.
Your manager and his superiors are focused on successfully completing critical projects, not on just keeping every programmer occupied. Make sure you keep the bottom line in the forefront of every conversation with your boss. It will make him or her see the reason for your no much more clearly.
Look out for your own interests. You may shrink from appearing rude when your colleagues drop into your working space for a few minutes of R and R. But you ve got to get across the message that you don t want to be interrupted . If your manager proposes to team you with another programmer for development work, and you believe that programmer isn t competent enough, tell your manager, politely, I don t believe we have the right resources for this project. Then ask to work with a colleague who matches you in zeal and whose skills complement your own. Your manager will listen.