I know there's a book out there all about managing difficult people, but I thought I'd go for some real world advice by posting my problem here. I work with this guy who has been a thorn in my side since he got hired. He and I have worked together for about 4 years now, first at one company which he got fired from for being incompetent. Then, I left that company to join a start-up and he got hired there as well (same industry, few people with these skills available). Now, I'm his boss, whereas before, we were equals. When he was hired, it was made clear to him that he was to improve his quality of work and that I would have the authority to fire him at any time, but the truth is, I can't fire him and he knows it. The kind of work he does, very few people can do and we don't have a replacement. The problem with this guy, or the current problem (since there's always a problem with him), is that he absolutely refuses to ever do anything I ask of him. This has been the case the entire time we've known each other. I can give an order to everyone on his level, and nobody has a problem complying, but his response to everything is, "how 'bout let's not and say we did?" I can't find any way to get him to do anything I ask, ever, and I really don't know how I can change this. The most frustrating thing, besides being openly defied constantly, is that there are so many people out there who need jobs and can't get them, but I'm stuck working with this shiftless, talentless nobody, just because he has experience in the industry and knows the boss. Does anyone have any suggestions?