Just as customers sometimes say the darndest things (see ‘You did not just say that’), so too do employees. I’d like to think that I foster a pretty relaxed atmosphere…one that encourages creativity, hard work and loyalty. I try to be fair, reasonable and accommodating. But in the past I’ve had some pretty strange things said to me by employees…things that make me think that some have taken this ‘relaxed’ atmosphere to mean ‘anything goes’. This is, of course, compounded by the fact that we’re a small business with minimal staff…so when one employee goes missing, the whole company suffers. I’ve jotted down a few of my favorite comments from past employees. Emphasis on past.
- I had an employee text me she was going to be late to a morning meeting because she ‘needed more sleep.’ And no, the meeting was not at 6AM. (I never could quite decide which was more infuriating…the fact that she actually had the nerve to tell me she needed more sleep or that this was communicated to me in a text.)
- A lovely lady told me once that she would be unable to continue working until 6PM because she needed to get home in time to have dinner on the table for her husband. (Bear in mind this was in 2004, not 1964.)
- I received a voice mail one Saturday morning from “Stacey”, one hour before the start of her shift, letting me know that she would be unable to make it to work as she had gotten married the night before. (This from a girl who to my knowledge was not even dating anyone. I never saw her again…)
- An employee once described our warehouse as a ‘tomb’. (I can only assume she was implying that coming to work was like coming to her death.)
- “Leslie” once asked to leave early because she really ‘wanted to go swimming with her mother’. Huh? (I’m all for excercise…and I understand swimming is an especially healthful activity, but does it need to be done in the middle of your shift when you are a third of the work force?)
- Another employee once called in late because she ‘wanted to go jogging’. (While it would appear that I have particularly healthy employees, I’m pretty sure they don’t teach exercise over work ethic in college.)
- After requiring an employee to vacuum after each shift, she quit the day after she had to change the bag…and actually cited that as the reason. (Apparently vacuuming was ‘low’ enough…changing the bag was crossing the line!)
- I had an employee use me as a character reference for her parole officer. (I kid you not…thank goodness this was AFTER she was no longer an employee!)
Despite the above list, I have been even more lucky to have some outstanding employees in 10 years. I have cried with and to some exceptional people, laughed until my stomach hurt, accomplished endless goals, grown the business 10 fold and looked forward to coming to work most days because of employees that I have surrounded myself with. But the above sure does make me not take for granted the folks that make my life easier!