In two previous posts we have discussed employee mistakes, accidents, etc. The extension of these points is that employers are people too, with feelings, and we can’t help but take some of these things as personal affronts. The assets of the company are the property of the owners of the company. This includes the pens, paper, the computers, vehicles, and any tools bought and provided to employees for their use in their work. For mock jury research, this includes video cameras, microphones, and many other costly items. As noted before, everyone understands that accidents happen. What is not easily understood is when employees are careless, cause damage, and fail to “own up” or apologize for their accidents. Yes, the pens and computers may belong to what some consider an impersonal entity – the company. But, someone owns the company, in my case, me. Someone owns the pens, the computers. It has been surprising to me to learn this reality is surprising to some employees.
I have been working, and working hard, since I was 15 years old. Circumstances in my life necessitated my working to help support my family. Earning my Ph.D. required me to work, nonstop, all the way through college and graduate school. Nothing was ever given to me; I have worked for everything I have. It is because I have worked diligently to achieve everything in life that I appreciate how much money it takes to operate a business. My spouse/partner and I have bought 100%, that is, everything, we have in our company and this has required personal sacrifice, as well as considerable effort, on our part. It is astounding to both of us that few of the people who have worked for us recognize that the chair they sit on, the computer they use to perform their work, the paper towels they use to dry their hands, and everything (did I say “everything?”) was bought and paid for by David and me. So, YES, it IS personal! If you break it, I have to buy it! If you want something new, I have to buy that, too! As an aside, when I worked for other people, I cared for their possessions as if they were mine. I once received a bonus from a large corporate employer because, unbeknownst to me, the C.E.O. witnessed me picking up litter as I walked through the lobby of the business, while dressed in a business suit and on the way to an important meeting. Too bad employees like me don’t come along every day!