One of the inspirations for this blog, as has been noted previously, was the 2011 movie starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis. It was a comedy about an oppressive boss and work environment that I quite enjoyed. But, I have to say, when I first heard the title, it was at a time that I had several employee “issues” and I was offended that the employees thought the boss was horrible, when I had recently experienced what I call horrible, or at least bad, employees. It has amazed Melissa and me that, despite being a small company, with never more than 15 or 20 employees at a time, we had what seemed like more than our share of “bad employees.” We had one who drank vodka on the job (as described in another post). We had an employee who smoked marijuana on “his own time,” – lunch. We had an employees helping themselves to supplies and sodas to take home. We had an employee forge my signature on checks – and in other ways commit check fraud. We had employees break company owned equipment (and cover it up). We had one employee tell a prospective client “No, we don’t do that kind of work – call someone else,” despite the fact that we advertise for the type of work they were asking us to do. We had an employee quit, then start a business to compete with us – and slander us in the process (he did not last long as our competitor for many reasons). We had another employee quit and take a long time client with him (though not uncommon in some fields, including law, it is not good form in our world). And, while we have had many good, or even great, employees, sometimes it has seemed that we had more than our share of bad ones. Some were worse than others, and some could perhaps have not been so bad had they used a bit of foresight, common sense, and common courtesy. Thus, one of the reasons this blog was born was to illustrate some of the realities facing business owners to, hopefully, forewarn some who haven’t seen such bad stuff. And, it was also to educate employees on what employers need, expect, and the reasons we hire employees in the first place. So, though our own ride has sometimes taken some strange turns, I am confident that all business owners are surprised by some “bad employees” or at least some occasional bad acts. Working through these challenges can be difficult, but it must be done to keep the business on track and the clients satisfied. So, just as there are horrible bosses, there are horrible employees – if someone wants to write a screenplay for that movie, just let me know!
I have been working since I was 15 years old. In the years since I have been working, I have had my fair share of bad bosses, bad co-workers, bad subordinates, and bad employees (not to mention bad clients and bad assistants of clients). David and I rarely forget the bad experiences we have had with employees. One of my most memorable ones was when I tried to sit on a toilet seat that had recently been broken by an overweight employee who, instead of telling David, me, or anyone that the toilet seat was broken, tried to act surprised when I almost “splashed down” by not knowing the toilet seat was in pieces, utterly destroyed. The embarrassment suffered by this employee resulting from my loud, startled reaction was far worse than the embarrassment that would have ensued from a private meeting during which the employee could have warned me not to use the toilet. The 2 worst employee experiences, however, were not caused by support staff; rather, they were caused by people with Ph. D.s in psychology, my so called colleagues. Both of these experiences were costly and led to my never again hiring anyone who could ever think he/she was as valuable to Magnus as David or me, the owners of the company. The third worst employee experience was also caused by a professional staff member, one who has a Master’s degree and one who had been a loyal employee until he quit, with no notice, without ever (to this day) revealing why he quit. Many of my friends are in the employee role, such that, when they regale me with the latest tale of woe about their bad boss, I often remind them to tread carefully as they are talking to me, the boss of my company. Fortunately, I have had many positive work experiences and they are just as memorable as the negative ones. Being the boss is not as easy as some people believe, but it is easier when employees are the good kind instead of the bad kind.