Sometimes, lessons from your mother go a long way. Unfortunately, not everyone learns those lessons. As I’ve been pondering some of our termination experiences, I recall a few instances when the problem was friction between an employee and me, or more concerning, between the employee and the “big boss,” Melissa. We have had a few, fortunately only a few, who had a bad habit of “talking back;” otherwise known as being insubordinate. “Mama don’t cotton to that” is one way to think about this, and Melissa doesn’t. There is a difference in asking for clarification, or making suggestions, and “talking back.” One of my biggest frustrations in this regard has been those, when told to do something “our way,” that is, “the Magnus way,” always wanted to challenge us by saying they wanted to do whatever it was their way, before they tried it our way. In my opinion, the only credible way to make such suggestions is AFTER you tried it the way you were trained, or the boss requested. Causing friction with the boss is never a good idea, doing so when one doesn’t have the standing to do so is a sure way to get fired. As bosses, such stresses get old, fast. Doing what we do is difficult enough without contending with employees who keep pushing back in unproductive ways. And, when it comes down to it, employees are employed at the discretion of the employer, especially in right to work states. Fighting that system is futile. This may all seem harsh, but, having been there, it is just reality. We had one employee who, after being terminated, refused to leave the premises. That takes talking back to a whole other level!
David and I have told countless people about the employee who, after being fired for insubordination, refused to leave. It is beyond me to understand why anyone, knowing he/she is unwanted, would stay around, but that is exactly what this creepy guy did. Until the deputy from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department showed up at least. It seems that the deputy sheriff who responded to my 911 call about the presence of a trespasser in my office was more persuasive than either David or me! In any event, although this example is extreme, we have had other employees who were fired for insubordination. The attitude of “You can’t tell me what to do,” when I am paying someone to do what I tell him/her to do, astounds me. I am not open to being challenged. I have told my employees that Magnus does not operate as a democracy where everyone gets an equal vote. That may be fine for other types of employment settings, but around here, we do things “the Magnus way.” And, for the most part, the Magnus way is my way, take it or leave it. One of the first things I tell new employees is they need to learn, early in their employment, that if the two of us have a disagreement, a personality conflict, or whatever else that sours our working relationship, I’m not going anywhere. That is one of the promises I can make to everyone who works at Magnus. Guess what, after all these years, I’m still here!