27 Apr No Crowns Allowed
I’m not sure what it is the past few years with employees and attitudes. As a business owner, at times, I feel like it’s almost not worth it to have employees anymore. Is it me or do we have a generation of Princes and Princesses who think that the world evolves around them and that our role as employer is to serve them, serve them now and smile?
In the last year, I have dealt with these types of employees who clearly have a high opinion of themselves and as a result come across as somewhat demanding and, well, full of themselves. And we, the parents of this generation of employees have created a generation of young adults who feel so entitled and wrapped up in their own needs that they can’t see how self-centered their requests are?
I think that it comes directly from the attitude that every child should get a trophy just for showing up. They didn’t have to earn anything, everything is just handed to them. We have created this generation and now we have to deal with the consequences.
Let me give you a few examples:
Employee 1: put hours that she didn’t work on her timesheet, when I called her out on it, I was the bad guy for saying anything. How dare I! Next this same employee just didn’t show up for work, no phone call, no nothing. When I finally tracked her down, I was the one in the wrong; I was treating her so disrespectfully. And the kicker, I didn’t fire her, mainly because she is the daughter of a close personal friend.
Employee 1’s social life came into the workplace. Her friends became more important, she started texting non-stop, making error after error. I timed her during 2 four-hour shifts. She texted 3.5 hours out of each shift. Silly me, I thought that I could talk to her, but once again, she became angry, and me, well I am disrespectful. How dare I tell her what she can do at work, during the time that I am paying her for. By golly, she graces me with her presence and I should be thankful for that!
I told employee 1 that she could no longer text at work and that was the end for her; she gave her two weeks notice. But she didn’t stop there, no, no, she told her parents how rude and disrespectful I was to her and drove a wedge between our friendship. I thought at the time that I had a stronger relationship with her parents, but apparently not, because they are so angry with me even as I right this, they are not speaking to me.
I believe that it’s this damn world of helicopter parents, always hovering, making sure all is right in the world for their little angels, but the one thing that I know for sure, is that in the workplace, these parents, myself included, have done no favors to our children and these kids are getting a taste of reality when someone says “no” to their outlandish demands. But as an employer, it is difficult to keep employees, there is no loyalty, there is no need or desire to work, there is no communication, they just quit and go on to the next job. One day this generation is either going to have to learn to follow the rules or they are going to find themselves unemployable.
Another employee from this same generation, Employee 2, she had similar attitudes, how dare I tell her when she could and couldn’t work. For the most part, my employees can self-schedule, they just have a certain number of hours that they have to work each week. But silly me, I actually expect them to work their full FTE. I am such a terrible boss.
Employee 2: Wasn’t following the policies and procedures for my business. I talked to her about it; she said that she didn’t agree with them, they were stupid and not necessary. Okay, but it’s my business, my policies & procedures and she had to follow them. She told me that I was too controlling.
I created a new policy and she told me that because I hadn’t created the policy before she started working for me that she shouldn’t have to follow it. And once again, I was to controlling. I had control issues. She never did follow policies & procedures, so she was eventually fired, but not before we had more issues. I don’t mind changing or adjusting policies & procedures, but there is a right way to go about it and it’s not just blatant insubordination!
Employee 2: At Christmas, asked for a bonus. Literally told me that I needed to give her a bonus. The kicker, I do give yearly bonuses, but they are merit based. It’s hard to give a bonus to someone who doesn’t work when they are suppose to and has to constantly re-do their work or I have to re-do their work. But once again, I am the difficult person; I am the person in the wrong. The little darlings have graced my business with their presence and I should just give them everything.
Employee 2: Again, at Christmas time, told me that she wanted to give 2 of her kids iPhone 5’s for Christmas and wanted me to get a new phone and give her mine for her child and then if anyone else in my family had an iPhone 5, could I do the same thing. Me, I’m thinking that is pretty ballsy, but once again, I am the bad guy. I should be more understanding and willing to help my employees out more. I am a selfish person.
Employee 2: Making $20 an hour and about to get a raise to $25 an hour, wanted a raise to $50 an hour instead, but because I was such a nice person, she would let me by with $30 an hour. It was a demand, not a request. Great negotiation skills! The selfishness and entitlement is almost overwhelming. The jealousy over my life, the family vacations that I take, my cell phone, the issue with not working when she was supposed to, not following policies & procedures was just too much. She was fired.
But now here is the flip side of the coin. As the business owner, I work 20 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. If I have an employee who doesn’t show up or who doesn’t work, I have to do their work. If an employee makes mistakes, spelling errors, etc. I am the one who has to correct them and if I don’t catch it, then I am the one who gets chewed out by the client.
Yes, I do try to take vacations with my family, but I work my butt off to be able to take them. Yes, I have nice things, but I have worked hard my whole life and am very fortunate to be able to afford the extras that I have in life. Nobody handed them to me. I didn’t expect anyone to give them to me. I worked hard and I earned them.
As far as being selfish, I do provide incentives to my employees, bonuses, I take them on business trips, pay for educational classes, buy software for their computers that they need. I do a lot of anonymous giving; I’ve paid dental bills for people who couldn’t pay or afford a dentist, but needed emergency care. I’ve purchased a heater for a family in the dead of winter so they could bring their premature baby home. I’ve bought books for college students who couldn’t afford it. I’ve purchased gas cards for college students to get to and from class.The list goes on and on, I don’t think that I am a selfish person.
If you want to come work for me, you absolutely cannot have your cell phone at work. I only want to work with people who are grounded, authentic or real and who don’t believe that they are better than the rest of the world and deserve everything handed to them on a silver platter. I want employees who are comfortable in their own skin.
I know that I tend to get a bit rattled by the shenanigans of these former employees and need to work on that. But what I do know for sure is that I don’t appreciate their behavior or how they treat others. Remember a couple of paragraphs back that I said I work a lot of 20 hour days, I just don’t have time to tolerate the little princes and princesses and there is no way that I am going to accommodate their demands. To me, it feels like bullying and I’m not going to be bullied. I don’t want employees who think of this as no more than just a job!
There are far greater issues in this world and dealing with these princes and princesses who need to be dethroned isn’t worth my time or effort. I just won’t hire them in the future.
This is my business and I am the Queen of my kingdom and here’s what I strive to do:
- Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to discuss his or her issues. Not everyone is a prince or princess and I think hearing from the rest of the team on how to behave respectfully will hopefully be taken to heart.
- Start a program for myself and other small business owners with role models and mentors so they can learn and hear from other people on the impact of their attitude and how that attitude is holding them back. Provide them with opportunities to learn how to succeed and be an active member of the team.
- I will say no more frequently. I will not reward brattish behavior and I will explain why. None of my employees will get a trophy just because they showed up!
My goal is to try and make the world a better place or at least my corner of the world a better place. Make a better work environment for my employees. To enjoy life and my family! Lets all put down our crowns and realize everyone has flaws, but we are capable of working together and lifting each other up and making our corner of the world a better place!