When Employees Bite

So yesterday I told you the story of my little experience being laid off.

Today I have a new story for you!

I happened to talk to one of my former employees from the weight loss center yesterday. I had texted Sabrina* (names have been changed to protect the innocent) yesterday morning to wish her luck and tell her I enjoyed getting to meet her at the center.

Well, wouldn’t you know I got a text back telling me how glad she was to hear from me and a few other choice tidbits?

Sabrina was already considering quitting and had been for a while because she felt the company and the operations manager was fake. I found that very fascinating to hear because I must have had my head under a rock while I trained. (I’ll admit when I find myself in training for a new job, I tend to be rather preoccupied with new materials, and it gets me bogged down a bit.)

That said, I texted back and forth with her on her way to work, and then I wished her good luck when she got there. No big deal, right?

I got a text several hours later saying she was on lunch and had no intention of going back afterward.

How interesting!

I had to hear about this, so she told me what had happened after she was told that I “would no longer be working” for the company. (How right was I thinking my boss wasn’t about to tell the girls she “needed to make a change”?)

Sabrina said that it wasn’t long after she heard the news of my leaving the company that it was announced the other girl who was the darling of my boss would be replacing me as director. I rather suspected that would be the case, but it helps when you find out so soon after what your value was.

The new director was clearly taking her power trip a bit heavily yesterday morning when she began to give Sabrina a list of things she needed to be working on – alone. Bearing in mind that I had given Sabrina some of the same tasks and worked on them with her, this was a bit of a change. When I worked with her, it was frowned upon because I wasn’t delegating enough of the work to my employees, which is ironic considering the lack of work to be handed out in the first place.

Sabrina was given a task that normally wouldn’t take long with two people, but when the darling director and operations manager spent their time hovering over her and chit-chatting, it took her twice as long because she was the only one working on the project. They grew irritated at her slowness, which was unfair given her lack of experience with the role, and the darling director was more irritated when Sabrina asked for help with a part of the project she couldn’t manage on her own.

Can we say teamwork?

By this time, Sabrina was growing more and more angry. She’d also been asked to perform tasks on the computer she wasn’t accustomed to performing, which took more time and prompted questions neither of her supervisors wanted to be bothered with. In fact, the questions she asked gave them ammunition to laugh at her ignorance, something that exacerbated an already unpleasant situation.

Bear in mind, I’m telling all this from a conversation I had with Sabrina just yesterday.

By lunchtime, Sabs was so fed up, she decided it was time to quit. So she clocked out for lunch, went to her favorite restaurant, and texted me about the situation. When they called her, she’d already sent a text to the operations manager saying she wouldn’t be back. They apparently hadn’t received it, though, so she sent it to the darling director as well.

We talked for three hours.

And realistically, this is what happens when you don’t know how to run a business. If you aren’t a good leader, your business will fail, and your employees will turn on you as soon as they feel capable of it.

Sabs did. She wasn’t about to stick around in a situation where she was being picked on, harassed, and made fun of for things that were out of her control. I don’t blame her a bit for her decision. She’d already talked to her husband the night before about the situation, and he was supporting her all the way.

The problem with the dog eat dog world of business is that it’s just that: dog eat dog. I understand that women feel that have to be as cutthroat as men in this world, but any management class or leadership book will teach you that leadership is about serving others first. It’s not about delegating every task you have to the first hapless flunkey at your feet. And it’s certainly not about micromanaging everything your employees do until they feel they have no autonomy to make any kind of move in your company.

I would just like to point out that when employees bite, you may not feel it now, but you will feel it someday. Because some employees know how to make their bites hurt.

It is, after all, a dog eat dog world.

Just some thoughts for the day.

– RaeNez