Adult Daycare: Dealing with Employees

Fwiffo

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I found out the gossip on why one of my counterparts in another region was fired: he was sleeping with several of his subordinates.

In-person interviews for my open position tomorrow, though I’m not super excited about any of the candidates. I may waste a morning and then re-post the position.
Find reasons to say no. That's how I conduct interviews. Hiring poorly and trying to get rid of them is always worse than hiring slowly and getting the right candidate.
 

Dropbear

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Find reasons to say no. That's how I conduct interviews. Hiring poorly and trying to get rid of them is always worse than hiring slowly and getting the right candidate.
Agreed. I’d rather keep the position vacant than hire the wrong person - it’s a very political position, working with allied agencies. I’m good at asking follow-up questions that give bad candidates the rope they need to hang their chances.
 

The Ernesto

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Agreed. I’d rather keep the position vacant than hire the wrong person - it’s a very political position, working with allied agencies. I’m good at asking follow-up questions that give bad candidates the rope they need to hang their chances.
I really liked the Wikipedia guy for the position.

Resourceful and didn't overreach.
 

Fwiffo

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I currently have a horrendous people manager hiring a replacement for his staff (he inherited this one). I'm debating when to intervene. CV screening stage. Telephone screen. Interview. Final interview.
 

Dropbear

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Is he in your chain of command? If not, then why do you need to intervene? But if so, I’d say get in there ASAP and make sure there will be people skills folks alongside him, making the selection.
 

Fwiffo

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Is he in your chain of command? If not, then why do you need to intervene? But if so, I’d say get in there ASAP and make sure there will be people skills folks alongside him, making the selection.
Yes. I'm also debating whether to demote him or just terminate him.

He seems to be a cancer. The debate is going because all of his staff are incompetent except for one contractor but he is only in the office Tuesday-Thursday due to his commuting distance.
 

Fwiffo

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I had someone from another office come in and in 3/4 of a day he said to my underperforming "Start finding ways to do it instead of saying I can't". Verbatim of what I constantly scream at him.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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There I was boasting about how open I am to one and all in the organisation.....

We're getting kicked out of our current offices as the owners had sold onto an architect outfit who are turning the block into luxury apartments. Seems like everyone is doing the same. Then I have to get air conditioning as a Group mandatory requirement which in The Hague is next to impossible, particularly in more modern buildings. They all have that climate control that takes -3/-5 of the ambient temperature outside. And they won't let you retrofit air conditioning as they know the punitive environment laws are coming targeting businesses.

Eventually, found somewhere and it was ideal fitting all the requirements, although needed to be completely refurbished. Anyway, contract on the table, I've got everything redesigned my favoured building contractor primed.....and then we get an email saying ''Very sorry, I've over stepped my remit, the owner only wants to rent the whole building....''

So running out of time, I've decided to decamp to a managed office facility until next spring. Very cost effective, very good facilities inside including gym, brasserie restaurant, a bit of modern art, outside furnished terrace etc and then the killer: a shared kitchen(ette) area only accessed by those on that floor, but shared. These ladies went mad this morning banging tables and getting very aggressive. That toxic femininity is frightening to deal with as you've got nothing in your armoury to defend your position without losing everything. So just retreated into my office and will do it all by written instruction i.e. we're moving here and you are going to sit here and there's a fridge down the corner on the right and if you don't like it put in writing.

This is where you have edge in a big, big corporate environment and you just outsource all of that and don't have to get soiled by interfacing with bad apples and if you're at the right level you just call up HR and tell them you want so and so gone and you can forget about it including the costs.

When I think about the conditions I've worked in and what this temporary solution is, which is luxury I kid you not, I do wonder.
 

ballmouse

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Why is it up to you to find a new office? I would have expected that would be up to the owners or outsourced to some people who specialize in finding office space.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Why is it up to you to find a new office? I would have expected that would be up to the owners or outsourced to some people who specialize in finding office space.
Primarily, as they've waited to until the end of the 5 year lease. So they owe us nothing. Yes, lots of specialist estate agents, but all send the same office buildings. There's no real solution other than do it yourself, or be very actively involved. But the prime problem is that there is shortage of office space and particularly the air conditioning requirement. Thankfully, loads of managed office space and very competitive.
 

Fwiffo

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Are you moving into Wework?

My previous firm moved one of our Canadian branch offices there. People moaned about the shared Internet, the noisy surroundings, the lack of private conference rooms and the restrictive desk space so they ended up working from home after we kitted out as best we can the office. People asked for cost savings and they got cost savings except now no one can use the office.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Are you moving into Wework?

My previous firm moved one of our Canadian branch offices there. People moaned about the shared Internet, the noisy surroundings, the lack of private conference rooms and the restrictive desk space so they ended up working from home after we kitted out as best we can the office. People asked for cost savings and they got cost savings except now no one can use the office.
Not Wework, but similar managed offices, there's several solutions here in The Netherlands. It was my last chance saloon today for finding ''proper'' offices, found some pretty decent, but then there's the lack of free car park space in the vicinity. All these offices made in the late 1990s and early 2000s with 2 car park space per floor for a building that holds 30-40 and then you have to pay 150-200 Euros a month per person for car park space. Called BS on that.

Mega-savings as you state. The shareholders and banks are kissing my face off. Actually, as long as you're disciplined on desk space, the vibe is excellent. Of course, some of these places are awful, The World Trade Centre in The Hague, has a very clinical ambience in parts. Still, cheap as chips other than the car parking and big companies in there, I noticed Lufthansa.
 

Fwiffo

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People still drive in Europe? I thought it was all rail, bus, tram, underground or you're in Netherlands, cycling.

I now have the same question as above - you handle facilities? I somehow thought you were in a client facing role.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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People still drive in Europe? I thought it was all rail, bus, tram, underground or you're in Netherlands, cycling.

I now have the same question as above - you handle facilities? I somehow thought you were in a client facing role.
Whilst the public transport system is good, it really only works if you're in a city. Then it's faster than cars. Cycling lanes are great, except in the winter with the wind blowing in from the North Sea.

I handle everything, as we only need a small office for coordination with most of our staff out in the field somewhere in Europe. If you've an office of less than 12 people, you can pretty much handle/have to handle eveything yourself. There's no travel departments, post room, PA's or people dedicated to moving desks in an organisation of this size. The downside is you have to get involved in nitty-gritty stuff, but the upside is that you are master of all you survey and you don't have to fit in with the corporate culture, because you are it.

Funny how now we will be leaving this office, I feel it's time to move on. We've become flabby with the use of space, everyone's got massive desk spaces and we're throwing loads of money down the drain on wasted meterage. I'll miss the cloudscapes though:

IMG_2202.JPG
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I always thought you worked for a large firm like BP or Shell.
My business is as a global service provider to all of the oil & gas majors. I've worked direct for Shell and BP in the past. All those large organisations have a corporate face and culture. And you need to live and present the corporate brand at all times and never let is slip, especially to contractors. It can be very intense as you're always expected to act in certain ways, but it is also a very good tool for promoting an esprit de corps. But it's not to everyone's taste and not everyone can fit in and also if you've been there a long time and become instituitionalised into that culture, it can be impossible to leave and go and work for another entity, especially to one of their contractors or smaller oil and gas companies. The last round of redundancies in one of those entities resulted in several suicides over here. Some just cannot take the insult to pride to no longer being the end-user client in one of Big Oil.
 

Fwiffo

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I saw the secretary I let go a few months ago today. A few people huddled around her as I was rushing towards the main office building. She saw me and we had a hug. We spoke for a bit - sometimes in the presence of passerbys. She told everyone she chose to retire. She said she would only come back to work if it was to work for me in the satellite office building I was in and never the main office building. How I am able engender such loyalty even in a short time amazes me.
 

Thruth

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I saw the secretary I let go a few months ago today. A few people huddled around her as I was rushing towards the main office building. She saw me and we had a hug. We spoke for a bit - sometimes in the presence of passerbys. She told everyone she chose to retire. She said she would only come back to work if it was to work for me in the satellite office building I was in and never the main office building. How I am able engender such loyalty even in a short time amazes me.
I had a similar encounter when I was first in the big chair. I fired the Head Dental Assistant after a long HR battle that I inherited. Maybe six months later and I'm downtown for lunch with a colleague and he goes "hey, there is Rita, you have to meet her." I never did as HR did the dirty work. Anyway, my colleague introduces us and she starts yipping and yapping about her getting canned and I believe I left it at "fuck off you skag".

How I engendered so much hatred in such short time from someone I never personally met.

Don't worry Fwiffs I've also had plenty of EA who said they would retire rather than working for someone else. Nice sentiment. Not true. But they said it.

Sometimes the hugs are genuine.
 

Fwiffo

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I had a similar encounter when I was first in the big chair. I fired the Head Dental Assistant after a long HR battle that I inherited. Maybe six months later and I'm downtown for lunch with a colleague and he goes "hey, there is Rita, you have to meet her." I never did as HR did the dirty work. Anyway, my colleague introduces us and she starts yipping and yapping about her getting canned and I believe I left it at "fuck off you skag".

How I engendered so much hatred in such short time from someone I never personally met.

Don't worry Fwiffs I've also had plenty of EA who said they would retire rather than working for someone else. Nice sentiment. Not true. But they said it.

Sometimes the hugs are genuine.
Why did I have the impression you're some practicing physician who parachutes in and out of distressed communities like a mobile version of House?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I had a similar encounter when I was first in the big chair. I fired the Head Dental Assistant after a long HR battle that I inherited. Maybe six months later and I'm downtown for lunch with a colleague and he goes "hey, there is Rita, you have to meet her." I never did as HR did the dirty work. Anyway, my colleague introduces us and she starts yipping and yapping about her getting canned and I believe I left it at "fuck off you skag".

How I engendered so much hatred in such short time from someone I never personally met.

Don't worry Fwiffs I've also had plenty of EA who said they would retire rather than working for someone else. Nice sentiment. Not true. But they said it.

Sometimes the hugs are genuine.
Last year when I was flying to Madrid, I managed to not only be on the same plane, but sitting directly behind the Venezuelan lady I fired 6 years ago. The only good thing was that she pretended not to notice me, as I did her.
 

Thruth

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Last year when I was flying to Madrid, I managed to not only be on the same plane, but sitting directly behind the Venezuelan lady I fired 6 years ago. The only good thing was that she pretended not to notice me, as I did her.
Hahaha. that is the best outcome! I've bumped into people who were packaged out and still hold a grudge despite the fact that the targeted package was far better than just retirement.
 

Thruth

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Why did I have the impression you're some practicing physician who parachutes in and out of distressed communities like a mobile version of House?
Because I do do that. But I have been in numerous CEO/Senior leadership roles throughout my varied careers.
 

Fwiffo

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Because I do do that. But I have been in numerous CEO/Senior leadership roles throughout my varied careers.
Does that mean I'm giving up my position soon too? Careers aren't a straight upward trajectory?
 

Thruth

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Does that mean I'm giving up my position soon too? Careers aren't a straight upward trajectory?
You are nothing but linear. Keep on climbing if that is your desire. You’ve stuck to your industry rather than switching industries like I have a number of times. The last 2 CEO positions I had included leadership reviews every 5 years. I did 11 years in the last one and resigned after it was no longer fun. Now I am part of senior leadership in a #2 role plus patient-based/population-based responsibilities.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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A career is what happens, as with life, whilst you're waiting for it all to start, or that golden opportunity to excel and prove your worth in an organisation, project or mission that recognizes your innate genius, technical prowess and professional tenacity above and beyond the herd and mainstream.

You don't stop and appreciate it, until you're already well there, or a good half way through.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Everything is boxed, ready or otherwise installed in readiness for the office move. A lot easier this time as most of the archives and stuff that accumulated over several decades I got rid of last office move. I did find the usual job lot of fluorescent markers, a lifetime supply of staples, leather lap top bags the size and weight of suitcases and a box of literally hundreds of assorted keys of no use or meaning to anyone.

Then I found some photos of one of the old Italian offices from the 1980's:

Capture.JPG


One of those gentlemen must be the manager who ran a fiddle pocketing money and then paying the staff and those in the field a reduced rate several months later. When he got caught, he did a runner with what I understand was a tidy sum. As is often the case the desire not to expose such shennanigans to the market and clients resulted in all being brushed under the carpet and he got away with it.

No one knew what became of him, or where he was as he had vanished without trace. Several years later in the USA one of the shareholders happened to be watching an American quiz show and who happens to be one of the contestants, none other than the Italian manager who did the runner with all the loot.
 

güero

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I'm a drone?
Absolutely. A true sarariman. If it's not called corporate drone in English, I wouldn't know any better. Ask one of your overlords to explain Konzernknecht, if you find the opportunity some time.
 

Fwiffo

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Absolutely. A true sarariman. If it's not called corporate drone in English, I wouldn't know any better. Ask one of your overlords to explain Konzernknecht, if you find the opportunity some time.
Right now my boss is Italian. And so is my boss' boss so I doubt they would be able to explain.

I had to look up sarariman on Wikipedia: is a salaried worker and, more specifically, a Japanese white-collar worker who shows overriding loyalty to the corporation where he works.

I'm not Japanese. What do normal people have loyalty to these days anyway? Their spouse? Their kids? Their church? Their political party? Their mates?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Right now my boss is Italian. And so is my boss' boss so I doubt they would be able to explain.

I had to look up sarariman on Wikipedia: is a salaried worker and, more specifically, a Japanese white-collar worker who shows overriding loyalty to the corporation where he works.

I'm not Japanese. What do normal people have loyalty to these days anyway? Their spouse? Their kids? Their church? Their political party? Their mates?
Italian management begats Italian management. And so it goes on until the new IT infrastructure scam collapses in exposure resignations and offshore bank accounts mentioned in the Panama Papers of that mild mannered department head who always drove that 15 year old Fiat Panda.

The Japanese have had a revolution in working culture the last decade, they now take weekends off and don't work as many 14-16 hour days as the norm.
 

Fwiffo

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Italian management begats Italian management. And so it goes on until the new IT infrastructure scam collapses in exposure resignations and offshore bank accounts mentioned in the Panama Papers of that mild mannered department head who always drove that 15 year old Fiat Panda.

The Japanese have had a revolution in working culture the last decade, they now take weekends off and don't work as many 14-16 hour days as the norm.
Well they all came because there is an Italian board member from the big four and they all worked at the big four. But it's a German company that I work for.

I will only work 10 hours today to match the Japanese then.
 

güero

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My uncle always used to say that anyone having to work more than 4-5 hrs a day, does not have his business under control. From my experience, that is true.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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My uncle always used to say that anyone having to work more than 4-5 hrs a day, does not have his business under control. From my experience, that is true.
Depends on what burgers you're flipping. A burger franchise or some fast food joint that is likely the case. And there of those who have run mega-corporations from one page balance sheets.

Not all businesses are the same. In the business cycle there comes a time where the dynamic requires a strategy where someone will need to work that added hour or two. Or work 60+ hours a week to deliver the performance above competitors.

Anyone who thinks they will get ahead on working 4-5 hours a day and think that's a priority, probably is in the wrong business.

Individuals who get ahead are workaholics and put more effort in than the herd. Outside of photo editors for fashion magazines, 4-5 hour days won't work. Unless you're inheriting the position, money and prestige.
 

Journeyman

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Anyone who thinks they will get ahead on working 4-5 hours a day and think that's a priority, probably is in the wrong business.
To be frank, I think that in a lot of jobs, there is what you actually *need* to do, and then there is what you are *required* to do.

As an anecdote, one of my friends is a partner in a large law firm. He is fearsomely efficient and disciplined. Many of his fellow partners work 14-15 hours days. He comes in shortly before 9am and leaves between 5:30 and 6pm, unless there is something big happening (preparing for a Supreme Court hearing or something similar). He told me that, shortly after he became partner, one of the other partners asked him how he does it - how does he work virtually half as much as the other partners. He replied that he has three kids and a wife at home, that he actually wants to spend time with them, and so he comes in, does his job, and leaves. He doesn't chat in the tearoom, he doesn't browse the internet at work, he doesn't make a few trips to the coffee shop every day. He just comes in; does more than his billable hours in as short a time as possible; and leaves. Because he more than meets his revenue targets, the firm is happy - he's now one of the senior, managing partners there.

On the other hand, there are plenty of desk jobs where you are paid to be at work for a particular time period and you have to fill in a timesheet. I knew someone (not an ambitious person, obviously!) who did all of their assigned work in the morning and then spent the afternoon reading the paper or a novel at their desk. They'd done all their work and could have finished up, but they were required to stay at work for another four hours.
 

Fwiffo

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Depends on what burgers you're flipping. A burger franchise or some fast food joint that is likely the case. And there of those who have run mega-corporations from one page balance sheets.

Not all businesses are the same. In the business cycle there comes a time where the dynamic requires a strategy where someone will need to work that added hour or two. Or work 60+ hours a week to deliver the performance above competitors.

Anyone who thinks they will get ahead on working 4-5 hours a day and think that's a priority, probably is in the wrong business.

Individuals who get ahead are workaholics and put more effort in than the herd.
All I got from this is I am not flipping burgers and I'm a workaholic (which I don't think I am).
 

Pimpernel Smith

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To be frank, I think that in a lot of jobs, there is what you actually *need* to do, and then there is what you are *required* to do.

As an anecdote, one of my friends is a partner in a large law firm. He is fearsomely efficient and disciplined. Many of his fellow partners work 14-15 hours days. He comes in shortly before 9am and leaves between 5:30 and 6pm, unless there is something big happening (preparing for a Supreme Court hearing or something similar). He told me that, shortly after he became partner, one of the other partners asked him how he does it - how does he work virtually half as much as the other partners. He replied that he has three kids and a wife at home, that he actually wants to spend time with them, and so he comes in, does his job, and leaves. He doesn't chat in the tearoom, he doesn't browse the internet at work, he doesn't make a few trips to the coffee shop every day. He just comes in; does more than his billable hours in as short a time as possible; and leaves. Because he more than meets his revenue targets, the firm is happy - he's now one of the senior, managing partners there.

On the other hand, there are plenty of desk jobs where you are paid to be at work for a particular time period and you have to fill in a timesheet. I knew someone (not an ambitious person, obviously!) who did all of their assigned work in the morning and then spent the afternoon reading the paper or a novel at their desk. They'd done all their work and could have finished up, but they were required to stay at work for another four hours.
But you need to put the effort in with those 12 hours/7 days a week to get to the point where you can be efficient and disciplined to get it all done in a 8 hour or less day.

Also the higher up the chain you go, the more likely that you will be in a strategic position, where seemingly 4 -5 hours looks good enough. To get there, that's the rub. To be able to make those decisions, the right ones, you need to consider all the experience, learning and past career. Which I bet, our uncle chap, was not working 4-5 hours a day. I bet in his career trajectory, massive amount of work effort 10+ hrs a day, more than 5 days a week. In his 20's and 30's I wager he was workaholic.
 
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