Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Long, Rambling Rant

Have I ever mentioned that I work in a supervisory position? Well, as a supervisor, I oversee several people, something I think I am pretty good at but I admit, can sometimes be a pain in the neck. Actually, having been a supervisor now for a couple of years, I think I prefer to not be a supervisor. I'd rather just worry about my own work and not have to keep track of what other people are doing because inevitably, they are disappointments. Out of the group of people I supervise, there are 3 that are very conscientious and reliable - you know, the type you DON'T have to watch. The type who stay late to get the work done and don't abuse the system. The kind I can trust with anything. The others are people who generally do a good job, but will take any shortcut they can, even if it compromises the quality of their work, so they can get away with doing as little work as possible.

One example that is relevant to the subject of this blog is Sandy. I've told you about Sandy - she's the new mom I take walks with at lunchtime a couple days a week. On a personal level, I like her very much - she's very friendly and a warm person. As an employee, though, she's become a disaster since she had the baby.

The gist of the problem is that Sandy doesn't really want to be at work. She is baby-obsessed and wants to be home with her baby, but she HAS to work. Her mind is not with her when she's at work. She's constantly finding reasons to leave early, take off, call in sick (or call in because the baby is sick), call out because the baby has to go to the doctor, or this appointment or that appointment, and on and on.

We get a generous amount of paid time off where I work - altogether 35 days a year (including vacation, sick and personal time) and she uses every minute of her alloted sick time TO THE MINUTE. For example, one day, she came into my office because her anniversary date was coming up and she wanted to know how much time she had left. I told her she had only 2 hours of sick time left. (Sick time does not carry over - if we don't use it, we lose it.) So the next day she comes up to me at 3:00 p.m. and says "I think am going to go home early and use my last 2 hours of sick time. I have cramps." That kind of thing.

A few days before Christmas she hints to me that it would be great to be off on Christmas Eve and it's too bad we have to work that day. Well, we already get off Christmas through New Years (which is something like 10 days) but she still has to try to finagle more time off. So I said, "yeah that would be nice, but it's important that we are here that day to get everything caught up before we get our long holiday vacation." That was that. On Christmas Eve I notice she is not in the office. I get a call from her around 10:30 a.m. telling me her mom can't get to their house due to weather. Gee, I wonder if this is a coincidence. It just happens to be Christmas Eve, the day she wants off, and surprise, surprise - she can't get to work.

So while we were on the phone, I asked her what kind of back-up plan she has for situations when her mom can't babysit (I mean, let's face it, a number of things can come up - mom could get sick, mom could have car trouble, the weather could be bad). Her response was, "we don't have a back-up plan". I then asked her if it had always been their plan to have mom as their babysitter. Her response, "we never had a plan. We're just kinda playing it as we go."

And this is what gets me. People decide to have kids and don't think about how they will incorporate the change into their life. Everyone tells them, "oh, you just make it work" and they're not kidding - you know how they make it work? By calling out sick left and right, leaving early and taking advantage. Their employer and others who rely on them are the ones who "make it work" for them. We all have to pick up their slack.

Now, I realize she is perfectly entitled to take her time off. We get 12 sick days a year and she's entitled to use every minute of them just as I am (but I don't). I guess if her calling out left and right didn't lead to so many problems (backed up work, angry staff and clients calling me) I wouldn't get so peeved.

I don't know what the point is of this long, rambling rant, but I just felt the need to vent today.

I feel better. Thanks for listening.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the reasons I hate working with other people! I'm actually looking for a job I can work from home, because it's just so much nicer to sit at home with the kitties and work in my home office. *sigh*

Some people just don't think sometimes. I hope she comes down from her baby cloud and starts behaving more like a responsible adult than a lazy moo.

Hang in there, dear! :)

eyemandy said...

I was just thinking something similar the other day about how people generally do just enough to get by with passable results and some people aren't satisfied with that, and go above and beyond to get better results. It makes sense that people who live child-free lives are more inclined to be the latter! Being child-free is a plan, a choice, and a much, much, much better result. :)

Good luck at work! Just know that there are other people who understand!

Gumby said...

As an employee, I can't help but hope that you're documenting these lame-ass excuses and occurences when her actions have resulted in upset customers/clients and irate coworkers and use it as backup for "talking to's" and then formal reprimands, if needed. Then, if she doesn't get her sh*t together and heed the warnings, you will have documentation to support letting her go.
I am so sick of seeing others get the short end of the stick because some twit just wants to stay home and play mommy. If that's what you want, fine - go do that. That's your choice. Just don't drag others down with your little game of half-assing it at work and expecting others to pick up the slack. And if you need a second income, well figure something out. Work a shift opposite of your husband's or work part time - something!
And if you can't, that's your problem. Maybe you should have thought that out before having the damned kid!
Whew! That was my rant. I feel much better now! ;)

Childfreeeee said...

Hi Everyone

Well, the problem is that she is ENTITLED to take those 12 sick days/year, and since they are sick days, it would be normal for a person who uses a sick day to call out at the last minute. I can't prove that she is not sick. So
there's really nothing to document.

It's really trick with paid time off because you can't give it to employees and then penalize them for using it.

I have always beeen of the mindset that sick days are something you use sparingly and you shouldn't aim for using every minute of your allotted time in a year, but I guess not everyone looks at it that way.

Phoena said...

the problem is that she is ENTITLED to take those 12 sick days/year, and since they are sick days, it would be normal for a person who uses a sick day to call out at the last minute. I can't prove that she is not sick. So
there's really nothing to document.

EVERYONE is entitled to those 12 sick days a year. YET, reading between the lines, you don't have that same problem with everyone else when they are out sick, do you? If not, then you DO have something to document. Her job performance when she IS there is so bad that she leaves things shambles causing all kinds of headaches when she's frequently out.

If nothing else, you'd be best to micromanage her to the point that you implement a new system for her that YOU design and understand, so you can track what she's working on and know what is going on when she's not around. Something like, "Things you are currently working on must be in the BLUE folder and must have detailed notes on them explaining what is going on. Things you haven't started with are in the yellow folder. Things you've completed must be in the green folder" or whatever works for your office.

I only work three to four days a week so when I know I won't be in the next day, I print out detailed lists of what I'm working on and what I've completed and sent out, This way, if there is a problem on my day off, they just check my desk and know immediately what is going on. Maybe you need her to do something like that every day before she leaves.

Good luck!

Childfreeeee said...

Hey Phoena,

Well, she just gave her 2 weeks notice today so I guess this whole subject is moot. I am not surprised. She said she found a job closer to home where she can make the same money for fewer hours/week and will allow her to spend more time with the baby.

It's all for the best, although now I am faced with having to find and hire her replacement and get the person trained within 2 weeks. UGH.

Me said...

I'm not sure if you've ever visited my blog or not but I have written about an employee who took advantage of my company (and my friendship) after the birth of her first child as well. I would have had a very similar scenario with that individual as you are now having with Sandy if I had allowed it. After her 6 weeks of maternity leave were up, she actually had the audacity to tell me that I needed to just give her more time off. When I initially said I couldn't do that, she had said she would "return to work". However, based on the events to date, I knew what she was really saying was that she would let me pay her to take care of her kid (since she worked from home in a different state). At which point I informed her that if she was billing time and wasn't productive then I'd have to fire her. And to which she responded by crying and saying that caring for her child was so much harder than she thought it would be. She is not the first new mom to utter that phrase (or some version of it). I can not help but wonder "HOW DID THEY THINK IT WOULD BE?!?" People do not think the decision to have a child through at all. Not the way it will affect their relationship with their spouce, their free time, their finances, or sometimes even I see people ignore the basic question of if they have space in their home for another person. I've come to the conculsion that most people are just lazy, stupid and irresponsible.

Me said...

Ok... I just read all the comments here. I am SOOO not surprised. In both my personal and professional lives, most of the moms I know have, in some way, bailed on their work obligations after the birth of their child. Work is just no longer their priority. As a woman (who wishes she could have a child) I can totally understand how that happens. However, as an employer, it makes me not want to hire women of childbearing age.

Anonymous said...

Come meet my mother, it will make you feel better. She raised my two sisters and I while working full time. She always works as hard as she can and only uses sick days if she absolutely has too.
In fact, it pretty much runs in the family that we rarely ever use vacation time because we get bored so quickly and have to be forced to use sick time because being sick is boring!