My wife Cassie has a job interview today (almost said tomorrow, but it’s after midnight here, so I guess it’s today). I’ll get to that in a minute…
Her current job pays the bills, but it’s constantly stressful. They occasionally do stupid stuff, like changing the way they pay commission, overtime, or bonuses. Someone finds a way to make money in their organization, and they will inevitably change it so it’s impossible to achieve again. Employees are at the whim of the market (who comes in and buys stuff) to determine if they make commission or not. If they don’t, it’s barely above minimum wage. And they occasionally fire people, and then hire them back later. The mandatory conference calls during the most productive hours for sales are particularly annoying, and effectively amount to: “We know you didn’t read the email we sent you three copies of, so now we’re going to read it to you in a conference call while you’re trying to manage a store full of customers.” Brilliant company management. Just spectacular. If Cassie didn’t love the job, she would have left years ago.
This last week they came in and installed some sort of control software, and locked everyone out of just about everything except for Internet Explorer and the web-based applications they use for sales, inventory control, clocking in and out, and the cash drawer. They allowed each store a single email address, and locked out or disabled everything else.
Cassie, being the inventive and productive person she is, has found or invented ways to use Google+ or other utilities to manage all kinds of things in the store, including her employees. Everything from spreadsheets to form letters, documents of company discounts and specific procedures for special clients? Nope, can’t use those anymore. The calendar that helps determine who is going to work what hours on what day, or mark their next day off? Nope, not important. Can’t use that either. Music in the background? Nope. Even Windows Media Player is blocked. That made it fun for the company, who requires online courses for each of the products they sell. They couldn’t even watch or hear those until they unlocked that specific application.
The general policy of telling managers and others (Cassie has been there seven years) that “We don’t trust you” generates an enormous amount of ill will, and causes the best employees to find some place that does trust them and is willing to treat them fairly. I’m not suggesting that there weren’t abuses that prompted the company to lock things down, but they should have addressed those as they occurred. Doing what they did just insults the people who actually want to work and make money.
They locked out so many things that managers cannot even run their stores properly, or employees do the work required of them. People were so mad that some (not in Cassie’s store, but in other company locations) quit on the spot. Cassie was livid, but managed to keep it together and continue working. She knows jobs are hard enough to come by in Ohio that you don’t willingly walk out of one until you’re assured you have another to take its place.
So, that brings me back to the beginning. Cassie has an interview today with a company that does appreciate hard work, networking, and a “whatever it takes” attitude. You can tell we’re in a small town, because the person leaving the job after twenty years (which creates the opening Cassie is applying to) gives her a personal recommendation. And one other person who has worked there almost as long said, “You’re perfect for the job! But what are we going to do when you leave XYZ Corp?”3
But the most hilarious part is that she will spend her lunch hour with Rotary, sitting close to and talking with the man who will interview her immediately afterward. Gotta love small towns!
3 not the real name of her current company