I just had a session with someone a little younger than I, who shares the same work ethic most people of our generation do. She works very hard. She fills in when people much younger than she is don’t show up because they “need some Me Time.” She’s a department manager, expected to make sure everything runs smoothly, but she’s short-staffed and overworked because there aren’t enough employees; or they aren’t properly trained; or they just don’t feel like working, but they certainly show up on payday expecting a full paycheck.
And they don’t seem to suffer any guilt whatsoever when they leave their coworkers and managers spinning in the wind.
On the other end of this mess is the upper management that sets high expectations but don’t give her the staff she needs to meet those requirements.
She’s physically exhausted. She’s sick with a “cold” that has now lasted for over six weeks. I think she’s headed for a breakdown, and I’m wondering if she’ll lose her job when it happens. The emphasis seems to be totally focused on results, not on the people who are hired to create those results.
So why doesn’t she quit? Get a better job? Lots of factors there. One is her age. She knows she won’t be paid as well if she makes a lateral move to another store, and she is on her own. There is no golden parachute.
She’s told me stories. Oh my, Things that, if they had happened when I was first in the work force, would have been immediate cause for dismissal. A couple of 20-year-old guys who take half- hour breaks and two- hour lunches, and when they’re confronted they shrug and say they lost track of time. And no action is taken to discipline them. No one wants to start the process of getting them fired because it’s really, really hard to fire people these days. You could end up in court, paying them huge unemployment salaries for the next six months to a year. Wouldn’t have happened in 1965, when I started working.
They seem to set their own hours and availabilities, too. They work when they can schedule it in to their day. They call out on the flimsiest pretexts. “I’m just really tired, Man,” (Translate: “I’m drugged to the eyeballs, or I have a hangover. But it’s your problem, not mine.”)
Yes, yes. I know that there are lots of good young people out there who are willing to work, who even WANT to work. They have parents who taught them the value of work, of making their own way, of having a good work ethic and a reputation for being dependable. I know some of them. They’re great. I wish there were more of them.
I’m just worried about my client.