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Insubordinate Employee


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Hate to be a downer as my first newbie post, but I figured this was the place to get an real world answer. I've been having trouble with an employee that has a growing attitude - a bad one-that is now crossed the line into insubordination in my opinion. I run a small shop, just myself, a partner, and one employee who handles most all of the repair work. So I am the service writer, the secretary, the accountant, the put out every fire that comes up guy as well as his BOSS. He's never been a happy guy, but recently has lost all respect for me as a boss and or employer and finds it easy to tell me what he thinks about whatever might be bothering him that day - weather it's his place or not! If I take the wrong "tone" when asking him something, If he thinks I'm asking him to do something that isn't really "his job" like picking up trash in the parking lot instead of walking over it, or dumping the trash when it's slow instead of me doing it after hours...etc. Never "good morning" never a smile, just a grunt when I say it to him. Says only what he must about repairs and expects me to figure out the rest, gets flustered if I have to ask him to explain something. Never happy with his pay or the comission check he gets. Even though I never short him hours even when slow - and we have been very slow- he's never missed a 40 hour paycheck. He punches his card to the minute and makes sure he never gives me a minute more than I paid him for. And lets me know it. I've skipped many weeks pay last year but he got every single week - but that never means anything. He's doing me a favor by shopwing up and doing his job every day. That's his mindset. He basically walks around with a chip on his shoulder waiting for something to make an issue over. Making my day miserable. The bad thing is that his work is near perfect. No comebacks, doesn't need me to hold his hand, and works at a respectable pace. Always at work early.I guess my question is this. Where's the line in a small shop like this? When does an employee's "personal problems" become insubordination? At what point do I say that's enough! Shouldn't I be able to expect some respect and be given it, as the person who signs his checks ? What are your thoughts? Discussing this with him always turns into a blowup - he's always right - and I've had enough, I'm ready to let him go. How far do you all bend to accomodate a problem employee because he does good work?

Thanks for the input. Sorry for the length. Really troubling me.

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I could not agree more with what Dufresnes just said. I have worked in shops before with people like this and it ruins the work envirnment. You have to ask yourself what your happiness is really worth. The economy is slow. I have people all the time asking me if I know anyone hiring. It won't be hard to replace him at all. You may not get the same caliber worker though but does that really matter if you get someone with a better attitude, that is willing to help in your business and learn to get better?

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Is his attitude spilling over into the quality of work? Is yes, start to look for his replacement - we have had very good applicants lately thanks to shop and dealer closings.

 

You are the company owner, it should be a pleasant place for every one to work at.

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Thanks all for the input. Just didn't want to make any rash decisions. It has NOT effected his work or this would be an easy termination, much easier than "I have to let you go because your crappy attitude and sour puss is giving me an ulcer!" I've given this plenty of time and now it's like it's just become a goal of his to stir the pot...he's just not happy here and want's everyone to know it, but won't leave. We've considered bringing in a shop "helper", but I hesitate to bring anyone else in as he will surely corrupt moral. I like to think of myself as fair and easy to work for - I know I'm a LOT easier to work with than some of my bosses in years past - maybe that's the problem, I want a friendly atmosphere but I expect to be given the respect I deserve as the one paying his salary too. I think it's time for a breath of fresh air and new attitude.

Again, Thanks for the input. Keep posting if you've been through this, good to know I'm not alone!

Dwayne

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Thanks all for the input. Just didn't want to make any rash decisions. It has NOT effected his work or this would be an easy termination, much easier than "I have to let you go because your crappy attitude and sour puss is giving me an ulcer!" I've given this plenty of time and now it's like it's just become a goal of his to stir the pot...he's just not happy here and want's everyone to know it, but won't leave. We've considered bringing in a shop "helper", but I hesitate to bring anyone else in as he will surely corrupt moral. I like to think of myself as fair and easy to work for - I know I'm a LOT easier to work with than some of my bosses in years past - maybe that's the problem, I want a friendly atmosphere but I expect to be given the respect I deserve as the one paying his salary too. I think it's time for a breath of fresh air and new attitude.

Again, Thanks for the input. Keep posting if you've been through this, good to know I'm not alone!

Dwayne

 

It's not a lot fun dealing with an employee that doesn't want to BE an employee. That's what this guy sounds like. I've had a few over my nearly .. getting close.. to 30 years. They all seem to be the ones with the best track record for attendance and work. But that chip on the shoulder will wear you down after awhile. I'm kinda like the big old softy when it comes to guys like this. Since they do such a great job, I would try to over look the attitude.

 

But let's take a look from the grandstands. Imagine yourself watching a ball game from the grandstands and you see two guys out on the field that seem to be always butting heads. You see the reactions of the two of them (oil and water) but you are not a part of the game... you're merely watching. As a spectator you have the ability to look at both sides... without your personal ego getting in the way. If you can picture this, is... this... what you want in your daily working enviroment.

 

Which one are you? Over the years I've seen myself in the "game" and felt that I could have been on either team... but in the long run... It's still my business... and not his. That attitude almost always is hiding something. I had one guy that after working for me nearly 10 years, a good worker, and always with an attitude. He got into the habit of throwing tools... I tried to stop it.. but it just kept getting worse. Soon, I found myself acting the same way... didn't like it. Had to make some changes. Later on, he would .. politely ask for an afternoon off to go see one of his kids in a school play... then it was a day off.. then it was showing up a minute or two late... then it was the ever lengthing lunch break... and finally the work wasn't getting done on time.

 

He eventually came into my office and threw his key on the desk and said "I quit" ... Later, (about a year) I found out what it was all about. It was me.... oh not me in the shop... it was me with a new truck, me and a motorcycle, me moving to another house... what it turned out to be was simply jealousy... of my good fortune and his lack of getting ahead.

 

Do you see where I'm going with this?? I hope so. I guess what I'm saying, is ... take care that you are not the cause of the attitude... but on the other hand, you and I and everyone else that runs their own business are not here to "make do" we all want to strive and do better financially for our families. That takes time, employees that are willing to work for a good wage, and of course your own personal efforts. Giving them everything they want can, and will backfire on you... because at some point in time you may end up the only one holding the keys.

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