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What would you do?
Old 05-30-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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What would you do?

We had a mother/daughter team working for us in a fairly non-skilled job. Mom did fine but the daughter was a total waste of flesh. Lazy, un-motivated, high sense of entitlement. We tried moving Precious to another position, with a different supervisor that didn't let her slack off all day. After 6 days, she went on stress leave for 3 months. The day she got back, I fired her. After all, I didn't want to add to her stress by actually making her WORK for the money we paid her.

Mom thinks that we are all evil people who could not appreciate the special skills that her little Poopsie brought to the job. She is not speaking to us and is working "by the book" - following the job description to the letter. She won't communicate with the other supervisor (and that is kind of a problem) and she certainly is very cool towards me.

Here's the problem: the other person in that unit is going away for 6 weeks and I need to find a replacement. I suggested someone that was recommended to me. However, she has suggested hiring her cousin.

If I hire my person, "mom" will make her life miserable. She'll make her do all the dirty work, the lifting and I suspect she'll feel the need to be "sick" a lot. On the other hand, the work will get done.

If I let her hire the cousin, she'll be appeased and is unlikely to book off sick. However, there's no guarantee that she will do the work that the other person has been doing (ie lifting boxes, ordering supplies, and inventory work). My concern is that "mom" will tell her she just has to do the bare minimum that is in the job desc. If that happens, I'll have no choice but to let "cuz" go and put someone else in that will get the job done - which will further inflame the situation.

Of course, my first instinct is to fire them all and start over - but that may be counterproductive.

What would you do?

Only 396 more days until retirement!
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:55 PM   #2
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What would you do?
Move up my retirement date 382 days.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nuiloa View Post
We had a mother/daughter team working for us in a fairly non-skilled job. Mom did fine but the daughter was a total waste of flesh. Lazy, un-motivated, high sense of entitlement. We tried moving Precious to another position, with a different supervisor that didn't let her slack off all day. After 6 days, she went on stress leave for 3 months. The day she got back, I fired her. After all, I didn't want to add to her stress by actually making her WORK for the money we paid her.

Mom thinks that we are all evil people who could not appreciate the special skills that her little Poopsie brought to the job. She is not speaking to us and is working "by the book" - following the job description to the letter. She won't communicate with the other supervisor (and that is kind of a problem) and she certainly is very cool towards me.

Here's the problem: the other person in that unit is going away for 6 weeks and I need to find a replacement. I suggested someone that was recommended to me. However, she has suggested hiring her cousin.

If I hire my person, "mom" will make her life miserable. She'll make her do all the dirty work, the lifting and I suspect she'll feel the need to be "sick" a lot. On the other hand, the work will get done.

If I let her hire the cousin, she'll be appeased and is unlikely to book off sick. However, there's no guarantee that she will do the work that the other person has been doing (ie lifting boxes, ordering supplies, and inventory work). My concern is that "mom" will tell her she just has to do the bare minimum that is in the job desc. If that happens, I'll have no choice but to let "cuz" go and put someone else in that will get the job done - which will further inflame the situation.

Of course, my first instinct is to fire them all and start over - but that may be counterproductive.

What would you do?

Only 396 more days until retirement!
You are making it sound like "mom" is in a supervisory position. What does she have to say about who gets hired? Does she have that kind of power? If so, you are in deep do-do. I suggest hiring the recommended person and keep a close eye on how that goes. I'd be looking for the opportunity to fire "mom".
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:27 PM   #4
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She THINKS of herself as a supervisor (self-imposed title). She isn't but I let her play one just to keep her happy.

BTW - am I even allowed here on this forum? I'm still physically working, but mentally I'm in Hawaii.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
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I would fire the employee. If you haven't documented her performance shame on you, start doing that immediately and then fire her if she doesn't straighten around. My husband would put it in more colorful terms... but she has you over a barrel. No one is irreplaceable. You may need to do your job and her job for a week or two but once you have a replacement trained the business will run much smoother.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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She THINKS of herself as a supervisor (self-imposed title). She isn't but I let her play one just to keep her happy.
Oooh, I wonder if that could be mistake? I think you should hire the person you want, start treating "mom" as if she was anybody else in her position, and document any problems she presents.

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BTW - am I even allowed here on this forum? I'm still physically working, but mentally I'm in Hawaii.
Of course! If you want to retire, you belong here. My original username was "Want2Retire", until I did in late 2009....
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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Sounds to me like you need to grow some and address the problem head on. Letting her daughter slide in the first place was your first mistake. Who is running your shop, you, or your employees. Most people would rather work in a place where everyone is treated the same. If it is pretty much a non-skilled job, shouldn't be a big deal to replace Mom if she tries to ride herd on a new employee. Sounds to me like you need to step up to the bat and manage your people. Just my two cents.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:01 PM   #8
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Sounds to me like you need to grow some and address the problem head on.
Exactly.

One thing I've learned, (and perhaps I haven't learned much), is that the 'easy way out' seldom turns out to be easy in the long run........bite the bullet, do what you know you have to do, even if it's initially uncomfortable.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:05 PM   #9
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I am with frayne and Nemo2 on this.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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...fire them all and start over - but that may be counterproductive.

What would you do?

Only 396 more days until retirement!
You provided the answer right there.

And while you are at it, tell the aggressive lobby lady to...well you know.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:35 PM   #11
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easy now...makes hard later
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:14 PM   #12
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Don't hire the family member. Start hiring to replace the Mom and train them her job...she'll get the hint.

fyi, I still work too; don't tell anyone...
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:16 AM   #13
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Nuiloa, as a long time supervisor of people (oh joy) I think you have received some excellent advice here. You're in a hole. You should be working to get OUT of the hole, not dig a DEEPER one!
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:26 AM   #14
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I would fire the employee. If you haven't documented her performance shame on you, start doing that immediately and then fire her if she doesn't straighten around. My husband would put it in more colorful terms... but she has you over a barrel. No one is irreplaceable. You may need to do your job and her job for a week or two but once you have a replacement trained the business will run much smoother.
All is very well documented and she's had the official reprimands as well. She is eminently replaceable BUT she just got back to work after nearly 2 years of intense chemotherapy for leukemia, and she's just 6 months shy of being old enough to get a fairly comfortable pension. Although I will not hesitate to kick her to the curb if she is openly disrespectful, she is doing everything so "by the book" that I can't touch her (I can't really fire her for not smiling at me

But you're all right - if I let her have her way, I'm taking the easy way out.

Thanks all!
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:12 AM   #15
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She's risking her pension by deliberately slowing down her work because she's mad how her daughter was treated? That seems tremendously foolish.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:29 PM   #16
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She's risking her pension by deliberately slowing down her work because she's mad how her daughter was treated? That seems tremendously foolish.
I agree, I'm shocked anyone that close to getting a pension would jeopardize her position being an ahole towards management or the company!

Lots of good comments here, you seem to have had no problem firing Miss Useless so why haven't you been documenting and getting things ready to fire Mommy? People that cut things so close that they do not 1 bit more than required will make a mistake and you need to capitalize on it. The leukemia would make me feel for her and cut her a break so close to retiring but the attitude negates that. If she behaves and does her job fine and if not kick her a$$ out the door and then she'll really have something to whine about losing a pension!

Hire whomever you think is right for the job and if Mommy f's with the new employee more ammo for you, no?
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:08 PM   #17
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She is eminently replaceable BUT she just got back to work after nearly 2 years of intense chemotherapy for leukemia, and she's just 6 months shy of being old enough to get a fairly comfortable pension.
How about firing her in 6 months, then. (I've never been in a position like yours, so probably have no right to an opinion.)
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:06 PM   #18
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The problem I see with this situation is that you have told her that what she is doing is ok because nothing other than critical reviews have happened. It is time for a performance counseling session and if possible bring your own manager or your HR person to it. Let her know that she is not safe from termination for performance. Also I would also ask HR what options you have given her proximity to retirement. Evidently at some time this employee's performance was acceptable. Something has happened along the way to cause this behavior. If you have an employee assistance program perhaps you can require her to meet with a counselor. I have seen manditory participation in such a program made contingent on continuing employment.

Think of her the same way you would a 3 yo. Behavior has consequences, one could be a time out. Her choice.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:45 PM   #19
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I feel your pain and am soooooo glad I don't have to deal with this employee crap anymore. Like the others have said, you seem to have dug your own hole with the Mom and you are living with the results. Playing by the book works both ways. She gets only what she is legally or contractually allowed. You don't have to disrespect her just make her tow the line to the job requirements. Beyond that, there is not much you can do is she meets the job requirements. Smiling is not in her job description nor in yours. Sure it would be nice to have a happy family at w@rk but that is rarely the case. People are hard to manage...that is why management is so tough.

Do your job and make sure ALL your employees are held to the same requirements and enforce them. You can't expect much else from this situation. Mom will be pissed forever and trying to make her happy is a lot cause and will only empower her to more "demands". Cut your losses and treat her like an employee and not your friend; which she is clearly not. In nearly 40 years of management at various levels I never had an employee or a supervisor that was a true friend. That does not mean I was not friendly; just that there is a line and you can't cross it without consequences.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:03 AM   #20
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And why did I think of personnel related issues a "cleaning bird sh*t out of cookoo clocks"? It's great to be retired.
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