Does anyone besides me remember Maynard G. Krebs? From the Dobie Gillis TV program? He was a beatnik who did not want to work! The series was about high school kids but the most memorable part is that Maynard would always croak “WORK!” with fear and trepidation. (You have to click on this link – it’s very short.)
I can relate to him! I loved my work and loved working but there are some things that I just don’t miss. You would expect getting up early and things like that to be at the top of the list but it isn’t. Here is a short list.
Worrying about driving conditions. We get snow here. Sometimes there is enough to have delayed starts or cancellations. For the early part of my working life I lived about a half hour to 40 minutes from my workplace. I hated to drive in bad weather but I also worked for a company that didn’t close. It was a utility that never shut down.
For the past decade, I was involved in the decision-making aspect of weather-related work and that was just as bad. When you are on the decision-making end, you understand how nerve-racking it can be. You don’t want to bring all the employees in and have them stranded but you have a business to run so you couldn’t close because of a prediction. We all know how accurate weather predictions are.
Then there was the really annoying part. As soon as the weatherman said it was going to snow, I would be besieged by employees wanting to know if we would close early. It wasn’t even snowing when the questions starting coming!
I loved spring!
Firing people. My feelings on firing are straight and simple. If you can’t or won’t do the job, both you and the company are better off parting ways. I never enjoyed it even when it was well deserved. No one likes to see someone out on the street without an income.
I was also involved in downsizings. This is when good workers are let go because there isn’t enough work. It’s painful for all – employees who continue to work feel badly and employees who have lost their job are upset. Believe it or not, I have counseled many managers who were devastated when they had to do this.
Over the years I have had several former employees who were either fired for cause or downsized approach me to thank me. A door closed for them and they found a better one opening. Most people are good people and if they are not working out, they are in the wrong job.
Giving out raises. Ok, now you think I’m weird. Raise time was always the worst time of the year. No one was ever happy. One time I had an unhappy employee approach me because they thought they should have gotten more. They had the highest raise in their department but I couldn’t tell them that.
A decade ago, increase percentages could be in the double digits. Those days are long gone but many employees feel since they are still working at that level (or better), they deserve those double digits.
Employees lie about raises. Or maybe they don’t give the whole picture. You can imagine what that does in the workplace. For the life of me, I can’t figure out WHY people talk about that stuff. It only makes you feel bad and you never know the truth anyway.
Now that I’m retired, I can also say “WORK!” with an attitude, grab a Starbucks and read a book.