On one job, a diva was hired into an entry-level position before I was promoted to department head. I didn’t hire her and she wouldn’t have been my choice.
She was fresh out of school. She graduated in the ‘80s. She had outrageous work expectations — corner office with windows, top salary, perks, the whole nine yards. None of which came with the job.
Prior to us, her experience was as a waitress. I have a lot of respect for waitresses as I don’t think I could do it. It requires you to be nice to people all the time. That would be a stretch for me. I thought it would be a stretch for her too but it turns out that she perfected her manipulation skills there. She could get a tip out of a homeless person.
That experience trained her to call everyone “honey” or “hon.” It took the better part of two years to get her to stop calling employees “hon.” We were human resources, we were supposed to sound professional!
There were some positive things about her. She had great ideas. Really! She just didn’t like the follow through required. She wasn’t fond of real work — just the idea part.
It was her suggestion to initiate a health fair but four days before the first one, she had nothing planned. That required all of us to pitch in to come up with interesting information and activities.
She also promoted a company picnic. It was a lot of work for our small department. With a full commitment from my staff I got the approval and we started the work. That’s when she put in her request for a week’s vacation. Yes, you guessed it. She was out the week of the picnic. I came close to firing her for that one especially after another HR person resigned to move with her husband leaving me with ALL the picnic work. Fortunately I had friends in other departments who helped out.
She also didn’t like to be checked on. My routine auditing of her work (also called snooping) found boxes of filing along with other routine undone work. We would have a chat and everything would be fine for a few months. Then boredom would set in again.
She was with us for about 2-1/2 years but it sometimes seemed like an eternity. She was moody and sometimes wouldn’t talk to anyone for days except for business reasons. There was always an undercurrent of unpleasantness but nothing you could document.
After she left I found filing (which she hated worse than not having an office) squirreled away all over. It took a temporary helper two weeks to get it up to date. You can be sure I was much more vigilant after that experience.
It was unfortunate because she was smart and capable. She could talk to employees and was quick to pick up the more complicated aspects of benefits and compensation. She just wanted to move into a higher management position right out of school without the experience necessary.
Believe me, experience with people is necessary in this field. You get involved in the damdest situations. You have to know “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.” No one likes to “pay their dues” but experience is what makes you valuable as an employee.
The odd part is that although I was relieved when she resigned, her co-worker did a snoopy dance. I am talking major celebration here. The only thing missing was the mariachi band and the balloons. I always thought they were friends.
I am not the only one who doesn’t like to work with divas.