Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Where Have All The Good Employees Gone?

Yes, I know, everyone has constantly heard the phrase - good people are hard to find.  The sad fact is that it's definitely true.

While I have spent the past ten years of my life dedicated to, before that point I had a long history in the work world.  Actually, my work life started before I was even in my teens.  My parents were old school who believed in hard work and giving their employers their very best.  As a result, their kids (me and my two siblings) were raised with iron clad work ethics which included never being late for work, giving 150% while on the clock, never taking so much as a pen from the office for personal use and showing respect for authority on the job.

My first "job" if you want to call it that, was babysitting in the neighborhood before I was even 12.  I had a number of "regulars" who would employ my kid watching services which put money in my pocket and triggered my lust for bigger and better jobs.  During that same period of time I also cut grass, raked leaves, ran errands and did a series of odd jobs.  Anything for a buck - within reason.

By the time I was 14 my dad was negotiating a deal for me to work at the local German bakery.  The job was grueling, didn't pay much better than babysitting and required me to be at work every night after high school plus Saturdays starting at 5:30 am.  The bakery opened at 6:00 am sharp and was so popular, there would always be a line of customers waiting to get in to buy struedel and other traditional German baked goods from the owner - an old school German baker.  I was required to work from 5:30 am (we had to arrive early to get ready for opening) until closing at 6:00 pm with only a 15 minute lunch break, taken in a back room at the bakery.

I endured the bakery job until I rebelled at the horrible working conditions for low pay.  My dad graciously told me I could quit if I found a better job.  Of course he knew full well a kid who had recently turned 15 would have limited employment opportunities.  Underestimating my angst selling pastries under the iron fist of the baker and his wife, he was shocked when I hopped a bus and landed a job as a dietary aid at a large hospital in South St. Louis.  Not only did I win more hours, I was paid almost three times what the bakery had paid.

I worked at the hospital for the rest of my high school years managing to work full time in the summers and nab lots of cool training, including nurse's aid, massage and physical therapy training.  I was required to be on my feet all day long and work extremely hard but I appreciated the money, the job and all that I learned. Of course working in a hospital has its own traumas including dealing with terminal patients, but I actually loved the job.

During college I worked in a library (very low pay but fun) and then as a checker in a Kroger grocery store (good pay, hard job).  During summers I also worked full time during the day doing administrative work (dealing with paperwork and people) while I moonlighted nights and weekends at my Kroger job.  When I had time off, I worked doing odd jobs including more babysitting.

After college, which I paid for with my various jobs, I landed a full time position as a systems analyst.  Almost immediately I was promoted into a supervisory role managing a team of people requiring me to work 60+ hours a week (including weekends) while going to graduate school at night.  Once I had my Masters degree I snagged a series of much better paying IT and software related jobs until I ultimately landed a gig as a manger for a large IT division of a well-known national health insurance company.

Of course working at just one job allowed me plenty of time to "do other things" and so I went back to night school to work on a Ph.D.  I also used my prior training in massage to work as a part time massage therapist, did free lance writing on a variety of topics for pay and did a variety of other "part time jobs".

I never finished by Ph.D (that's another story for another blog) but I did leave St. Louis to move to Dallas, where I landed a series of three different jobs, all in management. Finally I started and the rest is history.  At least for now.

During my career I have never been put on probation, terminated or laid off. I also consistently received A+ performance reviews along with winning Best Manager, Best Employee nods on a regular basis.  All of my prior employment experiences seem like a very unusual thing in today's times and based on the resumes that cross my desk when we are looking for HairBoutique employees.

Yes, I know there is no such thing as the perfect employee.  However, I have a few that shake my beliefs in hard work and being a good employee to my very core.   I'm the type of boss that expects my employees to come to the job on time, give at least 100% while there and achieve consistently good results.

Unfortunately I appear to be delusional when it comes to the employees of 2008.   I have managed to find a handful that has been with me a long time. These dedicated souls (whom I appreciate very much) arrive on time and give their very best while at work.

I also have some not so good employees who are working because they have to pay the bills and need to constantly be micro managed to squeeze out good results or else they randomly surf, sneak in a few video games or play solitaire when I'm not watching.  Which is part of the rub, because I hate to micro manage.  When I have to constantly stand over employees to achieve results it makes me frustrated and angry.  Which is not a pleasant Karen to experience.

So why don't I fire the slackers?  I actually have terminated several employees over the years but always worry that the devil I know is not as bad as the devil I don't know.  So do I dump the whiners, slackers and over entitled wimps who consistently refuse to work on random weekends because it cuts into their "play time" or do I suck it up and try to find new employees who actually would appreciate what has to offer?

Even if I try to find new employees....where in heaven's name are they hiding?  Why can't I find mini-me types who are honest, dependable and work their asses off?  Where are those Baby Boomers who retired early?  If they're bored and want to work part time...I would welcome them with open arms. Unfortunately, the last ad we placed opened a flood gate of applicants from other countries who could barely communicate and wanted a full (and very expensive) relocation package along with a green card.

In a recent rant to one of my good employees I threatened to clone myself and hire the clone, at which point he laughed and said, well your exact clone would already have three jobs so you couldn't hire her anyway.  Ahh, good point.

If anyone out there in the blogdom reads this and has found a hidden nest of good employees, please put me out of my misery and let me know where all the good employees have gone to.

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