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Making A Bad Impression On Your Boss

I have been a boss for many years now.   My very first job as a boss happened when I was barely 16 years old.

I was working as a part time kitchen aide for a medium sized hospital in St. Louis, in the old days, before medical center kitchens were completely automated.

Back then we had to go down to the central hospital kitchen from our individual patient floors and pick up the food for all the meals.

After the food was served we had to pick up the trays from the patients, scrape all the leftover food off into special garbage disposals, rinse off the trays and then take them back downstairs to giant roll-in dishwashers.  Once the wash cycle was finished, we had to retrieve all the trays, silverware and plates and lay out the trays for the next meal.

Yes, lots of work and constant hopping around.  Our part time night team consisted usually of three part time high school (like me) or college girls who reported to the floor's head nurse.  Of course she was busy making sure meds were distributed and dealing with medical emergencies.  So she didn't have a lot of time to manage the kitchen staff.  One key component of this shift was that all of us "girls" (because there were no guys working this detail) were scheduled from 3:30 pm until 6:00 pm.  We had to clock out at 6:00 whether we were finished or not.

Ahhh.  Those words...finished or not..was very key.  I was always determined to be completely finished on time and leave when I was supposed to.  Two of the other "girls" were often distracted due to personal traumas, lack of sleep, boyfriend problems...etc.,  They would literally drag their rear ends while I would speed around like the Road Runner to get the work finished on time.  I would always complete everything on my ToDo list, clocking out at 6:00 on the dot.  They other girls would often have to clock out and continue to work without pay because they had dragged around and not completed in the alloted time.

After two weeks of always being finished on time, the head nurse took me aside and put me "in charge of the rest of the girls".

It was my first job being in charge, but I learned a lot about motivation.  Why? Because I was also told by Nurse Betty that no one, including me, could leave from the team until we were all finished.   Guess what?  When I was in charge, we always finished all of our tasks by 6:00 on the dot.  In fact, it got to the point where the "girls" would fight to be on my shift because they knew I always got things done on time whereas the other teams often didn't.  One of my favorite sayings is "time is money" and I don't like to work for free.

Over the years I have developed a fine tuned system of feelers letting me know when one of my employees is heading towards the slippery slope towards being voted off the island forever.  Since the job market is so challenging right now, it's important to hang onto those good jobs you find or currently have.

The days of having the luxury to misbehave on a job and chalk it up to being a Millenium or a Y Genner or whatever are fast ending.  Right now, employers like me receive a mountain of resumes for one job opening.  If Milleniums or other Generational workers are known trouble makers, they won't even make it off the resume pile into the office for an interview.

Listed Below Are Some Of Key Ways To Make A Bad Impression On Your Boss

I have included the top behaviors below that make a bad impression on me and my other managers.  These behaviors may or may not be as important to other bosses but they are key at because of the type of business we run.  While my hot buttons may not be the same as your boss, certainly they have them.  Your goal is to find out what they are and avoid doing them, unless of course you don't care about hanging onto your job.

1.  Come in late. While some bosses don't care about this rule, many do.  For me it's extremely important because needs to be available to our customers during posted hours of operation.  If my employees are late then may not be open when it needs to be.  I am a stickler about this one and for good reason.  However, you would be amazed at my employees who still roll in 5, 10, 15 minutes late and think I don't notice.

Trust me, most bosses like me have eyes in the back of their heads and they don't forget consistent violations of published policies. Chronic lateness is rewarded with ultimate termination.

2.  Leave Early. I don't care if your wife gets off at 2:00 pm on Fridays and wants you to leave early to come home.  If you are scheduled to work until 6:00 pm then I don't expect you to leave early to sneak off to the movies.  Again, is a company that is dedicated to being open for when our customers need us to be.

Trust me, I'm not going to tell a valued customer that we couldn't ship her box because one of my employees had to leave early on a Friday because his wife wanted him to.  Also, I pay attention when an employee seems to have back problems, shoulder problems or car problems consistently on Friday afternoons and I know his spouse gets off early.  Yes, I do pay attention and while I may not initially say anything, I do pay attention.

3.  Ask Off Frequently. This is especially true of brand new employees.  It does not make a good impression on me when a brand new employee asks off four times when they have been at the company a month or less.  Yes, this happens and of course, that new employee immediately wins my suspicion and distrust, especially when the same new employee waits until I leave the office to make personal phone calls after phone use policies were clearly covered during the New Employee orientation.  Yes it's important to wish loved ones Happy Birthday, but not on my time and certainly not long distance.  If I can make my personal calls before or after work hours, my employees certainly can do the same.

4.  Bring Personal Problems To The Office. This happens a lot more than many people may realize.  One of my employees comes to work, especially on Mondays in a horrible mood because she has been black-out drinking all weekend.  Although she may not realize it, all the other employees talk about her bad attitude and dislike dealing with her, especially on days she seems hung over.

Then there's the employee who consistently fights with his wife on the phone at work.  Yes, again violating company policy against making unnecessary personal calls while at work.  This guy thinks because he uses his cell phone and talks low that no one knows but everyone knows and talks about it behind his back.  They hear him fighting with his wife and the word spreads because his mood often turns dark after those calls.

5.  Cheat The Company Of Time. This happens with those employees who text message non-stop or send personal emails when they think the boss is not looking.   It is beyond me how employees think that companies don't know about personal messaging they do during the day when they are supposed to be working.

6.  Being Disrespectful. This is the employee who is belligerent, disrespectful and unable to take constructive criticism when they make a mistake on the job.  They send sarcastic or condescending emails, they point fingers at everyone else and they refuse to take responsibility for their actions, or lack of, when a job is not done because they did not follow instructions.

Of course there are other behaviors that send up red flags like constantly calling in sick, bringing in forged doctor notes, not listening or being able to communicate, stealing from the company or dressing inappropriately for work.  However, the behaviors I have listed above are usually the ones that get my attention and lead to termination.

Yes there is a crisis in employment in this country and sadly there are still many employees who have some or all of the problems I have listed above.  Luckily for me I manage to weed these type of employee behaviors or the employees out of the fold before they infect all the great workers I so have.  And yes, I have a handful of fantastic employees that I appreciate very much and do a great job for our customers.

When layoffs happen, as they are happening in today's economy, companies will often first let go of the employees that exhibit the behaviors I have listed above and hold onto the "good employees".  What are the good employee behaviors?  Stay tuned, that's another blog for another day.

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