Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Days Of Wine & No Roses

I recently saw a former employee of mine from back in the temp labor company days. He was notable for his alcoholism. We had tried to terminate his employment due to his getting drunk on the job site. He called and complained to the corporate office. We were told that we had to reinstate him because we could not make a legal determination of whether or not an employee was drunk. (Technically, if you want to write a person up for being drunk, you should write that the person appeared to be under the influence or impaired.)

So we reinstated him. He came to the office for dispatch not seeming to be under the influence. We sent him out on a job about 30 miles away with a crew of, maybe, a dozen workers to move office furniture. About an hour after he left our office, we got a call that he was drunk. My coworker had to go pick him up. She took him to a lab to do a blood alcohol test. He was 2 times over the legal limit. He still denied that he had been drinking, but we were allowed to terminate him for 3 years, I think. That's as long as our nationwide bans lasted.

The temp labor company was the sort of place that people who were looking for work would show up at the office each day at 5:30am and wait for assignments. We had a lot of transients work for us. My first summer with the company I was the only staff member. I spread the word that my workers would no longer be allowed to sit outside the branch office all day drinking alcohol. One of them complained that I didn't officially post this policy for everyone to read.

During my solo days I was able to do a termination on a temp who had been suspended for being drunk and belligerent over a dozen times. He made the mistake of going to a job site smoking crack and taking a piss in the corner of the room he was working in. After I terminated him, his family came and picked him up and tried to help him. He was a sad case. Years before he had killed his brother by driving a car drunk.

It was our company's unwritten policy that we would never send someone out to the job site who was drunk or on drugs. If they ended up drunk, then it must have happened on the way to the job site. That being said, we wouldn't look the other way if someone was noticeably impaired. But seasoned drunks and druggies could often hide their impairment. And the counter we were behind was tall and deep, so we could potentially be a few yards from our temp workers.

Most of our temp workers were good workers. It showed a lot of dedication to be able to show up for possible dispatch each day at 5:30am not knowing if they would actually get to work that day. But most of those workers also had found that they couldn't wait longer than a day to get paid for the work they did, so they couldn't survive a so-called "real" job where they'd get paid every 2 weeks, or so.

I would often think that my mom would never have imagined that I would be working in that sort of environment, let alone know the sorts of people I knew.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #12

I am the sort of person who tries to figure out what people do the things they do. Sometimes I can't. A couple of times we have had someone pick up an application only to bring it back a few days later to fill out in our office. We had a guy stop by our office a couple weeks ago to check on the status of his application. He'd filled out his app almost a year ago, so I gave him a new one to fill out. I told him that we had several openings. He drove away with the application.

He returned 8 days later with the application. He hadn't filled it out during those 8 days, so he needed to fill it out inside our office. He came back half an hour from our closing time (5 pm). We generally stop people from filling them out in our office at 4 o'clock. But my assistant, S., left him do it. Her quitting time was at 4:30, but she was planning on staying until he finished the app. I told her to go on home.

He also broke my assistant's stapler, which didn't get him any bonus points.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #11

It may seem like you need to be in constant contact with your friends and family. But you really should put your phone down when you are visiting a business that you'd like to work for. If your conversation is that important, then finish it before you come inside.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Conversation With A Former Employee

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 11/23/2009.]

A bit more than a 2 weeks ago, I hired a new employee. 4 hours into her second day, Ms. R decided to leave in the middle of her shift. Allegedly her daughter got sick and had to go to the hospital. An unfortunate side effect to working in Human Resources is that I have grown to doubt every story I'm given. You'd think that people wouldn't lie about their kid being in the hospital, but they do. They lie about lots of things.***

So, Ms. R asked if I would consider rehiring her. I asked her why she hadn't called or stopped by to tell us what had caused her to disappear and stay away from work. Here is a synopsis of here reasons for not contacting us:

I told her that under the circumstances that I would have a hard time justifying rehiring her. I asked her what she could do to reassure me that she wouldn't no call/no show again. Here's her response:

I ended our discussion after that and wished her a happy Thanksgiving. I told her she could reapply in 1 year. I wanted to give her this advice, though:

Or better yet, this advice:

***I once had an employee call in because his father had died. A week later, his dad called wanting to talk to his son.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Phone Conversation

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 12/1/2009.]

Today my assistant, Suzette, had the following conversation on the phone:

Suzette: How can I help you?

Caller: Who have I called?

S: "name of business"

C: I don't know if this even is what I want.

S: What can I do for you?

C: I'm looking for part time work.

S: Are you available for weekends?

C: I'm really only wanting 1 day a week for maybe an hour.

S: We don't have anything like that open.

C: I stay home with the kids. My husband works. But I'd just like to leave and work for about an hour. Do you have anything like that?

S: No, we don't.

C: I have a Masters degree in Psychology. And I just don't know if being a janitor is for me.

S: If you want to be considered for openings, you'll have to fill out an application.

C: Where did I call again?

S: "name of business." Thanks for calling!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The World of H.R.

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 4/3/2010.]

I had to spend a few days over the last couple weeks with my H.R. boss. Someone in one of my offices had filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission about an incident she alleged had happened. Of course I cannot divulge anything about the complaint or our investigation. But I will say that this was not an entry level Human Resources investigation. This was a post-graduate thesis level Human Resources investigation.

It has been a strange couple of weeks at my H.R. office, and the above mentioned complaint was just the icing on the cake. I also had to deal with the following:
  1. A bunch of people quit at once.
  2. I had to hire a bunch of people.
  3. One person I hired didn't show for her orientation. My Gruff Boss had be call her to have her come in the next day. It was not a surprise that she only lasted about 2 days before her attendance was a problem. In the one week surrounding her employment, she presented a bunch of reasons she had to delay her start date and/or had to leave work early and/or had to miss work. She had an uncle who was going to have his leg amputated and she needed to be there. She had a toothache that required her to be at the Emergency Room for 2 solid days. And some others I've forgotten already.
  4. We had people from our American Headquarters come and train us on the new software we would be using. I had been in our Regional Headquarters at the end of February to train on the software. However, the computer network had issues and the 2 days of training were a complete waste of time.
  5. IT people from our American HQ invaded our office to install new stuff that would make it possible for our European Corporate Corporate HQ to upload all payroll and billing information faster and more frequently.