How to “disgruntle” a good employee in 4 simple steps

We all know employees come in every shape and form. There are bad employees, mediocre, okay, pretty good, and then there are The Good Employees.

The Good Employee usually possesses the following attributes:

  1. Dependable
  2. Dependable
  3. Dependable
  4. Motivated
  5. Positive

Basically The Good Employee is the person, who when you glance at the schedule and see their name, you sigh with relief and say, “Thank goodness, it is going to be a good day, so-and-so is going to be here.” The Good Employee is someone who can be counted on, doesn’t create drama, is motivated, and is a generally cheerful individual.

But, even the best employee can become…disgruntled. How do you describe a disgruntled person? A disgruntled person is someone who is unhappy, dissatisfied, angry, or feels unappreciated. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2013 over 2 million Americans were quitting their jobs EVERY MONTH. Alas it is 2015, so perhaps things have changed, but I’m just betting there are millions of people out there who were originally excited about working at the place of their employment and now are on a frantic job search. I’m sure MANY of these people are good employees–employees that show up, do their best, and try their hardest to be dependable. Well, why are they in such a hurry to leave their company they were once excited to work for?

How to “disgruntle” The Good Employee in 4 simple steps

  1. Don’t show concern for your employee’s personal life or well-being. I know work is work and we are supposed to leave our personal life kind of at the doorstep of our company, but if an employer never takes the time to just attempt to know a few things about who you are as a person (or even your name depending on the size of the company), then The Good Employee can easily start to feel as if all they are is a number.
  2. Overwork. You love it when so-and-so works. It means the place will run smoothly. So why not schedule them all seven days of the week? Clearly, overworking your employees will lead to exhaustion, irritability, and on the hunt for a new job where they feel…. more valued.
  3. Don’t listen. In some companies the managers or employers are people who have never been in the shoes of the lowest employee on the totem pole. They may burst out a list of demands with little or no thought or realization that even Superman cannot accomplish the said list of demands. Or an issue comes up and instead of listening to the full report on what happened, an individual is blamed for something they shouldn’t be blamed for. A company is about working as a team. You may be the leader at the helm but without your team, you wouldn’t be anything. We can all learn from each other. We can all learn from the guy at the bottom and we can all learn from the guy at the top. If A Good Employee shares thoughts, concerns, ideas…whatever, with a manager and nothing is done…the Good Employee will start to seek a job elsewhere.
  4. Never say thank you. Or never SHOW appreciation. I saved this one for last because all of the other steps hinge on this one. Feeling unappreciated day in and day out will turn The Good Employee into The Angry Employee. Sadly, millions of us feel extremely unappreciated at our jobs. (By the way, I’m not saying you should expect $2,000 dollars for just sitting at your desk. If you work hard you should get rewarded. If not, well…just work hard!) Never giving raises, never saying thank you, never pointing out the good in a person will lead to all of your good employees fleeing from your company.

Where the rubber hits the road: It is this simple, if you want to KEEP your good employees and have even more good employees working for you…never underestimate showing appreciation through listening, recognition, not overworking, and taking the time to get to know them.

Advertisements

If our own parents aren’t divorced we at least know a friend, co-worker, boyfriend or girlfriend, or spouse whose parents are divorced or they themselves have been divorced. And the people who are still together, still married didn’t seem happily married. When I was a little kid this terrified me. It terrified me that people who once loved each other so much could no longer want to be together; it terrified me that love could be fallen out of. Now, I’m in my twenties and it still scares me.

One of my responsibilities at work is the sacred duty of keeping charge of the Master Calendar. I have a wall dedicated to this enormous calendar. The calendar contains the current month and the following two months after it. Part of my ob is making sure every appointment is kept and information is announced and advertised at the appropriate time in advance. Every single day, several times a day I check the calendar. I am constantly updating it with new and vital information–date changes, new events, etc. I have notes written at my desk, reminders on my computer for especially important dates I need to remember. My job depends on not missing a date. I pour my heart and energy into keeping up with this calendar because I want to be great at my job, be promoted, reach my dreams and because, frankly I don’t want to lose it.

What if we treated our relationships like our jobs (I know some of you hate your job, so maybe this isn’t a good analogy for you, but think about something you LOVE…football, writing, working out, traveling; I know I don’t love my job all the time!). What if we poured our energy and time into our relationships because we knew if we didn’t…we’d lose them. There is a saying which says something about how you spend your time defines what you love. If we love the people in our lives, why do we so often forget about them? Why do we so often forget what their favorite song is, what story they told us last week, when their birthday is, what the little things are that make them smile, or what things they dream of doing.

We take the people in our lives for granted. Thinking about work–if I dressed sloppy day in and day out, forgot dates, showed up late for things or didn’t show up at all, had a sour attitude all the time, didn’t pay attention or was on my phone 24/7…I would get fired. Why do we do the same things to the people in our lives and expect to have a thriving relationship??? If we just let ourselves go….forget important things over and over again…be a grump all the time…never show incentive or not show up for things, or don’t listen our relationships grow weaker and weaker and before we know it they’re gone.

Love is about ACTION. “I love you” isn’t just a phrase you mumble as you walk out the door. Love needs to be felt…and how love can be felt is by being shown. If you want a great love story, one of those people who never fall out of love…it’s going to be hard work.

Thinking about my work calendar and how I write every important thing down, I thought this could work for relationships. I’m a forgetful person and I know it. What if we wrote down, had a special calendar or book dedicated to our significant other. We had all the special dates marked, notes about the things they mentioned they like, places they dream of going, songs that give them goose bumps, etc. and we constantly checked and updated this calender. We made it a point to not miss a day; we made it a point to make that person feel special; we made it a point to make them know they are important. What if we were DEDICATED to showing that person we loved them everyday? I think a lot of things would change.

For anything to last a long time (houses, plants, furniture, cars, etc.) you have to take care of it, you have to give it “love”. If things aren’t taken care of they rust away, shrivel up really quickly. It’s the same with our relationships. You have to try. You have to give effort. You have to give your time. You aren’t always going to get it right. You are going to mess up, but what you will get right is making that person in your life know they are loved.

I know divorce happens for many different reasons, unrelated to this. But, I also think that just maybe love wouldn’t be fallen out of so easily if we took it more seriously.

Interview with the Literary Agent

While visiting the homeland (Colorado) I had the opportunity to meet a LITERARY AGENT. Unfortunately, it wasn’t about my book…it was an interview for a position in the company! Still good news! This would be an amazing opportunity and maybe even would be a foot in the door to getting my book published (perhaps I could “accidently” leave a copy of my manuscript on one of the agent’s desks?). If you haven’t read my post on what happens to me during an interview, I have to tell you, I get TERRIFIED when going to interviews…it’s worse than terrified…it’s like my mind goes blank and I can’t seem to remember a thing!

This was a job I wanted, a position I was fully ready to take and to grow into…prepare for the interview? You bet I did! But as I walked into the shiny office with it’s glittering chandelier and mahogany desks I suddenly felt silly in my fitted dress and floppy shoes. For some reason, the shoes were a huge part of my worries. I had forgotten to bring my black pumps with me and ended up borrowing a pair of flats from my sister. The flats were worn and too big, so big my toes were gripping the soles just to keep them on when I walked. I repeated the line from Ever After, “No one will be looking at your feet” and hoped it was true.

As I waited to be called in, I studied a library filled with books that had been brought to publishing by this company. My heart was racing.

The first part of the interview went well, even with my nerves I maintained control. I pushed my work ethic and passion for literature to cover my lack of experience. I was feeling good. Suddenly I was ushered into the president’s office. W-WHAT? I had no idea he would interview me! The position I applied for was administrative, it didn’t seem big enough to meet the president! As we walked through the offices of the agents, my heart was POUNDING. AAAHHHHH!! The president!

When I entered his office and shook his hand I was shaking…I literally felt petrified in his presence. He introduced me to his wife announcing that I was a writer. It is so good to here a professional refer to you as a writer, let me just say.

He says, “What is the first line of your book?”

I fumble my speech a little and I can feel my cheeks burn ( I HATE that I blush so easily!). “He always hated hospitals,” I say the very first sentence of my book, holding my breath for his response.

He nods and says in his very serious, no nonsense kind of way, “That’s pretty good, actually. The first sentence is so important…there are many times when I have only read the first sentence of a submitted manuscript and rejected it. The first sentence must be good.”

His words gave me hope and taught me so much.

Be sure your first sentence is somehow captivating…and with correct grammar. That first sentence counts…make it good.

Even though I didn’t get the job as an administrative assistant, it was AWESOME being able to share about my book to a literary agent that has lead to the selling of millions of pages of literature.

What is the first sentence of your book?

When life doesn’t do as we say…thoughts on waiting

Sometimes, dreams don’t come true when we want them to. Sometimes, waiting can be the most impossible feeling. Sometimes, we wonder if life will ever take us where we want to be. Sometimes, life takes us where we need to be.

I have had an interesting month…full of potentially life changing decisions. At the start of the month I have to admit, I looked at the lives of my friends around me from college and turned green with envy. Among all of our lives, I felt least successful and sort of trapped. When I was little and thought about being 26, I imagined myself traveling the world, married, having a successful career, and of course at least one book published. I was a big dreamer!  As we grow up, we realize that certain dreams can’t come true as fast as you hope and life doesn’t exactly “do as we say”.

So what do we do in the middle of waiting for our dreams to come true? A thought hit me last week. I had made the decision to turn down a job offer where I saw certain dreams of mine suddenly in reach. After my decision, of course I was like, “Crap! I totally threw my chance away!” And I really wondered if I had made the right decision. I thought to myself, Autumn, true, you may have been unhappy at work, but you would have had this…and that…you wouldn’t have been in this horrible phase of constant waiting.

stuck in traffic

We humans are impatient creatures. I mean…we LOATHE waiting for things. Take being stuck in traffic, for example. No one in their right mind says, “I LOVE traffic jams!” We all hate them! We left the house a happy and kind person and then suddenly turn into a roaring (green) beast, waving our arms, shouting, honking, about to mash things hulk. Most technology these days all has the same goal: to be faster.

I was hit with the thought, life will be full of waiting…no matter what we can invent…we will have to wait…it is just life. So what do we do, while we wait? Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are…be a good one.” No matter what phase you are in life, be good one, strive to give your best. No matter what job you have, find what little ways you can excel and even learn. No matter if you are married, engaged, single, or dating be the best one…be the type of person who you would want. No matter if you are a national best seller or a writer which whom no one knows your name…don’t make any excuses, give it all you got. Waiting for things can actually be a gift. Maybe we aren’t given things now because now we aren’t ready for them as a person. Maybe if we got all of our dreams at the snap of our fingers we wouldn’t have the experience, the growth to succeed with them. Learn to take the wait and do all you can in that time so when your dreams come true, you’ll be ready. You’ll take those dreams and fly.

Work Dreams, gotta love ’em

Have you ever had a “work” related dream? You know the type of sleep where you feel like you are still…at work…all night long and when you wake up you are beat?

I have had these type of dreams many times. Sometimes it is just a dream where I am late to work, like 7 hours late. Other times I am surrounded by infinite piles of paper work that I have to get through before a certain time.

My favorite work dream I ever had, came of course, from the zoo I worked at. During my days at the zoo, I had always prided myself on being able to make PERFECT ice cream cones. I had it down to a science. My cones where huge and perfectly balanced. I could even get that little curl at the top of the ice cream. One day people literally were pouring into the restaurant chanting, “I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” They weren’t really chanting that, but there were A LOT of people who ordered ice cream. I made HUNDREDS of cones that day. At the end of it all I was covered in sticky ice cream goo and I never ever wanted to see another waffle cone in my life. I ended up working a catering event, making my day a whopping 13 hours. When I got home, I desperately needed rest. I showered off and tucked myself into bed, thankful to be able to finally stop moving my aching legs and arms. I fell asleep within a few minutes. I would be refreshed and ready for another day of work in the morning.

However, my night was less than restful. For hours in the night I dreamed I was making ice cream cone after ice cream cone. Chocolate, Vanilla, Twist. Waffle cone. Cake cone. Cup. Would you like a cherry on top? At 3:00 AM I woke up, exhausted and my mouth parched. I walked to the kitchen to quench my thirst and returned to my bedroom (that I shared with my twin sister at the time) and got back into bed. I lay in the pillow trying to empty my mind of all things zoo and ice cream related. Suddenly a voice pierced the relatively silent night (other than the snoring coming from my parents’ room, which was on the other side of the house! My Mom always said my Dad’s snoring sounding like he was sawing down a forest).

It was just a few mumbles at first then out came words that sounded like a foreign language, perhaps from the Amazon jungles. I giggled. It was Andrea, fast asleep across the room in her bed. I always wanted and have tried to successfully have a conversation with someone while they were sleep talking, get them to reveal their secrets. So far I haven’t been successful. This particular night I was too exhausted. I had my own ice cream nightmares to worry about. The mumbling continued. Then, at last I could understand a few words.

“Ch-o-co-mmmmm. MMMMM.” “W-would you like chocolate, v-v-vanilla, or twistssss?” Andrea mumbled, her voice sounded into a groan.

I laughed. Chocolate, vanilla, or twist? Was Andrea being haunted by ice cream dreams too? She had been there at the zoo with me, had experienced the entire ice cream mob.

“Would you like a w-w-w-affle c-co-ne or c-cake coooone?” She continued after a few more moans and sighs.

I was laughing. Poor Andrea! I half expected her to sleep walk over to an imaginary ice cream machine and make an imaginary ice cream cone.

In the morning I asked her casually, “So, how’d you sleep?”

“Uugggg. I felt like I was at work…ALL NIGHT LONG!” She said, groaning.

I told her about how she slept talked and how I too dreamed of ice cream. We laughed together about how both of our nights were haunted by a monster, a Freddy Krueger, called Ice cream.

What has your last work dream been like? Do you sleep talk? What’s the weirdest thing you have said or heard a friend say? 

Have you ever laughed at someone else’s misfortune…that YOU caused??

And you tried not to laugh, you really tried, but it could not be helped. The laughter came out in suppressed waves of giggles and then finally erupted into flinging your head back into the air or hugging your stomach that hurt because you could not stop laughing. You kept trying to stop, but you were no longer in control. You felt like the terrible person you were.

This is one of those stories.

It was another summer day at the zoo. We had just experienced what we termed “A Rain-Forced Rush”. A Rain Forced Rush was the unexpected and sudden visit of thongs of people filling the restaurant do to rain. On a day that had been already so busy our food supply was nearly wiped out, we were unprepared for the sky to turn gray and thunder to rumble and drops of rain that sent a literal mob of people that were all “Hangry”.

People of all shapes and sizes squeezed into the restaurant, exceeding the max capacity by a crazy number. They filled practically every corner of the place, and it didn’t help half of the them were manning monstrous strollers that were practically the size of a smart car (you know those strollers with three wheels and enough seats for the entire family to be pushed around in). Kids were screaming, adults were screaming. It was madness.

By the time the people were done with us we had about two ice cream cones, a hotdog, and a squeezed beyond recognition bag of cotton candy left over.

Then! There is was! The sun! Breaking through the clouds the sun beamed into the restaurant signaling the rain storm was over and we were saved. The people left just as quickly as they came (so quickly I was afraid someone would be trampled!) and in their departure a disaster. Cups strewn across the tables and floors, red cherry slushy mixture and melted ice cream puddled the floor, napkins here there everywhere, tables and chairs upturned, mashed French fries and half eaten corndogs littered the area.

Our manager knew that the day was rapidly coming to an end and there were still nearly half of the staff that had not gotten a break. He sent them all on break and the rest of us unlucky ones who already had our break were on clean up crew.

I had the wonderful task of tending to the trash. There were about 10 trash cans, each of them filled and overflowing and foul. I put gloves on and moved from trash can to trash can, lugging the 30 lb. filled bags back to the backside of the restaurant where the dumpster was. trash

For my story to make sense I have to quickly explain the room where the dumpster was. It was like a mini “garage” attached to the end of the restaurant.  The dumpster was elevated about two feet above the small walkway, I’m not sure why this was done but I can tell you it made tossing trash into it quite the exercise, especially for those of us who are short. Opposite side of the dumpster were two chairs and a bucket for cigarette butts, this was our lovely “break area”. Not even a coffee corner! Haha! Most of the time I ate outside, I mean facing a trashcan while you are eating your lunch is hardly appetizing.

Once I had gathered all the trash bags in a nice pile I set to work on getting them into the dumpster. I greeted my friends Will and Mike who were on break and occupying the two chairs in the “break area” and joked about how I was going to have crazy arm muscles after all of this heavy lifting. I had an art to how I got the trash in the dumpster, I perched on the edge of the stairs that were the same height as the dumpster and tossed the trash bags in from there. It was an angled toss, but I had become an expert. Quickly I tossed in bag after bag, feeling disgusting by the revolting smell that seeped from the each bag. Mean while Will, the Zoo’s jokester was making joke after joke and laughing in his usual way.

Every now and then you will get a trash bag that I call a “juicer”. Juicer trash bags are the worst because like the name implies they are filled with “trash juice” (an unholy mixture of all liquids that are in the bag…diaper juice, oil, ketchup, soda, ice cream, slush, etc.). I picked up the bag, it was the last one! When I picked it up, I didn’t notice the bag was punctured and trash juice was spilling onto the ground. At the exact moment Will opened his mouth widely, roaring with laughter at some joke Mike cracked, I tossed the trash bag into the dumpster. All I saw was a reddish brown juice fly through the air. And splash! It made contact with it’s victim.  The juice flung across Will’s face…and into his wide open mouth.

It was like everything was in slow motion for a few seconds. Me and Mike stared at Will in shock…and then at each other. Did that just happen? Will’s eyes were huge and filled with the most awful look of horror. The red juice dripped down his face and his open mouth was frozen in position.

Mike said, “Dude…”

And I…began my apologizing. “Will! I am so sorry! Oh my gosh, I’m so so so so sorry. I can’t believe….bahahahahahahahahahahaha!” The laughter began to take hold of me. My voice began to shake and my body trembled because the laugher longed to escape. Finally I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Wild laughs exploded out of me. I felt awful but I couldn’t stop! I tried, but I just… was rolling.

trying not to laugh

Trying not to laugh

laughing

Not succeeding…

bursting into laughter

laughter has taken over

Will got up, groaning in horror and ran to the dish washing sink and using the commercial sprayer sprayed his mouth and entire face off.

Meanwhile, I watched, still laughing.

Will did forgive me

….eventually.

When your alarm throws in the towel

My eye lids slowly blinked open. I felt like I just woke up after spending three months in a vegetative state.

How I look waking up..

How I look waking up..

Even though darkness filled the room, I started to hear the zoom of the first wave of the morning rush. Sigh. I would have to wake up soon. I wondered how much time I had, if I was lucky it was the earliest crowd heading for a long commute to DC. If that were so I still had 2 blissful hours to sleep. It certainly was dark enough and I was certainly tired enough.

I picked up my phone and squinted at the blinding light and read 7:25am. I closed my eyes, shook my head. I must still be dreaming. There was no way it was 7:25, if it were true I would have to leave for work in 5 minutes. I reopened my eyes, forcing them to look into the light.

7:26am.

I paused for a moment, staring at the time in horror. I had set the alarm for 6:30am. I had set the alarm and I had turned it up to the highest volume, I was 100% certain. Then the phone buzzed and went dark. It buzzed again, almost angrily sounding; a small box popped up on the screen announcing that google play was shutting down (definitely was sleeping,  not playing fruit ninja), next it buzzed with the message that messenger was forced to close (I didn’t even have it open), after it announced that the phone was pretty much throwing in the towel, quitting everything.

7:27am.

Then it hit me-Autumn, you have to leave for work in 3 minutes, why are you staring at your disloyal phone?

The adrenaline kicked in and I flew out of bed and ran to the kitchen to check the clock on the microwave, just in case.

Still 7:27….wait no, now it’s 7:28!

I let out a little scream and dashed to my room to throw on some clothes. I should note that, I’m that employee with the special parking lot for perfect attendance and always being on time. Haha. Not really! But I really strive for punctuality and always being at work on time or early. This could not be happening!

I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and winced. My hair was wild, like I had been riding in a convertible for hours….in tornado alley. Already 7:31, I had no choice but to braid it. I thought that might look a little more put together than a pony tail. Braid done. Next was the makeup, I had fallen asleep still wearing my make up so now I had mascara crumbling on to my cheeks and eyeliner smeared under my eyes.jack sparrow I looked like Jack Sparrow, pretty much. I tried to scrub it off, but then I remembered that my eyeliner is water proof. The smudges became even thicker. And it was 7:34 now. I was frantic. I grabbed the eye makeup remover and wiped away the dark smudging the best I could and reapplied mascara over the crunchy stuff already on. Now my eyelashes looked like tarantula legs. At least it is near Halloween, maybe I could get away with it. 7:36. I needed to leave, and of course I couldn’t find my shoes! I saw my hot pink flip flops in the corner, but no I couldn’t wear those to work and definitely not on a freezing drizzly day. 7:37. The hot pink flip flops were on my feet and I was finally out the door.

When I got to work I ran into my office and closed the door, I had for the most part slipped in, unnoticed and I was on time! YES! Now all I had to worry about was avoiding people and at least I could be grateful that my boss had just left for vacation yesterday.

Several hours into the day, I had a spare moment so I slipped into the bathroom to help tidy my appearance. I looked in the mirror (with better lighting than my own) and it was bad. With my straggly braid and frightening eyelashes and drippy makeup I looked like I had just been on set in the Hunger Games. There was little I could do but once again utter a prayer of thanks that at least my boss was on vacation.hunger games

I was back in my office when I heard the deep voice rumbling through the hall ways. It can’t be. Oh! But it was. The voice grew louder and louder. He was headed my way. He popped into the door and I said a chipper, “I thought you were supposed to be in a car heading to the beach!” My insides were squirming, praying he would stay near the door and at least not catch a glimpse of the hot pink rubber flip flops. He greeted me saying he had forgot to tell me about a detail he had for a project I would be completing in his absence. He was bringing his dog to the kennel and decided to just drop by the office, since it was on the way. The dog was with him and everyone knows I love dogs so I had to go over and pet it or he would know something was up. I got up from my desk and my hot pink flip flops were exposed.

I waited for something, a comment about the unprofessional, blindingly neon pink shoes. But he didn’t say anything!What a relief! Perhaps he was lenient because he was headed to the beach himself? Well, I set the alarm on the radio clock…hopefully that won’t quit on me!

Have you ever woken up late and had to scramble to get to work? Would you rather be late or wear hot pink flip flops to work? (I am questioning my judgment on this…maybe I should’ve taken a few more minutes? But I HATE being late!)