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You're Fired!

posted 2 Dec 2010, 10:34 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 Dec 2010, 10:35 ]

When I came back he was sleeping on a pile of old carpet in
the  middle of the room.  That was the scene I saw as I
opened the door to  one of my Job sites during college.  I
have always owned my own  companies. I don't know if its the
innate hate I have for being told  what to do, or that I
truly love to create, invent, and implement; I  really hope
its the latter.  Either way I put myself through college
running a flooring company.  Anything that went on a floor I
would sell  and install.  And business was good, maybe too
good.  I quickly got to  the point that I had to have help.

I lived in a college town at the time and help was plentiful
and  cheap, but not exactly effective.  I would hire one
person only to fire  them within a week.  They would either
not show up to work, show up late  or-like the individual I
mentioned in the beginning of the story-decide  the job was
too hard and take a nap instead of working.  I learned
quickly that if they could not handle the work, they should
hit the  road.  They were all sub-contractors. I was a one
man show and could not  afford full-time employees, and I
could not afford to lose money. If  you did not perform you
got fired.

Over the years I have started and run several different
business, but  somewhere along the line the firing of
non-performers got complicated.   Suddenly it was no longer
single college students looking for extra  cash, but
families trying to keep food on the table. I started to
relax  the rules and it cost me money.  Eventually, every
non-performer would  have to be let go but not before they
had cost me thousands of dollars.   I often wonder where the
line for compassion lays in a business  environment.  Do you
let them go the day you find out they are not  performing or
after the second or third offense or even the fifth?

And things can get even more complicated! I had an
experience that  was even harder for me with one employee.
The problem was not that he  did not perform; the problem
was his attitude.  With one of my partners  he was courteous
and polite but with me he often made snide remarks,  rolled
his eyes at comments I made, publicly criticized content I
created, laughed at my expense,  and one time even told me
that my idea  was dumb.  Now, I have never claimed to be the
most brilliant person but  I learned early on in business
that I didn't need to be. I just had to  hire brilliant

The problem had several facets: the employee was good, not
brilliant  in my opinion but good.  My partner liked him,
the managers liked him, I  just didn't.  He was rude but
only to me and worst of all he made me  waste time even
thinking about it. The situation had become a cancer  but,
every time I wanted to cut it out my partners stopped me.

That experience opened my eyes to the fact that there are
multiple  intricacies to business that you can't find the
answer to in a book.   Its not as easy as finding the PE
ratio, or defining a target market.   There are human
emotions involved.  However, even as important as  dealing
with an employee, is dealing with your clients.  How many
clients do you have who are good clients, well, good for the
bottom line  that is, but not necessarily for morale?  Do you
have clients who drag  you down?  Are you keeping them even
though you hate talking to them?   Do you cringe every time
they walk into your office?  Do you have an  ulcer from the
problems they cause you?  Is it really worth it?  You can
fire your employees but can you fire a client?  Maybe it's
time to  evaluate what is most important to you; peace or
the bottom line?

About the Author:

For this and other articles by Tyrell Gray is Chief
Evangelist and Founder of MyMark, please go to . MyMark, LLC is a media rich
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