"Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say."
"Always look on the bright side of life?"
"No, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.'"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Work Pet Peeve

We are having a horrible time at work lately in regards to reliable help. Since October, we have had three people in one certain position. I realize that traveling to and from nursing homes and changing out the oxygen supplies on residents is far from glamorous. It is hard work, not exertion-wise but just time-wise.

Each person has called off sick within 1 week of starting. This is normal due to the body getting used to all the illness exposure in all nursing homes.

That being said, the newest girl has called off 3 times in 45 day. Yes, that is correct. She has called off once every 15 days. I am not sure about you, but to me, this is excessive. Every position I have ever taken has had a 90 day probationary period. This is usually true of all employers (if a temp agency isn't used). Often I have heard from Human Resource Directors that calling off in the first 90 days is frowned upon.

I worked as an assistant to a HRD and we were very much in sync with our thoughts on hiring, firing, call offs, vacations, etc. We even joked around about how I had an 85% correct guess rate on whether an applicant would come back with a bad drug screen. I loved it. (Actually, I would love to do HR again but I hate the politics that can come with the position. It tends to err on the side of the corporation not the employee.)

I thought that I would throw out some red flag situations that would make an employer bristle and see if I am off base. I would kind of like feedback not matter the side you may be on. I like hearing others thoughts on stuff like this.
  • 1. If they bring their children to an interview, it tells me that they will have trouble finding a sitter/day care and I would put them on the bottom of the potential hires list. (I have found that this has a 90% truth rating. Most people in nursing homes that have brought children to the interview end up getting fired for call off based on the inability of the person to find child care)
  • 2. If they show up to an interview wearing jeans and a t-shirt/sweater, I will question (in my head) whether they are taking the position seriously or if they are just trying for the position until something better comes along.
  • 3. Gaps in employment and short work history with employers will make me think twice about hiring someone. It can be a telltale sign that the person is a job hopper and never happy for long. They will end up in the circular file.
  • 4. If they show up late and unprepared, I will assume this will carry through their employment. (I am guilty of being 2 minutes late to work at least once a week.)
  • 5. Calling off in the first week of employment it a HUGE red flag. At that point, the person would go on a "To be Watched" list. Calling off at all during the 90 days is a no-no but the first week is a forewarning of things to come. (On a side note, I realize a bad illness can strike and that it will require time off; this is acceptable. Calling off because you can't find a sitter, is not.) I may be too strict on this but I think it is because I have taken 2 sick days is the last 4 years, in two different jobs. I look at it this way, I can be sick at home (as long as I am not contagious), dealing with housecleaning and the dogs, or I can be sick at work and get paid for it. I have worked with some of the most horrific migraines, head colds, cramping, and body aches (from moving in September). Maybe it stems from childhood and my mom making me be productive at home, even when I was sick. I don't think so though, DH is the same way.
  • 6. Lack of initiative is a big one, too. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. I don't care if it is your normal job. If everyone in our building on did our set jobs, people could die and customer service would be nonexistent. Be willing to help out.

I realize that I am being picky but I really see that the generations that are coming into the workforce now have little/no understanding of work ethic or pride in their jobs. Maybe I am a dying breed, who knows. But, seriously, can we start giving kids (and some adults) a class on good employment etiquette and general employer expectations? Better yet, maybe we should use the 15 year that works for us and have him train people. That kid is a work horse.


Shayna said...

Yup, I agree with you Tammy.

First wow, if someone brings their kids to an interview and I was interviewing them, I can pretty much tell you they aren't going to get hired.

Second, I always dress nice to interviews even if it's a laid back job because you never know how the interviewer is going to view you. If you show up dressed up to a place where it's ok to wear jeans, at least you showed that you are professional and can be that way if needed. I don't think a business suit or formal dress is required, but just clean up and wear something other then jeans and a t-shirt stained with your lunch.

Calling off within 90 days just seems unacceptable to me unless a death has occurred or you are so sick in bed that you can't move. So I agree with you there.

Definitely valid points and they'd all be red flags to me too!

Jen said...

Ummm...that's being picky??? Seriously these are all very common sense!

jenn said...

yeah- first & foremost I have always worn a suit to an interview. #1 rule of interviews in my book. As for the rest- picky? hardly!

Amy Paden said...

I have called in twice in the month I've been working. Once because I was having severe stomach issues, the second time was because I had a very bad migraine (pain beyond belief, twitching eye, dizziness when standing or moving... it was not a fun day. Ironically enough, it was New Years Eve day. I'm suer that OT thought I was lying when I called in that day.) I work with headaches all the time, but that one time, it was so bad that I couldn't even pull myself out of bed until 1. I only call in as a last resort now as a last resort. When I work in the "food industry" or whatever you want to call working at the meat market for 8 years, I *couldn't* work when sick because that isn't exactly sanitary.

Before I hit the 3-month mark, I'll have taken off an additional 2 days for WF (taking Monday off just in case we run into bad weather on the way back)

I think everything in your list is common sense. Rather, what I hope would be common sense.

And just a thought, since I am of a "younger generation"... I have had countless classes through high school and college about business etiquette and they actually stress that you should not do things that aren't in your job description. I'm pretty sure they just say that as a CYA move.

Sorry for the long comment... It's been awhile since I left one, so I figured that I better leave a good one!