Help Wanted: Good Employees Need Not Apply

slackerThe workplace can be difficult enough with the challenges and hurdles in doing your job.  It is made even more difficult when other employees don’t pull their own weight or managers fail to deal with the problem employees.

It has become an alarming trend in the workplace.  Maybe we can blame the “entitled generation” or “social media” attitude we have now.  I don’t really know what to call it.

I guess I’m old-fashioned to think people should come to work and do their jobs. I’m beginning to think employers either don’t really want good employees or they just don’t want to deal with the problem employees.

The good and dependable employees get taken advantage of and are expected to pick up the slack.  It seems now that supervisors and managers want the pay grade of their position but they don’t want to reprimand or hold the slackers accountable for their actions. What message does this send to the good employee? If you think that means the good employee can get away with the same actions, think again. Good employees are held to a higher standard and while allowances are made for the bad ones while the same allowances aren’t made for the good ones.

I knew someone who worked for the state who had a co-worker who was a slacker.  The supervisor told them to make copies of documents where the employee had made mistakes so that the supervisor could keep it in a file.  We’re not sure whatever happened to this file and we think it had to be a pretty damn big file somewhere because the supervisor never used it. We think it was just to appease the good employees in thinking that the supervisor was going to eventually do something if that file had enough evidence to reprimand the bad apple in the bunch.

It is disheartening to work a job where you are held to high standards but then see that your co-worker is not as dedicated and is absent of integrity yet they are given a free pass.  Their excuses for not doing their job are ridiculous and when they call out, it is the norm rather than the exception.

It makes me seriously doubt that employers want good employees anymore. I guess it has become more and more difficult to find good employees. The hiring process is sometimes flawed as well. It is assumed that if a person had a college degree or served in the military that they would be a good employee. Believe me, just because a person is a college graduate or former military does not qualify a person to do a job. Once upon a time you probably could count on those qualities to determine that someone was going to be an asset to the company. I have seen it being a liability more and more in the past several years.

Another reason I think that employers refuse to deal with the slacker employees is that they are afraid of retaliation. Whether it be in the form of workplace violence or litigation. They don’t want to make anyone mad anymore and certainly don’t want to reprimand anyone for doing a bad job.

So the inability to deal with the slacker employee stresses the rest of us out. We end up having to carry their workload. People come to us if they want something done instead of the actual person who is responsible for it.

So how do you deal with this?  What can the good employee do?  I have pondered on this often and I have reached two conclusions:

  1. Don’t stop being the good employee – Yes, I know it sucks when you see others getting away with being slackers or not doing their jobs but that isn’t a reason for you to join them.  Obviously those employees have greater issues in their lives and if you hang on long enough their day will come – and sometimes it takes a LONG time for that day to come.
  2. Keep your resume updated – I’m not an advocate of job hopping but you can keep your eyes open for better employment opportunities.  Maybe there’s a better fit for you and keeping the hope alive for an employer that will truly appreciate your integrity.

We are not alone in this struggle.  Nearly everyone (93%) has a co-worker who doesn’t do their fair share, according to a 2013 VitalSmarts survey of 549 people — and four in five say their work quality diminishes when they have to cover colleagues’ work. Yet just 10% of people speak up about coworkers’ slacking, per the survey; top reasons include the belief that voicing concern won’t make a difference, an unwillingness to undermine a working relationship, a feeling that it’s not their place, fear of retaliation, or uncertainty over how to broach the conversation.

Unfortunately,  work is work.  It has to be done and whether we like it or not we have to remember why we are doing it.  We’re doing it to pay the bills and support our families.  Yes, we might have to pick up the slack and it’s just totally unfair sometimes but that’s what we have to deal with.  If it were fun it wouldn’t be called work.

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