My Employee Is Insulted By “Satisfactory”

Dear Evil Skippy:

I supervise an employee who feels insulted if I say that his work has been satisfactory.  I keep telling him that satisfactory is a good ranking and that I am very happy with how he does his job.  It still bugs him because he thinks of himself as exceptional.  He feels like a failure since he does not get the highest possible ranking.  It has gotten to the point where his performance is starting to suffer.  Do you have any tips for how I can give honest (satisfactory) rankings yet still convince my employee that he is doing fine work?

–  Supervisor Sam

Dear Supervisor Sam:

Try this:  “If you think you feel bad about a satisfactory ranking right now, think about how you’re going to feel when I give you a ‘needs to improve’.   Snap out of it!”

–  Evil Skippy

I agree with Evil Skippy’s sentiment, if not his specific recommendation.  Try one last time to explain the meaning of “satisfactory” in the evaluation.

If it’s true, tell your employee that you expect exceptional performance and anyone who gives less than that will not get the official “satisfactory” ranking.

If it’s true, tell him that you rarely give rankings above “satisfactory”.

Next, tell him to banish his inner child from the workplace and to bring his inner adult to work instead.  (Your actual words would be, “You need to accept what I have told you about my rankings and not show your displeasure by performing at a lower level.  If you continue to provide less than satisfactory performance, I will begin a corrective action process.”  You don’t need to mention any inner or outer children.)

In other words, continue to set clear expectations and then hold your employees accountable.

Ten More Memorable Accommodation Requests

A year ago, I posted Evil Skippy’s Ten Most Memorable Accommodation Requests.  Since then, I’ve heard some memorable new ones and also remembered a few more that deserve recognition.  Here in no particular order is a top ten sequel based on my experiences guiding supervisors through accommodation requests – for both disabilities and religion.

Evil Skippy’s Ten Most Memorable Accommodation Requests – The Sequel

  1. The sales clerk who asked that he not be disciplined for talking dirty to female customers because of his unique version of Tourette’s syndrome (which apparently did not cause him to say suggestive things to the men).
  2. The cashier who asked due to her religious beliefs that she never be required to touch a bag or container containing any meat product– and who worked at a hamburger fast food restaurant.
  3. The telemarketer with an alleged “shyness disorder” who asked to be allowed one alcoholic drink per hour because it helped him talk to strangers over the phone (and who I think may have inspired a plot-line on television’s The Big Bang Theory).
  4. The employee with post-traumatic stress disorder who asked that he never be given any deadlines or performance evaluations.
  5. The atheist who asked that he not be “forced” to take religious holidays off from work and instead be allowed to use the days in July.
  6. The administrative assistant with a fixation on germs who asked that co-workers be required to wear disposable gloves before touching her papers or anything on her desk.  (Yes, I think she sees herself on Glee).
  7. The bartender who asked as part of his missionary obligations that he be allowed to offer prayers and religious counseling to any customers who seemed to have a drinking problem.
  8. The employee with the flu who asked to be given a new computer and office chair because “disabled people get special stuff”.
  9. A manager who asked for “spontaneous hour-long breaks” to go home and have “conjugal relations with his legal spouse” due to the effects of “lifelong sex addiction.”  (P.S.  He had a 27 minute commute from work to home.  You do the math.)
  10. The nut job who wanted permission to slap anyone who annoyed him.  Oh, wait.  That was me.

We Interrupt This Broadcast . . .

Dearest Readers (and the rest of you):

In order to continue to provide you with the best commentary and observations possible, Evil Skippy is embarking on an in depth week of research and serious contemplation about weighty topics. It will be difficult work, but nothing is too much to satisfy your cravings for knowledge and understanding.

This selfless effort means that there will be no new posts until February 14th. Until then, keep calm and carry on.

–  Evil Skippy

TRANSLATION:  I’m taking a vacation and bringing my warmth and charm to a Caribbean cruise while you all keep working. Oh how I hope it snows back home.  While I am sailing the blue seas, why don’t you comment below about topics you would like to see here in the future?

Which Font Is Best For A Resume?

Dear Evil Skippy:

A co-worker and I are having a disagreement and made a bet.  We agreed that you should decide.  Do you think a resume looks better when the font is Arial or Times New Roman?  (I hope you pick mine so I get the free lunch!)

Thanks, Evil Skippy!

–  A Fan

Dear Fan:

Neither, so you both lose.  I think your resumes would look best in the Wingdings font so I would not be able to read a single word.

To think I went to college and law school for this.  Sadly, I kind of like the power.

–  Evil Skippy

Your fonts don’t matter unless you use something extreme.  Don’t do that.  Between Arial and Times New Roman, however, I’d have to pick Arial.  It’s more crisp!  It’s more fresh!  It doesn’t sound like a weird newspaper.  Then again, it does sound like a singing mermaid.  Oh well.

You know I have to ask.  Loyal readers – which font would you choose?

My Employee Says My Tardiness Rule Is “Picky”

Dear Evil Skippy:

One of my employees was late two or three times a week for several weeks with lousy excuses.  When I put my foot down, she started coming in on time, but she does not actually start to work for about twenty minutes after her arrival.  After she logs in on her computer, she heads to the break room to fix her coffee (which is a production in itself) and then “organizes” her desk.  Last week, “organizing her desk” included reorganizing her purse.   I told her that she needed to be at her desk and working at the appointed time.  She replied that she was getting here on time like I instructed her, but she could not both be on time and be ready due to the bus schedule.  I was so flabbergasted that I told her we would talk later that day.  I went back that afternoon and repeated what I said in the first place.  She has been on time since then and starting to work mostly on time, although she makes a big deal out of her arrival and sighs as she talks to co-workers (in a stage whisper loud enough for me to hear) about what a hassle it is trying to satisfy my “picky rules.”  What would you do next?

–  Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

I would look for a new job — one that does not involve supervision because you do not appear to have the stomach for supervisory duties.  You let your employee arrive late for several weeks with “lousy excuses” before you did anything?  What’s up with that?   After you finally did your job, she still messed around for twenty minutes when she was supposed to be working?  Seriously?

You get a point for going back and talking to her the same day when she “flabbergasted” you.  You lose ten points for not grabbing her by her ears and dragging her to your office for a little corrective action when she continued to bring her inner child to work as exhibited by the passive-aggressive stage whispers. 

You are a supervisor, so supervise.  Tell this employee that she has to be at work on time, she has to be actually working during her work hours and she has to stop complaining about the wonders of being an adult who has to be at work on time.  Go ahead and acknowledge that you let this go on too long – you did – but clearly tell her that the immature behavior must stop immediately or there will be discipline.

If it does not stop, give her a time out at the unemployment office.

–  Evil Skippy

Just in case you are a literal-minded person, you should not actually touch your employee.  This means no ear grabbing and no actual slapping.  Sorry.

Evil Skippy is correct.  You must set clear expectations and then enforce them.  Some of your employees will have a good work ethic and won’t need to be told simple stuff like “Be on time.”  Others are dense, lazy, manipulative or some combination of all three.  (Of course, I am not talking about those employees who are late once in a while.  Life happens and we have to deal with it.)  The dense, lazy, and/or manipulative employees require more supervision on your part, but once you have set the expectations it is up to the employee to meet them.  If they fail to do so, they have entered the Highway to Termination and you are the one directing the traffic.  So direct.

Great Boss or Great Job?

Dear Evil Skippy:

If you had to choose between having a job you loved with a boss you hate, or a job you hate with a boss you love – which would you pick?

–  Philosopher

Dear Phil:

I would not pick because that’s a loser question.  Why would I pick either of those options?  They both stink.  I want a job I love with a boss who I at least respect.  Why settle for less?

I suppose if I had to choose, I could last longer working for a great boss.  Misery loves company.

–  Evil Skippy