Worst Employee Ever???

Worst Employee Ever???


Would you hire a person who met EVERYTHING on your criteria list….but then said to you…that they had 10 non-negotiables?

Here are the non-negotiables of the potential hire:
1. I will show up late from time to time.

2. I will leave early to pick up groceries for dinner.
3. I will take an extended lunch sometimes because I have a friend who is ill, and I like to check in on her.
4. I will randomly work from home when my child is sick.
5. I will take frequent bathroom breaks because I have a condition that you don’t want to hear about.ID-100271184 man grass stockimages rev
6. I won’t attend unnecessary meetings. But, I won’t leave anyone hanging, or having to do my work.
7. On sunny summer days, I will take my laptop outside, and work under the blissful sun (with sunblock on).
8. If I meet a colleague in the hall, I will ask how she /he is doing and we might have an in-depth social chat.
9. I will expect that you trust me at ALL times.
10. I will trust you as an employer.

Take a moment to think about this.

The person also said “I also guarantee that I will ALWAYS get my work done”.

1. Is this a person that you could see as a potential hire?
2. Is it possible to reinvent our idea of the “good” employee?

Let’s take a break from these questions, and take a walk down memory lane… 

When I was in elementary school, every move was documented.ID-10036085 photostock_kid desk rev

1. If I was late there would be a call/note from my mom.
2. If I had to leave early there would be a call/note from my mom.
3. Lunch was precise.  We started and finished at a certain time. We ate, and we got back to work.
4. I wasn’t allowed to stay at home and learn the school curriculum…..unless it was designated to be completed after 3pm.
5. I had to raise my hand to go to the bathroom. And kids that asked more than once were answered with, “you just went to the bathroom, you don’t have to go”.
6. All classroom activities were mandatory, as well as assemblies, presentations, and sing-a-longs.
7. My workspace was my desk, and my desk was inside a classroom. I was not allowed to work outside. However, on a sunny spring day (if we were lucky enough), a teacher might take us all out to learn about clouds.
8. Chatting during class was not allowed (unless instructed that we could do so). School work was a serious thing. We were told to concentrate. There was a time and place for fun.
9. My teachers couldn’t trust me during those tender ages between 5 and 11. I needed to learn in a controlled environment to keep on task, and I needed to be kept safe.  Isn’t that why there were so many boundaries around my day? Imagine the mischief I could’ve gotten into if I was allowed to roam the halls or leave school property. I understandably couldn’t be trusted to handle myself independently, and at a young age, I wasn’t allowed to make adult decisions.
10. Did I trust my teachers? Hmmm…at that age, teachers were the authority, and we knew they were authority. And if you didn’t follow the above rules, there were consequences.

ID-100221251 stockimages raise hand rev

If anyone sees similarity between my ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DAYS, and being a “good” employee in today’s work environment…please raise your hand!

If not, check out these general ideas of a “good” employee:
– Show up on time, don’t leave early.
– If a lunch is taken , it won’t be an extended one.
– Work is completed at a desk, inside in an office. Not under a tree.
– Random breaks are not frequent. No matter the personal need.
– All meetings are attended. Period.
– Social chit-chat is kept to a minimum…we need to make a profit here.
Employees are not trusted, and employers don’t expect that employees trust them.  

Please bear with me as I extend this walk of remembrance.

When I was in high-school I found some independence!

I was lucky enough in my last year of high-school to have ONE teacher that told us something like, “This is your learning space. You need to learn the material to write the exam and pass the course. You will not be disciplined if you don’t show up, but you need to get the work done. If you need to go to the bathroom do so, but you don’t need to ask. If you have a group project, don’t let your team down, but I will not be keeping tabs on you. You are adults, so I am going to treat you that way”.

An amazing (or not so amazing) thing happened. We showed up. Okay…not all of us. I believe there were two students that didn’t. My classmates and I loved our teacher, and we learned. I got a great grade. I have no idea what the grades were for the two students that didn’t show up to class, but their business wasn’t my business. All I knew is that it felt great to be trusted!

Autonomy in University!

After high-school, I completed an Honours B.A. in University, and I also did a Post-Grad in College. NOT ONE PROFESSOR took attendance or seemed to care if I showed up or not.

I know in my first year (in a classroom of about 400), not one professor kept tabs on anything except my essays, exams, and grades. I worked in any way that I wanted. I worked in my room, the floor, the library, on the couch, under a tree, and Tim Hortons. Sometimes I would miss a class (or two), but I always handed in my essays on time (even if it meant working odd hours through the night). My grades were quite fine…but WOW that stats class was hard!

And for those that didn’t complete the work, my guess is that they didn’t last too long in the environment. 

What is the point to all of this??

As a child, we start off in a VERY CONTROLLED environment where we can’t be trusted to work and behave independently. Then we move to an environment in higher learning where we have NOTHING BUT AUTONOMY. And, finally as an educated/experienced adult, we get to a workforce where WE AGAIN CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO WORK INDEPENDENTLY.

We get to a point where the 10 items I listed at the start of this blog sound CRAZY to the average reader. Is it possible that all of those items CAN occur in a work environment…AS LONG AS THE WORK GETS DONE?

As I have stated in a previous blog, I work in a Results-Only-Work-Environment (ROWE).

In a ROWE you work wherever, and whenever you need to….AS LONG AS THE WORK GETS DONEThis is a shout-out to all! We can reinvent work!

Yes, it may take time, and yes it may take convincing! But, we shouldn’t be stuck in they same work structure – just because that is the same way we have always been working.

In my work-day for Pam Ross, I work wherever and whenever I need to, as long as the work gets done.
– I can wear my PJ’s sipping coffee at my desk.
– I can play with my son, do some laundry and then get back to work while my son is napping.
– I attend meetings that are necessary (either in person or by Google hangout).

– Pam Ross is totally transparent in all aspects of her business.
– I feel TRUSTED by Pam Ross.
– And I trust Pam Ross. And trust is something that I do NOT give out easily.

If YOUR company followed the ROWE principles, how would you behave? How would you feel?
– Could the culture be one of trust and happiness?

– Could work/life balance be a reality?
– What would it mean to be treated as an adult?

Business leaders should challenge themselves to find new ways to reinvent work to better their employees, and better their company.

In the book Blueprint for Workplace Reinvention, Pam Ross Front-cover-300x224 cropstates that, “trust is the core to developing relationships and to building strong culture. When we start working from a feeling of mutual trust, people feel like adults and are free to do their best”. If my high-school teacher could take a chance on trusting a bunch of young adults, and had great success, then imagine the possibilities of putting trust in adults in a work environment.

If the WORK IS DONE, everyone wins.
And for those rare folks that choose not to work as an adult…then perhaps they were never a good fit to begin with.



  1. September 24, 2014 at 9:49 pm

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  2. January 22, 2015 at 7:01 am

    […] you liked this blog – check out these: Worst Employee Ever Work Sucks! Five Critical Learnings about Going ROWE! Scrap Your Work From Home […]

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