I had a very interesting conversation with an employee the other day. This particular employee has been giving me a hard time since day one and really drives me up the wall.
It started as a dispute over an error on her timecard – I’d shorted her a half hour. I told her so, after she complained and offered to cut her a check right then and there or to add it to her next paycheck. She insisted it was more than that, and essentially I wasted an hour teaching her math so she could understand, in fact, it was a half an hour. Now this girl is a medical assistant and can’t seem to do basic math. Are we alarmed yet?
Of course, the conversation didn’t end there – oh no, there were many things that had to be discussed. Temper tantrums and flashes of anger, which I advised her to knock off and she did sort of…
As the time ticked off and essentially I was being paid to deal with this whining girl and she was being paid to whine to me, we got to the crux of the matter. She informed me that she was taking two vacations over the next 8 weeks. Two vacations???? This girl hasn’t even worked here a year, and has taken one week already to go to Hawaii and a long weekend to go to Vegas. Apparently there is a family reunion and a cruise she absolutely must go to.
Now, look, I don’t like to spoil people’s fun and I don’t really mind trying to work something out so people can go to things like family reunions and so forth. But give me a break – she expects to be given off essentially four weeks during the a course of 9 months employment. Call me crazy but I’ve never worked anywhere that would give that kind of time off in such a short employment.
And the kicker is, that she didn’t ask me. She told me. Like, “Oh, by the way, I’m taking these dates and these dates off. I have a family thing and then I’m going on a cruise.”
Eh? I asked her if she could take them at the same time, schedule them back to back so it would only be one leave. Oh no, can’t do that. Because her boyfriend is paying for it. When asked if she could persuade her boyfriend to schedule the cruise right before or right after the reunion, she said “I can’t afford to take that much time off at once.” Excuse me?
She can’t afford to take that much time off. So what? I’m supposed to be worried about her finances while she throws the practice into mayhem because she’s leaving on her little trips? She doesn’t have anyone who is coming to cover her, nope, she figures her supervisor can just cover for her during her absence.
So, I say, “Well if your supervisor can cover you during your absence, then why do I need two medical assistants?” You know? Why? If the supervisor can do all the work that needs to be done, what the hell is she doing?
Ooops, no answer for that one. Nope, she has to think about that. Kind of like her math problem, she just doesn’t know the answer. She just knows that she wants what she wants and she’s going to tell me and I’m going to do it.
“You’re not the boss of me, ” I tell her. “It may come as a shock, but I’m actually the boss of you. And I just don’t know if we can give you the time off. Sorry.”
“Well, what are you going to do,”she asks. “Fire me?”
I smiled wryly and left the room.
You know, she’s been awfully nice to me since then. Let’s see if that lasts.