Pilot fish works in the consulting business of a big computer vendor, and one of his responsibilities at a site where the vendor has 1,000 people is an employee performance improvement program.
“Since it was government work, we had to show why people were terminated,” says fish. “I worked with employees and their managers to improve their work product if we could before they were fired.
“One of the managers had an employee who had purchased a degree, a doctorate no less. He was supposed to be a network manager but had no understanding of it other than hooking someone up. His manager’s boss wanted him gone because of his arrogance and failure to perform his job.”
Manager contacts fish, and together they set up training standards for what the problem employee is supposed to do.
After a few weeks, things don’t seem to be going according to that plan. But one day the employee comes in to see fish with some news: Another company has made him a job offer, and he wants to work for them for a week to see how it works out.
Fish thinks, I can’t be this lucky. I won’t have to document his failures. He happily authorizes the employee to take some vacation time and try out the new job.
On the Friday afternoon of the vacation/tryout week, the employee sends his old boss an email. It informs her that he won’t be back and hated working for her anyway. Fish and other managers receive similar messages.
“Later that afternoon, the company he thought he would be working for notified him that during his trial period his work and job knowledge had not been satisfactory, and they would not be offering him a permanent position,” fish says.
“He called me to ask if there was a way to cancel his email. I said no, his boss had already seen it and forwarded it to me and HR.”
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