Inaction Plan

, , , , , , | Working | November 5, 2019

I have an employee who has been told he is the smartest person in the room since birth. As a result, he doesn’t follow directions well because his way is always the right way and critiques or suggestions are met as personal attacks. He also feels the need to hide what he has been working on, making it difficult to gauge if he is actually as smart as he thinks he is. But boy, does he think he is smart! He is the kind of guy who thinks his work is flawless and can do no wrong but won’t look it over and promptly forgets what he did once it is not in front of his nose. 

I have begun to suspect him of plagiarizing his work to appear smart than he is. Compounded with him claiming credit for other people’s work and repeatedly throwing his coworkers under the bus for his mistakes, he is on thin ice. Long story short, I work with a liar, a cheater, and narcissist. 

I am reviewing his work one day and notice he has only completed half the requirements, despite claiming he finished it over a month ago and making comments in meetings that he has addressed any necessary changes. I shoot him an email, assuming he does have the work and it never got properly uploaded. Chaos ensues where he accuses me of bullying him and not being a team player. He makes up some excuse about how procedure should be open to interruption, before he leaves early on the grounds that I have created a toxic work environment. 

It’s safe to say the big bosses are not pleased with him, and they start the procedure to get him on an action plan, if not outright firing him. However, because my boss is going out of town, they decide to hold off on it until he gets back. I am given permission to retrain him and he is informed of it.

Fast forward to Monday morning; [Employee] apologizes to me in a vague manner. He acts like he is concerned for my mental health and tries to imply that I am overworked and being asked to do things outside of my job description. This is all false. I do not give him an inch and offer up some critique. He is visibly frustrated that I have not given into him but am staying polite. When I inform him he is still getting retrained, with [Big Boss #1] in the room, he almost throws a fit again. 

Friday, [Big Boss #1] comes back. Trying to get out of getting the training, [Employee] acts overtly friendly to me, even having his wife bring in a new kitten. We are busy with getting everything in order for a client so I hardly notice when [Employee] pulls [Big Boss #1] into my office. About thirty minutes later, [Employee] reemerges and starts derailing the entire office by apologizing and having many talks with anyone about what their issues with him are, how he can do better, etc. It turns out [Employee] was trying to get me in trouble again and claimed I was out to get him. [Big Boss #1] ended up yelling at him about causing drama. So, naturally, [Employee] causes drama.

Eventually, [Big Boss #1] gets fed up with him and insists that [Employee] speak to [Big Boss #2]. She decides she doesn’t want to talk to him that day as she needs time to process. At any rate, Monday rolls around and we are still trying to get things prepared for a big client so she doesn’t speak to him. Tuesday, she leaves to go on a trip so he is put on ice for the rest of the week.

Well, [Employee] being [Employee], he thinks that he can outsmart her, and sends her an email asking to talk. She replies with a polite email saying that she is on vacation, but with clear direction to do his work and nothing else. She also reassures him that she is looking over all the information provided. This doesn’t sit right with [Employee], so on the following Monday, he sends out a letter to [Big Boss #1] that he feels [Big Boss #2] is creating drama and he can’t do better if he doesn’t know where the discontent is. Of course, [Big Boss #1] is with a large client at that time and reminds [Employee] of this, who continues to try and bully his way into a conference to bully his way out of training. [Big Boss #1] finally gets fed up and replies, “STOP BEING ANNOYING. DO YOUR WORK!”

Of course, that isn’t enough for [Employee], who then continues his tirade via text about how he is feeling singled out and he only wants to talk to [Big Boss #2]. She intervenes and ends up calling him as we are both CC’d to the tantrum. She tells [Employee] to just focus on his work and stop harassing [Big Boss #1]. There is nothing else to talk about until the Action Plan is in place. But it doesn’t end there; [Employee] sends another email minutes later about how [Big Boss #2] refuses to talk to him. Again, [Big Boss #1] reminds him to stop creating drama and calls him annoying. 

At this time, [Employee] leaves for lunch. When he comes back he acts as if nothing happened and all is good. Off to start the next bit of drama, I suppose.

As to why he hasn’t been fired yet? Because we have to document the billion ways we have tried to train him, and he still needs to be retrained next week. It is only after the Action Plan is in place and he is retrained without signs of improvement that we can take the next steps. This goes to show you can’t always fire bad workers as easily as they claim.

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