Inexcusable Behavior Will Get You Excused

| Working | May 24, 2013

(I’m the manager of a coffee shop. I’ve gone home for the day, leaving a student employee minding the shop.  A few hours later, I get a call.)

Employee: “[Student Employee] hasn’t showed up.  He’s an hour late, and he isn’t answering his phone.  I have to leave in a few minutes for my evening class.”

(The student employee is notoriously lazy. However, he had just put in his two week’s notice the day before, and had assured me he would cover the rest of his shifts.  I come in to cover and try to contact the prodigal barista.  After leaving a voice mail on his cell, I call the number for his apartment, and reach his roommate.)

Student Employee’s Roommate: “Oh, yeah, he’s out. Here’s a number for someone he’s with.”

(I call the student employee’s friend’s number, and get the phone handed to him.)

Me: “[Student Employee], where are you? You were supposed to be here over an hour ago.”

Student Employee: “Oh, yeah…”

Me: “How soon can you be here?”

Student Employee: “Umm… I’m in [town about a 45-minute drive away].”

Me: “So you’ll be here in the next hour? I opened today, and I’m opening tomorrow; I’m not closing for you.”

Student Employee: “Ooh! I can’t come in. I’m too drunk to drive!”

Me: “Come see me before I open tomorrow.  We need to talk.”

(I end up closing the shop. While mopping, I psych myself up for my first ever experience with firing an employee. The student employee comes in about a half-hour after I open the shop the next morning.)

Me: “Are you sober?”

Student Employee: “Oh, I wasn’t really drinking; I just needed an excuse to get out of that shift. Thanks for covering me. What did you need to talk to me about?”

Me: “Thank you for making this process even easier…”

(Even after a 20 minute conversation, I don’t think he ever understood why he was being let go!)

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