Sunday, July 20, 2014

Congratulations! You have a new job.

But will you keep it? Patience falls and terminations rise during a recession. Firms are less likely to put up with an employee’s drama, tardiness, quirks and bad days. They don’t have too. Because there will be 50 qualified candidates waiting in line for the job.

During a booming economy most of these would have been forgiven or excused and even counseled because people are so hard to find. Not in a recession. You either hit the ground running with a smile and can do attitude or your days are numbered.

From 1995 - 2001 we had a total of 13 candidates terminated out of 711 candidates placed, about 2%. From 2002 - 2004 at the height of the last recession we had 26 candidates terminated out of 123 candidates placed, about 20%. The causes of the terminations were tardiness, absenteeism, not learning the job fast enough and attitude problems made up 20 of them.

What about the other 6 you ask? Well, they make up a large portion of chapter 6 in my book when it is published. My favorite personal favorite was the ultra professional employment law legal secretary who worked for the department head and had a webcam under their desk with live feed to their pay per view website. One of the office assistants apparently found the site and recognized the secretary. They went to send it to their buddy in accounting and accidently sent it firm wide. Needless to say many people lost their jobs that day

The other five were:

1. The secretary who ordered lunch and billed it to the firm and then invited 4 of their former coworkers to the firm to enjoy it in one of the conference rooms.

2. The secretary who punched their workstation mate for using their pen. They were apparently having a bad day.

3. The paralegal that sent $800 worth of flowers to a girlfriend in a week and billing it to a client.

4. The accountant whose husband called for 2 days to say his wife was out sick only to find out she had been arrested for embezzling $100,000 from the firm she came from. The candidate had only been able to embezzle $12,000 from their current firm after auditing the books.

5. The IT Manager that got caught with child pornography on their computer after a policy they implemented to crack down on inappropriate Internet use found it.

Although these are extreme cases, how many times have you done something at work that could get you fired immediately? Most of us can say sheepishly “a few”. Regardless of the reason, learn what constitutes termination at your firm and use common sense every day. If you don’t, be prepared to be unemployed for a while.