Three weeks ago, our boss hired you to be a maintenance account representative. I’ve heard stories about the past people he chose to hire without consulting the other higher ups… One came in on her first day with purple hair. He rubbed his eyes and swore it wasn’t that color when he hired her. The next one thought it was OK to run 3 other businesses from her cell phone while on the clock here. After those fails, he asked his sister-in-law, the other maintenance account representative, to interview the next two employees who turned out fine. Those two employees were my predecessor and me.
I know you’re thinking that he was the only one at your interview… And that you told me you like to dye your hair purple sometimes.
I also remember the look on your face when I told you we planted invasive species like pears, burning bush and gooseneck loosetrife… And the lack of interest while I explained one of the many Excel spreadsheets that are used at the company.
I read your resume after the boss told me he had hired you and you were coming aboard in two weeks. Although you did have a degree, it was in botany. Botanist’s and horticulturist butt heads IMO, but that’s off the subject. You really had no landscaping or customer service experience. Your last job was working in the hothouses in an annual nursery. Ironically, that really didn’t set off any alarms, as just because you don’t have experience in something, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential to be trained to do it.
The first few days, you were super excited to work for us. Your starting date corresponded with the beginning of our spring color program, which meant going out and planting containers with annuals. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? It would be an awesome job description to have! However, that was only a small portion of your job description. You were only going to be aiding in the color program, not running it like you dreamed-up. Sadly for you, as the incoming employee, you were going to be getting the brunt of the paperwork. No one likes paperwork, however everyone from a McDonald’s manager to Donald Trump has to do paperwork.
After the annuals were completed, you began to spend the next few days in the office with me. I began training you on how work orders flow, horticultural schedules are set and where to find things. Although you took notes, you were constantly checking your personal phone. Then, while explaining the maintenance billing spreadsheet that you were completely not picking up, you huffed and asked why the owner’s wife, who only does the accounting, can’t do this for herself. I explained that she is an accountant, not an account representative that knows what services were performed on the client’s properties. This is part of your job, not hers.
While training you, you didn’t seem to understand that I have a job to do also. I work in construction. Yes, much of the paperwork I was doing was maintenance related. However, by hiring you, it freed me up to quote and process more construction jobs, which are more lucrative than maintenance. I did show you many things that weren’t going to be part of your job because I needed to complete them such as permitting, estimating, designing and how we construct common landscape elements. If you were the ‘go-getter’ my boss had hoped you were, you would have absorbed this free insight and educated yourself in case I ever left, thus opening a promotion to you.
Bits of the information I was sharing did pertain to your job. You were going to need to learn how to read a blueprint, understand how scales work and planting offsets. When I asked you if you had any experience with this, you replied yes. It wasn’t a test to see what you knew, I simply wanted to know if I needed to explain it or not. After two phone checks, a coffee run and to start munching on a banana, you sat back down and asked me if there were more than one scale. Um, yes. You wouldn’t have asked me this if you knew what you said you knew.
At this point, I admit I was frustrated and needed to complete my quote, so I sent you out to water the flowers, which you were more than happy to do. Perfect.
When you came back into the office with your phone blaring music, you continued up to your office and stayed up there for ten minutes with a music volume that could clearly be heard in my downstairs office. As you have no other duties aside from what I was giving you to do, I wondered just what you were doing up there. Your answer of looking into health insurance plans online was not the right answer on company time. I asked that you sum it up and that I don’t mind you having music on, but it can’t be heard downstairs. You said a huffy “fine” and turned it completely off. As I descended the stairs, I heard your office door slam. The accountant-boss’s-wife asked me if that just happened and I said yes.
The next few days were unbearable for all of us. From your attitude, we knew you weren’t happy with the amount of paperwork / days in the office you were required to do. It was not hidden during the interview that this was not a drive-around-in-a-truck 40 hour job. Even on the days that you were out with the other account rep, you showed no motivation to learn any of the things you’d need to know to do your job. We also started to learn that you had no customer service skills whatsoever and you seemed to be missing many basic social manners as well. Such as:
- How to answer a phone. “Good morning/afternoon, Company Name. Yes, she is here, can I ask who’s calling?” Hold button. You just answered “Hello, just a minute” and didn’t put the client on hold, but put the handset on the desk.
- Music volume. Be courteous. Client’s or coworkers shouldn’t be hearing it in the background.
- After showing you a cabinet you can put your food in, you thought it was OK to just take a banana from my cabinet without asking. Your welcome for the yogurt, also.
- Patchouli perfume has connotations. You also used too much, which only amplified our thoughts as to why you wore it. The oil lingers everywhere you’ve been or touched. Bleeeech!!
- Sleeping in the truck on the drive back to the shop is unacceptable.
- No, tank tops and shorts are not acceptable, even if it’s hot out.
- When asked to go to the counter of a nursery for a pick-up, you asked, “What am I supposed to say? I’m here for roses?”. No try, “Hello, I’m Your Name, from Company Name, here to pick-up our order.” Then after being asked to stay and wait for the order, while your coworker uses the Ladies.. She returns to the meeting spot and you are nowhere to be found. She waits for the order, pays for it and loads it into the truck, all the while wondering where you were. After ten minutes of looking for you, she finds you wandering the isles. You stated you got bored waiting and wanted to wander awhile.
- Your interest in the crews was not what we felt was acceptable in a managerial position. You asked us too many personal questions, like who was single and also spent too much time chatting with them at jobsites about their personal lives.
- Yes, there is a broom in the closet for when you track mud all over the office. It amazed me the 6 boot cleaners at the door didn’t tip you off.
- Even tho we warned you many of our clients have security cameras, you still thought selfie’s were acceptable. We feared you were posting these to Facebook with our company logo on your shirt.
Although you would have thought this was enough for us to part ways, the clincher was when you told me, within listening distance of accountant-boss’s-wife, that you didn’t need to learn how to file, because it wasn’t part of your job, walked away to your office and shut the door.
That afternoon, without the boss, the three of us employees decided that dealing with your ‘tude wasn’t worth the lessening of our workload or stress. You were creating more stress and worse, we thought you would bring shame to our company.
I will remember the morning the accountant-boss’s-wife and I fired you for a long time. We had discussed what we would say. We didn’t want to hurt you, however we had to be prepared with answers when you asked us why we had to let you go. We told you that you didn’t seem happy to be working in the office. You seemed to remember being told you were going to be in a truck all day, working with client’s, crews and flowers. Clearly a delusion. You then said answering the phones, filing and paperwork are not for you, as you have a college degree. That I should be doing it as I wasn’t educated. You seemed pretty surprised when I told you I had a degree also, let alone 3 certificates, an arborist license and countless other endorsements. Since you’re not working for us anymore, I can now tell you I also make twice as much as your educated ass.
It took you almost a half an hour to pack-up all the stuff you managed to move into your office in the three weeks you were here. I had the pleasure (not) of standing in your office to be sure you didn’t pack any proprietary information or delete files on the computer. You mumbled the whole time, I tried not to listen and read work emails on my phone. I also tried not to laugh when you said that we didn’t know how to run a business, that we’d miss you and that I didn’t know how to train people.
I wish you the best. I hope that you can learn from this experience, although I’m shocked that in your 35 years on this planet, you seemed to have picked up little in the common sense/courtesy department.
Your gratefully ex-coworker.
How I felt the day before I fired you.