The Useful Duck!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Moral Crisis

I have somewhat of dilemma. I wonder what other people think. I now I have 9 followers and a few lurkers as I can see the hit counter go up after a post. A few people have followed me for a while. I'm interested in some opinions.
I just posted about my new helper. Well, just now my old employee called me for the second time today. I didn't answer the phone as I don't like confrontation and I don't want to talk to him.
I'm really angry with him. I talked to him at the end of this summer and I thought we had an agreement that he would help me with fall work as I had a lot of planting and my brother is driving truck.
When the first rains came he just disappeared. This left a number of things not finished. I had also rented another grain drill with the idea that he would run it. (the rain kind of ended that idea)
So, the fertilizer didn't get spread before the fields got soft, one baler (out of two) was not cleaned. The other equipment was not cleaned or greased or service for winter-in fact it was all left lined up in a field in preperation to be serviced, and some of the stuff had to be pulled out with a chain. Swathers were not cleaned, antifreeze was not checked, a custom farming job was lost, and I'm kind of peeved.
I know the routine, it happened last year. He needs a job, he will apologize, he will admit to doing the wrong thing, he will promise to do better.
Even though I am really annoyed I would give him a job because it is Christmas time. Actually, what I would rather do is give him $200 for presents and tell him I have no work for him but here is some money for Christmas and I can't afford to employee him till hay season.
Other people say no way. It is not your problem. If he would have asked for a vacation it is one thing but this is another.
But, it is Christmas time. I don't care why he didn't come to work, I don't really want him back, but I don't want anyone to have a sad Christmas!
Eventually, I will have to answer the phone.
Why do people put you in this situation? Don't they have any pride or self respect?
Any commentary would be helpful.


  1. Dude, that's easy. Cut the chump loose. Just going to drag you down. How old is this citizen who hasn't figured out that actions and inactions have consequences? You're not his mommy.

    Of course that's easy for me to say since I have no history with him, and don't have to live in the neighborhood. If you feel you need to finance his Christmas this once, I can't fault you for it. Just beware of long term leaching relationships if it will cost you your peace of mind and cause you to come up short in your own endeavors. Make sure he understands that he screwed up royally and done is done.

    The new guy sounds great. Reminds me of working with my brothers. Enjoy it while it lasts...

  2. "Why do people put you in this situation?" It sounds to me like this person is very consistent and the question should be, "Am I okay with this situation?" Are you okay hiring an employee who can be counted on to come and go as he pleases? Or to leave jobs unfinished? Perhaps his company is worth his shortcomings as an employee. If so, hire him. But if you expect him to somehow have changed, I think you'll only be fooling yourself. As for the money, I expect his Christmas will be what it is whether you give him money or not. If you feel the need to give to charity, by all means, do so.

  3. It's a sticky situation, that's for sure. If I were you I would give him the $200. But that's not all, I'd give it to him, but tell him to not come back to you for work. You and your family depend on your work to live and you need dependable people to work with you. The only, ONLY way I would hire him again, is if he works for someone else for a while and can provide references of people who are not family. Sounds silly, but you gave him the job because you trusted him, to some degree, to follow through. He didn't, so until he earns the trust back, don't hire him. He didn't just screw you, he screwed your family and your business. As for the questions...ask him and see what his answers are. Though, I doubt you'll get any worthy answers. I hope things work out.

  4. Some good points here.
    I see myself as trying to "do the right thing" and helping someone who needs help. But....this is now how it is seen by others. I appear to be a sap and a pushover-even though I want to help someone who I am really peeved at. This is an important distinction.
    The boss/employee lines should not be blurred I guess. He has been here more than 5 years, he is sort of a relative, were are supposed to be friends, but we became friends after he was hired so I guess we are not really friends. I am still the boss man.
    I think if I want to help him I should give him a huge basket of groceries.
    We do need to cut wood. I am thinking about taking a couple days in this cold weather and cutting firewood for the farm house. Not sure if this is a good idea. It will just give him fuel for rationalization...

  5. It's difficult to find the win/win in every situation. I think it can be done if you offer him some work and he accomplishes it (i.e., chop wood, clean out the barn, clean out a shed, etc.). It allows him to save face and offers you a solution. If he doesn't accomplish the task, he wouldn't call again.

    I hope I'm not a lurker. I enjoy reading your posts about the farm and your family.

    Spokane Cousin.


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