toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

August 10, 2011

Kissy-kissy dismissals

Typical of Heather’s ‘lettuce management style’ in a public service department is that she comes alive at 5pm when her young things are getting ready to go home, and because not many of them want to work through the night - no matter how exciting the project – her department has an incredibly high staff turnover rate, but the resignations and dismissals are always kissy-kissy.

“Very few of my new recruits have resigned from my department in anger, or have been dismissed in anger,” says Heather. “Most just resign in exhaustion and also a basic confusion about why they were hired in the first place. My department has very little structure and some can’t handle it.”

Heather believes that youth, good looks and a bubbly personality are better indicators of intelligence than any IQ test and believe it or not but she is right. After all, most of her employees have sufficient intelligence to quit very quickly.

“Resignations are all very kissy-kissy and you will get a highly inflated recommendation letter from me to present to a new employer,” says Heather. “It’s no skin off my nose. Before you are out the door a new young thing has taken your place and a new decor, service or system is being implemented.”

Lettuce managers like Heather are more likely than other type of manager to get rid of staff for trivial reasons, so everything is not always nice.

“Being a smartass and demanding real work, or wanting a life of your own after 5pm, is grounds for dismissal,” says Heather. “As is becoming ill or pregnant or not looking after your grooming.”

“I have torn strips off some of my new recruits for having chipped nail polish or not turning up because they have a cold.”

"And hair is very important to me," says Heather. "I like all my young things to have a good head of it. If someone comes in looking drab, I don't want them around me any more."

"The time and cost of mounting a legal claim for wrongful dismissal from my department is not worth it," laughs Heather. "One guy tried and lost. A far better tactic would be to accept the dismissal with good grace and be assured that I will give you a great recommendation letter, if not a big fat parting check -- courtesy of the taxpayers, of course."

Love her or hate her, nobody can deny that Heather is magnificent. And not only magnificent but munificent. She is the most generous employer - even if the money does come from taxpayers - and her young things are paid almost indecent salaries. At 20, most of her young things are earning twice as much as their parents.

"One staff member that left a while ago said that while he was happy to leave he realizes that he’s unlikely to ever get such an exciting and highly paid job again," confides Heather. "He also said that he exited the department feeling, if not looking, twice as old as he really was and this made me laugh because I feel younger and more energetic this year than I've ever felt before in my life."

Read more by Heather:
implement new systems!
manager promotes youth culture

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