Help Wanted signs can be seen everywhere in our city. With the current oil boom the city has grown tremendously, as has the need for amenities like restaurants and stores. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of qualified people interesting in applying for those positions, leaving managers operating short-handed, with their only option being to hire whatever walks through the door. Obviously, this doesn't work out well. Businesses end up with employees that are less than qualified, and less than willing to do the job to the best of their ability. New staff realize that the manager is pretty much at their mercy, and that not showing up for a shift or showing up late will not get you fired. This lack of professional conduct permeates all facets of the service industry in our city. It's a miserable situation for employers, and not great for customers either; more often than not, customer service is poor.
Trying to attract qualified employees to our city isn't easy. Apartment rents have skyrocketed and, that's only if you can find a place to rent. Papa Bear and I thank God that our little house in the country is paid for, even with both salaries combined we could not afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city. If you earn minimum wage or even $10-15 an hour, or are trying to get by on Social Security, there is no way you will be able to live here on your own.
Our law office has gone through multiple employees in the past two years. We need four support staff and are currently functioning one short yet again. No suitable applications have been submitted. A trainee with a good deal of experience was recently hired, but she came with an attitude, and in less than three weeks time she had taken multiple days off for personal reasons, and felt no qualms about doing so. She often arrived late, or returned from lunch late, too. Once she called in saying that she would be in late due to a flat tire, yet told a coworker that she had been at an interview for another job!
Our attorney/supervisor came to the realization that we were spending a great deal of time training someone that wasn't invested in the job and wasn't worth our time and effort. I was glad to see her go, we all were. But it wasn't for her lack of work ethics alone. She failed to exhibit what I consider to be a primary requirement for anyone working with individuals who have disabling medical or mental conditions... compassion. She commented proudly that their sob stories didn't get to her.
Certainly one has to have some amount of emotional neutrality to function in a job with a great deal of personal upheaval, but there is a difference between maintaining a professional distance and being downright cold. On one occasion she actually made a client cry from frustration due to her direct, insensitive line of questioning. The client's husband was just a tiny bit short of enraged and I don't blame him, there is always a means to obtain information without being insensitive and intimidating. Yet our new employee didn't feel that she had done anything wrong. That was pretty much the last straw for me.
So here we are, back to functioning short-staffed again until a new person can be found and hired. We go home weary at night, and our desks are piled high, but the three of us who remain all work together well and do our best to stay on top of things' and when a client calls or walks through the door, we make sure they are treated with kindness, patience, and respect. After all, if it weren't for them, where would our jobs be?
As for me, I'm headed out on a week of vacation right after work today. I've earned it, and I can't wait, but I do feel bad for my two coworkers left behind to cover in my absence. Of course when it's their turn, I'll do the same for them. If you know of any responsible, hard working, compassionate individuals looking for long-term employment... please send them our way! :-)~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are help and heavy.
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