Not paid to think

An employer was concerned about the lack of initiative one of his staff was showing.

Her response?

“I used to work at the Post Office and didn’t have to think there.”

4 Responses to Not paid to think

  1. jafapete says:

    I suspect you mean “an *employer* was concerned…”

    You don’t give us any information about the terms under which this worker was engaged, including the pay rate and expectations for job performance. But we can assume that it is fairly likely that the expectations were *not* agreed or even spelt out before the hire was made. If so, whose fault is this? Yup, it’s the employers. Why then should the employee whinge about it to you, and why should you expect us to feel any concern for the employer’s predicament.

    I wouldn’t be surprised either to learn that the pay is low. In which case the reasonable assumption on the part of the worker would be that little initiative is required. And we could reasonably ask, why does the employer expect something for free?


  2. jafapete says:

    Haha, made the same mistake. Should read “Why then should the *employer* whinge…”


  3. homepaddock says:

    Jafa – your suspicion is correct I did mean employer.

    It appears from your comment that employer = bad, employee = good is your default position. That does not apply in this case.

    I didn’t ask for details of this particular person’s employment but no the employer well and don’t think he’d deviate from his normal practice in employing someone which is: Job requirements are explained at the interview before the workers are employed, they have an employment contract and a written job description. They receive on the job training and work in a small office with a high degree of trust and information sharing between staff and between staff and the employer where everyone is encouraged to ask for help.

    This isn’t a case of the employer expecting something for nothing it was a case of an employee doing less than required under her contract in spite of training and on-going mentoring and showing no enthusiasm for improvement.

    You will be surprised because the pay is not low. The employer expects people to do what they are paid to do and staff are rewarded for doing extra,

    The other staff members are long serving becasue they enjoy the work and the rewards and the staff member replaced left to have a baby, not because she didn’t like the work.


  4. jafapete says:

    Thanks for clarifying this. It is a little mystifying as to how someone could make a response like the one reported if the requirements of the job (presumably including initiative) had been spelled out as you suggest,..

    It is not a matter of empoyer automatically bad and employee good, just that so many employers do not make requirements clear and/or pay low wages and then expect total commitment from the employees. Sometimes this is because they think that they are doing their employees a favour by deigning to “give them a job” — note the connotations surrounding “their” and “give” in this sentence. In fact, a job is at its essence an agreement to perform work in return for some rewards. And you gets what you pay for generally, as in so many other spheres. More NZ employers need to understand this, just as more employees need to understand the nature of the deal too. If the need for initiative was made clear, then a disciplinary rocess should be commenced, and I would have on objection to the employee losing their job if no effort was made to remedy the performance.


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