Work Stinks

You have an employee that obviously hates their job. 

What do you do?

The Employee

As an employer, we have all seen that one employee who visibly just hates their job.  Most of the time these employees start their employment with great enthusiasm.  But as time moves on, their attitude changes and the job they have been hired to do is not to their liking.

I’m not talking about a belligerent employee who outrights rebels against your authority and flatly refuses to work.  The employee I’m concerned with is the one who still gives you a marginally honest effort on a daily basis, but you can tell they do not enjoy doing it.  You ask for something and get about 90% of what you asked for.  The work is barely acceptable, and when it is quitting time, they are already in their car and on the way out of the parking lot.  Their language is peppered with “I hate Mondays” and “Thank God it’s Friday” slogans.

Actions

Considering how difficult it is to find good employees, you would like to have back the employee you originally hired, but with their current quality of work, you do not know if you can afford to keep the employee this person has evolved into.

Many factors go into the evolution (or disintegration) of an employee from being a great employee to being marginal at best.  As their boss, there is a limited amount you can do—but as their boss, there is a limited amount you need to do.

First, for the employee to get over hating their job, they need to change their mindset.  For this to happen requires a conversation with the employee.  You cannot change how they think about their job, only they can. 

But you can help, provide suggestions, and offer physical changes.  The employee, however, has full control over their emotions.  Your conversation with them needs to reinforce they are in charge of liking or hating their job, and all you can do is help.

Second, both you and the employee need to understand that no job is perfect.  Every job will have good days and bad days, and you need to discuss how you can help make more good days than bad. 

You cannot promise to turn their job into an ideal situation, and most times more money, better benefits, and a different environment will not turn a job that someone hates into the perfect job.

Third, you need to stress that you do not expect the job to be all-consuming.  You want 100% effort while at work.  The benefits provided, such as paid vacation, sick leave, and paid holidays, are for the employee to use to take a break from work and rejuvenate. It is especially important that unhappy employees take advantage of these benefits. 

Fourth, as the employee’s boss, you need to work to open and maintain communications with this employee.  You need to show your concern and be open to hearing their responses.  Through this line of communication, you will hear suggestions, complaints, and venting, all of which is good for you to know, and for the employee’s state of mind.

The Bible

Many people in the Bible had jobs that were not much fun.  Consider the prophets of the Old Testament who were tasked by God to minister to the rebellious children of Israel.  Or Elijah, who was to council a wicked king and an even more wicked queen.  Or, the Apostle Paul who was occasionally stoned by his audiences after preaching in new cities.

Through all this, the Apostle James wrote in James 1:2-3.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

God never promised us a life that would be free of trials this side of eternity, let alone a job that would be ideal every day.  No job is perfect.  As an employer, we need to coach our employees to enjoy the good days at work and to endure through the not-so-fun days.