That’s the amount of time that I gave my assistant before calling him into a conference room, and telling him that unfortunately, he isn’t a good fit for the job.
My company has never let a temporary employee go before, and my case should be the first time. I feel like crap bringing down the ax.
However, I have no choice.
The contract is project based. I have a big project to plan and execute, and need somebody capable who can assist me to do the job right, and fast. This isn’t a training ground for fresh-grads. By the time this current assistant is trained, we would’ve pissed off a lot of clients and my project in tatters.
“Is it that serious?” my colleague asked. Indeed, there should be a serious case against him for his contract to be terminated after merely 2.5 weeks.
I explained that indeed, it was.
Not that my assistant was a bad guy per se… I would be happy to recommend him for other types of jobs. Unfortunately, he isn’t too detail oriented for the job at hand.
For example, you asked him to invite people to the event, and he manages to invite the wrong people!
He mispelled company and people’s names on legal documents, causing unnecessary delays and letting us do the same process all over again… despite my warning that he needs to check and double check his work!
He takes my phone calls when I’m at a meeting and manages to take the wrong message! Of course, when I called to ask why such a message was given, my contact said that there were no such message and my assistant merely misunderstood.
Of course, that didn’t trump the time when he took a message from person A… when in fact, the person who left the message was person B! Sure enough, when I called to act upon the message, I realized there was a mistake and person A never really called. Now, that was embarrassing…
Or how about giving a client the wrong number when organizing a conference call… or booking cars on the wrong dates?
My god. How can someone do such damage in only 2.5 weeks?!
This problem has plagued me since his first week — I like the guy. He’s great, works hard and has a good working attitude. However, he doesn’t seem to get things right, and what’s more, is so slow that I have to follow things up with him otherwise, the tasks merely disappear from the face of the earth!
“You know what?” I told him, “You make me feel that I need to hire an assistant for you! But if that’s the case, you defeat the purpose of me having an assistant!”
The positive thing about it is that my assistant acknowledges his lackings. “I’m sorry,” are words that I seem to hear on a half-a-day daily basis. Morning, afternoon… somehow, he manages to screw things up, and I need to clean up his mess.
“Maybe it’s just because his instructions are unclear, or maybe it’s because he’s just new?” my colleague consoles me after seeing my pained look.
“Look, if it’s just because he’s new, that’s fine. If process is the problem and he doesn’t know how to do things, that’s fine,” I moaned. “However, if he keeps on getting the names, dates, and messages wrong, that don’t mean it’s a newbie problem. It’s a detail orientedness problem!”
“Maybe yolu haven’t warned him seriously enough?” my colleague helpfully asked.
“I did,” I groaned. “EVERY SINGLE DAY!”
As my previous post, I have no idea that such gross incompetence exist.
If you cannot even get a phone message right, how can you actually do larger tasks? If you are assigned to write down the meeting minutes and forget to include the important part, then how the heck can you organize something bigger?
And of course, it boils down to lack of trust…
These few days, I have been so busy checking and double checking his work because I’m afraid that he might get things wrong again! And every time I double check, I do indeed find something wrong! 🙁
Makes me want to bang my head on the wall and jump off the building!!!
“All you have to do is check, and double check and triple check!” I raised my voice. “How complicated can that be? Tell me what to do with you, because I really don’t know how you can be more careful!”
Working with a person who gets things wrong most of the time can be real frustrating. The issue as well is that now’s our slow season. What I ask of him are mere simple things!
Next month, things really heats up — if that’s the case, am royally screwed.
If a person cannot even crawl, how can he walk? If a person cannot even print the right documents, how can he be expected to publish a book? If your boss cannot even control one employee, then how can he manage 100 people?
In addition, simple mistakes open up the possibility of larger ones.
For example, if there is an error in a random page of a document you’ve submitted, what are the chances that the rest are error free? If you submit to me the wrong message, how am I assured that the rest of the messages you give me are right?
And lastly, it destroys the element of trust in one’s work.
Now, everytime my assistant gives me his deliverables, I don’t trust it. I have to waste a lot of time checking and double checking. If that’s the case, it’s way easier to just do the damn thing myself. If you cannot even trust the validity of a phone message taken down by your assistant, how can you operate? The thing is, if the message is wrong, then the deliverables will be wrong.
Even the simple thing of passing a phone message, he gets wrong.
Tell me, what am I to do?!
*buries head in hands*
This should be a lesson to me to be more careful in the hiring process. As I’ve mentioned before, who’s the bigger idiot — the idiot or the person who hired the idiot?
Anyway, I’ve talked to my friends and asked them whether it’s easy to find out if a candidate has common sense.
One of the bosses of the firm says yes. She said that by acting a few questions, you’ll know how fast they are in reacting to the situation. If they look lost, automatically don’t hire them.
Nonetheless, everybody agrees that it’s during the first week that you know if the person can make it or not. “At the end of the day,” my friend consoles me, “you’ll only know if it’s a good fit on the first week of the job. That’s why there’s the probation period.”
The same boss agrees, “You usually know by observing them by the first week. If you think that it’s not a good fit, get rid of them at once. Listen to your gut.”
I am listening to my gut.
And my gut says, keeping him would be more of a liability than an asset.
So though I like him, I have no choice but to let him go.
Jeez, hate to be Mr. Bad Guy. Oh why do these things happen to me?
Anyway, good news is that it’s Friday so I can finally take a rest and study a bit more. Things are heating up at work and my studies are lagging behind. Of course, having an idiot for an assistant don’t make things better.
But let’s focus on the positives instead of the negatives shall we?
Getting off my soapbox now.
Night night everyone and hope you enjoy your weekend!