The Two Week Employee

We hired a Designer two weeks ago. 

He was in his 30s, worked for a food packing company, and could seem to do the job. He showed us his impressive portfolio and I liked how his designs seem professionally done and ready for printing. 

We each promised each other the moon. 

Two weeks later, after paying his two-week salary, we let him go. I let him go.

I think that as I managed the business, I developed an instinct for weeding out people that I don’t think will fit the company long term. 

What did I not like about him? 

For one, I like people with initiative. Staff who will work even with minimum supervision. 

This designer would work and make a good show for it. However, he requires me to look over his shoulder to do fast, efficient work. If I am not supervising him, he would be googling or prolonging the speed of the tasks. 

Two, he talked far more than he worked. 

This is a warning sign. After weeding out people who were loud and incompetent, I wasn’t ready for another loudmouth to come into our office and destroy the peace.

On his first day, he already told us his complete personal story. And he would make comments even though he didn’t have any background on the subject. What’s worse, when he talks, he stopped working. And people will also stop working to hear him talk.

Sorry, but I like to keep the office productive. He wasn’t helping in keeping the office productive.

Three, he couldn’t do the work properly and required you to tell him what to do. 

If he was a fresh grad, I will be more accepting of his faults. Fresh grads require more supervision and guidance. But this is a man who had years of designing experience, and boasted that works he gave his previous bosses were so good they were ready to be printed out. 

The last straw when he gave me work that was half assed.

I asked him to take photos of our products, clean them via Photoshop and submit them to me.

To my dismay, I saw that he took blurry photos, and then didn’t clean them. Instead he short cut the process and just lightened them but the dirt and specks in the background could still be seen. 

What’s more, he submitted to me the rushed botched job.

I told him that being a designer, he should have work integrity. This meant that he needed to know how to filter his work and submit drafts only when he feels they are good enough. 

There are two ways to look at this: Should we have given him more of a chance, or should we let him go if we feel that he might not be a good fit for us long term?

I chose the latter. When I saw the red flags, I paid what was due him and let him go. As you get older and more experienced, you feel that life is too short to tolerate incompetence and/or incompatibility.

Sigh. It’s so hard to find good people nowadays. 

Last week, we interviewed 17 people and didn’t choose anyone for the position. We are interviewing again this week. Wish us luck that we can find the right people we are looking for.

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