Has a work ethic become a BAD thing, or is it just Vegas?

I was tempted to do this in GD, but I have a bit of venting to do, and I’m sure a lot of the rest of you do as well.

I’m finding increasingly, both in the workplace and in dealings with businesses I frequent, that good workers, people who actually show up for work on time everyday, try to do a good job for their employers, develop skills to make themselves better employees, etc. seem to not only not be valued, but actively discriminated against.

I personally did not pass my probation period at a job where I saw coworkers who don’t have half the skill I do, who only put minimum effort into customer service, and were deliberately uncooperative with coworkers were retained.

Try calling a Dr.'s office. See if your call is returned- the front office people don’t seem to grok the concept of taking a message and passing it on. They screw up appointment times, lose patient charts, disconnect people who are on hold, or route their calls to, well, the wrong person.

Go to Wal-mart. Aside of those few who frequent the SDMB- ask for a not-uncommon item. If the friendly salesperson doesn’t know what it is, he/she will look at you as though you had a leperous sore on your face, sneer at you and say “What’s that?” as though you had requested to purchase a phial of anthrax virus. If they do know what it is, but aren’t sure where it it, they will insist the store doesn’t carry the item.

Or call a customer service line for any randomly selected business. The person you talk to gives you the wrong information. The next time you call, and tell the person who answers the phone, “Last time I called, you told me such and such”, the person you are now talking to says, in an insolent tone of voice, “*I * didn’t tell you that!”, apparently not realizing that when he/she is on the phone with a customer, he/she is representing the business. Look, if somebody gave a customer the wrong info, you apolgize on behalf of your coworker or employer, and give the correct information. I’ve also called customer service lines, been told I needed to talk to a different department, had the call transferred, transferred again, and again… until I wound up talking to the person who originally answered the phone. Yeesh.

The worst part is that these types of incompetent twits seem to be favored by casinos, doctor’s offices, retail stores and customer service lines over people who have a genuine desire to do the jobs correctly.

I can’t tell you how many good, solid, competent people I know, have worked with at low-wage jobs or, in the case of my mother, live with, who can’t find good-paying jobs in their fields.

My mother has come home from more than one job interview and told me that the job she interviewed for was a management/administrative type job, but was considered by the prospective employer as an entry-level job with entry-level pay. My mother, who has administrative and management experience, did not get the job. She has also noted that in many cases, the people who are interviewing her do not seem to be familiar with the job requirements or type of experience necessary for the position. They’re basically recruiters who don’t actually work in the departments-they have a “form” interview that they do.

What gives here? Are employers so unwilling to pay good wages that they are not only willing to settle for incompetent workers, but actively screen out highly competent people who might not be willing to work for low wages, and would either quit to take a better paid job, or do something really heinous like ask for a raise?

And why do I have a craps layout stretched out on my bedroom floor, so I can practice dealing, and be a better dealer for my present employer, and in the future get a better dealing job when I know that the beak-in dealer who can barely get around the layout, or the guy with the pissy attitude who doesn’t talk to or give good service to the players, is more likely to get, or keep, the job than I am?

(this is a rhetorical question. The answer is, because I want feel good about myself, and I can’t do that unless I know that I’ve done the best I can do, and am striving to do better.)

There is a temp sitting 2 chairs down from me on our helpdesk. We’ll call him ‘Stan’. ‘Stan’ is at least 20 minutes late every day. It is not uncommon for him to be 2-4 hours late(and be paid for a full day). And he sleeps on the job! We work graveyard and this guy sleeps, on average, 4 hours per shift. And he’s getting $10 bucks an hour more than me. Management knows about the tardiness and sleeping, but still think he’s the greatest.

I’m not even going to get into my co-worker with a drinking problem.

Thea – you really need to take a look in the “Say a prayer for the late-shift fast food workers” thread. (You may have already posted there; I don’t remember, and I’m too lazy to check. Oh, the irony. :)) You’ll be convinced that the work ethic is gone forever. There are folks there DEFENDING their decision to do a poor job.

Yes, Sauron, I believe she did. In fact, I opened this thread thinking that it was about that one.

As an aside: what confuses me is that it’s easier to do a good job.

When I was doing low-level tech-support, I went out of my way to be polite and professional. I consistantly had some of the best performance evaluation scores in the department. I was told by a few of the other techs that I “had it easy because I didn’t get as many assholes calling”. They never seemed to understand that I got just as many assholes, but having a professional demeanor and exhibiting basic courtesy can disarm all but the most determined assholes.

To tie this into the “Say a prayer for…fast food worker” thread: if, instead of her own…unique…ideas about customer service she’d said to the woman. “I’m terribly sorry about all this confusion. I’ll personally make sure it gets done correctly this time.” and then did so, she’d have most likely gotten a very contrite apology, some sincere gratitude and made someone’s day a bit better as opposed to the scene that went on.

You can’t win over every asshole. And you certainly shouldn’t put up with physical or verbal threats. But calming down angry customers? That’s what customer service is for!


Sauron and Scarlett-

No, this thread isn’t about the “Say a prayer…” thread, although yes I did post to it and it was definitely in the back of my mind.

Fenris, I agree with you. It’s always easier to do the job right. I’m a great one for following the path of least resistance, and I generally find the path of least resistance is to give customers good service, to manufacture the part correctly so it doesn’t have to be repaired later, etc. It saves so much hassle down the road.

But it seems to me that people who try to spare themselves the hassle of doing something over, repairing something, dealing with irate customers, whatever, by performing their job duties correctly and to the best of their ability are not valued by employers. I think this contributes to a situation where some people who start out as good workers eventually quit trying, as their efforts are not rewarded, and in some cases, are punished.

I was talking with my floorman the other night about the fact that casinos are increasingly showing a preference for break-in dealers, generally weak dealers, and dealers with negative attitudes. I told him, “Sometimes I wonder if I should just ‘deal down’” Bill, who is normally an easygoing guy, became very stern with me and said, “Never sink to their level. You still have to live with yourself.”

Amen, Brother!!!

Don’t shout it out TOO loud, you’ll get lynched by people who don’t want to hear this.

OK, have to share my fave customer service memory from Burger King :
Harassed, worn out-looking mother with 2 kids comes in, orders, takes her food and sits down.
Kid knocks over drink. Wrecks half her food and makes a big mess.
Woman looks like she just wants the floor to swallow her up.
Me : ::bustle, bustle:: “ok, ma’am, first lets get you seated at another table away from this mess. I’ll get you some replacement drinks, and in a couple of minutes I’ll bring you some replacement food. Just relax, and we’ll take care of it all for you. Don’t wory about it, it’s all under control.”
Woman “oh…oh… THANK YOU!!!”
Me : “My pleasure, ma’am. Replacing food due to accidental spillage is policy here, and the service is why you pay to eat at Burger King. Relax, don’t worry, and let us take care of it.”

The look on that dear lady’s face was worth a thousand assholes.

Er…I could have phrased that better, but you know what I mean.

And if you don’t, you can just fuck off. :smiley:

No, no, no, TPWombat – you’re supposed to laugh at the woman when stuff like that happens. If you can do something to make her day worse, then you’ve upheld the Customer Service Creed.

Unless, of course, you don’t like your coworkers. Then you could’ve just ignored her, and trusted that somebody else would’ve taken care of it. No sense busting your butt if everybody else isn’t doing it, too. Who cares if it’s company policy, or that you’re actually being paid to do it?

Nice try–but this doesn’t fit with the ‘Prayer’ thread as this lady wasn’t being a jerk. I would have reacted as Wombat did in that situation but if she, say, knocked over the drink and then came up screaming about how crappy Burger King is b/c the tables aren’t welded to the floor and threatened to sue, spouted vulgarity, etc. etc. then you’re damn right I wouldn’t give her good CS. Just because you’re the customer (or the CS provider) doesn’t mean you suddenly have the power to make others’ lives miserable. Anyway, guess I’ll let you go back to goose-stepping for ‘The Man’ now… :wink:

No, when people start screaming, that is when you take a deep breath, and say, very calmly, “Ma’am? Excuse me, but, if you want me to help, you’ll have to stop screaming, okay? Now, please, just take a deep breath, count to ten, and then slowly tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll see what I can do.”

You know, kind of defuse their anger. Get them to tell you WHY they’re throwing a fit, but calm them down. When you’re like, “Okay, now, calm down, slow, easy now…” it sort of defuses things.

Thea said:
I personally did not pass my probation period at a job where I saw coworkers who don’t have half the skill I do, who only put minimum effort into customer service, and were deliberately uncooperative with coworkers were retained.
I’ve been trying to understand this particular mindset for ages now.
At my job the employees used to be evaluated on a set scale with regards to job performance. But it was decided that it would be much better to just change that to a pass/fail performance review. And of course, everyone passes. Now I have to swallow the bitter fact that, on paper, there’s no difference between me and my slack-jawed, lazy-ass coworker who sits around on the phone with whichever girlfriend is current instead of, oh, I don’t know, actually running the lab tests a physician has requested so a patient can be treated. You know, the stuff we’re being paid to do.
Of course, he’s such valuable property he ought to be paid for just deigning to put in an appearance I suppose.

I guess I set the bar too high for myself. When I was first hired I busted my butt to do the best job I could. I came early, stayed late without pay, whatever was needed to keep the lab running smoothly and get the results out quickly and accurately. I became damned good at my job. There was no problem that cropped up I couldn’t handle. Whereas slack-ass on the other hand has done pretty much the same piss poor job since day one. But see, that’s ok because as I’ve been told, “Oh, that’s just him.” Wonderful. He’s never been worth anything as a worker but since that’s his baseline, no one expects any more than that. Me they expect to practically walk on water.

I am just so tired.

Pardon me if I drifted a little.

Actually, that resonates with me too. We’ve got a librarian here who was ‘moved off the organizational chart’ (i.e. she was incompetent but the Director was too much of a wimp to fire her) to a position where she is essentially responsible for ordering books for 1 (one!) department: Women’s Studies. Keep in mind that a normal bibliographer can handle an entire school! Another librarian got moved to a new position where she is the Faculty Liason for problems with our electronic resources–but she can’t use said resources (I know, b/c I’ve had to help her). Both of these folks make in excess of $50,000. And they wonder why I don’t slave away for the ‘good of the libraries’ rather than my co-workers…

I honestly can’t see how either of these people look themselves in the mirror at night.

Thea, to address the title of the thread, yes, a work ethic is a liability these days, and yes, it’s especially bad in Vegas.

My last job occasionally required me to go to Vegas. Because of the glut of construction, various contractors and subcontractors did shitty work if they finished the work at all. The general attitude there was, “No big deal, if you fire us we’ve got three other jobs awaiting us. And we’ll still send you a bill for the work we did do.”

When our company set up a branch office in LV, we managed to get most of the contractors to do their work–a few never showed–but the Fire Marshall’s office never sent an inspector to approve the final product. And without that approval we couldn’t legally put workers into the office. We had to run long lines (duct-taped to the carpet) from our phone switches and network servers into temporary offices down the hall. Some people were using cardboard boxes for desks.

And our network servers? The office was in the Bank of America Building on Convention Center Drive. The UPS driver dropped our servers off at the Convention Center itself. I guess actually reading the address on the package would’ve been too difficult.

Of all the places I’ve set up offices, Vegas was consistently the most haphazard working environment. Terrible attitudes and dismal work ethic.

That’s not to say my office in Seattle was all that good, either. I did the work while one coworker ran his personal photography business on company time (even had his customers call our Help Desk# for status on wedding shots), and the other guy spent his day napping, reading the paper, or monitoring his stock portfolio. Management knew about it and did nothing.

My former boss suggested I adopt that same work ethic. That’s why he’s my former boss.

I’m not sure if this is the right anti-customer service thread to post this in (has anyone besides me noticed the increase in these type of threads?), but what the hell. Here’s as good of a place as any.
I’m a manager at McDonalds. I’ve been with the company for about 3 years, as a manager for maybe 3 months. I make $9 an hour. I don’t have tons of experience, but I have awesome availability. I can be there whenever they need me. Crystal, the other closing manager, has worked for McDonalds for going on 7 years. She’s an amazing manager, she runs better shifts than the store manager, and she always has tons of extra cleaning done. She used to close 5 nights a week, but got really sick, so she had to cut down to 2. Because her availability sucks, she only makes $8.95. an hour. Sure, it’s only a nickel less than me. But the whole principle sucks…she’s ready to quit, over a lousy five cents. How screwed up is that? McDonalds is such a weird company…

Ok I work at UPS. I am a loader on the night shift. Basically what I’m supposed to do is get box off belt check to make sure said box goes in my truck scan box and then build wall with box. I am supposed to do this 500 times an hour. Other possible things I need to do include break jams on the conveyor belt(the facility I work in was designed to handle shoe box sized packages not the huge ones we get) help out other workers and move irregs(boxes that weigh over 70 lbs or are constructed of something that would not go over the belts: tires wooden boxes etc) I work every night with people who get paid the same or more than me who don’t do half the work I do.Lets take co-worker a. I think he’s managed to be here a whole week once since I’ve worked there. He swears loudly at the pickers(they send the boxes to our trailers) whenever there is a problem. He misloads(scan a box into the wrong trailer) and mistoggles(have your scanner logged into the wrong trailer when your scanning boxes into the one your supposed to be logged in) all the time.Does he get appreciably punished? No, if he screws up bad enough he’ll get written up but thats all. I mean I don’t know if its because this is a union job or because they really need people(they recently told us that if we had any family members that we thought could do the job they’d hire them on the spot without going through the usual hiring process). Then there is coworker b. He shows uplate every day and its not like we have a set schedule it varies from day to day but he is always late. Say for example start time was 10:30 he could show up at 10:45 but if the start time was 11:00 he might not show up until 11:30. The reason for this? He works another job, like 75% of the rest of the people there who can show up on time. Then when he is there he basically does very little work. He mainly works on the irregs but if you only work on irregs you spend a long time waiting around for the trains they come on to move out of the way. And on days when he’s not here it really makes little difference there might be more to clean up at the end of the night but thats all. But my biggest problem is that there is absolutely no difference between the way we are treated. No recognition for my hard work(outside of showing up on a list every so often that says I’m a top five scanner or that I made the most key enters. Woohoo…oh who cares.)He probably gets paid more than I do because we get raises on a yearly basis.
Oh well.

Wow did i write all that… Guess this has been bothering me more than I thought. Thanks for letting me vent

I used to work in customer service, did it for nine years, and sometimes I’d get calls where someone thought I was the person that helped them before. In those cases it was necessary to ask them who exactly they spoke with before. Only then did they realize that it wasn’t I they initially talked to. I never used an insolent tone, but I know that I represented the company; however, I did not represent the last guy the customer spoke to.

Anyway, I agree that good work isn’t really recognized anymore. Hell, I always do good work, and I’m the one unemployed right now. I think a lot of the blame for bad work goes to the managers. Too many lazy middle managers who want to be their employees’ best friends. Managers who are afraid of taking a stand against their crappy employees because their afraid of being the enemy. Too many managers who have no place being managers; the blame for that goes to their managers. It’s a neverending cycle, really.

My mate got the most ridiculous line ever from a car valeting firm, and here I quote, “The business doesn’t revolve around you, you know”. Unbelievable.

Geometric salesmanship: Give me your money or get out of the way, there are two people behind you

Blame over population. There are so many customers that customer service is not needed. For every customer that says, “I’ll never buy here again.” there is another customer at another store saying the same thing. Stores just swap customers.

Overpopulation as the cause of the decline in the American work ethic? Now there’s an interesting proposition. I challenge you to flesh out your theory and turn it into a composition that would impress, oh, either your science or your social studies teacher. And e-mail me a copy while you’re at it.

I have a suspicion, and my floorman has even told me it’s a fact, in the casion industry, a lot of casinos, especially some of the lower-end houses, actually want poor dealers, or dealers with shitty attitudes. Why? Because most of a dealer’s income comes from tokes (a toke is sort of like a tip, but is considered a gift rather than a payment for service-I’m trying to figure the logic, we’re still taxed on our tokes). Tokes, by and large, come in the form of bets placed for the dealers by the players, or are given to the dealers out of the players’ winnings, thus being money the casino can’t win back. Which means they are a bite out of the casino’s profits. Bad dealers don’t earn as many tokes, thus the toke money stays in the casino’s coffers, rather than going home with the highly skilled workers who are paid minimum wage by the casinos.

In other types of jobs, I’m not sure what the logic is in management preferring poor workers over good ones.