Damn-I really suck at being a boss.
Here is the situation:
I have an employee-let’s call her Jane. She is excellent at some parts of the job but not good at others. She doesn’t listen to me. She is defensive and argues when I try to explain what I want. She treats my computers like they are hers (I had to stop her from putting a personal password on her windows so that nobody else could use that terminal) and treats our petty cash like her personal interest-free payday loan. I should have fired her months ago.
However, as noted above, I suck at being a boss and she is very young so I have been cutting her some slack. She has asked for a raise and I explained what I wanted her to do to earn it. I then decided to give a raise to somebody hired after her so to avoid any arguments I sat down and put Jane on a 60 day probationary period detailing what I wanted from her. We also had an office meeting with written rules of conduct for the office. But-she has kids and I know she is struggling to support them on her salary, so I have really been trying to give her a chance.
So, Friday she texts me that she has an administrative problem to take care of at social services and will be late. That’s it, no further emails or calls. She never shows up. Today, she shows up, but sits reading a book while letting me check the patients in myself.
I’m not arguing that I was wrong to fire her, but I should have called her into my office and handed her a formal letter. Instead, I just cornered her in the breakroom after work to ask her what happened Friday. When she said she just “got busy” and didn’t have a chance to call, I basically told her that I couldn’t have her working for me anymore. When she calmly tried to offer excuses, I basically told her I wanted her keys. I wouldn’t even give her time to talk because I was afraid I would back down, so I kept asking for her keys. I then offered to pay any remaining vacation pay and two weeks’ severance, reminded her that she could file for unemployment, and told her that I would give a decent reference in regard to the part of the job she did well.
Now, I feel like crap. I feel like I totally blindsided her, but I was seriously afraid that I would back down if I didn’t do it quickly. I’m worried about how she will support her kids and if she’ll be able to buy them Christmas presents. I know she has payday loans and I don’t want to be responsible for little kids living in a shelter. She’s probably out drinking and plotting revenge and I’m the one sitting here worrying about her future. Like I said, I really really suck at this.