Q: I work at a small, privately owned company. The owner is very involved in the business and controls all hiring. As he has gotten older, he has developed a thing for blondes. This wouldn't be bad if he hired smart blondes, but his most recent hire is a 25-year-old bartender who has never worked in an office, and he wants me to train her.
This girl is very attractive and social but shockingly stubborn and naive. Within two minutes of telling her about the tasks she needs to do, she tells me I don't have to teach her anything and that she understands and knows what to do. She refuses to listen and comes back having done everything wrong. When I correct her and continue to explain how to do things, she walks away.
In one instance, I asked her to find an industry expert for me to call. Later that day, she said she found an expert to use, one who had two years of experience. I told her what "expert" means, but she stopped me midsentence to say, "You don't have to explain it. I got it covered." I told her she didn't have it covered and needed to listen and learn. She refused and changed the subject. I had to repeat myself, telling her again, "Focus. You've got to focus so you can learn how to do the job." This, of course, did no good.
I don't know what to say to the owner, as this is absolutely not going to work. Should I tell him she is not trainable? Or just try to explain, letting her make mistake after mistake, even though I have to correct everything?
I've worked for the owner for years, and he has selective hearing. I also don't know how he might be connected or committed to her, but I have a feeling he met her in a bar, because he never talked about hiring someone until the day she appeared.
A: You have a duty to do your job correctly, and the owner asked you to train her. Do what you can in the training process and report the results to him. You should certainly tell him all that she tells you and quote her so he fully understands the situation.
One of the drawbacks to working for a very small, privately owned company is that the owner has complete control, even when the actions are not reasonable. Bringing in a young bartender with no experience and no common sense will ultimately hurt his business, but that is his choice, no matter how ridiculous it may be. It does sounds like his hiring decision was based on appearance and that he didn't know about this woman's personality traits.
As long as you report accurate accounts of your training conversations with her, the rest is up to him. Follow up on all your conversations with emails to both the owner and the trainee so you will have a record.
When he realizes that no experience plus no common sense are a dangerous combination in an employee, he may decide, without prodding, to fire her. He likely didn't know what he was getting into when he hired her, but surely he cares more about his business than his need to look at a cute blonde.
HOW SOON IS TOO SOON TO QUIT?
Q: I took a meaningless part-time job and immediately discovered the boss is verbally abusive. Must I stay a certain amount of time before quitting?
A: Never accept abuse, physical or verbal. Accepting abusive behavior will destroy your confidence and cloud your judgment as to what is acceptable. Politely give your notice and resume your job search as if the bad experience had never happened.
Email your questions to workplace expert Lindsey Novak at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @I_truly_care. To find out more about Lindsey Novak and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.