The fall of Mr. Popular

Jan. 1, 2020
One thing is for sure. Hiring is more fun than firing.

One thing is for sure. Hiring is more fun than firing.

As in every business, there seems to be one person that everyone really likes, connects with or, for whatever reason, takes a special interest in. I may not understand why this phenomenon occurs, but I have lived through the turmoil it causes — I’m talking about what happens when a “buddy” employee needs to be terminated. When dealing with employees like this, it usually their ability that falls shy of their likeability. Everyone wants to help “Mister/Miss Popular” because they genuinely want to see them succeed. But, soon it often becomes apparent that they cannot perform their job and are too dependant on other employees to complete routine tasks.

The likeability factor begins to wear thin on the enabling employees in a short time, and here is where all of the trouble begins. In a vain attempt to get this employee to stand on their own, everyone else’s workload contains a small amount of Mister/Miss Popular’s duties. All of this information is kept hidden from management because the employees like their fellow worker; however, all the while a small amount of resentment sets in. Interestingly enough, the popular employee sees nothing wrong with this because everyone likes him so much. This can go unnoticed by management for long periods of time, but eventually, our likeable, affable, popular — yet inept — co-worker is found out. The once-bright shining star begins the process of implosion.

When a star in our universe begins to implode, or crush itself, hyper-gravity is the first consequence. Much the same with our workplace superstar, the gravity of the situation pulls everyone into the middle of a problem that will come to an abrupt end. If you are too close to something, you’ll get sucked right in and suffer the ramifications of the coming event, or at least be adversely affected.

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The termination day is when everything goes super nova. As much as everyone likes this person, he can’t perform the job he was hired for and was dragging everyone else down in performance, profit or morale. After the explosive exit, much the same as an actual super nova, there is left a black hole that needs to be avoided by those who were too involved. The void created by losing Mister/Miss Popular will actually make quite a few people mad — not because your now ex-employee helped them do their jobs, not because he made the company money, not because he was timely, not because he put forth extra effort, or because of any thing reasonably associated with measurable value. Everyone just liked the guy.

If you are the owner or the manager, let’s make one thing clear. You are not Mister/Miss Popular. This is as it should be because running a successful auto parts store or service center is not a popularity contest. Sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions to keep the company profitable, successful and moving forward.

I sometimes think there should be an addendum to our personnel policy that prohibits liking or otherwise fraternizing with fellow employees. The character Spock from “Star Trek” would make a perfect employee. No emotion and eat up with logic. He didn’t like anyone, he didn’t hate anyone. He just did his job. I think we’d all get along better if we didn’t actually like each other. Beam me up Scotty.

One thing is for sure. Hiring is more fun than firing.

As in every business, there seems to be one person that everyone really likes, connects with or, for whatever reason, takes a special interest in. I may not understand why this phenomenon occurs, but I have lived through the turmoil it causes — I’m talking about what happens when a “buddy” employee needs to be terminated. When dealing with employees like this, it usually their ability that falls shy of their likeability. Everyone wants to help “Mister/Miss Popular” because they genuinely want to see them succeed. But, soon it often becomes apparent that they cannot perform their job and are too dependant on other employees to complete routine tasks.

The likeability factor begins to wear thin on the enabling employees in a short time, and here is where all of the trouble begins. In a vain attempt to get this employee to stand on their own, everyone else’s workload contains a small amount of Mister/Miss Popular’s duties. All of this information is kept hidden from management because the employees like their fellow worker; however, all the while a small amount of resentment sets in. Interestingly enough, the popular employee sees nothing wrong with this because everyone likes him so much. This can go unnoticed by management for long periods of time, but eventually, our likeable, affable, popular — yet inept — co-worker is found out. The once-bright shining star begins the process of implosion.

When a star in our universe begins to implode, or crush itself, hyper-gravity is the first consequence. Much the same with our workplace superstar, the gravity of the situation pulls everyone into the middle of a problem that will come to an abrupt end. If you are too close to something, you’ll get sucked right in and suffer the ramifications of the coming event, or at least be adversely affected.

PAGE 2

The termination day is when everything goes super nova. As much as everyone likes this person, he can’t perform the job he was hired for and was dragging everyone else down in performance, profit or morale. After the explosive exit, much the same as an actual super nova, there is left a black hole that needs to be avoided by those who were too involved. The void created by losing Mister/Miss Popular will actually make quite a few people mad — not because your now ex-employee helped them do their jobs, not because he made the company money, not because he was timely, not because he put forth extra effort, or because of any thing reasonably associated with measurable value. Everyone just liked the guy.

If you are the owner or the manager, let’s make one thing clear. You are not Mister/Miss Popular. This is as it should be because running a successful auto parts store or service center is not a popularity contest. Sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions to keep the company profitable, successful and moving forward.

I sometimes think there should be an addendum to our personnel policy that prohibits liking or otherwise fraternizing with fellow employees. The character Spock from “Star Trek” would make a perfect employee. No emotion and eat up with logic. He didn’t like anyone, he didn’t hate anyone. He just did his job. I think we’d all get along better if we didn’t actually like each other. Beam me up Scotty.