I had an employee that worked for me five years ago. He gave me some of the hardest moments of my life and some of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt in business.
He lied to customers and sent them incorrect orders, then the customer would call and complain or take legal action, but my employee (let’s call him “Jack”) would deny it until we managed to link all email correspondence together and realise he in fact did supply the wrong thing. Sometimes there was no paper trail.
He would work less hours than he would claim on his job card. He would drag jobs out- if it was a 1 hour job, he managed to make it an all day project with so many reasons of why it required soooo much time.
He would have his wife and one year old daughter in the office when I was away, customers would complain on the unprofessional environment.
The video cameras always had technical problems when he was running it alone and there was no way of signing into the cameras to see what was happening.
Jack never ate and often complained of dizziness through hunger, he never had money to buy food, so I would make sure he had breakfast and lunch, sometimes Jack would eat dinner before he left too and say his girlfriend hadn’t gone shopping and he had no money for take out.
Jack stunk, he would wear the same clothes (probably the same underwear) for a week and he always looked dirty. He was given a uniform and he couldn’t have one of the five shirts washed in time for work.
The list goes on and on and on…. And from the creation of lies of things I had apparently said to him, he burnt clients, he ruined relationships with suppliers, he had many staff dislike him. We had to let Jack go. For our sanity, for our business… Jack had to go. My husband and I coached him, we pointed out how unjust his behaviour was, we explained where he needs to change and we wished him well.
Jack came to see me approx six months ago. He came to visit with what seemed like no hidden agenda. Just a hello and to share on what a magical journey he had been through since we last saw him. Jack got married and now had two children. He was saving for a house and loving life. He was well presented and on a health kick. He was well presented and spoke like he was so much more intelligent from the last time we had seen him.
I was so happy to see Jack had evolved into such a mature and accomplished person. I was proud of him. He was so different from the Jack I remembered so long ago.
Jack came back a few weeks later and in between exchanged funny text messages with YouTube videos that made me laugh. He shared knowledge and tips on the industry that were beneficial. And slowly began sharing problems he was having in his current role. Jack needed a job and with all the experience he gained since he had left my place, he was going to be an asset to my business. Jack was going to be my answer to how I was going to have a regular day off and work less.
He negotiated a salary (a stretch for me to pay, but I convinced myself it would be worth it) and he was able to start immediately. He was going to be a sales manager and help my husband drum up more sales with trade and strengthen our relationship with suppliers.
Jack looked like he changed, he looked like he really was going to be a great asset… Jack became better at being a liar. Jack must be a compulsive liar at its highest level. Jack is a fu*king piece of shit.
Here I am months later worse off and more problems than I’ve had in a long time. Less time off and more work to redo despite the fact that I over paid Jack to do it. Suppliers have stop trade until Jack leaves, my first legal issue in such a long time has arisen.
Thankgod, this time my husband and I caught it sooner. We could put the mess Jack created to a stop faster than we could the first time.
Jack had to be let go, Jack feels wrong done by and wants to go legal. Jack is a piece of work.
Lesson…. The fox changes its coat, but it’s still the same fox. (Italian proverb)
When someone shows you who they aren’t, believe them the first time.
Goodbye Jack and this time it’s for good.