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#33516 01/23/04 08:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
..I'm having trouble with one of my guys.He's been with me longer than the new guy I recently hired..Trouble is that he's young,and recently has become alot less motivated and enthusiastic in his work..The new guy on the other hand, shows promise,and is raise material...I've had "pep talks" with him and he'd be ok for a few days,then back into the slump..I'm giving the new guy more responsibilities,and he gets the job done...I want to sack the other guy, but I'm soft in that area...I've never sacked anyone yet...Should I have another "talk" with him or just give him the boot,and let him collect unemployment,...which is probably what he'd like to do anyhow,since he seemsto be so lazy...He claims he has "bad days" due to his financial woes and his girlfriend is on the fritz with him....What to do..?? He is dead weight,and it isn't right that I pay him for showing up, and being a zombie...He just don't care about the work...just in getting paid...I've had it...Anyone else here have this problem??

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7
Carrying a person does neither HIM or YOU any justice. It leads him into a feeling of getting away with doing nothing, and getting paid for it. It leaves you with a financial burden, overdue job costs, deadlines, scheduling disasters, and WILL lead to any other guys you have 'slowing down'.

A bad apple spoils the bunch.

Human nature leads to people 'seeing' what other people do and/or don't.

You now the man, either lay down the 'law' for a LAST TIME, or show him the door.


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 26
John has it right. I'm basically a lurker here, but as an ex-manager in a large corporation, I have experience dealing with performance problems. (Got out of mgmt because I got tired of being a baby-sitter).

If you haven't made it crystal clear to your employee that his performance is not acceptable - with specific examples - you need to do so. Provide specific and measurable goals that must be met and maintained. Examples are work completed in acceptable timelines or work to acceptable quality standards. "Acceptable" is a subjective term, so you need to be clear about what acceptable is.

Make this a written warning and make it clear that failure to achieve and maintain the required standards of performance can result in termination. You really should have him sign the written warning. Such documents usually include a statement to the effect that "signature means that employee understands and acknowldges receipt of the document but does not necessarily agree with its contents" or similar. If you're at all concerned about a lawsuit post-termination, you need to CYA here. The point about "doesn't necessarily agree" means that all the guy is signing is acknowledgement of getting the document. If he refuses, note that on the document. BTW, both of you sign the document. You keep the original, give him a copy immediately.

It really sorta sucks to have to do this, but it protects you in the long run. It really doesn't take a whole lot of time to put together a 1-2 page document that spells out what the problem is, what the required performance is and what the potential result will be if the required level of performance is not attained and maintained.

It's important to focus on required results - not how hard someone works or personal problems they may have. You have a business to run. Focus on the performance you require from your employee(s) to run that business. The time you take to do this now will save you time and money in the long run.

FYI, in CT terminating someone doesn't necessarily mean they get unemployment. If you "lay them off", them they can get unemployment. If you "Discharge" them, they have a hearing and may very well not collect unemployment. Knowing that might motivate this guy a bit.

If the guy turns his performance around - let him know you see it. If he makes a brief improvement but returns to his old ways, he can either give him a final warning or can him.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
I'm firing a guy on Monday, but he won't be able to collect unemployment because I have cause to fire him. He did a side job for a homeowner on a project where we are working for a contractor, I had given the homeowner a quote that included a cut for the contractor. Now neither the contractor or me is happy about losing the work. He even had the nerve to borrow a ladder from me to do it.

I had an employee that was much like you described and I did something that helped for a while. He had a problem just not showing up and not even calling. I told him to take 2 weeks off and come back if he thought he could do better. He did and it help for a while. For you this could cause him to go look for another job and you won't be liable for unemployment or he might come back with a new attitude. If he doesn't come back, then he quits and no unemployment is due.

I know it sucks to have to fire someone, but I got tired of being run over by employees and I don't put up with much BS anymore.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
..Thanx guys,for your input and support,...this is something I truly dread doing,..but if it must be done,then so be it..I like the kid,its just his work attitude needs alot of improvement.In the beginning,when I first hired him a year ago,or so,he was enthusiastic,and even purchased a whole tool pouch of hand tools..He showed promise..If he does get fired,do I have to pay towards his unemployment??

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 300
I've hired, fired, and supervised lots of guys. I'm with Eagle on this. I love suspending people. A few days to "decide if they want to be here" does wonders for motivation.

I've done it for lazyness and for behavior problems.

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141
Attic Rat,

If this guy used to work hard and produce, he probably knows that he's falling short.

I agree that a suspension w/o pay can be a wake-up call, if someone is just seeing how far they can slide.

Do you think it might be drugs or alcohol?

What do you think he'd say if you pointed out his poor perfomance, gave enough examples that he couldn't but agree, and than you asked him what he thought you ought to do? Sometimes, though rarely, a person will be his own toughest critic.

If you try it and he tries to BS you, call him on it and suspend him.

Good luck, it's not easy the first time.


Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Hang on a minute here!.
OK, the guy isn't performing at work, and he is slow.
Right, that shouldn't automatically mean the guy is a Alcoholic or a Druggie.
I went through 4 years of not being able to pay the bills at home and you'd be amazed what that in itself can do to you!.
Sit the guy down and talk about what is going on in his life, not what you want from him, after all, happy employees are hard working employees!.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 681
Wow! These are all good posts, and example that show each and every case is as different as people are. My 'advice' is follow all of these posts, remembering one very important rule which should help you for your entire future... HE IS A HUMAN BEING and should be given the benefit of doubt. If that shows in time he will not work out, you have done for him and yourself a duty that you will never be ashamed of.
Good Luck!


BTW - I had to fire my sister's son once - it was very messy. He was with me ten years and he told me I could not run my business without him, I let him go...OUCH!! in more than one way.
That was 4 years ago, and now he is in his own business... he calls me and asks my advice about the same problems I had with help... we both get some good laughs.

Pierre Belarge
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
Sit the guy down and talk about what is going on in his life, not what you want from him, after all, happy employees are hard working employees!.

I treat the guys working for me with respect but I am not anyones social worker.

Come to work ready to work or do not show up.

Yes of course I will bend for good workers that have a death, divorce, birth etc. those are all short term problems.

Beyond that you do not work with me, I will say I do not have to fire those guys I just tell the office send them elsewhere.

I do have to fill out 3 page reviews on workers under me and friend or not I fill out the review honestly for good or bad.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
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