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Why people work just hard enough not to get fired.

Why people work just hard enough not to get fired.

In large companies there are management tiers, and the biggest mistake the lowest managers make is thinking that they are above those they manage. Just think of those you manage as the preparers of your food – and don’t piss them off.

Mooove this way…

These days management are treating their employees more like cattle than assets. Watch what they do every second, monitor what they drink, what they eat, when they go to the bathroom, make them report their status every 15 minutes, lead them down the line, marking their skin as they go, a nice steak here, a nice steak there.

They try to make it come off as caring for their employees, “We just want to better understand you and help you work better.”

What this come across as isn’t ‘care’ or ‘nurturing’ but rather ‘micro-management’ and ‘Pink-Slip-Prep’.


Yes, having the employee prep themselves to get fired while ever so nicely helping the company by documenting their entire job so it can be handed off to someone else.

Employees aren’t stupid. They know you’ve already made your decision about them and that you’re baiting them. You want to see what they do when told, “Document all main aspects of your job in a training manual. Then train X number of people in how to do all of the main aspects of your job. Then document all minor aspects in detail. Finally, those outstanding projects you have… yeah, we’re going to need you to wrap them up. Oh right! And this all has to be done in the next 10 weeks. But it’s all to help you, honestly…”

What would you read into that?


So what does this type of treatment do to the employee?

It makes them work just hard enough not to get fired – today.

And that’s important because?

Because, rest assured their gears are turning and they’ve already put their plan into action. They’re smart enough not to burn bridges but they’re smarter than you in many respects. Don’t think they haven’t been watching you and documenting your short-falls and your missteps since you first got in their face.

And when they hand you their beautiful resignation letter they’ll be sure to notify your superiors of all of the issues they encountered with you, backed up with all of the issues documented by others, and while they’re resting nicely in their new job, that you ever so nicely encouraged them to pursue, you’ll be handed your pink slip.

Remember, they’re the ones who do the work.

Just as you shouldn’t piss off the people who prepare your food you shouldn’t piss off the people who you manage. They are the ones doing the work – not you. They can – and will – bring you down swiftly and easily. They monitor everything you do. They document every word you say.

Treat your employees like gold and they will make you shine.

Read more about being fired at Danielle’s blog.

1 Comment to Why people work just hard enough not to get fired.

  1. some employees also figure out that it’s relatively hard to fire someone. i’ve addressed the subject here:

    it’s no surprise they don’t want to work hard, especially when they see the workaholics breaking their backs and getting nothing in return.

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