14 September 2011


Read this heart-wrenching story.


Really makes her boss seem like the bad guy, huh?

There's a common misunderstanding about jobs.

The job does not exist for the employee.  The job exists for the employer.

The business has work that needs done that cannot be done as efficiently without an extra person.

In short, they needed Ms Rendon to show up for work.  Businesses don't make exemplary employees sign paperwork warning them that their job might not be there when they get back.  No business wants to be seen as Mr Scrooge; I am guessing that all manner of compassion was extended and a mile was taken where an inch was given.

I am guessing that Ms Rendon was absent a lot helping with a bad family situation.

I am guessing that her job performance suffered a great deal from the stress.

I am saying that Aviation Institute of Maintenance had a job that needed doing and she wasn't there to do it as agreed.  Ms Rendon's failure to show up to do the job as agreed is not AIM's fault.

Because jobs are not for the employee, the business doesn't owe you one.  Your salary and benefits are what they owe you; you exchange you skills and time for those.


  1. Yes.

    This is why I have a lot of trouble with the concept of "striking." The strikers do not own their jobs, and if they walk off in a hissy, they don't get to cry if someone else wants those jobs.

  2. I agree, with a big "however:" This is where good judgment comes into play. If she has been a good (profitable) employee, it is in the company's own interests to keep her job for her, hiring a temporary replacement in her absence (not hard to do in this economy.)

    As a consumer, I would boycott a company that treats good employees like disposable objects, and I would be VERY vocal about it. The press did the right thing in publicizing this. A marketplace full if informed consumers can "regulate" itself quite well with a minimum of laws.

    Should this employer have been REQUIRED to hold this woman's job for her? No. Should he have done it anyway? Yes, IF she was a long term asset to the company. Sleazy (in this case, disloyal) business practices should not be profitable.

    This is what the Family Leave Act is supposed to prevent. Not very effective is it? Nor will it ever be.

  3. I have a certain amount of compassion; BUT...

    Remember the job doesn't exist to service the employee. The employee is hired to do the work. Employees that don't should not remain employees.

    You get vacation and sick time to cover the unexpected. Once it's gone and you need more time off, a responsible person realizes that they are not holding up their end of the bargain and quits.

    If hire someone I expect them to be there. If they aren't, then I will get someone who will be.

    You say that someone shouldn't be required to hold a job for such frequent absenteeism, but you'd punish them anyway if they don't. Basically, "I'm not going to FORCE you, but I'll demand you do it anyway."

    As I indicated, model employees DO get their jobs held for them and a temp is hired to cover while they are gone. Bad employees are warned and let go. Watched it play out over and over again.

    Running to the media once you've been let go just reinforces my opinion here. The press is generally 180˚ off on why jobs exist in the first place, so of course the employer will be depicted as the bad guy.

  4. It's not about compassion, and a job is not something anybody is entitled to. I agree with everything you've said except "you'd punish them anyway." I would only punish them under certain circumstances. If she's an asset to the company, it makes good business sense to hold her job for her. If she's not worth it, then her employer should have the guts to say so, an be prepared to say why. He anticipated her objection by having her acknowledge that her job would not be guaranteed, but he did not anticipate the press shining a light on his decision. He shouldn't be making decisions he can't back up in public, and he should have expected a shit storm in light of the highly emotional nature of her situation. Now he's worse off than before because he's paying two people and only one is working. That is poor planning on his part. If he was going to give in to pressure and hire her back, he should have hired a temp in her place. I don't see this employer as a victim of an employee or of the press, I see him as a victim of his own short sightedness, and possibly of wimpy, ambiguous HR policies.

    Why would I hire the services of a business that can't even manage its own employees?

    This sort of situation is a reality that modern business must deal with, and if they don't learn to do it right, they will fail, which would be an appropriate, market-driven punishment. It's not about compassion, it's about accountability and the price of careless decisions.

  5. There's a myriad of reasons why the HR policies are not unambiguous. Reams and reams of steaming crap coming from just about every legislator there is.

    What this smells like is our intrepid employ was merely adequate. Someone who didn't merit any kudos, and also didn't quite merit termination for cause.

    We live in an age where we can't just say, "you don't really fit in here," and let someone go. Especially if they are a minority or female. No small company can afford to lose that fight, let alone win it. Phyrrus was an optimist!

    They had her sign off that she understood that the job would be shopped out if she took more time off. Those legal HR ducks are in a row if they got that far in the process.

    As I said, I've watched this play out more than once. From both sides.

    You are saying you'd punish them. Refusing to do business with them for not further coddling a habitually absentee employee IS punitive!

    What we have in public is Mr Shit-Heel Business owner who maliciously fired this poor woman who was only trying to look after her family. Sure, show me defense against the full-court media press?

    Accountability? How about the customers who are waiting because she's not at work? How about lost business because they chose an alternate vendor? What about all the other employee's jobs that are now potentially on the line because the customers are looking for someone else to service them?

    Ms Kidney donor stops looking so selfless now, doesn't she?

    Taking a job is a contract. You will have your butt planted in your seat at the designated time and you will do the work agreed to. The company will pay you the agreed amount. You get time off for vacation and sick time.

    Please show me where the company failed to pay the agreed upon wage or give the pre-determined time off. Because we do see that the employee was certainly failing to be at work. I see the employer holding up their end and the employee not. This is where she should have "manned" up and admitted that she was not an employee but a daughter/sister/mother/aunt and quit.

    Like I said, twice now, any employee worth waiting for will be. She wasn't, therefore they didn't.

  6. I'm not contradicting you; I agree 100%. Labor laws and an entitled workforce make it VERY difficult for employers to be competitive. Employers know this. This employer knows it, which is why he had her sign a waiver, but the waiver wasn't enough. THAT's the problem. He's paying double because although he anticipated her whining, he didn't anticipate her PUBLIC whining, which is a very common occurrence these days. As I said, poor planning. In a perfect world, letting a mediocre employee go for absenteeism is perfectly logical, and it's perfectly legal.

    But these days, logic and law are not enough. This is wrong, and it's a big part of why businesses can't compete, but it's real.

    I applaud his initial decision to let her go, as I'm willing to believe that she's not worth keeping. What I question is his judgment, his naive assumption that "following the letter of the law" was going to protect his decision.

    This employer allowed himself to become a victim of circumstance. It seems to me he had only two good choices here. He could have planned to keep a mediocre employee because of the public sympathy factor, or he could have used her past record to prove that she wasn't worth keeping. This in itself is appalling because both options reduce overall productivity: one wastes payroll and the other wastes managers' time. Unfortunately this is reality. This is the sludge in which modern businesses are trying to swim. It's wrong, it's stupid and it's wasteful, but it's the result of a hundred years of worker entitlement. It can't be ignored. We can whine about it or we can create strategies to cope with it. This poor guy didn't have a strategy and he was blindsided.

  7. Now he's paying her for no job.

    Businesses have come up with strategies to cope with it. Hecho en Mexico...

    Thanks for saying what you were saying a different way until I got what you were trying to say.

  8. Sometimes it takes me a while to work through my logic and get to my point...



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