Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You a Sucky Employee Test

Do you continually show up 5-10 minutes (or more) late and think nothing of it?

Do you often take more than your allotment of time for lunch?

Do you have no problem shutting down a few minutes early and hitting the road before traffic "gets bad?"

Do you have zero problem calling in with just the slightest case of the sniffles?

Do you use your kid as an excuse for calling in more than one a year?

Do you believe that sick days are there to be used whether you are sick or not?

Do you receive/make at least two personal calls per day?

Do you spend at least 15-30 minutes a day Twittering, Facebook or using some other social networking platform during the work day?

Do you use your smart phone to text at least once or twice a day while at work?

Do you spend time using the Internet for purposes other than work?

Do you peruse other jobs sites like Craig's List looking for a better job while your on the job?

Do you refuse to contribute anything but the bare minimum in terms of time, effort and attention to detail?

Do you view the customer as a bane of your existence?

Do you view your co-workers as lazy and unmotivated and then blame them for being the same?

Do you ever engage your boss unless absolutely positively have to?

Do you think the company that you work for is damn lucky to have someone like you with all your fancy skills, abilities and education?

Do you feel yourself under-appreciated, under-paid and often taken advantage by "the man?"

Do you find yourself reading these questions and saying to yourself...well sometimes...


You may be a sucky employee.

Check that, you are a sucky employee!

Now before you get your panties in a bunch and start saying, "But Steve, my situation is different. You don't know the kind of hell hole I work on.  My boss is such an %%#^#!" Let me just stop you right there.

I have no doubt your work environment plays a significant role in the kind of employee you have been up to this point.  I am sure it is frustrating and often leaves you with a sense of helplessness.  I am sure you feel justified in the actions you take or don't take as an employee of Crap Inc.

But here's the deal, there is not amount of excuses that can be made to justify answering yes to even one of these questions.  Am I out of my fricken mind? you say.  Perhaps.  But I don't think so.

Do you get paid?   Did someone believe enough in you way back when to pick you over all other candidates?  Did someone see something special in you to say, "we want her!" above all others?  Did someone think enough of you that perhaps you would be that model hire they had been looking for that may just change the whole shooting match for the company?

You weren't hired to make your own schedule, do things on your own time and give attitude or push back on the very things you are employed to do.

If the environment in your company sucks, change it.  Stand up and be a the shining example and perhaps others will follow.  Be the kind of employee that your company aspires to have across the board.  Show them they were not wrong in hiring you!!!  I beg you.

Or don't.  Keep being like all the rest of the minions out there.  Continue to put in anything but honest day's work for an honest day's pay.  The career grim reaper is watching, waiting and will swing his mighty sickle down upon your very being some day very soon.

As I talk about over and over and over again on this BLOG ---- the Ripples of our Actions cascade out and impact in ways we may never know or even consider.  How you conduct yourself as an employee, as a trusted steward of your company, has the ability to Ripple good or bad.

If those Ripples have been bad, then change them!  Change them yourself before someone changes them for you.

Ripple On!!!


Artie Gold said...


You got this one wrong. In fact you got this one seriously wrong in a very deep way.

What you describe as a "sucky employee" is really something else entirely; it is a management problem. The failure is not on the part of the employee. As has become increasingly the case, employees are nothing but an expense to be minimized from which to squeeze out the most productivity possible. In fact, an employee ONLY gets hired because of the belief on someone's part that the employee's efforts will accrue more to the bottom line than he or she costs in wages, benefits, materials and space. And it that does not happen, it is management';s fault, plain and simple.

Occasionally -- and this is somewhat difficult to admit -- I have watched bits of "Undercover Boss" and what always amazes me is the dedication shown by employees who are clearly overworked and underpaid (and remember where that difference between the value they create and what they themselves reap goes); the tears flow weekly when some bone comprising what would be at most a pittance to a CEO is thrown in their direction.

Look at the stats. GDP grows. Corporate profits grow (to an incredible extent). And real median wages? Not so much.

It's an unfortunate situation -- and one that has brought us to the brink of a truly unsustainable situation. "Sucky employees"? No, not really. But on the other hand, given the proportionally shrinking piece of the pie...what would you expect? But the large majority exceeds that.

Jason Reed said...

I think you may have missed Steve's point Artie.

It's a self-check that starts with us. True the environment, management and the company have a lot to do with it. But largely can't control those things ourselves.

We can control ourselves though.

Good post Steve.

Kay said...

Steve, I believe your points are valid. I also agree that some of it stems from a management issue. But let's be clear - managers are employees too! Maybe the reason they are not good managers is because they can answer yes to so many of Steve's questions. Even a CEO is an employee too! And as Steve points out so well, time and time again, every action we take creates a ripple - good or bad, no matter at what level of the organization we sit. Some are just more powerful and wider reaching than others!

Echoing Jason's post, all accountability starts at home. What's the old saying, when you point a finger at someone else, you will see three others pointing back at you. Try it!

Ripple on Steve!

Steve Harper aka Mr. Ripple said...

Two Posted Comments that got sent to me but aren't showing on the BLOG. Cut and pasted them here:

Sheila W. said...
I passed or failed depending on your perspective Steve. As much as I hate to admit it I am part of the problem within my own team. Thank you for opening my eyes up to it.

7:58 AM
Anonymous said...
I hear what you are saying but isn't it the company's responsibility to make sure I am not surrounded by sucky people?
7:59 AM

Anonymous said...


I am sure you will receive some very strong reaction to this post. Most employees don't want to admit that they suck. Hell I had to answer yes to over half of your questions and was a little mad about that. But to your point, I had to look inside myself to see why I had to answer yes and who was really to blame for that. You are right...ME!

I actually just showed this to my boss and told her that I am sorry. I told her that I wasn't quite sure if she really knew how much I needed this job and that I would try harder. I know it's not much but her reaction to me was overwhelmingly positive. I never would have tried that had you not opened my eyes to my suckiness.

Thanks for all you do and all the people, like me, that you inspire.

Ann Day

Thom Singer said...

Artie, your point management has issues is correct, but that is no excuse for the individual to skate. That would just make the situation worse.

I have found that if you are a good worker in a "Sucky" situation.... another company will come and pluck you out. If you are a "sucky" employee in a good company, you will get pushed out. But if you are a "sucky" employee in a "Sucky" company.... you are going to be together for a long, long time.

Best to listen to Steve and be a better employee. It will either help change the culture around your --- or someone else will notice and save you with a new job offer in a better company.

ajay said...

excellent blog post.this is somewhat difficult to admit -- I have watched bits of "Undercover Boss" and what always amazes me is the dedication shown by employees who are clearly overworked and underpaid (and remember where that difference between the value they create and what they themselves reap goes); the tears flow weekly when some bone comprising what would be at most a pittance to a CEO is thrown in their direction.

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