Article posted Thursday, September 1, 2011 9:38am

Dear Miss Manners,

As a small business owner in Door County, I’m struggling with my staff scheduling heading into fall. Many of my employees are college students who are returning to school, so I’m feeling a little short handed when it comes to staffing. But, that’s not what’s really bothering me, as I’ve handled being short-staffed many times before. What’s really eating away at me is that one of my employees (who I hired on this spring with the understanding that she’d be here through the fall) failed to inform me that she was quitting!

When she was late for a shift, I called her, thinking something terrible had happened. When she finally picked up on my third try, she simply stated that she’d found another job, and that she needed to be done working for me. Seriously, what happened to giving two weeks notice? Or, even for that matter, having the maturity level to inform an employer face-to-face that you were moving on? Would it be out of line for business owners get together and create “Don’t hire this person!” trading cards?

Work Ethic Woes

Ellison Bay, WI

Dear Work Ethic Woes,

It’s like the saying: “Summer Help, Some are Not.” Whether you have part-time or full-time employees, seasonal or year round, managing them is nothing short of a challenge. Since Door County is a somewhat relaxed environment and it’s not uncommon for interviews to be conducted in flip-flops (by both interviewer and interviewee in some cases), employees are sometimes under the false assumption that the commitment is also relaxed. They may start at a restaurant and get better hours at another, so they jump ship without much notice. Or, they leave one store for a chance to work at another store since they heard it was more fun. It’s okay to seek another opportunity. It’s not okay to leave an employer in a lurch. If you are old enough to work, you should be old enough to act responsibly.

I agree with you. Your employee should have had the maturity to pick up the phone or resign face to face. I can’t fathom that someone would think that it’s acceptable to not show up for a shift and then avoid the calls of a person who has been paying wages to them for weeks, if not months.

When I was in college, some years ago now, I worked two jobs pretty steadily for the entire summer and left with just enough time to pack my bags before driving the three hours back to school. I get that it can be pretty obnoxious when someone starts on the “In My Day” speeches, but sometimes I really wonder about the work ethic of some of some of our 16-somethings to 20-somethings. I had a soon to be 21 year old say to me the other day, “I can’t believe I had to work today, and then I have to go back and do the same thing tomorrow!!!” OMG. Welcome to adulthood.

Good luck,

Mary Pat