Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Why are manners and ethics dead?

This weekend we are throwing a little party for our latest addition, Emma. We never properly got the chance to welcome her to the family when she arrived last fall. When you are dealing with adoption of orphanage infants you are dealing with attachment issues. We were told to do something called 'funneling' where you don't let anyone hold the baby but you for months, allowing time for the new child to bond with you as parents. With 8 months under our belts now, it seems appropriate to celebrate Emma coming into our lives.
We are having her baptized at church on Sunday. Aftwards we will all meet friends for lunch. I've reserved a private room at a local chinese restaurant on the river. We sent out invitations and we put RSVP on them.
We are now getting close to the time when I have to call the restaurant and confirm. I have heard very little from anyone. When I've said, 'so, do you think you are coming' they all say, 'oh yes'. But if I didn't run into them and ask I wouldn't hear a thing!
Honestly though, this is just one example of a far bigger problem. It seems manners have pretty much died off. Thank you notes after job interviews never happen anymore. It actually dates us to write them. People under the age of 40 do not write them in my experience.
Putting 'regrets only' on the invitation does no better. People just don't follow up. They either show up or they don't and somehow you are supposed to plan for it.
Meanwhile work today was full of fun information. I have an employee whom I suspected had poor judgement for quite a while. Today I confirmed that. Her judgement is far worse then I expected, and now I have to do something about it. She violated a university policy and a state administrative rule. I started the process of gathering the documentation I need to mount a progressive discipline case against her.
I hate these. As a supervisor I can't talk about what she has done to anyone. I'll be slayed by her with her coworkers because she is free to say whatever she wishes. Most of these cases say plenty. Meanwhile management follows all the rules and carefully backs up their case. In the 10 years I've done this I've terminated 3 employees. It has taken me well over a year each time to go through all the documentation and hoops that are required. At the end I have never had a single doubt about my decision to terminate them. We shift employees, we retrain and rework employees, we do a lot to make their jobs work with their lives. When they choose to fail, it is a long process that in the end shows the worst of everyone.
I rarely have these quite frankly, and when I do I am forever amazed that people don't take their jobs that are paid for with taxpayer money more seriously. I've always felt that if your behavior was not something you'd want on the front of the state newspaper, then you should not choose to do it. People over the years do continue to amaze me with their choices. We have an obligation to behave ethically at work. People trust us with their children and their money. I'm baffled why some employees don't get the gravity of the situation.
All for tonight!

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