Should I be mad, sad or glad?
It is always a bittersweet feeling to me when an employee turns in a two-week notice. No matter what department they work in, no matter what their job function is, that person is a member of my team. He or she will need to be replaced. You start to wonder, will I ever be able to replace this team member?
I don’t expect chauffeuring to be a forever job for most people. In fact, I have only nine full-time chauffeurs out of 52 total employees. I would like to point out that eight of those 52 people have been here for more than a decade. I think that speaks volumes.
Every employee has an assigned employee number and the next number to be issued in the sequence is 163. That means 111 employees have come and gone over our nearly 23 years in business. By average, we lose nearly five employees each year. Some leave by choice, some are driven out by design, and some are shown to the door if they can’t cut it.
In many cases, I have enjoyed watching some people go through school while chauffeuring. Of course I knew when I hired them that they had bigger aspirations. I fondly remember doing inspections in the field and seeing a young lady named Julie Boden diligently doing her homework in the cab of a limousine while standing by for a client. Today, she is a high school English teacher. Her sister, Linda Boden, also spent several years here and today is an RN in the busiest emergency room in town. I am glad for them.
I also have had people leave here and either go start their own limousine services or go to work for a competitor. The latter doesn’t happen very often. It would be like leaving the Ritz to go work for Motel 6 in most cases. I have only had one employee who left to go start his own competing business. I suppose in a way it is flattering as I watched this guy mirror our own company. But my anger rages when my clients are sucked away by a guy that I hired because his wife worked with my wife and asked me to give him a job. He was basically unemployable since he had been fired for having sex with a prostitute multiple times in his police car. I gave him a chance and it cost me dearly. Along the way, he managed to recruit one of my female chauffeurs to not only leave our company but leave her husband as well. That didn’t sit too well with me either.
But, in most cases, I am happy to see people move to a higher station in life if they so desire and I am glad to think that I provided a hand up to them and I wish them well. In the case where people just can’t conform to our style of service and living, I wish them well too and don’t think badly of them. Some people are born for customer service and some won’t get it. Usually when I realize this, I am mad at myself for misjudging character and personality during the interview. A mistake like this is costly. There are drug and alcohol testing costs, background check fees, time and labor to add to our insurance policy and get set up in our payroll and dispatching systems, money spent on a trainer, and of course the trainee himself is paid and takes the knowledge with them when they leave. In that case, I’m not glad or sad. That sucks!
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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