And I quote:
"A while later (hopefully a few years), you tell me it is time to talk. You are not happy anymore and feel it is time to change things. Of course I’ll try to convince you. See if we can change something in your job description to make you happier, see if I can get you motivated in different ways. But if we can’t work things out together, if it is simply time to end the relationship, let’s talk about it like adults. Don’t come into the office one day telling me out of the blue that you haven’t been happy for a while, found someone else and will leave me as soon as possible. And now that you brought it up, why should I pay your full wage if you are only working at half force since you aren’t motivated anymore?"
Consistency doesn't appear to be Inge's strong suit.
I think this is the reason why "openness" is tough to achieve. Most of the time, the stakes are much higher for the employee than the company-- the business can probably continue operating after separation, but the employee might not be able to pay rent without a paycheck. All information is power in the relationship, so I don't think an employee should ever feel obligated to share more than what is necessary. I wouldn't expect to be informed that my department's budget for salaries is $X or that I'm going to be let go, effective three months from now.
> Don’t come into the office one day telling me out of the blue that you haven’t been happy for a while, found someone else and will leave me as soon as possible.
Some people just prefer voting with their feet.
The fact that she finds such "out of the blue" IS the problem.
As for "why should I pay your full wage if you are only working at half force since you aren’t motivated anymore?": you pay full wage because he's doing full required work, demonstrated by the fact that she didn't notice anything was wrong and was content to pay him for it. Maybe he's unhappy because he wants to do more but she's not making it worth his time/effort to.
And obviously the disclosure is "out of the blue" precisely because her first reaction is to cut his pay.
Also they have been accused of dark patterns before, like that would result in people getting e-mail that purports to be from you, when you think you already unchecked the box and asked not to share your contact list.
In Belgium, employees must be notified in advance before they are let go: you send them a letter stating "your contract will end in 12 weeks", they keep working for you for 12 weeks, and then they leave.
Employees are usually expected to pass on their knowledge to other team members and wrap up their current projects before they leave. And they are getting paid for it.
This is not the story of a CEO who fired out an employee on the spot, then tried to get back in touch later because they found out they still needed him.
This is the story of a CEO who told an employee that they would be let go three months from now, then asked them to help after hours---something that they had done previously---only to find that they were not motivated enough to do it anymore.
And this is what makes the story interesting: it's not a ridiculous caricature that you can point and laugh at ; it has all the real-life ingredients that you can easily find in the average company.
- Employers and employees who assume that "professionalism" means volunteering to work beyond the scope of a work contract.
- Employers who forget that loyalty is an essential factor in the motivation of many employees.
- A CEO who made the tradeoff of not having a dedicated 24/7 support team, and whines when the inevitable outage happens and there is no one to handle it.
I believe the original author herself said it best: "So your best bet is to hire people who share your passion, willing to 'volunteer' on such occasions."
No one is passionate about staying long hours to fix a production server. But they might be passionate about building a product that can make them proud. Their product. And once they feel it's not their product anymore, the passion is gone, and they'll be home by 7pm with their cell phone turned off.
I believe the story remains a caricature, for the following reasons:
1/ she terminated him because she determined there was no more need for his skills. Expecting overtime after that is admission that she was at best too early, and probably just wrong. Planning is one of the key competences expected from a CEO.
2/ she's surprised that he won't work more than he's paid for. That's a caricatural misunderstanding of how people relate to their job; from a farmer or a plumber it might pass, but coming from a CEO of HR-oriented companies, that's nothing short of crass incompetence.
3/ basic fairness: during employment, she kept paying him money because it was the only way to get some work done; she should expect the flip side: that he only works when it's the only way to keep making money. And he's not even slacking at work, is just doing no more than what he's paid for. This gives the whole story an "entitled brat" vibe IMO.
> "So your best bet is to hire people who share your passion, willing to 'volunteer' on such occasions."
That line kills me. Seriously, who's passionate about yet another online CV sharing app? Which probably has to be unbearably pushy with its users, since LinkedIn has long eaten everyone's lunch on this market? She's no Elon Musk, and the only things that could foster passion for her business are stock options.
That argument is always used by people in boring businesses, rarely by those who'd be legitimately entitled to use it--I guess those don't need to.
As a result, the CEO probably thought it was reasonable to ask him to help out with an emergency. Although it was after hours, it was hardly "overtime" in the sense of being hour 41+ of work he did for the company. Probably more like hour 2+, in her mind.
I'm not saying her expectation was realistic, I just don't think it was a "caricature". I suppose I think you're not understanding her point of view, much as she didn't understand the employee's point of view.
I think I understand what a workaholic's feelings might be in such a situation, although displays of empathy with her seemed out of my comment's topic.
But there's an asymmetry here: it's not my job to understand how workaholics react, whereas it's doubly hers to understand how employees react, as a boss and as an HR professional.
Outside of that, you hit the point right on and I think a lot of comments echo your sentiments:
- Any kind of "volunteering" for free, outside of working hours is preposterous as it is. Expecting an employee to continue doing so after given a notice is even worse. You're basically expecting favors after you told the employee they won't be able to cash out on those favors.
- And so, when the CEO has a 24/7 support of volunteers and used to it, and then cuts the volunteers, there won't be anyone there to handle it. I understand that Belgium sucks in terms of overtime (high taxes, finicky contracts) but if it's mission critical, you may want to have at least one person on your payroll that can do this. It's a necessary cost.
In fact, it is actually much worse for an employee to have such long notice periods. The most obvious one is already mentioned - boredom and low morale. But it has an interesting side-effect: Most companies have immediate requirements and cannot wait for months before it is filled. So they hire from a pool that is limited to people who have already been laid off. And obviously the employees are in poor position to negotiate any salary increase.
Really? In most countries? I'm not so sure, even if we exclude "most countries" to mean "most First World Countries".
Do you have a source?
I'm Australian, and it's also one to four weeks notice here, depending on how long the employee's been employed at the company.
I know that HN core audience hasn't really seen that side of outsourcing, so the experiences might be different.
Unless the law prohibits terminal paid leave, this is easily avoided.
> Most companies have immediate requirements and cannot wait for months before it is filled.
So? Hire someone immediately. Having notice requirements for termination doesn't prohibit you from doing that. Internal policies regarding positions might, but that's a problem of internal policies, not externally-imposed terminal notice requirements.
Did you want to say something else? Could you please explain further?
You'd really prefer "Clean out your things and exit the premises by 11AM" over 2 to 3 months notice?
"Out by 11AM" sucks, but it's _done_, minimizes suffering, and you can move on with life. Trust me.
The social (not legal) convention in the USA is 2 weeks (with 2 weeks pay in lieu of work if the "out by 11AM" happens). That's about enough to, if on good terms, wrap things up for all parties involved and transition accordingly.
Giving someone 2-3 months notice, and expecting performance as though it's going to proceed and end as if it were "out by 11AM" (to wit: work full enthusiastic hours for weeks on end with no distractions, then pack up and leave one morning) is absurdly unrealistic.
But really, it depends on the job market. As an employee, let us say, a specialized laborer, I would prefer the notice period to be as long as possible because there aren't going to be any other jobs for me out there.
That much? In Netherland it's just one month.
Hard to get people to go above and beyond the call of duty after you tell them they aren't needed.
"I know I fired this person, but I considered that merely a technical matter. I thought we agreed it was the best option for all involved, allowing him to grow professionally elsewhere."
Agreed as in employee did not put fight when he was informed of the decision? Good for both of them, but it is still firing. Feel good talk about "professional grow elsewhere" is just that. Might be even insulting to employee. Did she really expected the employee to buy it?
"It never crossed my mind that he had been FIRED. We just reached the end of our partnership, for now. Time to move on for both of us."
I mean, yes, they reached end of partnership by firing employee. He was not needed anymore. Nothing wrong with that, companies can not afford to pay people without giving them work. It is still firing.
"I have always valued being open, honest and correct. Even if I wanted to, there's not much you can hide in a small business. So I embrace transparency to the full extent."
No she does not. She tries to put spin around things to paint them rosier then they are. Then she acts all shocked when it turns out that employees are able read through euphemisms.
EDIT: changed he to she since CEO in question is a women.
She failed to consider that he considered that seriously a survival matter. Mortgage/rent has to be paid. Food has to be put on the table. High-quality healthcare is expensive. Dependents can't be put on 'pause'. He's working for her because he needs to, and she proved herself an unreliable source of vital means of survival. No word about a generous severance package, no word of a retainer, no word of can't-resist consulting fees.
Sure, nothing wrong with parting ways when need ends. But just because she didn't need work from him doesn't mean he didn't need salary from her. Yeah, maybe he'd banked enough to get by, maybe he'd been smart and planned ahead, maybe he didn't really worry about short-term survival ... or maybe he had no idea where money for the next mortgage/rent bill would come from and the pantry was sparse. She didn't consider why he worked for her; rare is the employee who doesn't need to work.
That's mostly just the US, this is in Belgium. But yes, your point still stands.
Well, when people are mere "resources", then firing someone is a simple "technical matter". Akin to shutting down servers. Right?
There are alien, monstrous beings amongst us, and they look just like us.
Similarly, we shouldn't give people with peophillic issues power over small children.
Broken people deserve our support, and we should work to heal them. But in doing so, we can't let them break other people.
Sorry - are we talking about sociopathy or Aspergers here?
It feels like your exception is really a way of saying "well, no, don't discriminate against any of those people, only these people who I think really deserve it."
I feel the same way anytime I hear C-level types give buzzword speeches with a blank stare.
Also I suspect Veep pays a lot better for basically the same idea.
"After my speech tonight one little boy came up to me and said simply, "I'm hungry".
I wanted to take him in my arms and tell him: "I feel it too, champ. I feel it too. I feel the hunger to succeed, to create a product that Johnny Ive would truly appreciate, I know precisely what you're going through."
"But C says that at iTouch we have a no touch policy in case we get sued. Pity, that kid looked like he could really use a hug."
Oh really? I'm not an expert on Belgian law here, but are they really claiming they offered to pay people extra and/or give time off in lieu for optional overtime, but they didn't agree to it? Or is it just mandatory free overtime that is banned?
Belgian law probably makes it hard to require employees to work more than reasonable hours for no extra reward or choice. Which is a good thing. If you want 24x7 support, you need to pay for 24x7 employees. This person is wishing they had the right to specify in a contract that your working hours are "whenever I call."
Since they don't get that, I'm not surprised they didn't realise firing someone^W^W, sorry, "agree[ing] to terminate your collaboration" might make them stop responding beyond the call of duty.
Also, I was reading something the other day that pointed out that, whilst seeing things in black and white reduces you to only two perspectives (moral and immoral), the attitude that everything is a shade of grey (and the implied attitude that this makes moral comparisons impossible) reduces you to a single perspective (amoral). If you think two perspectives is too few, how is going down to one perspective supposed to help?
"hire people who share your passion, willing to 'volunteer'"
In other words: this douche wants people to work for free.
It is not uncommon to get fired for not voluntarily giving up your time or even weekend sometime although they won't tell you why you get fired it's pretty obvious.
Happend to me a few times when i was young.
In addition I have a small business in games industry, and am having plenty of stories of game developers.
If you ask me, why such an abuse of staff? I believe it is the games - great opportunity of having endless pool of motivated and experienced youngsters. Just like a fashion journal for women.
Inflexible , huge employer costs (highest costs in the world for employment),...
Because of the taxes, employers don't want you to work extra hours and as an employee, you don't have much benefit of it (governement taxes that A LOT if you do overtime).
Some things that are forbidden (or pay extra taxes)
- Only normal hours (5 days a week, ...)
- Don't employ people outside of their working schedule
- forbidden to work on Sundays
- forbidden to work on Holidays
- Don't work at night
But there are exceptions (but it's complicated)
That said, I have signed the "I will work more than 48 hours if required" waiver at my current employer; mostly because I know it will hardly happen and if it does it will be extra-ordinary and I will be willing to pull with the team.
There's nothing wrong with a world where :
"We need you to work this weekend"
"No thanks, see you Monday"
Is perfectly reasonable.
I want to work more, but i see no financial benefit from it for working a day in a weekend (eg. when i have a deadline), nor does my employer.
PS. Overhours in Belgum don't get payed a lot or aren't encouraged because of the extra cost. Employees don't mind because their happy to have jobs here... But i shouldn't say that out loud, because it's illegal. But a lot of people work an hour / day for free (from my personal experience here in Belgium)
I don't agree. Partly the government has to be concerned with the entire workforce. Some people doing more work means that other people may not be employed, or may be under-employed. Preventing overtime, or at least providing financial pressure against it, means that those who don't want to work all hours can avoid it more easily and also helps to make sure companies employ enough workers rather than simply squeezing dry fewer than they really need.
Having 1 full-time employee or doing it all by yourselve is mostly the difference between loss and profit in Belgium (for an SMB).
Also, the taxes are so high, every company with > 1000 workmen is subsidized by the governement (most recent example: 7,5 Million € goo.gl/HluVNB for keeping a company here).
There is not a single car manufactorer, that makes profits here in Belgium without subsidisement. (a lot of them moved away from Belgium the last years)
It's the same in Germany though: http://europe.autonews.com/article/20130226/ANE/302269903/vo...
That's not the same, they stay in Germany...
PS. That also costed € 144,000 per employee for firing them :)
I'm not sure I understand here. Surely if you're making more money, then you should expect to pay a portion of that in tax? And you'll see a financial benefit as a result?
So even if you work more and get more the current month. You are going to get taxed more on the end of the year.
As a result, you have earned less on the end of the year (because you get in the higher income zone, so you are taxed more).
I didn't fully explained it, but it's complicated then that. If you get in a different tax bracket (didn't knew the term in English), you lose certain financial benefits.
I'd wish some Belgian accountant was here to explain it better, although i'm aware of tax brackets. They don't include some financial benefits when you have a lower income.
Even if your additional income pushes you into another tax bracket, you will only be paying additional tax on the amount made over the lower threshold. In the UK, for example, the top rate of income tax is 45%, and this is charged only on earning over ~£150,000 annually. If you earned £150,100, you would be £55 cash-in-hand better off than if you'd earned £150,000.
For example, in the US once you make over $75,000 (before most deductions), you no longer qualify for student loan interest payment deductions. For someone making $74,000 before who receives a $2000 bonus, they lose out on the deduction--potentially worth significantly more in tax-adjusted terms than the gross amount of the bonus before taxes.
The student loan interest deduction (and this is true of most -- AFAIK, actually all -- deductions with an income cap) doesn't have a sharp cutoff, it has a phaseout -- you get the full deduction up to $60,000, and it is reduced continuously with income down to zero at $75,000.
At $74,000, the maximum student loan interest deduction is a $167 deduction (which, at that income, is worth $42 in reduced tax liability.) Even with a $1,000 bonus that takes you just to the cutoff, its not possible for the loss of the deduction to be "worth significantly more in tax-adjusted terms than the gross amount of the bonus before taxes". 
The result is that while you can be taxed more on additional income if it bumps your total income up to a certain tax bracket, you will only ever pay more money on the part that's actually above the lower limit for that bracket. This will never ever cause you to pay more taxes on the money you've already earned.
For example, say there is no tax up to $50000, and a 50% bracket starts at $50000. If you make $50001, you only pay a 50% tax on that one dollar over 50k, the first 50k remains untaxed. This is how pretty much any tax regime in the world works.
So while you may have to pay a higher tax rate on extra overtime money earned, it would be just on that money, not on your base pay. It's impossible for you to make less money at the end of the year because you worked overtime.
Working harder, under most "progressive" tax systems, provides diminishing returns because of higher tax rates - right at the point when the personal cost of extra work grow exponentially.
Well, it would be, if the US adopted a tax bracket with a > 100% marginal rate. But it hasn't, so it doesn't. Though its a persistent myth, because people don't understand marginal tax rates and confuse them with total tax rates. (Or, for a similar problem, as illustrated in another subthread, don't understand the related concept of how deductions phase out before you reach the point where they are no longer available.)
P1. Taxes are based on percentage of earnings.
P2. More work implies higher pay
P3. You work more
Conclusion1: Your pay is higher
Conclusion2: You will pay higher taxes.
The one bit I would partly question would be the response to "We need you to work this weekend". Every relationship needs a bit of give and take, and every now and then an emergency, or an unexpected big piece of work might mean that the company really needs you in the office, and (assuming that it's not a huge inconvenience for you) it would be reasonable to expect you to try to help out - in the same way that a "Boss, I need to shoot off early today to pick my kid up because he's had an accident" shouldn't be met with a "'fraid not, you're staying until you've done your hours" response.
The important thing, in both cases, is that it's an exception. An employer demanding that you come in every weekend for the next 3 months would be as unreasonable as an employee doing short hours every day because they continually need to run some errand or other.
> "We need you to work this weekend"
> "No thanks, see you Monday"
> Is perfectly reasonable.
This is likely to lead to another conversation later in the year:
"Why did John get the promotion I was up for?"
"He provided more value to the company by working those two weekends when we were delivering to our most valuable customer."
Do you consider that reasonable as well?
Yes, assuming the employer considering actual output when they talk about "value" and not "seat time". Otherwise the next conversation is:
"Good for him, I'm starting at B co. in two weeks."
Also one of the most reliable ways to get better positions & pay appears to change jobs, suggesting your scenario is just a carrot on a stick that rarely happens in practice.
No one. Ever. And that group numbers in the hundreds. The hypothetical scenario is completely bogus.
I've never worked anywhere that promotions were just not given. And I'm including retail/fast food jobs from high school!
The companies where you can work your way up from entry level to executive are disappearing. The only one I am actually aware of that still promotes from within, even up to the top levels, is Publix.
So this conversation of yours would probably end in an investigation from the labor office to check whether John didn't cross the limits and was compensated fairly for the overtime.
"We want you to work this weekend"
But if they said "need" they might actually need you, so you could bargain back with I will need 3 extra holiday days.
I have also heard the sentence "I need a new dress"
I've been in a country where:
"You need me to work this weekend, and I'm happy to do so with no financial gain. I won't be on this continent for long, so I want to work what time I can to do the best job I can because I take pride in my work."
"Don't you dare work this weekend. If you do, as your manager I risk criminal prosecution and jail time."
That is absolutely unreasonable.
- non-disgruntled Belgian
Let's say the tax rate on overtime is 60%. And that you would be motivated/consider the overtime pay fair if you got € X an hour.
Well then the employer needs to offer € X * 1/(1-0.6) gross pay to get the employee the right amount of net pay. It's not difficult, merely expensive, but since overtime like this is rare, I doubt it's impossible.
I was curious about that, but apparently it's not, both Norway and Switzerland are more expensive than Belgium (at least in manufacturing):
But not only that, countries like Norway give you more "bang for the buck", meaning free education, ...
Not only that, but Norway and Switzerland have one of the highest per capita income in the world, Switzerland even has a minimal income of 2800$ / month!
Per comparison, Belgium is on #17, Norway on #2 and Switzerland on #4.
Living in Belgium, i only notice an enormous inefficiency and a complex accounting system, both are hurting SMB's.
I've seen a lot of googlers put in 60-70 hour weeks and claim it was 40.
The very short, very inaccurate summary is, you get 50% for outside of hours (after 19h, weekends). You get another 50% for working on weekends. And you get 50% for working on official holidays.
Meaning you get 3x your normal hourly wage for working after 19h on Easter or Christmas for example.
Needless to say, companies don't want to pay this, and will lie and cheat to get out from under this. Problem is, if they get sued, the maximum penalty is 2 years' wage, paid out on the spot, and it's up to the employee to decide whether to continue working there or not (if you fire an employee, and put down as reason that you've lost a court case against them, that's likely to result in another 2 years pay for the employee).
>Sorry, we couldn't find that page. Here are some others for you to explore.
Here's the version from Google cache:
Short version , she fired somebody so she could save money and then had a problem and was unable to get the extra mile suport out of hours and outside the contract hours from that employee she had fired. Then took to social media to wonder how could this happen and trying to blame everything upto and including the old employee for her clear and blatant greedy oversight.
This is really a special kind of deluded. I'm not even sure what else I can say. She's just pretty spectacularly unqualified to deal with people. She seems to think she's buying friends and that because she pays (has paid) them, she owns them.
One thing I cannot understand is the fact that she's got 85,124 followers on LinkedIn - how came?
You could use Dropbox to share?
I don't specifically know if it has any trouble with a 5Mb limit as I don't generally pay any attention to file sizes, but it's never given me any troubles with pretty long pages, so I'm assuming it would work well in this scenario.
 - http://derailer.org/paparazzi/
Here's an imgur from that page which, on casual inspection, seems to have worked just fine.
1) relevant Belgian authorities launch investigation into employees' treatment in her company. Apparently they are forced to work after hours and, unlawfully, not being appropriately paid for the overtime work.
2) Inge gets fired for bringing disgrace to the company she works for as a CEO.
But she would have to learn to not talk directly to the people that she is firing. The best way to break up with an employee is by mass e-mail, text message, or simply by deactivating their access card and leaving the crap from their office in a box by the curb.
Remember, the surest way to spot these types of comments is the lead-in with an ad hominem argument...
In other comments in this thread by Belgian HN users you'll see that "Belgian law makes it very difficult" is an euphemism for "it's possible, but costly", so she is basically admitting to break the law to reduce cost. How much this kind of approach to law is tolerated in Belgium, I don't know, so a future investigation is a pure speculation, I admit, but hey, am I not free to speculate about the future???
As far as 2) is concerned, I'm not witch-hunting here, calling for her head, or anything like that. I just think that the bad PR she's made will not make the company's board/owners/shareholders etc. happy. She just hasn't done any good with this blog post. I'm sure you agree with that, regardless of whether you agree with her views on employment law or not.
So, yes, it's all speculations, and I'm sorry, but I don't feel guilty about it. Should I, really?
My original point was don't speak for me or others by way of blaming statements. You have no right to state whether I agree with it or not.
I can be very flexible and friendly, but I always put the company|religion|family first and I value the [company|religion|family]'s well being over an individual employee|Human.
Threw up in my mouth a little bit. My 'passion' is making money by providing services you need. You pay me, I do sh*t. That simple. Let's not kid ourselves.
I love the mental gymnastics she goes through to paint herself as having done no wrong in her mind.
I considered moving back there and freelancing after university, but the hoops you have to jump through (and tax you have to pay) scared me off that idea pretty quickly.
Admittedly it's more of a hassle in Belgium than it is in the UK (they treat sole traders really well) but it's still a walk in the park.
Level of taxation: sure, it's a lot, but always less than what an employee would pay. And you get health insurance and are saving for retirement as a part of that bargain – even as a freelancer!
Or are you saying it's morally wrong to terminate an employment contract when the business no-longer needs the employee?
Humans aren't inanimate objects to be used and discarded and retrieved as your personal needs change, and this CEO is getting some faint glimmers of that if not fully realizing the entire scope of this implication.
Amicable separations aren't quite as rare as unicorns but they make California condors look ordinary. No matter what people claim, it's remarkably uncommon, one party always gets the bad end of the deal. If what I've heard about work in Belgium is true, unless this guy was an elite contractor, short of finding another position there is no way this was going to be amicable.
My old boss gave me a call and said "Hey, Spooky23, we're in a bit of a jam with <system z>, would you be willing to do some consulting for a few weeks?". So I did. Worked about 30-40 hours fixing stuff, and spent a few hours training the guy they hired.
This happens all of the time. Some CEOs/VPs/etc have class. Others don't.
Then how does anybody take her seriously? Is it the lack of women in IT and business that make people more tollerant of such clear shortcommings, like that twitter post and her major snafu in people managment skills this article outlays. Especialy for somebody who proclaims to be some kind of staff recruitment expert.
While the post was certainly beyond ridiculous, let's not get ahead of ourselves and most definitely don't start any pointless and damaging witchhunt here.
Anybody who is easily lead by such a clear conspiracy is also the type to be in denial of the facts as indicated by this post about not understanding why a sacked employee did not jump thru hoops out of hours later on. We see it, anybody reading it see's it and she did not until after it went viral and enough comments enabled reality to set in that she eventualy realised her mistake and instead of admitting it, she just deleted it and pretended it never happened.
That is the relevance, and indicative that for some this person is not very credible. Employers go thru social media all the time and way it against you, it works both ways.
No witch hunt, rememebr this is instigated by her, everybody is just stating the obvious that she failed too see and then when she did, delete/denaial mode. no witch hunt, just trying to understand the type of person who would make such a post in the first place and if it was out of character or indicative of there mindset.
But any debate can be deemed a witchhunt, just does not distract from the facts. So more a facthunt.
What amuses/occupies people outside of work should be largely ignored insofar as it has nothing to do with work. Most people who are interesting/talented hold views others find ... weird.
Yes, by the end of most modern firings, which are conducted with an astonishing degree of cowardice, the goal is to make the employee somehow leave feeling like they've voluntarily quit. This is how we avoid recognizing the uncomfortable fact that a firing is actually a confrontation, and that it is super uncomfortable. And we don't want to experience that, right?
Apparently the CEO has somehow convinced themselves that firings are mutual and that they aren't super uncomfortable.
Stop couching something in euphemisms and recognize things for what they actually are. If you are letting someone go chances are 1) it's a one-sided decision 2) they won't appreciate it very much. Only in the flavor-less world of detached corporate speak are firings mutual.
> I am the boss with all the perks and the quirks.
I think this is yet another example of what another HN commenter recently called "ignoring the considerable power you wield over other people and expecting them to ignore it too."
Guess what, power matters in relationships.
> It wasn't a decision I made overnight. It wasn't even my decision. We talked about it on several occasions.
Is she really saying it wasn't her decision because they talked about it on several occasions, it was somehow a mutual decision? Bullshit.
You don't get to keep all the power, but then expect that in your interactions with people it won't matter, it'll be just like relationships between peers or equals.
As an ex colleague used to say to his 'boss': You are not my boss, you are my employer. My boss is at home.
these kinds of comments are dangerous.
what your boss thinks they have a right to treat you how they wish as if they own you then that is a problem... if they feel it is fine to say it openly and unashamedly then you are so far from sanity you shouldn't feel safe.
And her employees do the same: They value the wellbeing of what's most important to them over her wellbeing .. what a surprise.
One of the saddest scenarios was one of my colleges that had been out of school for merely 8 months. He had a 2 hour commute to work one way: car/bus -> light rail -> Metro -> office. He was chipper and gung ho about coming into work and working on his projects. The day he got laid off (which was about 1 hour before I got my news) he comes in super excited (as always) and runs up to have a meeting with his Project Manager. Then 15 minutes later, I see him leaving with his back pack and I ask where he's going. He looks dead in my eyes eerily and says "You'll find out soon enough." While he was only out of school 8 months, I think he's now realized that companies aren't all way they are cracked up to be, but now he works at Goldman Sachs so who knows.
Got a call from them a couple months later, something bad finally happened.
"My consultation rate is <some ridiculously huge number per hour>."
"You obviously want to hire me as an independent contractor to fix the issue I had been telling you about. Fair warning, I'm at another job now, so I'll be doing the work on nights and weekends."
"Your rate is ridiculous. It wasn't going to cost that much for you to fix it when you worked here."
"I warned you about it for a year and you had your chance to fix it back then when it wasn't a crisis. You ignored me and deferred the issue and now it's this is your emergency, not mine anymore. Frankly, I can charge whatever rate I think is appropriate."
To my surprise, they agreed (at a mildly reduced rate), I came back, spent a couple weeks fixing the issue and then we parted ways. They never asked me back again but I got my 1099 from them a while later.
Everybody always says, upon leaving a job, "call me if you need anything" because we all have friends at work we want to see succeed. But sometimes you have to stop volunteering our time (our lives) to cover up other people's failings. I keep hearing about people who leave a job, then come back in on the weekends to "fix a few things" at their old job. Stop doing that. If it's worth money to the company, it's worth some of that money to you.
You can't fire a guy and then expect him to be 100% motivated, but you can even less expect him to keep doing the little extra on the side just for you ...
I find that pretty favorable to the employers.
"I know I fired this person" - "It never crossed my mind that he had been FIRED"
fuckedcompany.com is dead, linkedin.com lives!
"Don’t come into the office one day telling me out of the blue that you haven’t been happy for a while, found someone else and will leave me as soon as possible. And now that you brought it up, why should I pay your full wage if you are only working at half force since you aren’t motivated anymore?"
Oh my god.
It seems to be a standard pattern in most start-ups, simply not taking the responsibility for being an employer.
What this CEO did isn't just a misunderstanding, it's very, very bad employer-ship, and detrimental to the well being of the employee. Every day that employee is sitting there, being utterly demotivated and wondering what they're going to do next with their career and life that person is edging closer to a burn-out.
Under Dutch law, if that happens, the company is 100% liable and will have to keep paying the employees salary (for up to two years), and get actively involved in the employees recovery.
In this case, it is very black and white: this CEO is an incompetent employer who on top of it has a serious, near sociopathic empathy deficit.
This is not about "leadership style", this is about simple management competence.
Happens all the time.
And now they need to hire a communications person to review their social media posts as well as figure out who's going to be mercilessly on call in place of the employee in question.
I actually really do wish that maybe this is extraordinary and that next time around I'll wind up under more human leadership.
I'm kinda surprised that no relative of the sr dev made the company president glad to be in a hospital...
EDIT: Hah! Just parsed your message correctly =P no violence ensued haha
She's pulled her post, most likely out of shame. But take a look at all the other sage advice that remains!
"And now that you brought it up, why should I pay your full wage if you are only working at half force since you aren’t motivated anymore?"
I'm starting to see a pattern...
"I had to let go of an employee"
"we need the assistance of our colleague urgently"
Same guy. So there is a bus-factor of 1 and you fired that person. Since said firing was "a few weeks" ago, all critical stuff should have been out of his hands.
Does this apply to CEO as well? As JWZ wrote nobody of higher management had to sleep under their desks.
It cuts both ways, several times I worked over weekend, just to see deployment postponed by couple of days for some paper work.
As it was, they just didn't act, treated the suffering as a badge and pretended they were in the foxhole with us. If they could handle it, why couldn't we? Why were we bitching so much? They were right there next to us! Needless to say, I don't work in those kinds of places anymore.
At the time I thought that's not needed go home, but with retrospect I respect him a lot more for that.
That might sound dumb, but that's one of those things that stick with you when evaluating how you are treated by someone
Sure they can. They can fetch pizza and drinks, they can test the product from an end-user perspective, etc., etc.
"You are responsible for your own careers."
To paraphrase Lone Watie from The Outlaw Josey Wales, I thought about his words. "You are responsible." And when I had thought about them enough, I decided to find a new job.
How bad do you need his information?
It's amazing how little empathy this thread has for people that create companies and struggle through the employer's side of trying to be decent to people while trying to run a thriving business.
No. This is Hacker News. You'll find that the majority of posters here are apologists for entrepreneurs and employers. When you can't even hold this crowd, that's a pretty good sign the employer's thoughts are so tangled up in their skewed perspective on labor that they can't even be badly rationalized into something approaching reasonable.
Notice how you didn't even qualify which entrepreneurs and employers.
There's also no indication he was doing nothing during his notice period - surely if he'd been doing nothing, she'd have known already, and not expected to be able to reach him even outside of his contracted hours.
This yes, of $2000 would surely be beneficial to everyone.
And empathy has little to do in business. Where was the empathy in firing someone? Answer: "It was business".
This gives employees time to find something else, and is also beneficial to public finances : the employer effectively bears the cost of the first 3 months of unemployment of this person, after which the state will cover.
>Right, so she's cool by letting him keep his job for some period of time while he looks for new work with minimal expectations from her
Honestly, I would much rather be treated this way than walked to the door and told to wait for security to come by with a box of my stuff.
The heat is coming from how she disavows that decision (and process), and is somehow surprised that he's not enthusiastic to not just put in the contracted paid-for time but won't go above-and-beyond to provide free services for her sole benefit. That's not "trying to be decent to people while trying to run a thriving business", that's expecting people to consent to be taken advantage of.
BTW: being shown the door with a check for 2-3 month's pay (not unusual in the USA) is quite palatable. Shows due appreciation without expecting someone to labor under a dark cloud when they should be out looking for work.
UK companies do it all the time - sounds like this Belgian needs to move to the UK to get the desired outcome of slaves on standby.
No real full time customer service assistants. Staff are placed on 16 hour contracts with single, double or quad hours randomly placed throughout the week.
If you don't come in, you get fired.
Thankfully I've yet to see this in IT.
But from what I understand, LinkedIn somehow featured this article; I'd love to have them explain why and how they picked it...
Actually, when I'm feeling masochistic, I read articles on LinkedIn's Pulse section. They're so, so, SO bad. It's either "work harder, and you might become like me!" or "it turns out your employees are people too!" Strangely enough, never anything about workaholism.
Edit: Summary, by me: a CEO complains that someone who has been fired is not motivated, i.e. does not provide "urgent assistance" outside office hours.
Still, I don't find strange that an employee who knows his days at a company are counted is not willing to respond to an after-hours phone call.
From the story it also seems that after-hours work is based on "volunteering" and thus not paid extra compared to regular hours, so it's not a surprise that an employee that got fired is not motivated to volunteer for doing work after-hours.
Apparently it's a big shock for some people that employees have needs and obligations, like a family to take care of. Receiving a notice that you've been fired can be very stressful, even if your skills are very in-demand.
In most of the EU you seldom can fire an employee without weeks of notice
Banks do this quite often on employees, who could create huge damage for the bank. For example traders.
They terminated him and made him come in to work to sit in a featureless room with only a table and chair -- no computer, nothing. He'd rather stay at home and garden or whatever, even it meant finishing up early, but they wouldn't let him. He always said that he must have seriously pissed someone off in HR.
What would you call terminating someone? You can be fired and still be on good terms and have a healthy relationship but you still let that person go or fired them. Please dont be so naive next time you let someone go. We dont get a job to make friends we do it to make a living.
If my company fired me and gave me x amount of time till I had to leave, I would probably not being going above and beyond any longer. My body may be at work but my mind is focus on the new job or job search.
Letting someone go like this (when the work is fine, but not needed) is usually referred to as "making the person redundant".
Either way I wouldnt me motivated no matter how I was let go. I am still losing my job.
Apparently this startup ceo has not outgrown the terrible twos
"I don't think we'll be able to get a hold of him," says the colleague. Why's that? "Well, he got the sack. He's finding it hard to stay motivated." Right. I didn't see that one coming.......I know I fired this person, but I considered that merely a technical matter."
There's the problem. Yes, you should not value an individual employee over the group's well-being, and yes, if he agreed to work until he found another job he should work until he found the job (although I don't know when he's expected to find that job in any hurry outside of work hours). But it's like she has no idea what that conversation would sound like to an employee. Your CEO brings up the fact that things aren't working out. You hear a prelude to being fired. In some situations, maybe you just agree rather than argue. If you've actually been under the impression you've been working hard, it looks like you can't win and you would be better off else where. Now that's a motivating thought isn't it?