Five Clues That You’re A Problem Employee


I get hundreds of email messages each day from readers who are looking for HR advice or guidance during a job search. I’m always honored that you come to me and ask for free help. Thank you. My new brand will be Laurie Ruettimann: The Salvation Army of HR.

The email messages are always different, surprising, and crazy — but there is a pattern that starts to show itself in my inbox. I’m always ready for chaos when I scan an email message and it starts with the words, “I have a story for you.” That’s when I get a cup of coffee, sit down, and prepare for some bat-shit-crazy story where the writer is a victim of a nefarious corporate plot.

So before you send me an email message, I thought I would offer the five clues that you’re the problem. It’s pretty easy to spot.

  1. You have a boss who hates you — but this isn’t the first time you’ve had a boss who hated you. You have a history of difficult relationships with supervisors, coworkers, and associates. They just don’t get you. Why should you have to change who you are? You’re doing a great job. They suck.
  2. You don’t like working with the gays, the blacks, and some of the women. You don’t mind real women who work hard and earn their salaries, but most of the women you know are promoted because of affirmative action.
  3. Whenever it’s time for a raise, you always get screwed. You work hard. You have a huge file that lists every single thing you did, this year. Regardless, your manager gave you a 2.7% increase and said there’s nothing more he can do. This happens every year. How are you supposed to keep up with the cost of living?
  4. Promotions are handled unfairly at your company and you are always overlooked. It’s always someone else and there’s a lot of nepotism, butt kissing, and backroom deals in the office. Also, see #2. You know that black woman got promoted just to make everyone feel good.
  5. Whenever a project fails, you get blamed — but no one trained you. No one told you what to do. The project timeline was never built to succeed and even the clients knew it. They were just trying to push for more — and now you’re screwed.

[Wow, I see myself in that list.]

Listen, the world is unfair. Bosses suck. Companies exist to make a profit for themselves — and the quickest (& most shortsighted) way to impact the bottom line is to reduce labor costs. The world is probably out to get you.

But maybe once (& just this once), it might be you.

If you think it’s you, I might be able to help you. Feel free to email me.

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