My friend, the nightmare employee

February 22, 2010

My friend, let’s call him Batman, lives by ethics and a perception of common courtesy understood only by himself. He’s a smart, business savvy guy who gets seriously bored if he’s not intellectually challenged. After spending a year disengaged, in a boring, non-stimulating role (a result of being made redundant earlier in the global financial crisis), he decided to invest some after work hours in getting his business up and running.

A few months in, business was looking good, but needed more attention. Excel spreadsheets weren’t cutting it anymore – he had to move onto using more sophisticated software to track and manage the business’ expenses and activities. All the while, Batman’s 9-5 job was taking up valuable time – time he could spend building relationships with suppliers or getting back to customers.

After Batman spent some time considering whether to leave the security of his job, he made a decision and resigned. When he told me the news, ‘Ok’, I thought ‘Good on him. He’ll be doing something he enjoys, and something that’s mentally stimulating.’ Then…

Friend: “Want to know how I resigned?”

I braced myself, ready for an interesting story.

Friend: “Knock, knock”

Boss: “Who’s there?”

Friend: “My 2 weeks notice”

Since he resigned he’s apparently been causing a bit of a trouble at work – determined to work his last few days in a style he sees fit. That includes strolling around the office in sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt in a strictly corporate environment and purposely getting on the nerves of his manager and co-workers.

I put it to you: How would you deal with this mischief maker if he were one of your employees?

Image source: Super Mega Comics.


  1. That’s hilarious. However, as his boss, as soon as I saw disruptive behaviour, I’d give him the rest of the two weeks off for free (which is probably what he’s after anyway). There’s no point keeping him if there’s no productivity or in this case, anti-productivity.

    I would also be sure to note that behaviour on his record. Too bad for your friend – he hasn’t learned that you should never ever burn your bridges. Wow.

    Great post!

  2. hmm. I think I would get a senior leader to pull him aside and tell him exactly how many bridges he’s burning… what if his business fails in the first twelve months?

    Surely he won’t be able to use them as a reference!

  3. That’s an interesting one. I’d question just how valuable and motivated this person is, if they could spend an entire year working for someone else and being disengaged in a boring, non-stimulating role. In particular, the behaviour at the end seems disrespectful to all and quite short-sighted.

    I do understand that sometimes people need to take on roles that aren’t perfect. I’ve had to do that myself before now. But it’s up to an employee to find something that stimulates them in the role that they have committed themselves to, out of loyalty to their employer and to themselves. Batman was at least in a corporate environment, not cleaning out the Bat cave 😉 so it doesn’t sound as if he had all that much to complain about.

    So my solution would be a combination of the above two. I’d have a chat to Batman and let him know this behaviour isn’t wise or productive. And I’d also make a note on his report card, so that I can let potential employers know that there may be a problem unless Batman has changed his battitude.

    I’ve enjoyed your last two posts. Welcome back!

  4. Thanks for your comments Wolfshade, Jess and Sarah.

    I think it’s pretty clear Batman failed to think through the implications of how he resigned, albeit amusing, it reflects pretty poorly on his professionalism (or lack thereof). He’s ruined the relationship with his employer, quit in a fashion that will ensure his story lives on (for the wrong reasons) and treated his employer and colleagues with disrespect. Batman can only hope he doesn’t experience the other side of the situation with his business, or feel the consequence of these actions if he enters the workforce as an employee again.

    I’m not quite sure how Batman’s actual employer (or workmates) have responded, but I’d also speak with Batman about his ‘battitude’ (nice one, Sarah) and waive the requirement for him to work his last few days. I think keeping someone so disruptive in the office would be even more costly than having no one to do his job.

  5. Nice post Sarah – I can see why you led me here after the image I tweeted!

    As you probably know, I don’t work in HR, but I do manage a team and have some understanding of this situation.

    Basically, you’ve got a bad apple creating a bad impression of himself, one that will also rub off badly on the company if they choose to ignore it.

    Pragmatically, if I couldn’t be assured that he would behave, I’d send Batman back to the Batcave (i.e. get him out).

    But then (and this is where you HR experts might need to correct me), I’m assuming he will have terms and conditions that state that he gives two weeks’ notice of any intent to leave. If so, during this period I assume he will still be tied to the organisation’s code of conduct, and therefore couldn’t this be gross misconduct?

    Nice post, look forward to returning.

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