As most of the readers of this blog know, I run a boutique real estate firm within the greater Denver metropolitan area and market for new business using conventional mailings, email broadcasts, web site, social media and networking. The most labor intensive of the marketing approaches is the conventional mailings. During the early years of my company I would take home the mailing pieces and stuff envelopes myself, but over the years the company grew and my spare time slowly started to disappear. I found it necessary to utilizing staff for this function during normal business hours. The mailings were time consuming and boring for the staff who were accustom to more challenging assignments. Nonetheless I really didn’t have much choice; it was either my staff or me who would have to take on the mailings.
That all changed when my daughter became a teenager and I realized that her need for cash from the “Bank of Dad” was escalating. It was apparent that she wasn’t appreciating how hard I had to work to make the money that she so quickly spent on cosmetics. I reasoned that if she had to earn the money she was spending she might make better choices than spending $7.00 for a drink at Starbucks. So began my journey with a new part time employee, my daughter, to do the monthly mailings. The first few months went smoothly and I even saw my daughter starting to compare prices when selecting items to purchase. She even began to calculate the number of hours she would need to work to buy a particular hair product and made choices accordingly. I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back congratulating myself for coming up with such a genius idea.
However, as the months went by it began to take longer for my daughter to complete the mailings. There were months where I had to help her stuff the envelopes so that the mailing would go out when scheduled. I began making inquiries about her progress which she responded to with an attitude expected from a teenager but not from an employee. Each encounter became more agitating than the last and I began to think seriously about what I should do. I realized that I had no choice other than firing my daughter. She wasn’t doing the job she was hired to do and she wasn’t treating me with the respect I deserved as a father or an employer.
So I sat her down to have the meeting most dreaded by all employers … the termination conversation. I began to tell her about the concerns I was having with her employment and work performance and she quickly interrupted me say, “Are you trying to fire me? You can’t fire me … I quit.” She proceeded to tell me that she had been composing a letter of resignation and hadn’t completed it and that she didn’t want to feel like she’d been fired. As a good employer I agreed that we would just have a mutual parting of ways.
There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience. If a daughter will walk away from a good paying job because they aren’t challenged what can an employer expect from any of their employees? Just food for thought.
CEO, Employing Broker
Katchen Company, founded in 1962, is an integrated real estate company with its corporate headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado. The company offers real estate development, redevelopment, property management, brokerage, consulting services, construction oversight and maintenance services to individual and institutional real estate investors throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area with satellite offices in Chicago, Las Vegas and Miami market areas.
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