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Old 06-20-2015, 12:40 PM
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2 in one month, long post.

Some of you may know that I have a small business, it is construction related. My guys shower after work, not before. Drinking is prevalent and everywhere. I hired a guy this spring, 27 years old and has a longtime girlfriend. His prior job was folding linens at a hotel for minimum wage (nothing wrong with that), but he apparently was always broke, behind on bills etc...he grew up in a farming community and was familiar with hard work. So he decided he was going to make a run at doing a much harder job and making a livable wage. Very pleasant and polite young man, and willing to learn. But I sensed something was a bit off with him. On two different occasions I gave him very clear instructions and his response was something like "yeah, that sounds like good advice, I'll keep that in mind". When we got back to the truck I told him nicely that what I had told him was not advice but rather instructions on how it needs to be done. I try not to be a jerk, but when I give a clear directive, I expect the response to be "ok" or "no problem Jeff". Period. So we had a stretch of rain and I texted the guys we would start at 7AM Monday. He texts back that he won't be there. I asked why as I don't recall him telling me he needed the time off. He said he was camping. Now, this guy was so broke, on his first day of work I had to give him company gas to put in his car so he had enough to get home. But now he apparently has enough money not only to not work, but to go camping as well. So then came a drunk text or two and I think in his own twisted logic he though he was going to teach me a lesson that I needed him more than he needed me. Wrong answer. There was about two days of incommunicado. I was in the hospital at this time. Then come the texts asking how I'm doing etc...being Mr. nice guy. I did not respond, then came more drunk texts in which he was just being a fool, he called and texted me at the hospital until 1AM, even called the hospital to see if I was still there, I wasn't. I had been transferred to the rehab facility. This pissed me off, the one text I sent him was that when I got out we would talk and I would make a determination on his future employment. He sent some smart-ass text back, and then on and on, ending with something like I'll work for you if, but I gotta think about it and by the way, I would want a significant increase in pay. I sent him his last check and that was the end of that.

This week: I hired a guy about a month ago who is part of our extended family on my father's side. A struggling/recovering alcoholic, 44 years old, no license etc... I gave him an opportunity on a silver platter, hoping this would provide him motivation to start improving his life. He had been sober for quite awhile with the occasional 1-2 day relapse. When I was in the hospital, he was a no-call no-show for 2 days (relspsed). I can't do much as I was in the hospital pretty out of it on pain meds. When I got out I told him I understood, sh*t happens, but it can't happen again. I rather harshly told him I run a business not a daycare and you are an adult. This is an opportunity for you, take advantage of it. I shared some of my mishaps and offered all the encouragement I could. Well, this week he went off the rails. Full blown relapse. I knew something was up. He called the first morning, said he stepped on some glass, needed to go to doc, get tetanus shot etc..I gave him the benefit of the doubt and told him to take care of himself, keep me informed. Next day, I texted no response, called no answer, no return call. Yesterday, no-call no-show. My decision was made, I'd have to let him go. This morning I called his mother, even though I didn't totally know 100% for sure what was going on, she confirmed the worst. He had relapsed hard, and its not over. He was wondering the streets in the middle of the night, got the living hell beat out of him and ended up in the hospital, got out and started drinking again. SOMEHOW, the law didn't not get involved and so there are no strikes against his current probation status. Of course I had to tell her that I have to let him go and in fact have already replaced him. That was hard, he is family. I mentioned this website and gave her the address, told her how much it has helped me. She wrote it down and when he comes out of it, she's gonna refer him to it. Can't hurt. She held it together for about 15-20 minutes and then began to cry and said she had to go.

So, my point in sharing this is that we all know alcohol is a demon. And it ruins so many people's lives, even when given opportunities to straighten out. But we all know that. Their lives won't get straightened out either until they are ready, they obviously aren't ready. Thanks for reading, appreciate any thoughts on the situation and whether I handled it properly.

ps. 27 days for me.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:47 PM
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Congrats on 27 days! That's awesome.

Sounds like you're a good, fair boss. Hope these instances don't sour you on giving someone else in recovery a chance, but I respect you giving these guys a chance but drawing a firm line in the sand as well.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:57 PM
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Wow Jeff, that was nice of you to give them both an opportunity given the circumstances. You absolutely had to let them go. You're right, alcohol is a demon.
I'm really proud of you for handling things the way you have since your accident. I hope you heal quickly.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:05 PM
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Alcoholics want to drink without consequences . It's life's job to make sure they pay them.

You handled it fine.

Well done on 27 days. Hope your recovery (both of them) continues well.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:07 PM
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You were clear with the guys from the beginning. As you know, It is hard being the boss-man as it will always be incumbent upon you to drop the hammer. You are not responsible for anyone else's work ethic. The best you can do is communicate. Praise the good and keep them around. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a 'Dream Team' in any setting.

You do have a business to run. Just keep communicating and being consistent with your employees. That is fair.

27 days is fabulous! Have the two firings changed your perspective with regards to addiction and destructiveness? Helped to solidify your commitment to abstaining from alcohol, maybe?
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:24 PM
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Some of the best and the worst moments in my sobriety occur when the Universe sends people to me as a demonstration with respect to how I thought and behaved while I was drinking, and how other people perceived me and responded to me while I was drinking.

Though I may not be responsible for being an alcoholic, I am most certainly responsible for what I do while I'm drinking.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:36 PM
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You did a good thing and responded to the problems appropriately.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:13 PM
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Its a shame when people, especially family and friends, don't see they are being offered a life line and do not take it.

I have a family member who drinks at every little crisis.
Sometimes I think she makes more of the situation, crafts it into a drama and a crisis so she can drink herself silly.

Sometimes I want to scream and shout.
Sometimes I want to say for goodness sake do you take nothing in your stride?
Why do you have to drink over every tiny thing?

My only way of living with it, is drawing boundaries.
I want have any communication when drinking has taken place. Text, email, phone whatever.
I also think you should call them out on their behaviour.
Say when they are sending nice, crawling texts, its funny you didn't say that last night at 1am when you texted me, whats changed?
You and I both know whats changed is they don't have a ton of booze cursing round their system, but I always think why shy away from it? If they are brave enough to send bolshy drunken texts, they should be
brave enough to say 'I sent that text when I was drunk, I'm sorry'.

I think you do right.
You are running a profitable business, not a nursery for alcoholic slackers.
Everyone deserves a second chance, but more than that is ridiculous.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:19 PM
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Congrats on 27 days
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:51 PM
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Honestly you sound like a good guy and a cool boss. You can't control other people and they have to own their own decisions. Tough but true.

Way to go on 27 days
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:15 PM
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27 Days is fantastic Jeff!!
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:16 PM
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I feel you, I'm a painting contractor and I've had to basically shrink my business and work alone because I can't count on anybody. The construction trades seem to be where lot of us addicts end up, unfortunately not everyone is ready/wants to get better. I've fired guys with drug/alcohol problems many times, after multiple chances and much forgiving of poor behavior. I just tell myself maybe this will be part of their bottom and will cause them to seek help. Anyway, good luck fellow Minnesotan.

Last edited by Dano1975; 06-20-2015 at 03:18 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:31 PM
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Hi Jeff. Congrats on 27 sober days, that is great progress. I also hope you are healing well.

I've had to deal with misbehavior amongst my collaborators and tough decisions in early sobriety... ~2-3 months sober. That was over a year ago. When I read your post, what stroke me pretty hard is this: you have done and describe something 27 days sober that I would have had extremely hard time to do. The guys have done wrong and now suffer the consequences, and it's your company. What I recalled and felt again is how difficult it was for me back then dealing with a similar challenge, I was ridden with a mix of both guilt and twisted empathy, and it strikes me how confident and clear cut you were with your decision and actions in comparison. I'm just trying to think what this means... I hope your confidence and powerful presentation means that you handle your own alcoholism and tackle your potential temptations with the same strength and determination
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:36 PM
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I'm sorry it didn't work out but good on you for giving them a chance Jeff.

Congrats on 27 days

D
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:11 PM
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Congrats on 27 days. I don't think we are too amazing ourselves, when we are trying to work through our thoughts and feelings and focus on recovery. It's nice you tried to help hem, but I read the story as you were in rehab also?

I think I'd feel a little resentful if I was trying to get sober and people around me, that I was trying to help kept relapsing. I know I too would see that as taking advantage of my kindness.

But then I know, I've been an absolute fool in my drinking choices too.

I'm working with a guy who is completely hooked on painkillers.....totally dropping the ball. And I'm thinking - how can this guy have so little respect for his professional career and others by showing up this way? Running us around in circles with his blathering conversations.

Then I remember. I've been that person.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:50 PM
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Great post. Stark reminder on how addiction can cost us SO many thing in our lives.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:53 PM
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I think you were very fair as an employer. And referring them to this website was a good move. You've done your part.

Congratulations on your sober time.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:58 PM
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Gratitude is something that comes to mind for me. Gratitude that YOU know there is a solution. I remember many times feeling like I could never ever stop, once I learned that there was hope it was a major relief. It sounds like the people that you have encountered are fighting the same battle as all of us.

Every time I encounter an alcoholic I feel a common bond with that person because I can understand why they act the way that they do. You can't get them sober and you can't change them but you can share the message that there is hope.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:10 PM
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well done, on 27 days. Keep it up!

as for the others.... I commend you for your willingness to give people a chance - yet offer a caution; sometimes we need to draw boundaries around what we will and won't do in giving people a chance.

your business is your vitality and you may want to consider having strict and careful standards where employees are concerned. There are other ways you can help your fellow alcoholics who are still struggling.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Croissant View Post
It's nice you tried to help hem, but I read the story as you were in rehab also?
Hi Croissant, thankfully I've never been in alcohol rehab. I was injured on memorial day and was transferred to rehab facility to begin rehabbing my injuries. But I've done the dance with alcohol pretty hard. particularly two years ago. Been kind of a weekend warrior since then, and constantly working on improving.
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