Could Use A Little Advice, Or Backbone, Or Something........

Business By louanne Updated 5 Sep 2011 , 12:29am by Annabakescakes

louanne Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
louanne Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:27pm
post #1 of 24

okay, so i will be celebrating one year in october ( yay me ), i am moving to a new location ( my curremt one is tiny and the owners are about to cut my space in half and i dont have control of my thermastat, which is a real issue in 100+ weather) anyways,new location is prominent area, huge traffic count, etc, but of course comes with a higher price tag, okay now for my problem

i have and employee whi is also a friend, when i was frst getting ready to open the applicants i received were not that good, my friend came in to apply ( not realizing it was my shop, we are friends but not the talk all the time kind) well then she just kinda kept showing up even though i never "officially" hired her, but i needed help so i went with it.

We have become VERY close friends ( much closer than we were before) over the last year and i adore her and love her like she was my sister.

the problem is...i feel like if i dont fire her i will end of resenting her and not liking her, it is already happening a little. But then also i am worried if i do fire her i will lose one of my closest friends. The problem is i tend to allow myself to be taken advantage of sometimes, i can stand up for everyone else in the world but not myslef.

while she works for the most part she spends and exorbent amount of time smoking and on the phone on personal calls, i mean she will disappear outside for almost an hour. she doesnt decorate and when she does, it takes her times as long as me, and she doesnt want to try and learn any new decorating skills, i pay her to basically clean up after me, and she gripes about it, gets mad if she comes in and i have a big mess going on, but it is hard to go behind and clean up everything when i am the onlyone baking and decorating all the cupcakes for the day and the typically cakes we have on weekdays alone. She comes in at leaves at doesnt work staurday sunday or minday but still expects to be paid over a week and when her pay check is low she pouts , we talked about salary but she didnt like the amount i came up with, she makes 9 an hour which is goo pay for our area, especially since she doenst decorate and essentially just performs "bus boy" duties.

I have to make changes in my business and one of those changes is getting rid of an employee who is costing me money that i cannot justify spending on what work she does, but agian i dont want to lose a friend, so tell me how would you handle this?

23 replies
louanne Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
louanne Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:30pm
post #2 of 24

oh and she gripes if she has to grease pans with crisco instead of spray ( i have started crisco and flouring becasue its cheaper and gives a better outside color ) and has been griping because i bought the wrong size trashbags and wont buy new ones until we use the old ones, i hate wasting money and refuse to do it when they are perfectly fine, they just dont fit the trash can as well. sorry, i know its kinda a vent but ugh i hate being the "bad" guy but i have got to get he busines son track since we will be moving to a new location. TIA!

leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:46pm
post #3 of 24

This is simply what being an owner is about. You make the best decisions for your BUSINESS, not your friendship.

Yes you will lose her friendship.

PS A real friend doesn't take advantage of a friend (and employer) like this person is doing. She's not your friend. And definitely not an good employee.

You know what has to be done.

kakeladi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
kakeladi Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 1:55pm
post #4 of 24

Ditto what leahs said!
She is taking advantage of you.
A good friend will not.
Personally the 1st time she took an hour (or anything more than 10 minutes) for a smoke break she would have been out of my place! Smoking and food - especially made for the general public - do NOT mix.

SweetSuzieQ Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SweetSuzieQ Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:00pm
post #5 of 24

If you haven't already, I would just sit her down as an employee and employer, go over her job description and, what is expected of her. Go over the hours and most importantly the breaks and, that personal calls on a cell phone should be made only during those breaks. Explain that your personal relationship aside, you are running a small business and, with a small business it is of the utmost important that both of you pull your weight. With only one baker/decorator, there is only so much you can produce and, get paid and that if she is unhappy with what she is making she needs to start assisting more with baking/decorating (at a proper speed! LOL) so that you can increase the amount you produce and therefore increase the amount of money being made. It might be enough to spark a fire under her ass and, if it doesn't, then, at least on your part (as her friend) you did all you could and, it won't come of as big a shock when you have to let her go.

Good luck, it isn't always easy playing the boss/friend roll but, you have to do it.

AnnieCahill Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
AnnieCahill Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:00pm
post #6 of 24

Like Leah said, a true friend wouldn't take advantage. Sit her down, explain the situation, and be done with it.

myslady Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
myslady Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:18pm
post #7 of 24

Let her know with the upcoming move you will have to let her go. You are in a sticky situation so make sure you have it documented you have just cause for firing her.

MimiFix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MimiFix Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:21pm
post #8 of 24

She is definitely not a friend, just a manipulative acquaintance who knows how to get what's best for her. People like this are very good at scheming ("she kinda kept showing up"), calculating, and controlling their victims. She is not good for your business or your mental health. I wouldn't be surprised if she is also helping herself to your products/ingredients/cash.

SweetSuzieQ Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SweetSuzieQ Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:45pm
post #9 of 24

While it is possible she is taking advantage on purpose, it is equally possible that she just has no clue and/or your typical worker mentality. It doesn't matter if an employee is getting paid $9 an hour or $90 you will get people that always go above and beyond and those that will do the bare minimum to keep their job, friend or not. The latter will always need more structure and "management".

bakencake Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
bakencake Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 2:52pm
post #10 of 24

I quit going to my hair stylist because her fingers smelled like smoke on my hair. kakeladi is right. food and smoking do not mix. By the way, i used to have a "friend" just like her. once she didnt get her way she quit talking to me. guess what a few months later i realized that i'm better off with out her and do not miss her at all.

FACSlady Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
FACSlady Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:05pm
post #11 of 24

I'm a real chicken. I'd probably tell her that with the increase in rent, I would no longer be able to afford an assistant. Then, a little bit down the road, you could look for someone who has some decorating experience.

louanne Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
louanne Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:25pm
post #12 of 24

thanks guys, the smoking itself is not a huge issue becasue she herself hates the smell of smoke so she washes her hands but its out of hand when she works a 4 1/2 hours work shift and has to smoke at least 8 times and she wont just smoke one and come back its smoke two or three and the other day i was slammed busy and she sat outside on the phone with another friend for over 45 minutes, not clocked out, either.

I am a big chicken too, i value friendship but i am getting frustrated, it really started getting to me when my dad came by my shop a few days ago and we were trying to talk about some family stuff and a family friends arrangements who just passed away and she walked out of the hsop without letting me know to go smoke and make a call and there were customers in the shop, I dont get to see my dad very often because of his work and he was only in town for a few hours so it wasnt like i could postpone meeting with him.

as far as having a good reason and documentation, fortuantely i live in an at will state so thats not too much of an issue, i just have to get my nerves together. i have never liked having to "let people down" so to say. it's hard becasue i enjoy being around her and her husband and kid, our families get together and hang out go out for dinner, etc, i just am really hating the work enviroment. I need someone i can be a boss to and not worry about hurting a freindship, so i will take the next couple of days to pull myself together and get some courage to fire her,

SweetSuzieQ Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SweetSuzieQ Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:40pm
post #13 of 24

louanne, it's not easy but, IMHO while firing her and hiring somebody else will temporarily fix your problem, I believe you will find yourself in the same boat in months to come with another employee. Yes shame on her for possibly taking advantage but, shame on you as well for allowing her to. Being a boss isn't easy and, sometimes we have to be the "bad guy" but, I think you might be kidding yourself if you think you will be able to be a different boss to the next person you hire. Maybe at the start when they are relatively unknown but, chances are, two people in a shop working side by side WILL become friends and less than strangers so, you will find yourself once again with a "friend" that you will not be able to be a boss to.

I remember back in my corporate days, I was fortunate to have one of the best managers I have ever had the fortune of knowing. My one year working under her had passed and, it was time for my performance review. At this point in my life, I was green and, interviews, performance reviews etc. always came with huge butterflies and nerves. We went for lunch for the review and, her, sensing my unease, asked my what was wrong. I told her, "well, I hate the unknown and, nervous about any negatives that might come out." What she said to me has stuck with me forever... she said, "this is a review of the work you have done and, if there is anything I say in this review that comes as a shock to you, I am the one that has not done my job correctly because I would have let any areas where you require improvement go unchecked."

QTCakes1 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
QTCakes1 Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 3:59pm
post #14 of 24
Originally Posted by SweetSuzieQ

What she said to me has stuck with me forever... she said, "this is a review of the work you have done and, if there is anything I say in this review that comes as a shock to you, I am the one that has not done my job correctly because I would have let any areas where you require improvement go unchecked."

This is an awesome employer philosphy! I will write it down. And I agree with Sweet Suzie Q. I think you'll have the same problem again with th next employee. My best friend of 20 years has been my suprvisor before and work was WORK, period. I did my job, period. And if she was your friend, she would do hers. She is NOT a very good one and not one I would want for a friend. And I notice you said the smoking doesn't really bother you, but just how often and how long she smokes bothers you., So that means her smoking DOES bother you. It's like you want to defend her at the same time that she frustrates you. I realy think you need to think of your business first.

MyDiwa Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MyDiwa Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 5:13pm
post #15 of 24

My thoughts are that before you fire her, just be sure that you've been fair to her. By that I mean be sure that you have in fact communicated to her what your expectations are, what your disappointments are etc. If you just fire her from the blue when there has been no indication that you're unhappy with her performance, then that isn't fair. If you havent already discussed things with her, she MAY actually change if you make clear what is expected of her. She may simply be the kind that doesn't have common sense and "rides" whatever situation is going for her. We all know common sense isn't actually as common as we'd like! If you have in fact talked to her about all this, well then, she has it comin'!

Good luck to you.

jenmat Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jenmat Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 5:14pm
post #16 of 24

What I don't get is that you never actually "hired" her. So she isn't considering herself your employee, but basically a volunteer. (who gets paid, I know) I bet because of this situation of you not setting up correct boundaries, she thinks that she's helping you out and that anything you get out of her is by her good graces. I'm not saying she's right, but without clear defined boundaries can you truly blame her? You need a job description, and hire/fire process, and some sort of policies about handling employees.

SweetSuzieQ has it right. Get out of this one the best you can, and then you're going to have to take a good look in the mirror and figure out what you need to do to make the next hire opportunity a better one.

And I say all this because I can totally see this happening to me, and I'm thinking what I would be saying to myself!

JoanieB Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JoanieB Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 5:50pm
post #17 of 24

I have a Bachelor's in human resource management and one thing that always kept coming up was if you have an employee not doing what they are supposed to be doing or doing it wrong, it's because you're not showing them how to do it right. I think your relationship with her has kept you from communicating the things that need to be said.

Someone also mentioned that you will probably end up with the same problem down the road with another employee. This is something you really need to work out as a manager/owner. While she seems to lack common courtesy she still may not realize what is expected of her.

One book I read in college stated that if you have to fire someone, the first thing you should do is go look in the mirror and say, "I failed", then go fire them. If you're firing someone you are basically saying, "I've done everything I could think of to get them performing where they should be and it hasn't worked".

dldbrou Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
dldbrou Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 5:56pm
post #18 of 24

Well, my first thoughts are Congratulations on moving to a better place. Now, to solve your employee/friend problem, just move and don't tell her where. LOL

Just kidding, I would explain to her that your cost are going to be increasing with the new location and that you will have to be making adjustments in your staff. You will need to have employees that can do not only cleaning, helping customers, but also have a valid interest in your business prospering. Maybe look into getting interns with the new place and that way, they are learning how to decorate and you don't have to pay a salary.

I would also sit down and have a meeting with myself and work out everything you expect your employees/interns to do and what incentives you could offer. A good working environment rewards good work and has a little fun competition in the mix.

Explain to her that you can not sacrifice your business just because you are friends and that she should understand that. Tell her either she follows your guidelines or you will find someone who does.

Well, these are my thoughts and I hope something I said will give you the courage to confront her soon before it eats away at your nerves.

louanne Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
louanne Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 6:35pm
post #19 of 24

i know i have let myself be in the friend rather tha owner position, i had a talk with her several months ago about having to make every dime i spend count and cut her hours because during the summer when she didnt have to pick her kid up from school she would basically just hang out up here expecting to gt paid and so i told her she would have to come in at x time and leave at x time if she stayed past without me asking she would not get paid for extra time. it worked, i also told her that i needed her to start decorating, which she did ( she knows how to , she use to work at a tcby doing ice cream cakes, she has the skills) for a while, now she is back to just kind doing whatever.

I also have issue that rather tahn helping me get the cupcakes and things out to sale she is more focused on washing dishes ( it takes her about 5 minutes to wash one dish) i have asked her to put the dishes aside so we can get our products out. she will help on the immediate item i am wokring on but then when it is time to move on to the next she goes back to the dishes ( or out to smoke) granted yes dishes have to be done, but they are low on the priority list when it comes to getting out the items that make money.

she knows what is expected, she has common sense ( she was a certified pharm tech for years) the problem is well, me, she knows she can get away with it because i value her freindship ( as i said we were friends before she came to work for me), I am usually one that can seperate work from friendship so if i hired someone else i dont think it would be a problem, in general it takes a very long time for me to build friendships ( i have known this girl for 10 years, we were friends before just not as close as we are now)

so i am just gonna have to suck it up and tell her i value our friendship to much to keep her working for me, because having her as an employee is driving me crazy and any changes she makes only last a couple of weeks and then its back into the comfort zone and i am starting to resent her for it.

MimiFix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MimiFix Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 6:54pm
post #20 of 24

louanne, you know what you need to do and I hope you are able to follow through. Employees like this "friend" have their own agenda and they will do the minimum to keep the job.

For many of us, it's not easy acting the part of a no-nonsense business owner. I owned a bakery cafe for many years and trust me, when I first began I was just like you are. If someone smiled at me I thought they liked me and would never steal or do any of those other things that bad employees do. But I've had all types and learned from experience that if you're going to stay in business you need to first counsel an employee. If that does not work, they need to be fired. Fired! Or you'll end up resenting the business, and perhaps even lose your business because it will wear you down. Don't keep rehashing this issue. Do what you know you must do.

Good luck, hon. Please move ahead. You are doing the best thing for your business and yourself.

LaurenLuLu Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
LaurenLuLu Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 6:57pm
post #21 of 24

To have a chance of keeping your friend you need to let her go. If she is petty you MAY lose the friendship but you CERTAINLY will if she stays.

BlakesCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
BlakesCakes Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 8:04pm
post #22 of 24

Well, I'll be blunt.

She may be friendly, and you may view her as a friend, but in the end, you seem to be just paying her to take up space.

Her choice is, "Do I stay home, smoke & talk on the phone, wash a dish or 2? OR, Do I go to the shop, smoke & talk on the phone, wash a dish or 2, AND GET PAID $9/HR. TO DO IT?????????? Hmmmmm.....GO TO THE SHOP!!!!!!!!!!!

She doesn't want to work---she wants your companionship and/or your reliance on her, as well as a paycheck. You want, and NEED, her to WORK in order to justify giving her a paycheck.

If she can't get on your page--because she CAN get everything she wants while doing everything you need--then she needs to hit the curb.

She CAN be a good employee AND a friend. Those relationships work when both parties CARE about the business. Right now, she doesn't care about the business and, quite honestly, may not care too much about you.

Sit her down and tell her that in the beginning, you were happy to have her companionship while the business was getting off the ground, but now, it's a growing business and you need to be able to depend on her more.

Outline her JOB duties. Specify her hours, break times and lengths, etc,. All of the things that if YOU were looking for a JOB, YOU would want to know before accepting a position. GIVE IT TO HER IN WRITING and ask her to look over it AND SIGN IT---if she wants to continue to WORK for you.

If she doesn't want the job on your terms, tell her that you know she'll understand why you can't continue to pay her, that you'll be hiring a new EMPLOYEE, and that from your standpoint, this will NOT affect your fondness for her or your friendship.

If she doesn't understand, or feel the same way, TOUGH! Then, in reality, she was never a FRIEND to begin with............


dldbrou Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
dldbrou Posted 4 Sep 2011 , 9:18pm
post #23 of 24

You might just start interviewing people and she might think her job was in danger and start proving her worth.

Annabakescakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Annabakescakes Posted 5 Sep 2011 , 12:29am
post #24 of 24

I don;t have anymore advice, but I would love an update when you have one!

Quote by @%username% on %date%